Thursday, June 22, 2006

Prey - the game

The Prey demo has been released. Ever since I first heard of the game (back in 1997) I was interested in it. Ofcourse 3D Realms became too busy with other things to continue the game, so that was a bit of a downside. When I heard Prey was back in development I got excited. So Prey was going to use the Doom3 demo. I wasn't very excited about doom. the game itself wasn't very special. So what would Human Head do with it for Prey.

The first movie of the new Prey looked awesome. It looked like they were going to perform weird shit with stuff walking on walls and a interesting looking spirit mode.

Anyway, today I installed the Prey demo. And O.M.F.G. this rocked. You start out in the toiled of a crappy bar, nothing great about that. But instead of the usual static environment (almost) everything worked. You can flush toilets, you can dry hour hands, flip light switches. In the rest of the bar you could play slot machines and a pacman clone. There was also a jukebox with various songs you could select and a black and white TV showing real world clips. Very very nice. Much better than what iD pulled of in the bar in Doom 3. Ok so far the human world is interactive (like it should). So, nothing much happens, you talk about with the bar lady and then some guests start to become annoying. You smash their head in and all is safe. But then hell breaks lose and the emergency channel is activated broadcasting info about weird sightings. Suddenly "Reaper" by the Blue Öyster Cult starts playing. It's a great song and it immediately remembered me how this same song was used in the mini-series "The Stand" based on a book by Stephen King. How they used it in that series was simply awesome. Then it struck me, I didn't put that song on in the jukebox. The the roof of the bar got ... uhm... well... it disappeared. Strange lights were shining through, apperently tractor beams since stuff from the bar was picked up. And eventuelly they also got me (well, the player). After that came a sequence where you were moved through the space ship or something, much like in Half Life 2 (but much much better). You get sprung from your prison, but your friend and father don't. And here starts the actual game.

So Prey already had a kick as intro. The game itself is a first person shooter set in a alien space station. Nothing new here. However these aliens apperently have weird portal and gravity technology. The portal technology allows them to put doors in places where you enter a completely different room. Some portals are even two way (and yes you can and sometimes must use the portals). Prey makes a lot of use of the six degrees of freedom. Sometimes you can walk on walls and the ceiling when walking over a magnetic floor or something (if you jump you'll fall off). Walking on this floor is really funky. There are also gravity switches, shooting at a gravity switch will change the gravity in the room in that direction. You sometimes have to use this to solve a puzzle. These gravity things and portals really make the game more unique. In Serious Sam you also had some gravity and portal things, but there were not always functional and more like a engine demo show-off than something contributing to the game. And other thing in Prey is the spirit mode. This means you can leave your body and go past certain obstacles (like force fields). You usually need this to solve a puzzle you can continue.

That's all for my short review of the demo. You should really try it out (if your system can handle it). If you thought Doom 3 or Half Life 2 was great you'll be amazed by this game. I can't wait to play the full version.