Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Eat, Slay, Blood - XBOX 360 Review: Prey

A few months ago I played FEAR, Monolith's horror game from the early days of the Xbox 360.  Whilst I enjoyed this maudlin and spooky FPS, its graphics left something to be desired.  The mantra often trotted out is "it was early days" and "developers were just getting to grips with the tech"; Prey, released around the same time as FEAR, destroys this theory with one swoop.

This nifty gun is powered up at various consoles
Prey is the story of Tommy, an Indian garage mechanic with dreams of escaping the reservation with his girlfriend Jen.  One night in Jen's bar, Tommy along Jen and his grandfather, are hoovered up by some strange alien entity onto a spaceship named the sphere.  Tommy soon escapes and discovers the insidious nature of the Sphere and begins on a crusade to rescue his girlfriend and Grandpop.

The game starts out quite brutally with plenty of screaming and loathsome goings-on. Tommy soon acquires a gun and unfortunately Prey borders on asinine FPS territory for at least 2 or 3 levels.  Eventually, however, several things start to happen that (for me anyway) elevated it above many other games I have played in this genre.

The hero, Cherokee Tommy
First of all, you have Tommy's spirit form.  This can be used to solve puzzles and locate items that would have otherwise been inaccessible to you.  Tommy's spirit also has a weapon in the form of a powerful bow, that can be used to smite enemies that stand in your way, a useful trick made even better by scouting ahead and eliminating nasties with a minimum of fuss.  Secondly, Prey contains some gravity-messing touches, including walkways that you stick to even as they go up walls and onto ceilings and strange glowing pods that, when shot, completely reverse the gravitational pull of the room.  Often manipulating these is key to proceeding through a certain area.

These elements, together with a few other nice moments (such as using the alien hand to activate doors) really led me to enjoy playing Prey.  There's plenty of shooting action, of course, but the lateral thinking required to escape certain areas reminded me a lot of Valve's classic Half Life, something naturally helped by the nature of the enemies.

Prey is dead cheap to pick up thanks to its vintage;  I heartily recommend picking up this cool little shooter.


  1. Was one of my first 360 games this! Really enjoyed it too, and think it's a bit of an under-rated classic so I'm glad to see someone else having a blast with it...been meaning to go back and try it on the trickier level for a while now so thanks for reminding me!

  2. I agree, it's a great game and well worth picking up now that it's so cheap. I thought the ending was particularly good too, although I won't spoil it here...