Prey (Video Game 2006) Poster

(2006 Video Game)

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Prey-ability Assured
Lee Alon22 August 2006
Development phases familiar from covert Pentagon pet projects beckon misunderstanding from the gaming cadres, and Prey exemplifies this nicely.

Bound for tragedy, the nine year old title has made it to stores this summer triumphant, albeit the interminable delay from first showcasing in 1997 to shelves circa 2006 has resulted in much confusion, hence the less-than-stellar critical reactions you may see elsewhere.

For Prey is being bunched with the on-going, and oft exhilarating, slew of first person shooters, still in vogue and dominating proceedings, particularly on the PC. However, it isn't one such game despite following the genre's visual conventions. In fact, it has more in common with 80's pioneers Cinemaware, whose glorious and ignominious interactive movies on the Amiga were cast aside, like Prey accused of low difficulty levels and pre-scripted events.

Of course quite easy and pre-scripted, because Prey doesn't wish to come across hard to get or sophisticated, but, lo and behold, simply fun. It is one of the smoothest games we've seen in recent years, compelling players along not by hardened challenge but rather sheer pleasure and a desire to see what's in store next.

It is also an amazingly stable game, suffering none of the encumbrances known to occur with alarming regularity in other titles. To that extent, Prey resembles last year's Area 51, another roller coaster ride crucified by industry and players for being too timid and lacking the simple press power of its Doom, Half-Life and FEAR siblings.

Forget all that: Prey is a masterpiece, putting fun and superlative storytelling first. A big boon is the maturity of the tale, with a lot of good language, real gore and even fighting against wicked children.

Reasonably enjoyable action and quite attractive visuals help, but above all else it's the game's consideration of players that wins us over. It's never too hard or frustrating, and gives you those vital ingredients somehow often missing in other releases.

For starters, the way it all begins, at a remote reservation bar on a dark, stormy night. Protagonist Tommy, considered Cherokee by his grandfather Anisi and girlfriend Jen, but really eager to shed that identity and look for a new one. This scene introduces characters and play mechanics well, preparing Tommy for the fight ahead, as an unknown force kidnaps him and his loved ones, forcing the reluctant hero on a path of discovery and courage.

But here we also glimpse Prey's professionalism: jukeboxes come with a host of full rock tracks, clocks animate and change in real time, rain falls outside in rhythm, and Don't Fear the Reaper plays just at the right moment. Beautiful.

The cavalcade of neat touches doesn't not stop there, with the unfolding alien environment into which Tommy is cast feeling real and consistent. There's cyborg weapons that move and squirm as you hold them, cool snippets of radio host Art Bell's UFO-centric late night show Coast to Coast AM, memorable alien propaganda and even wacky perspective changes. That's among Prey's chief innovations, enabling players to walk on walls and traverse portals that zip one among locations, a feature generating more than a few fun puzzles.

Opponents, most twisted and delectably incorrect in the political department, deploy excellent animation, and while obviously inspired by those from the aforementioned shooter franchises and even the Matrix movies, are engrossing in engagement and leave a lasting, entertaining impression. None are overly challenging or intelligent, and in fact the AI can't do much more than move around or take random cover, but it wouldn't matter anyway, since you can't die.

That's right, not only does the game allow saves anytime, players are also technically invincible courtesy of Tommy's Spritiwalk ability, an alternate game mode akin to Area 51's mutant switch. Learned in the beautifully-realized Land of the Ancients realm, Spiritwalk opens up areas off-limits to the physical body, granting Tommy a mythical bow weapon that's frankly of little use. Importantly, when the material shell dies, the spirit lives on, ultimately allowing for a return to almost the exact spot where Tommy died. No restarting levels and that kind of shinola here.

That's the crux of it: you're not supposed to win, beat or conquer Prey, but kick back and relish the ride, just like a truly good movie. Therefore, its cinematography is definitely up to spec, Human Head's penchant for detail and drama paying dividends as gamers witness moments of shock, horror and suspense.

The Doom-derived engine produces pleasing visuals, but they won't blow you away for technical achievement. Instead, it's the design that matters, even though Prey boils down to another corridor crawl when all's said and done. They're nice, atmospheric corridors, though, thus rarely repetitive, and Prey also avoids Doom 3's problematic love of dark spaces, something it references in one of several humorous moments.

The minimalist, but oh-so appropriate soundtrack shines, delivering psychedelic refrains, sci-fi mood-pieces and addictive rock just where they count. Effects contribute their fair share, and you'll soon be quipping one liners provided by Tommy's prolific adversaries, the Hunters. Weapons and other contraptions sound great, and the Spiritwalk portion comes with chanting voices that get into one's head easy. Do note the top-notch voice acting, making everyone come off as champions of their respective roles, in particular the sinister enemy bosses.

Prey does its literary and cinematic sources of inspiration proud. Stuff like the Alien universe, Shyamalan's Signs, 80's series V, the X Files, Independence Day and classic invasion novel Footfall all find a home here, as do players who appreciate a tight, comprehensive package that simply makes you feel good about being a gamer.

Rating: * * * * 1/2
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Well Worth The Wait
jarvo1519 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
In the past couple of years, there've been some pretty breath-taking games released. Resident Evil 4, Half-Life 2 and FarCry are just some of the amazing titles to bless retailer's shelves in the 21st Century. These games, when released, were instant classics, and will remain classics until we actually start to be able to feel the sweet squish of virtual Goombas beneath our hyper-technologically clad feet. And so, games developers have come up with a challenge. Games like RE4 and HL2 set the bar pretty high when it comes to what's outstanding and what's average, therefore making it somewhat difficult for designers to take their audience's breaths away. However, Prey has not only managed to jump well over the bar, but has raised it that extra notch higher whilst doing so.

Prey's storyline goes like this. Big nasty aliens come down and abduct our hero Tommy, his girlfriend Jen and his Grandfather Enisi. Anyway, Tommy manages to escape and heads off through the Alien spaceship's eerie corridors in search of Jen and Enisi. However, he soon learns that he has bigger problems than just rescuing the ones he loves…

Okay, so admittedly Prey doesn't have the most innovative storyline ever. In fact, it's relatively basic….at first. Later on, things start to get a little more complicated what with spirits and all that shabazz. However, Prey's storyline, however basic, is solid, and will keep you pressing forward through the game just to see what happens next. Now before I go on to talk about Prey's game play etc,. I need to mention the graphics in the game. Remember Half-Life 2? Remember how graphically astounding that was? Forget it. Prey's graphics absolutely kicks Half-Life 2's ass everywhere. I usually don't consider graphics when playing a game because I'm one of those people who prefer game play over graphics, but Prey had me astounded. You can see every little detail in your weapons, in the aliens, in the spaceship, everything looks gorgeous. Never have I played a game before that has had me standing in the middle of a wide-open area admiring my surroundings. If games were based on graphics alone, then Prey would win outright. The game play in Prey is also something that makes this game so great. It's easy to control, as are most PC-based FPS titles, and there's never a dull moment. If you're not taking down a 20 foot alien with two gattling guns attached to either arm (Barrett Wallace eat your heart out), then you're walking up walls or walking through force fields as a spirit. Even when you die, you carry on playing. Confused? Well basically when you die you get taken to a kind of Cherokee limbo, where you must use your spirit bow to kill the "dishonored dead", and by doing so replenishing your health and spirit. It's all innovation in Prey! Oh, and let's not forget the portals! Oh yeah, they can be used as a door and… a….and a…..okay, well the use of portals in this game, while interesting, not very well done. I was hoping to see some pretty amazing stuff done with portals, but basically that's all they're used for; cool-looking doors. However, it is weird the way that you can shoot through a portal and pop yourself one in the back of the head. Fun, but if in a real-life situation, not advisable. The sounds in Prey are also pretty cool. You can hear engines running, pieces of flesh squelching and blood splattering, so again the attention to detail is magnificent. The voice-acting in Prey is also brilliant, which is good because bad voice-acting can spoil a game (Final Fantasy X-2 anyone?). Whilst playing games, I always take notice of the game's music, and how well it is used, and Prey's use of music can be compared to that of Lord of the Rings. In other words, it's amazing. The music really shines through whilst fighting bosses, or a lot of enemies at the same time. Overall, Prey is outstanding. Never before have I played an FPS quite like this. The storyline is terrific and really drags you in, and at one point in the game actually had me not wanting to click my mouse to fire my weapon, because of what would happen. And when I finally got the courage to, I felt sorry. The graphics are stunning, the game play is even better and the music is epic. Forget game of 2006. Forget game of the century. Prey simply has to be one of the best games EVER to grace this planet, and, when it eventually lands in the bargain bin in ASDA, it will stand proudly in Game Heaven alongside Final Fantasy VII and Super Mario 64.
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WOW!! What a trip. Groundbreaking, awesome, original.
nanohead3 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Each year, I wait for something to come out to blow me away. FEAR was the last one that I actually could not get enough of. Now PREY appears, and WHOA, what a ride. Fantastic visuals (I mean FANTASTIC). Great dynamics in control of the characters, cool weapons, the anti gravity stuff and portals are mentioned quite a bit by most who comment on this game, but they are just part of the whole thing.

The voice acting is almost uniformly great (with the exception of Jen sometimes), and the story is mostly original, save the overall plot, which we've seen a zillion times before. But the characters are new to the genre, (nope, no super human marines, or master gunfighters) and treats the traditions of the Cherokee with respect and dignity.

There are some moments where it feels like some other games, an occasional dopey boss battle, and too many elevators, but wow, the overall pace, artwork, character control, and AWESOME MUSIC makes it the most movie like video game I've EVER played. Yes, even more than Half Life 2. The health regeneration is a little annoying at first, but then you learn to appreciate it somewhat, as it is less disruptive than having to go back 2 or 3 saves and start over.

One more comment on the music. I was amazed at how cinematic it was. I felt like I was in a live action movie sometimes. Just awesome.

My library of PC games numbers over 100, and I've played them all. But this one is in a class by itself. Yes, its somewhat short, but the work that went into it was intense.

I can't wait for more. Kudos to the developers and artists that built this thing. What a piece of work
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The wait for Prey is over at last!
Wolfdemon11 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
For nearly ten long years, Prey had been in development limbo. 3D Realms waited for the right time for technology to advance for their innovative portal feature. Now the long wait for Prey is over at last. Here's a review for Prey.

Plot: The protagonist of Prey is Tommy, a Cherokee mechanic disenfranchised with his heritage and beliefs. Tommy wants to move away from his peoples' reservation with his beloved girlfriend Jen but she wants to stay put. Things really begin to fall apart for Tommy when he, Jen, and his Grandfather were captured by a UFO hovering over the Roadhouse bar. Tommy must use his heritage and a array of bio-mech alien weapons to save not only his loved ones but also the entire universe. 5/5

Graphics: 3D Realms and Human Head Studios took the Doom 3 engine and really did a major overhaul. The graphics surpass every FPS shooter out there, even Doom 3. The architecture of the UFO really draws some inspiration from H.R. Giger's bio-mechanical art style. Even the enemies and the weapons resemble some of H.R.'s masterpieces. Hats off to 3D Realms and Human Head Studios for doing a radical job on the graphics. 5/5

Sound: Prey has really some awesome music and sound. The game features songs from legendary hard rock artists from Blue Oyster Cult to Judas Priest and epic music that really draws out the dramatic aspects of the game. You'll enjoy the sounds of people agonizing and portals open up and even hear radio host Art Bell's voice in some parts of Prey. 5/5

Gameplay: The original Prey featured the innovative portal technology that would take years to advance. Now the innovation has been integrated into the Doom 3 engine. Another innovative feature is the spirit walk. This ability allows Tommy to leave his body and explore parts of the ship where his physical form can't pass and whenever Tommy dies, he is sent to a death realm where he has to fight against a series of wraiths in order to come back from the grave. Thus making Prey the first game where the player doesn't get a game over. There ain't not starting over in this game. 5/5

Prey was definitely worth the 10 long year wait for both the Xbox 360 and the PC. As the ad said, "Doom 3 may have set the bar, Prey has transformed it."

Final Review: 5/5
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Best for 2006 but only just
ratcat018 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The Developers took a huge chance in releasing a demo for Prey which employed most of the game, and it paid off, big time! I enjoyed Prey because it was not hard or too confusing. Fast paced and with the all important objective to reach, this game seems to have it all. Graphics wise Prey is up to date, I guess it compares well to the likes of F.E.A.R, doom 3 and everybody's favorite, Halfe-life 2. But this is where the similarity ends apart from the Alien weapons you get to Mame and kill with. The biggest feature to my mind is the use of physics in the form of Gravity. Isaac Newton would be astounded. Wall Walking upside down if you please and reverting to a spirit state where you can indeed walk thru walls and invisible (to the human eye only) structures. I enjoyed it thoroughly but not for its shoot and kill aspect but more for its original storyline. I would describe it as "Area 51" meets "doom 3". I guess for me, the true sign of a good game is one that you are looking forward to continuing on with and maybe playing again at a later date. But for my money the obvious reason is that this game has been well developed, probably game tested over and over to bring a game that is satisfying and bug free. Although my system is of the high end type, a lot of games still fail at some stage, not Prey. This was the exception to the rule and I thank the Developers for spending the extra time on making it this way. I'm looking forward to "prey 2".
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Prey to God that they make a sequel!
brandon_lee42024 December 2009
When I first heard that Prey was coming out for the PC, I expected it to be another normal and boring PC game. It was when I heard that IGN gave Prey a good review along with various other sites, I decided to try it out. I bought Prey off Ebay for 5.00 pounds and When I played it the first thing I realized was the beautiful and realistic graphics. I eagerly jumped into playing Prey and was completely astounded to what I thought would be a sh*t game. You control a Cherokee Indian whose life is a bummer. His girlfriend thinks that Tommy Dommasi is difficult and he doesn't get along with his grandfather because he doesn't believe all that spiritual and superstitious stuff. The gunplay is excellent and the guns themselves are different because they are alive and very different to earthly guns, mainly because he is aboard a alien spaceship. The gore is overly disgusting and disturbing, all the way through the game you will see blood, guts, and livers. The gore is very important to the game because without it the atmosphere will feel dull and pedantic.

After his girlfriend and grandfather get kidnapped by an alien spaceship, Tommy tries to release them from the clutches of evil. As the game progresses onward, you realize it isn't that easy. The ship is controlled by a power hungry leader who steals people from different planets for what they call "Harvesting", meaning to eat. Along the way you earn a power called spirit walking, you leave your body in a state of meditation while you do what you have to do with your spirit, and you shoot with guns that will blow your mind.

The worst thing about this game is the easiness of it. It will take you about 5 or 7 hours to finish the game. The portals are so important in this game and Prey was the first game ever to have portals in it. Defying gravity was one of the fun things in this game but it can get weird sometimes because you have to shoot in a way which would make your brain dizzy and fuzzy. Prey is enjoyable and somewhat stupid because when the enemy is about to throw a grenade they call out, "Grenade" and then you can easily avoid it. Prey should be in every gamers collection and have a wonderful time playing. Happy Gaming!
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As many twists as a Wallwalk
Whizz06164 March 2007
The game is great, the story is great with twists i would never had expected had my friend not spoiled it for me.

The creative puzzles will have you confused to the max and the level design is surprisingly small but thanks to the portal technology and wall walks levels seem surprisingly bigger then they actually are.

The thing that surprised me the most was the long lasting storyline that kept going even when you thought i would end but a small downside is the Multiplayer.

The MP is good the weapons and maps are good it's just the fact that the amount of people playing is small and if someone lags everyone else does.

The Single player has a long lasting and lively story as well as inventive puzzles.

Nowadays you can pick it up cheap, i got my copy brand new for £20. I Say definitely rent it at least.

Graphics: 8 The graphics are good but some areas are a bit too shiny for me.

Sound: 9.5 The sounds are pretty good and the voice acting is great.

Story: 10 Play it yourself, you'll understand.

Weaponry: 6 There aren't many weapons but they're cool.

MP: 6.5 Could be better
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Could have been way better
gelziabar14 November 2006
If only the developers concentrated more on the characters and story, making some innovative levels and lots of enemies, instead of rushing this game out, Prey could have been one of the better 3D-shooters of all time. Unfortunately Prey does not have the scares of Doom-3 nor even the frantic action of Quake-4 and I sadly say that it less memorable than both of those games. Prey does throw out some gameplay innovations at you such as gravity manipulation and spirit walking which allows for some interesting puzzles but all that really fizzles out at the end. Prey also feels too much like Doom-3 and is almost as dark on many occasions. There are very few weapons and enemies too which shows that this game had been rushed. The screenplay for the story which is rarely significant, was very good, showing some great potential which was never exploited.
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Overrated, bugged, and not very original
Hoi Toet11 September 2007
I bought this game for XBox 360 for 10 Euro or so, and I was expecting a nice shooter without too much story and a lot of graphical violence. And well, frankly even with that expectation it disappointed me.

First of all I want to say that I like the original idea of wallwalking, etc. It cóuld have been very innovative if it wasn't for the developer turning this game into a semi-puzzel/platform game every once in a while. I said this a lot of times and I'm gonna say it again; platformgames and shooters dón't mix, period. I like a challenge, but for example I was trapped in one (big) level for a entire week before I found out that to progress in the game, I had to shoot a small electro-tube somewhere on the wall... What kind of game-logic is that?! So if you want to complete this game and you find yourself stuck, the best thing to do is thus basically shoot at everything and hope it triggers a door or anything... It is NOT the way I want to play a game! The most 'innovative' part of this game are the portals, and even though Valve's Portal-mod does a far much better job at this today then Prey, it is a cool effect (at least for sight). Is it necessary? No. Is it confusing? Very much. Most of the time when you enter a portal, you will flip upside-down , or sideways in a way that it will leave you desorientated for a brief few seconds and thus very vulnerable to enemy attacks even with the most 'elite' shooterskills.

The weapons are also not very great. Every gun looks like a cliché alien-gun, complete with bright lights and shiny texture. You have a sort of plasma-gun, a gun that you can load up with elemental stuff like fire, electricity, cold. You also get a gun that fires what could be described as a load of snot... Well, do I need to say more? Its as if the developers of this game weren't even trying. Oh, and you also get to play with the lamest, and I mean the LAMEST main-character in a shooting-game EVER. At the start of the game, the Indian-guy doesn't bother you much, but further in the game his whining about his girlfriend and his childish and furthermore simply dull one-liners ("Damn, its dark in here!" - as if I didn't notice that myself Sherlock!) will probably tick you off and will leave you with no feeling for the main-character at all.

And some more bugs: some 'puzzles' (read: annoying counterparts) require a lot of 'spiritpower' to turn on switches and so, but if this runs out, you will have no other choise then to kill yourself in order to get more 'spiritpower' (and no, there are no spirit power-ups in the levels apart from a few). And if you don't have any bug-grenades (how original...) or alien-rockets (sigh) you will just have to reload a old game and try again. Also, what is it with the graphics? I mean, the game on XBox 360 already looks like it could have run fine on the first XBox (and I'm not kidding there), but some images are just too dark. And I don't mean just dark, but pitch black... Even a shitty lighter that your character can activate can't change much about that.

So this pretty much sums up what it is; A failed experiment, hyped with the now very popular Doom 3-engine. If you want a innovative and exciting shooter, go play Half-Life 2 (again), or the new Portal-mod I mentioned earlier. Do yourself as a shooterfan a favor, ignore the hype and just leave this game for what it is.
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Great game, thats very short.
falconfighter012311 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
In many ways "Prey" is a weird case as far as development goes. The normal development cycle for a game these days is 1 to 2 years. Maybe even a couple more for the more higher profile games. However, was originally thought up in 1996. But the development team at 3D Relms had shoved the game aside to go work on "Duke Nuckeum Forever". It was about 2 years ago that "Prey" re-surfaced, and with a new developer in the form of "Human-Head Studios". And now, after 10 years in the making "Prey" is finally out. While all of the original content is mainly still in the game, the game has been revamped and remade with the "Doom 3" engine to run the game.

"Prey" tells a rather different and original story as far as shooters go. You play as Tommy, a native American who lives on an Indian reservation with his girl friend Jen and his grandfather Enisi. Tommy has always rejected the beliefs of his people. Enisi has always tried to teach him of the old ways. However, Tommy just wants to leave the reservation and go out to see the world. The only thing stopping him, is that his girlfriend Jen wont go with him. As she wants to stay. All this is presented to the player rather quickly. With not a whole lot of development, beyond the main subject. Because before long the three are sucked up by an alien space ship. And it pretty much comes down to Tommy trying to rescue his girlfriend. However, in the process ( as you may expect ) you save the world.

The game play in "Prey" eventually does boil down to your basic shooter. As you go threw each level blasting your way through enemies. However, the game has some unique twists that try to set the game aside from the normal shooter formula. These take the form of "Wall Walk" and "Spirit Walk". In the case of "Wall Walk", Tommy can walk on walls in certain intervals threw-out the space ship. There are certain walkways that will lead on the wall, and sometimes the ceiling, and you can walk threw those areas. There is also times when you can actually change the entire formation of the level. In which you can change the gravity pull of the level to the new ground. And the entire level will shift to make that the new ground. During the times, it can be discontenting, especially when you walk from one ground to the other. However, it is a neat effect overall. And helps give the game a different feel in some ways.

The other case of "Spirit Walk", in which Tommy can walk out of his body. These are used mainly for puzzle solving. You will find an area that you cant go to, and you can use "Spirit Walk" to reach those areas. It works well in many cases. However, the one big flaw is when you die. Instead of having to restart a level, you will leave your body and go to the spirit world. Where you will be on a pillar, and you must shoot a certain amount of wraiths that are flying around you to continue on. This effect works in one way, in that it never takes you out of the action. However, where it fails is that it takes all of the challenge out of the game. Because death really has no tole on you in "Prey". And while you will have the will to take more chances ( which is good ) you know that there really is no problem with dying. Since the worst that could happen is you will have to sit out for a few seconds.

These new takes on the genre are interesting in many ways. And "Prey" tries to make them work well. However, they really don't add much to what is otherwise a very linear and strait forward game. In which boils down to a constant corridor crawl threw the space ship.

The action in "Prey" is roughly 90%, with the other being some light and easy puzzle solving. The shooting in "Prey" is good, it feels right and you have a decent amount of weapons. However, the enemies you fight in "Prey" are rather easy. They don't do a whole lot to protect themselves and are very easy to eradicate. It also doesn't help that the game only has a very small amount of enemies. You start out only fighting a couple at a time and having an easy time doing so. The game tries to make things more interesting near the end of the game by throwing more enemies at you at once. However, it doesn't really change the game up much. The weapons have a neat and interesting organic look to them, however, the weapons at times feel under powered.
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