ADD Gamers – Game Review
By: Luke Harris
Better than any predator.
Letter Grade: B+
+ Spectacular graphics.
+ Smoother-then-hell framerate.
+ Great story and voice acting.
+ Satisfyingly violent and funny.
+ The gravity and portals could be revolutionary
+ Scary, hectic gameplay.
- Which there isn’t enough of.
- Bland weapons.
- No penalty for dying.
- No split-screen multiplayer?!
- No real replay value.
Way back in the early 1990’s, Wolfenstein 3D was the pinnacle of the FPS genre. The same company, ID, created the wonderful franchise, DOOM. Years passed and they invented Quake to go along with it. As we all know today, DOOM 3 and Quake 4 are some of the best-looking FPS games out today. There’s a new one. Not made by ID, but using the improved Quake 4 engine, (which is the improved DOOM 3 engine), is excellent game, PREY. With a single-player game that is full of great voice talent, outstanding graphics, and a wonderful story, you couldn’t really ask for…too much more.
The game starts out with Tommy, a Cherokee Indian, who hates the way his life is, and wants to leave his reservation, taking his girlfriend with him. His highly religious grandfather and girlfriend want nothing to do with it. All too soon, a bar fight breaks out, and after beating a couple of thugs senseless with a wrench, (I still prefer the crowbar) you and your party is violently abducted by an alien spacecraft. Sorry for any spoilers, but all this happens in the first 5 minutes of the game, and the demo. It’s your job to get yourself out of the alien hold, and to survive in the process.
The game is the basic FPS formula; shoot everything that moves, and they’ll try to do the same. You get several weapons in the game, most of them with primary and secondary fire modes. Some of them range from the typical pistol and grenade, to the awesome Leech ray and acid shotgun. You don’t get them all at the beginning of course, but by the time you get the strongest weapons, you’ll be too worried to waste their ammo and run back to using the pistol quite often.
Which is a shame, because the effects are fantastic. There’s bump-mapping everywhere you look. The lighting effects are great. And some of the enemies are very creepy. Unlike most of the DOOM and Quake games, your character has a name, face, voice, and personality. Which is captured quite well. There is no water in this alien world, so there’s none of that next-gen H2O to look at, but the particle, fire, and splatter effects are pretty fun to look at. But nothing surprised me in this game as much as…
…PORTALS!! This game has created a brand new playing device, real-time portals. Imagine this: you’re walking down a hall until you see a glowing path that moves upwards at 90 degrees. You walk up to it, and walk straight up the wall. Whoa… Then when you least expect it, an enemy pops out of a portal, standing on the 90-degree wall you’re on right now. Kill him, and he’ll fall straight down, succumbing to gravity. Go through his portal, and you’ll go into a room possibly hundreds of yards away in an instant, then landing on your back on the ceiling. Some rooms have a ton of portals in them, some right next to each other. Imagine walking up to a portal, only to see…yourself. Walk through it, and in real-time you’ll see yourself walk through the portal…you just walked through! Turn around, and there you are…turned around! All this happening at the speed of light, and not a single frame is lost in this awesome firefight.
It’s just too bad that it ended with such an…ending. Pulling an epic Halo 2 maneuver, this game has no ending, except…it doesn’t end. “To be continued…eventually.” Would be the right text to put there. The single-player campaign is about 10 hours long, which isn’t bad for current FPS games, but it could have been more rewarding. There’s no cheat codes, no alternate costume, no deleted levels, no making of… Just a harder difficulty …that you could have played through the first time anyway. There’s no split-screen multiplayer, so you gotta have a separate 360 console, or a Gold membership to Xbox live. No thanks. I suppose they had to carry something over from Quake 4’s formula…
One thing that bugged me constantly throughout the game is what happens when you die. Your soul is separated from your body, and you have to aim and shoot with a bow and arrow at a bunch of flying spirits. Every-single-time. I died on a boss about 4 times in a row, and just shot a few spirits, came back to life, damaged the boss a little more, and repeated. It never changes. The spirits are unlimited, so is your ammo, and you never have to really worry about losing progress since you come back right where you died, your enemies unaware of it. Not really a big penalty for…well, DYING.
Aside from extortion multiplayer, and no real reason to pick it up again, this is an engaging game with a wonderful engine and great fun to be had. It’s just a shame that it ended too soon. I’m just glad there will be a sequel. Or else I’ll have some prey of my own.