Prey Demo: Impressions from a Survival Horror Scaredy Cat

To be honest I was not a fan of survival horror when I was younger. Really horror in general. My imagination is too strong and sleep wouldn’t have come for me at all if I did. And yet the recent resurgence of well created and story driven horror games have me diving in head first.

First and foremost I’d like to state that I have some reservations that there is not a PC demo offered. With the disastrous release of Dishonored 2  I had wanted the chance to play the hour on the PC as well (though to be fair Doom was great with very few problems). At least to make sure that it wasn’t broke right out of the gate. I would rather not spend nearly 70 bucks on a game I cannot use.

Crazy thought. I know.

But when asked they stated that they are working hard to make sure that the release on PC is problem free (somehow) that’s the reason why they didn’t release the PC version. 

But I did go ahead and download the Ps4 version as I wanted to still see what it was about. What follows is more of a stream of thought. When a thought strikes me I’ll put it down here. I am going to do some images to help illustrate what I’m referring too. I’ll be updating images as I screenshot them or similar. So this post will probably evolve over the next 24 hrs as I get the images from my PS4 if  I was quick enough to grab them.

  But I’ll try not to spoil anything too bad. Though most of it, if you’ve been following the game at all, you’ll already know. The Demo is also available for our Xbox players as well. it’s a little over 13 GB so depending on connection it might take a while.

*Begin stream of thought:

Opening screen is ominous in a very dissonant and jarring way though strangely, would be nice to listen to if that volume didn’t go up and down so much…. So far the sound design people are on point. We shall see if this holds throughout the demo.

Prey Demo: Opening Hour_20170427200612

Wonder how long I can draw out this 1 hr demo with me being a scaredy cat…

Difficultly selection…

Ooo choose male or female…female please. But the male Morgan is kind of cute…if I saw his face more often I’d choose him…

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Load time is…longer than expected…

Oh~!

No…nope Still loading

*messing with controls* Uh….I’m going to have to get used to this crouch being over here…camera feels responsive but loose? Weird.

*Read items around the room to find an accurate reference on using a Wok. Is very happy.*

*Finds a book on T’ang dynasty verse sees traditional Chinese calligraphy *gets happier.*

Music and opening credit sequence is amazing. I LOVE this soundtrack!!

Prey Demo: Opening Hour_20170427092141

 

Why do I look so much younger than my brother??

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These BS tests I can’t pass…

Don’t lie to me!

Oh good a  personality test…this is going to haunt me…

oh…Truman Show…@ssholes.

Big wrench…Bioshock flashbacks…OK sure…I like bashing things.

 

WHAT!? WHERE!? YOU DON”T PLAY MUSIC LIKE THIS FOR NO REASON!!

Ok…music is cool and all but I’m just  going to go exploring… THERE IS A REASON!!! *Flails wildly*

newsaug4_prey1Huh..poor guy…

O.M.G!!!  I hate things jumping at my face!

They move too fast to track almost…at least with a controller…mouse might not be so bad though.

That’s it… Everything is my pinata~! Just beat everything.

There are too many coffee cups on this table…smash them all.

That box is odd.

It needs to die.

Glue gun…oooh….lots of ammo for this…oh because it doesn’t HOLD THEM FOR LONG…DIE~!

Huh…already in the lobby…oh. There’s a lot of level here…*that’s* why it took so long to load…

Eww eww not the eye…ugh.

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Oh good we clip away…

Wait this is an alternative history/future?? Cool

214 yrs old!?  Wait what?!

Too bad we aren’t like this technology wise.

This is why you don’t mess with aliens…this reminds me of the movie Life…anyone else saw that? Was anyone else was watching it the whole time going: “Nope”?  See this is one of those times of saying “nope.” If someone with power and sense had said ‘nope’ at the beginning  we might not be here….

 

Wait…I can take the turrets with me!? Their PORTABLE!? 

These are my new best friends…

NO! My buddy! Wait…there’s a replacement down here…

Just going to take this….new best friend…

O.M.G you just flipped over my turret you butt! 

Dang…I need to repair it…wait! I have repair! *option shows red because I need repair II*  UGHHH!

Prey Demo: Opening Hour_20170428193859

Get’n real tired of these mimic things and nothing to upgrade with and no means of getting more ammo. I get it’s survival horror but that wrench is too slow health is too low and suit has nothing to upgrade with. I get it’s a demo but some…oh I can upgrade my shotgun…but no ammo for it…great… the only thing that can one shot these S.O.B’s…

 

But I do to see some of the power tree of Neuromods…which is kinda cool.’

Prey Demo: Opening Hour_20170428194604
*looks at clock* so…guess I can draw this 1hr demo out to 4…because I’m a big chicken….

So how does it stack up?

Story wise they do the wisest thing first which many horror (psychological or otherwise) games don’t do. The idea is that they want to toss you into the action as soon as possible. And that’s nice for *some* games depending on their story or where  the game occurs in the story. But Prey starts off being kind of mundane. They give you a base line ‘normal’ before ramping up into the abnormal. Writing wise it gives your mind a clear understanding of what normal is first hand (instead of finding out about it later second-hand via notes all the time).  It’s showing rather than telling (as many players may not read the notes scattered about).  Then you discover what life was really like before again. This sense of mystery works very well in a horror game’s favor and allows for larger leeway in the kinds of scares it gives you.  Once the mystery is gone the fear is largely gone outside of jump scares.  So far this game has a great set up. I hope it continues to deliver all the way through to the end.

Controls are weird. I’m used to crouching with R3 (crouch is circle) and that’s apparently zoom instead…which locks you into moving at a snail’s pace and unable to change weapons. And to Select and interact with objects is square….not “X” Needless to say that makes for some battles to be very…unnecessarily stressful. I was adapting slowly but I didn’t appreciate the changed when my fingers where moving automatically and then being punished for it like I’ve never touched a video game before in my life…

I would’ve liked the option to map the buttons as I’m used to in other FPS. Perhaps it will be an option outside of the demo. One can hope. Hopefully on PC it isn’t as odd. But then I think they might be hard pressed to be Mass Effects Andromeda’s Space bar, to select.

Visuals are beautiful. The uniformity of Talos I is lovely. Even the uniforms found within seem to share the same aesthetic. This is actually important as sometimes in some games characters looks don’t seem to ‘blend’ with the environment around them as if it was a completely different society had designed the clothes and another the buildings…(this can be used to highlight the disparity of the character in the environment but that would not have worked in this case). Prey Demo: Opening Hour_20170428195131 The  space-age Art Deco all sleek lines, rich reds, golds, and blacks was a joy to wander through. Since it is also culturally important to the character I also appreciate how they married that and  the color psychology subtlety at work here.  Bravo. The vastness of space is extremely well presented here. Talos I is huge and impressive but the moon and sun outside are quick to remind you that compared to the vastness of space there is much we don’t understand. It’s humbling and I feel that given the circumstances it should be.

The Music and Sound design is second to none. The use of ambient music/ sounds vs. silence vs. action is excellent. They spent good money on the sound and it shows. The songs have you bopping your head but also jumping and turning every which way when it sets off.  They use silence very well and at well thought out intervals to build tension or to let the player ramp down. Like a good Club DJ they keep the ‘wave’ going so that the player has ‘rests’ so they are less likey to get ‘tired.’ This also falls under pacing and story, level design, and music must all be on the same page to do this well and so far they have nailed it.

 

Verdict:  If you like FPS survival horror  with a banging soundtrack you should definitely give the demo a go. Even if you don’t you might be surprised. With a Demo you didn’t loose any thing but perhaps a few minutes of life with some of those jump scares…

 

(as I stated before more visuals are coming. I just have to get them off my PS4 first…sorry in the mean time.)

 

Update: All images pulled from PS4 and uploaded!

 

 

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