E3 2011: Prey 2 (Impressions)

by: Chuck -
Game: Prey 2
Developer: Human Head Interactive/Bethesda
Release Window/Date: 2012

What's polished: Amazing world, fluid/acrobatic combat

What needs polish: How will folks not get lost in the world, still not always apparent what you can climb and what you can’t

Prey 2 was one of the biggest surprises of the show for me. After John snatched the Skyrim appointment out from underneath me (only had space for one and he got there first) I wandered back into the press only area of the Bethesda booth and awaited for the Prey 2 presentation.

Like others who played the first game I was disappointed to hear that the game would be abandoning protagonist Tommy in favor of air marshal Killian Samuels (although you will run into Tommy at some point). That disappointment ended about five minutes into the demo when I saw the world that Human Head had crafted. The demo starts with the crash of the plane that Killian is on board (which is shown in the intro of the of the original game). After surviving the flight, Killian has brief fight with some aliens before he is knocked unconscious and taken prisoner. He awakens to find that time a bit of time has passed and that he has become a bounty hunter with no memory of anything that’s happened between the crash and when he wakes up.

While the memory loss thing is a bit of a gaming cliché (especially for a Bethesda published game) what’s not is the environment of the game. The game is set in the alien city of Exodus using a style Human Head is calling “Alien Noir” which looks a lot like a mix between Blade Runner and The Fifth Element. The city has the visual lushness and neon vibes of the Ridley Scott masterpiece with the verticalness of the city in Luc Besson’s cult hit.

The environment would be nothing without a good way to explore it and since Prey 2 is an open world game (another big departure from the first game) the folks at Human Head have installed a mantling system that allows you to quickly move through the environment. The system indicates where you can move up in the world by having your hand reach out in front of you when you can jump up a level. You can also hang over the edge and fire at enemies as well. Of course you can skip some of the jumping around and use the hover boots which will allow you to jump large distances and slowly ascend from one area to the next.

Killian has a treasure drove of gadgets as the game will ship with 20 upgradeable gadgets and 40 upgradeable weapons. Key among the gadgets is a tool that will scan groups of aliens for potential bounties or interaction. What I saw included the opportunity for you to break up a fight between a few aliens or just leave them alone and how you played that situation out could have long term implications in the game. Even how you approach other characters is important as drawing your weapon will lead to different reactions than if you approach with your weapon put away. Human Head wants your choices to have consequences and it looks like they are doing a good job with what they showed at E3.

As I mentioned earlier I was really blown away by the vast chance in the focus of Prey 2 and I think it could sneak up on a lot of people if Human Head can deliver the vision they showed on the show floor: an open world FPS set in a great environment with fluid controls married to a deep branching story.

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