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Prey vs Prey: A Comparative Preview

It's been a long time since the original Prey came out, so how does the latest title compare and will it be worth the wait come release?

When the original Prey released back in 2006 I was a little late to the game. I've always loved shooters, but with so many other great titles released around the time, such as Okami, Kingdom Hearts 2 and Need for Speed: Carbon, I didn't actually get to play Prey until a year or so later. I'd heard many good things about it, but it wasn't until I actually got to experience it for myself that I truly appreciated how great it was.

I highly recommend picking up a copy of the original for yourself, so I won't go into too much detail explaining the plot, but in short you play as Domasi Tawodi ("Tommy" for short) - A Cherokee Garage Mechanic and former United States Army Soldier living on a Native American reservation in Oklahoma.

At the beginning of the game and after a short bar brawl, Tommy, his girlfriend Jen, his Grandfather Enisi and the entire Bar are lifted up by a gravitational force into a green light above, leading them into a massive alien Starship called The Sphere. After docking, all three, along with countless other captives, are dragged through the upper levels of The Sphere to be harvested. Grandfather Enisi is then violently killed, Tommy is free'd and after a near-death experience leading him to The Land of The Ancients, he must embrace the heritage he once shunned, relying on the guidance of his deceased Grandfather's spirit, along with his own newly discovered spiritual powers in order to survive as he storms the alien ship in search for his girlfriend and more importantly, an escape route.

Aside from countless aliens armed to the teeth with all kinds of ammunition, the abilities and weapons you have yourself aren't half bad either. Like any game with a difficulty curve, the further you progress, the harder the game gets and it's not until the later portions that Prey really comes into its own.

Set on an alien ship, aside from the frequent sight of humans being carted off or brutally killed, there are two incredibly fun elements to Prey - Gravity and Portals. Alone, both are interesting, but combined together, the game really becomes something else. As an example of this, you could be in a portion of the ship where the gravity pulls you towards the ceiling, while your enemies are upside down to you on the ground below. You could then come across a portal leading to their ground, seeing them as if they were standing normally as you begin to fire and chuck grenades through the portal. You can even use the portal as cover itself, moving to positions where they can't even see you, so it really does offer a great tactical advantage. It's pretty crazy when you look up and find aliens unaware of your presence walking upside down through your eyes, when in reality you're quite often the upside down one.

Interestingly enough, there was a sequel for the original title planned, but sadly it never came to light. This was largely due to the fact it never passed the standard of quality they were happy to put out to the public and so instead of releasing a potential let-down, it was cancelled altogether. I've included Gamespot's 15 minute gameplay feature from E3 2011 below.

I personally think it had potential, but it sadly wasn't to be and as much as it must have sucked for the development team behind it (Human Head Studios), this undoubtedly paved way for the series reboot (releasing May 5th - next Friday), which I think looks incredible.

As mentioned earlier, the new Prey title is being developed by Arkane Studio's, most recently responsible for the Dishonoured series. Considering how good Dishonoured is, it's no surprise that gamers across the globe are incredibly hyped for Prey's release and although a huge departure from the direction of the original, I too am very much looking forward to this.

Much akin to how you'd go about playing Dishonoured, once discovered, you have the option of developing your alien powers further, shifting further away from your own humanity in favour of power or sticking with the items you find scattered throughout the open world space station and keeping a hold of your humanity as you rely more on the tools and weapons already available to you.

You're also given the option to play as a male or female character, catering well to gamers of each gender. It's a nice option for sure and as a male gamer, I don't always like to play a character of my own gender. Sometimes it's nice to mix it up a bit.

Additionally, if you're a fan of Portal, you'll be happy to know there's at least one weapon in the new Prey which is going to be just as important as the Portal Gun in Portal. This is essentially an incredibly powerful Glue Gun. By simply aiming and firing, it allows for you to patch up holes, extinguish fires, freeze enemies in place and more importantly create new paths for traversing the surrounding environment. Trapped in a room with no escape or in desperate need to climb to a higher platform? No problem! Just fire it up the side of a wall and it'll create a surface for you to climb in seconds. I don't even need to play Prey to know this'll be immensely fun!

The last subject I'd like to touch upon are the aliens themselves. Though odd and shadow-like, they have a number of abilities. Some are huge and hit incredibly hard, others can move seemingly at an increased rate, but most alarming is their ability to shape shift into literally any object. You could be minding your own business one minute when you pass a coffee cup which is actually an alien in disguise (cue the Transformers opening theme, only they're not robots) and within moments you're being mauled from behind. As proven by previous trailers, you can gain similar abilities, even turning yourself into a turret.

The Prey series has come a long way and everything I've seen and read sounds incredibly positive to me. Plus, if you weren't already convinced, Bethesda are giving Playstation 4 and Xbox One players the opportunity to play the first thrilling hour of Prey in an upcoming demo, available April 27th. More details on how to get that can be found here.

Prey will be released on all formats (PC, PS4 and Xbox One) next Friday, May 5th.

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