Itchy Thumbs

Completing games then reviewing them

Prey for release

Posted by D on March 2, 2007

By brother fixed me with his beady eye.  A wild glint appeared. His hair flailed wildly about his head.  I stood transfixed. Lightening struck. Thunder sounded.  Somewhere deep within his dark, blackened soul a thought slowly stirred and then from deep within his bowels he issued forth this utterance:

“Now this is some fucked up shit”

And just like that, I was hooked. I was duly informed that Prey is the most fucked up, twisted, and disturbed FPS ever concieved by the mind of man. In this case, a mind so deviant, so blackened and so depraved that to look into it would be to stare into the very heart of madness itself.  Giger himself would run, squealing like a frightened little girl. Of course being the kind of sane and normal individual that I am, I’m more than delighted to check out some nasty, freaky shit. And I can confirm that what I experienced was nasty, freaky and shit but not quite in the way that I expected.

I have rarely played a game where the word lacklustre is so fitting. There is nothing even remotely inspiring about this game.  Run-of-the-mill monsters, hide in run-of-the-mill corridors while you shoot run-of-the-mill weaponry at them.  Unsuprisingly this gets rather tedious after a while.  Luckily they’ve had the foresight to add some boss battles.  Unfortunately they forgot to make them challenging or infact to make any of the game challenging.  It’s pretty boring when the optimal tactic to take out all of the trash mobs is just to run them down.

And then there’s the level design.  What was going on in who’s head?  Two words:  Lazy and arbitary.  You’re supposed to be on an alien space ship.  The sphincter doors and brushed metals corridors give that much away.  But there’s no rhyme of reason why corridors lead to other corridors, which lead to large open spaces, which in turn lead to corridors and in turn more open spaces.  There’s no sense that these are parts of a functioning space station.  None of it makes sense.  Why are there only locks on one side of some doors?  Why is a door opened using an arbitary panel on the roof of the room? What use is a portal on the underside of a box and why does it lead to a dead end corridor.  Who would design a room that has to be turned upside down in order to leave? These are suppoesd to highly advanced, space faring aliens they’re not morons.

The game attempts to tell a story, a story which is pretty mundane, cliched and trashy. This in itself is fairly excusable in a computer game, as much as the games industry appears to think otherwise gaming isn’t the best medium for relating complex narratives.  However, when the intro tells you all about the improtance of stories and narratives then you really ought to make good on your promises.

Overall Prey has plenty of scale but very little scope. Suffice to say my brother owes me one.



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