It was a dark and stormy night… OK, so it sounds cliche but that’s the best description of the opening scene of 2K’s latest game Prey. Not since the days of Decent has a game caused so much vertigo and confusion so quickly. Prey is a game with a lot of character and unique game play aspects. This is either a very good thing, or a very bad one and I don’t think there’s going to be to many people who feel ambiguity to it. You’re going to love it, or hate it.
For those of you unfamiliar with Prey it’s a game that’s been a long time coming. In development since the mid-nineties Duke Nukem era Prey promised to change the way people thought about first person shooters. The original idea called for the extensive use of what math geeks refer to as Non-Euclidean mathematics and tesseracts. What does all that mean? Objects can be bigger on the inside than they are on the outside.
Previously when a game developer designed a map it all had to flow together in a logical and straightforward pattern. How many times have you been spectating on a game like Counter Strike and zoomed out to see the whole level laid out before you. With Prey, that’s no longer possible. Imagine a room. Inside the room there is a box. You can look the boxes top, sides, and back and still see the box. If you look at the front of the box you’re suddenly looking at a completely different room. This room could be the size of a football stadium and the room you came from the size of a closet. This provides some interesting scenarios. Imagine your walking through a storage room. You come across and overturned crate. You look into the crate and rather than looking through a doorway, your looking down into another room from the ceiling. Now imagine there are enemies walking around below you. It’s sniper time! This gives new meaning to shooting fish in a barrel. But be careful or you might end up shooting yourself in the back.
But the fun doesn’t end there my friends, oh no. Prey also introduces an interesting concept known as Spirit Walking. Using your Native American shamanistic powers you’re able to project your soul outside your body. This spirit form is able to sneak up on enemies, walk through force fields, and throw switches making for some interesting puzzles. When you Spirit Walk your body is left to its own defenses while you trek through the nether regions. Should your body be attacked your soul goes flying back into your body to allow you to defend yourself.