Prey Review (XBox 360)

This post is more than 2 years old.

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.

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About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

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Archived Comments

Comment 1 by matt posted on 8/17/2006 at 5:13 PM

Have you played FEAR? Thats good!!


Comment 2 by Raymond Camden posted on 8/17/2006 at 6:08 PM

I've had multiple people recommend it, but I haven't tried it yet.

Comment 3 by Che posted on 8/17/2006 at 6:48 PM

"Maybe it's the fact that I have kids now."

I think you've answered your own question. Becoming a parent changes everything. Without fail...

I also bought and completed the game. Aside from your thoughts I'd like to add the game is *too* easy. I am a casual gamer without "mad skillz" and even I completed the game over a couple of weekends. I didn't even need to cheat!

Comment 4 by Tom Cornilliac posted on 8/17/2006 at 7:36 PM

I tried the Prey demo but couldn't overlook the profanities, I made it 2 minutes past the bar scene and that was enough for me.

Comment 5 by Raymond Camden posted on 8/17/2006 at 7:40 PM

Oh, I didn't mind the cursing. Shoot, where the main character said the F word is the same place I would have in his shoes.

Comment 6 by Dorioo posted on 8/17/2006 at 9:12 PM

I actually got stuck on that part for two days. Because I had infinite health, I just thought they were "haunting" that area in the game.

It didn't really occur to me to shoot at them.


Comment 7 by Raymond Camden posted on 8/18/2006 at 2:27 AM

I found a blog entry dealing with the same problems I had. It also includes screen shots so you can see just how sick it is. (Or maybe you won't think it is sick. I do for sure.)

Comment 8 by Brian posted on 10/6/2006 at 8:35 AM

I completely agree with you. I just returned this game when I found out I was forced to kill children. This is plain absurd.

Comment 9 by Ig posted on 10/25/2006 at 9:29 PM

I agree. I just rented this game, thank goodness, because I will not spend the high dollar they ask for Xbox 360 games on Prey. I wasn't expecting the violent scenes to include kids.

I to do not like violence when it includes children. Must be the old thing because my taste in movies has changed as well.

The game would have been great if not for the inclusion of the children.

Comment 10 by Grim posted on 4/14/2007 at 8:45 PM

Though I understand your adversion to violence with children in the media the fact remains that the game was given a mature rating. This means that there are several things both heard and scene that may be offensive. I, for one didnt like that the protagonist used foul language so often. I mean who swears to himself that often anyway. I didnt like that they portayed the native culture in such an obvious stereotypical way. Even the wise old grandfather was getting waisted in Jens bar.

My point is that in a Mature rated game there are going to be things that offend someone. Not recommending an M rated game because it contains violence your not comfortable with doesnt make any sense to me.

The violence with the children was supposed to be there. We are supposed to be feeling that a terrible thing is happening to the worldgiving us a feeling of dred and wanting revenge and seeing the brutal disregard for our lives or even our childrens lives really works.

That being said I also do not recommend the game but really its because i find the puzzles flat and dull, the only shooting you do is in repetative waves of predictable enemies and to be honest the game was boring. Its not often the a shooter bores me but man its dull!
The gun models look nice but shooting was uncomfortable and inaccurate. Graphics are done very well but complicated level design could have been beter.

Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 9/10
Gameplay: 4/10


Comment 11 by me posted on 8/10/2007 at 11:42 PM


I've just bought the game and I love it.

The swearing is amusing, and, as far as the featured children are concerned, they're just graphics in a video game, so I really don't see what the problem is.

To me, there's no difference in having to shoot a graphic child, than having to shoot a graphic woman, animal, man or beast.

It's just a frickin game for gawds sake.