I played it out of historical interest, and because I once heard a friend talking about it. I'm not really sure what to think of it. It's a pretty weird game.
The plot is simple and predictable, the writing is tolerable but mediocre. It might be the first game I've played that has Native American main characters, but given the clichéd writing and how unsympathethic the protagonist comes across, I'm not sure that's a good thing.
I was surprised to find so many interesting gameplay ideas in it: It has portals - one year before Portal -, it frequently plays around with gravity, turning rooms upside down, allowing you to walk up walls and on the ceiling (even if it'S restricted to specific walkways), it lets you switch to the spirit world at will, in which you can walk through barriers and across chasms, scout ahead and use your bow instead of alien firearms, and all of the above are occasionally used as puzzles. It has a curious death/respawn mechanic as well, and then there's also some vehicle combat. All things I've seen in other games by now, but never combined like this and before its release date, I think. The death/respawn mechanic basically comes down to you playing a bow shooting gallery minigame in the spirit world, in order to get some health back (both for corporeal and spirit form), and then you respawn right where you died and can continue what you did before. This means that there's actually no need for quick-saving all time (although you still can), and I liked that idea.
But ... it also means that there's hardly any challenge at all in the game. The only punishment for dying is having to spend a few seconds on playing a minigame, and you might come out of it with more health than you had before. Your enemies don't respawn, their health does not reset, you can continue as if you hadn't died at all, and start what you finished, even in boss fights. I'm not one to complain about not having to redo things all over, but still, this mechanic removes any sense of achievement from the game, at least regarding the combat (you have to unlock the Harder difficulty by playing through Normal first, another weird decision, but I don't think it makes a big difference, considering). The combat is not very interesting either. It's kind of like Doom 3, in that most encounters are scripted, enemies popping up all of a sudden, and after a short while it becomes very predictable. It's not the only similarity, btw, AFAIK Prey is using the same engine as Doom 3, so the games feel pretty close to each other, but Prey is less dark regarding the lighting, and even though the theme is horror, too, it's not really scary.
And after the novelty of the gameplay ideas wears of, they feel a bit over- and underused at the same time. They could have been put to a somewhat more interesting use, I think. The puzzles were often very simple, and when it took me a longer time to solve a puzzle, it was often just due to my lack of orientation, me overlooking things. The game is very, very linear on top of it. So in short, while the game has some very cool gameplay ideas and some novel ideas regarding the setting, in the end it doesn't go out of its way to make them feel really extraordinary, because the gameplay and storytelling is so simple and run-of-the-mill stuff.
I didn't regret playing it, it was an interesting experience just to see what it's like, and I had some fun with it, too. It's just not all that spectacular. Or, let's say, less spectacular than all those cool ideas would have you think.
Post edited July 12, 2018 by Leroux