E3 ’11: Prey 2 Preview
Don’t blink or you’ll miss it…
I had the pleasure of attending a brief demo of Prey 2 at E3, the labor of love from Bethesda Softworks. While I was tempted to tag it as ‘just another random FPS game’, it turned out to be so much more than that, and I was genuinely left craving for more when the demo finished.
Prey 2 is not a direct sequel from the first game, and though there are a few story elements that are carried through, it’s an entirely different game this time around. You play as Killian Samuels, a U.S Marshal on an alien homeworld known as Exodus – the first scene illustrates how Samuels got onto Exodus, and thanks to a nifty fast-forward in time informs us that Samuels now works as a reputed bounty hunter on Exodus. As a bounty hunter, your primary goal is to take out various targets around the city, either dead or alive. The city itself is vast and sprawling, and you’re given complete freedom over where you want to go. It’s a mix of Mass Effect meets Assasin’s Creed meets Mirror’s Edge – this may sound confusing, but a few minutes into the game and you’ll see what I mean.
You’re equipped with a handy scanner that color codes characters in your environment – green indicates a neutral or friendly character, yellow indicates a character that could become hostile if provoked, and red indicates a character who has a bounty on their head. When pursuing a bounty, you have the option of sneaking up on them and capturing or killing them, but the real thrill is in the pursuit. One of our primary targets decided that it was easier to run away from us, so we gave chase through the city, climbing over obstacles, sliding under and shooting enemies, and jumping off ledges. It didn’t help that our target could teleport either, but this made things even more fun. Our target happened to have plenty of goons to cover his tracks, and we utilized a variety of tricks and weapons to dispose of them, including shoulder-mounted rockets. Once our target was in sight, we were able to subdue him with a handy gadget that wrapped around him and encased him in a transporter bubble. At this point we were given the choice to either turn him in or interrogate him – if you interrogate a character too much, they may die from the pain caused, so it’s important to make the right choices. We opted to hand him over, and within seconds we were paid our dues.
Choice is an important aspect of Prey 2, and your actions don’t go unnoticed in the world. For example, in our demo we pushed a bystander off a ledge, and while this was hilarious to watch, a drone descended and focused on us, reminding us that regular misdemeanors would land us in trouble. The designers also chose to not have you walking around all the time with your gun on screen, so you can choose when you want to draw out your weapons. Drawing your weapon when not in combat also has an effect on characters that you’re conversing with, so again you have the choice whether or not to be hostile towards characters. You can also decide if you want to intervene if you see someone in trouble or just mind your own business, and of course whatever choice you make will either help or hinder you later in the game.
Prey 2 also looks absolutely stunning. The city gleams with neon signs and even in the darkness is rich with diverse characters and endless walkways. The characters are voiced perfectly and each have their own story to tell, that is if you live long enough to hear it. The game has tremendous potential, and looks like another great game to look forward to in 2012.