A few weeks ago I picked up the Prey demo for the XBOX 360. I loved it. While it wasn’t terribly original, it did had a few cool gimmicks and I thought the beginning of the game was pretty darn cool. I actually stopped playing the demo and waited till I got the actual game. (Which, by the way, was from a supporter, so thank you!) While there is a lot of good stuff in this game, there is one serious flaw that prevents me from recommending it. In fact, you will notice that I’m not even doing an Amazon link. That’s how much I’m disappointed in the game.
So let’s start with whats right. The graphics are extremely well done. The story is exciting. Basically, you start out in a bar and then things go quickly to hell. While playing the game, there are two main gimmicks that differentiate it. First, there is the idea of the spirit world. You can leave your body and become a spirit to fix certain puzzles. When you die, you enter a spirit world where you can regain health and mental energy. While I loved this feature, it does make the game a heck of a lot easier. But as a casual gamer, it really worked for me.
The other big gimmick is the use of gravity. At various places in the game you will use “gravity walks” to walk up and down walls and ceilings. This leads to some interesting battles as you will have to fight bad guys both in front of you and above you.
Ok - so now it’s time for the thing that upset me. Technically this is a spoiler, however, as I will explain, it really isn’t part of the plot so it isn’t a true spoiler. But consider yourself warned.
During an early part of the game you encounter spirits. These spirits have the form of small children. You are forced to kill these spirits to progress in the game. I don’t really have any issue with violence (I loved Quake 4), but having to kill children (even ghosts or spirits) was a bit much.
In another scene, two kids are in a room. One becomes possessed and throws the other one into a spike. Let me be clear - the game features the violent death of a child.
As I said, this was in the early part of the game, and I waited for a good explanation of these “child spirits”, but I never saw it. It was just plain disgusting and 100 percent unnecessary. I’m reminded of Star Wars episode 3 where Anakin turns on his light saber in the room full of young jedi. It was just plain stupid. I mean, I know the bad guys are evil. In Prey, they are farming us like live stock. I get that it would mean women and children are being eaten as well. But do I need to see a kid violently murdered? Heck no.
Ok, so I’m ranting here a bit, but if you’ve read this far you know now why I would not recommend the game. Maybe I’m getting weak in my old age. Maybe it’s the fact that I have kids now. (I tend to not like horror films with teens anymore either.) Either way, this is a game you can do without.