First Impressions: Pray for rain?
Another FPS? Are you serious? Actually, I am ? but this one brings a bit of a twist to the genre as you'll be playing a Native American mechanic named Tommy - as opposed to the obligatory super-soldier ? a man who's turned his back on his proud Cherokee heritage. As developer Human Head Studio's game begins, Tommy is abducted in fine Whitley Strieber fashion by an alien intelligence that traps him on a huge living, breathing sphere full of all kinds of insanity. Read on to see why Prey just might be the adventure of a lifetime.
It's not just another FPS, but an IP that's been in development (and jumped studios more than once) for a long time, but in this case its lengthy production schedule actually appears to have had a beneficial effect on the game, as some really innovative and interesting new ideas have come to fruition after this decidedly long incubation period. First things first ? you won't be bound to many conventional rules in the bizarre, alien environment of the sphere (not to be confused with the heroically awful Biodome
- isn't Pauly Shore dead yet?). Walking on walls, zero gravity and creatures that literally appear from nowhere as they tear huge holes in the very fabric of space to devour you ? all par for the course in Prey.
Returning home from a stint in the military, Tommy just wants to rekindle things with his girl and get the hell out of Dodge, but the sphere has other plans for him, as well as his loved ones as the alien intelligence scours the reservation and snares its booty of human trophies. Once onboard the ship (which is actually filled with all sorts of life forms that have been assimilated Borg style and, as such, some creatures will be indifferent in your presence, while others will viciously attack on sight) Tommy will need to contend with some seriously unorthodox things like gravity wells and living Cilia growing from the corridor walls that register his passing as he moves through the guts of the ship. Some things ? like the gravity ? are within his control and are manipulated by switches while others are simply bizarre, mind-bending encounters with Enforcer creatures, as well as other subjugated beings in the same predicament you are. Bio-engineering, strange experiments, localized gravity pathways throughout the ship and more xenophobia than you can shake a stick at ? Prey promises to be a very different concept in the evolution of the FPS genre.
Tommy will be attacked mercilessly as he makes his way through the sphere, mostly by the aforementioned Enforcers ? captives who work for the alien intelligence as soldiers ? but also by other monstrosities and freaks?the results of massive experimentation to make captives into superior guards. In addition to wielding an impressive arsenal of original weapons (including living creatures that act as grenades ? both frag, and sticky) Tommy will also call upon his wizened old Grandfather's teachings and tap into his spiritual powers. Spirit Walking will allow him to use astral projection and leave the body behind. Utilizing this, Tommy will scout ahead, surprise enemies and solve puzzles, as well as access secret areas of the ship. Death Walking will put an end to reloading your game, as in the case of death, Tommy retreats to a spirit world where he uses his bow to combat predatory, shrieking souls, eventually being pulled back to the living world. The more souls you down in the time allotted, the more health is recovered.
At this stage of development Prey looks like it's just a complete trip, with mirrors pulling you into another dimensional rift where you'll suddenly face a massive demon or portals opening abruptly before you and spitting out all manner of living atrocities. The biological weapons are totally off the wall and the entire property simply exudes an original and whimsical (think whimsical
in a Tim Burton meets James Cameron sort of way) atmosphere that's extremely promising. In addition to his adventures on foot, Tommy will also make his way outside the ship and take off in a one man shuttle craft to do battle amongst the stars with various threats. Between space combat, the spirit world, portals and Zero Gs, Prey looks to turn the FPS genre on its collective ear this summer.
Multiplayer madness in Prey will be just that, as up to eight players (and the developers are hoping to up that count) can duke it out over Live while maintaining all the craziness from the single player game. Fully inverted combat, gravity defying firefights and a truly whacked-out arsenal should introduce some fresh play mechanics and a ton of fun to the usual all night death-matching.