By on July 29, 2006

Prey is quite easily the best game to be built based on the Doom 3 engine. But does this game have enough to take the FPS crown? Maaz Ali finds out.


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First Impressions
My reaction is

Prey’s storyline revolves around a special Native American named Tommy who is gifted with super-natural powers. As the plot unfolds, Tommy, his girlfriend and grandfather are sucked-up by an alien ship. Not content with being an alien guinea pig, Tommy decides to break out, rescue his girlfriend and grandfather, and save the world (much like any good alien-bashing protagonist would). While the storyline is a bit cheesy and does not engross enough to make you sit before your screen for many long hours, the graphics and sound compensate for the lack of a good plot.

Prey’s graphics are as jaw-droppingly good as Quake 4 or Doom 3 but then again, the game is based on the Doom 3 engine. The environments in Prey are highly detailed and simply stunning. If you are running Prey on a high-end PC, the graphics can almost surpass its counterpart on Xbox 360 with stable frame rate. Prey also works well with mid-ranged PCs with a steady frame rate, something which Doom 3 and Quake 4 failed to do.

Prey is a little different from typical First Person Shooter (FPS) games because it has a touch of puzzle and stealth in it. The most innovative part of the game is the part when you die. Instead of being smacked in the face with a big ‘Game Over’ screen, you spawn in a new world where you have to fight and kill the evil souls to re-enter the living world from exactly where you left. This after-death mode is quite refreshing and also helps avoid the whole “walk-n-shoot-n-save” tactic which most FPS games require to finish the game.

Prey plays a lot with gravity and portals but sadly they are not used to their full potential. Even spirit walking, an ability which you get in initial stage of the game, could have been put too much better use other than just passing through the force shields and opening switches. Speaking of gravity, there are a few areas in this game where you can shoot an object in order to change the gravitational polarity.

The weapons in the game are all unique, original and look like a combination between metal and organic material. The AI is pretty much bog standard and is nothing special. The gameplay in Prey is quite innovative but it gets repetitive as you go through the game. It takes about approximately 9-10 hours to finish the whole game.

Other than the single-player experience, the multi-player mode is also decent and works much like Quake 3 Arena with the exception of wall-walking and spirit-walking features. The portals and gravity are made better use of in the multiplayer mode. However, the multiplayer experience is just limited to deathmatch modes which allow a maximum of eight players.

The sound in Prey is just simply too good, with strong voice acting, spine-chilling alien vocals and blood-rushing rock tracks. The sounds are quite relevant to the environment and draw you into the game as much as the graphics.

Prey is quite easily the best game to be built based on the Doom 3 engine. With eye-popping graphics and eargasm-ic music this game is definitely worth re-playing by FPS fans even on Cherokee mode (a difficult version of the game that can be unlocked by finishing the game in normal mode). A must-buy for FPS lovers and Sci Fi fans. However, minor gameplay flaws and a lack-lustre multiplayer experience stop this short from being an extraordinary FPS game.

The Scorecard
Innovative but gets repetitive as you progress.
Mind-blowing visuals and the environments are brilliantly designed.
Epic soundtracks with surprisingly good voice acting.
Repetitive gameplay and the multiplayer has very little to offer.
Top graphics and sound but a weak storyline, minor gameplay flaws and a lack-lustre multiplayer experience stop Prey from taking the FPS crown.


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