“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die.” ~ Roy Batty
Now, unless you need a digital slap to the face, you should know where this quote is from. If however you don’t, PLEASE do yourself a favor and watch Blade Runner. Why would I open a look at Prey 2 with a film? Simply put, based on what was seen, this is as close to a Blade Runner game we’ve ever seen.
Oh, and before I go any further, if you played Prey (1) forget it ever existed. Tommy might make a cameo or something, but there’s no Native American influence or portals. Ok? Cool!
Some of you might remember the live action Prey 2 trailer of an airplane being abducted by aliens. Shift into the future an unknown number of years and you now find yourself as bounty hunter, — former U.S. Marshall — Killian Samuels. One problem though! You have no recollection of anything that’s transpired since your abduction. Yes, they’re going with amnesia to some degree; but if you think about it, ambiguity kind of fits the atmosphere.
Atmosphere you wonder? Well, like Blade Runner, this game is set in dirty, futuristic, very noir homage landscape. If you’ve not seen Blade Runner, the second best example I can think of — and please don’t hate me for mentioning one of the prequels — is the district from the bar scene in Star Wars: Episode II where the bounty hunter got offed by Jango Fett. Expect neon signs, dirt, rust, drunks, skanks, thugs, the works. Also, much like the real world, everything is very much shaded in grey as opposed to black and white (bad and good).
Now that I’ve painted the visuals I can talk a little bit about what was witnessed…chasing. Unfortunately, the entire demo we were privy to was literally bounty hunting quests. Mr. Samuels would pursue his targets and then chose to interrogate them, kill them or send them to the individual who placed the bounty on them. Options are varied as sometimes your mission is to kill the target, which eliminates that whole pesky capture thing.
To make chasing targets feel dynamic and attractive, those who you hunt seem to have an assortment of abilities aside from the standard NPC adds to help out. For instance, you might chase an enemy who teleports, or one that drops mines to slow you down for that clean getaway. To add to this energetic style of pursuit is one of the focal points of Prey 2‘s design. First-person platforming.
The best way to describe this would be Mirror’s Edge. The entire city of Exodus is built vertically so there’s going to be a lot of jump from this to that, climb around this, etc. The footage of this looked very fluid, so at the moment I wouldn’t worry if you’re not used to a game with this kind of playstyle. We weren’t shown every ability Killian is capable of, but the hover boots were pretty badass for descending upon an enemy trying to get the slip. Weapons seem to be your standard pistols and the like along with bounty hunter like snares for capturing targets. A great piece of news is that you’ll be able to some weapons concurrently…such as shoulder mounted rockets, YUM! There’s also a neat little time manipulation field you can use to raise up enemies similar to the adept skill lift from the Mass Effect series.
Given how little of the game we experienced, it’s really hard to gage how good this game will be. It looks amazing, the gameplay seems solid, but the story is up in the air. Most importantly, we don’t know if the whole bounty hunting thing is going to be hyper-repetitive. I can tell you straight up that while I freaking love what I saw; if the entire game is literally cat and mouse with tidbits of story sewn in-between, the excitement will eventually turn to boredom and then sadness at an opportunity lost. Though, my gut says the folks over at Human Head Studios, know what they’re doing.
Oh…I forgot to mention. This game is open world. Get pumped for this one folks.