Prey Demo Impressions: A Bite-Sized Sample Of Space Aliens

The demo for Prey is out, and, since there are no early review copies, this is going to be our first real look at the game's quality before release.

The demo, called Prey: Opening Hour can take around 2 hours to complete, depending on how much exploring you do, and believe me when I say you can do a lot of exploring. This is the next title by Arkane Studios, the same development company behind Dishonored 2, although the two games were developed at the same time by different Arkane Studios teams.

Here are our biggest takeaways from Prey's demo:

Coolest opening credits ever. I suppose they aren't exactly opening credits – just the standard publisher, developer, title card. But they are cleverly integrated into the environment and seen via a helicopter ride. It's nothing to write home about, but it certainly puts a smile on your face.

Console controls are a bit frustrating. I was willing to give Prey the benefit of the doubt about its controls on console, since it's not strictly speaking a shooter. Boy was I wrong. While it still may not conform strictly to first-person-shooter framework, the main enemies you face, called Mimics essentially bounce off the walls, making aiming with analog sticks a poor prospect.

One of the main weapons you use is called the GLOO Cannon. It shoots out particles that harden, and it can be used to freeze mimics, allowing you to deal heavy melee damage with a wrench, or create makeshift stairs for you to climb. I imagine console players will have a much harder time conserving their ammo.

Environments are intuitive and multi-faceted. Prey certainly doesn't have many of the usual pitfalls of a typical shooter, and that starts with the environment, which is incredibly intuitive. If you think you should be able to climb something, you can. This makes getting around a map your choice.

More than that, each level has multiple ways around. If you run into a door that needs a keycard, you don't necessarily need to find that keycard to progress. There is usually an alternate path, and that helps the game feel less bottlenecked at certain spots.

Enemies are bullet spongey. It's a relatively small complaint, I suppose, but I ran into three different types of enemies, and the end result was always the same: GLOO gun them, hit them with a melee attack, rinse repeat. As I understand, certain enemies are stronger or weaker to certain types of attacks, and you figure this out by scanning them with an item you don't get in the demo, so maybe this will change as time goes on and require you to use more strategy.

I hope it has new game plus. Thus far, I love the skill upgrade system, and the way you can upgrade and create weapons as well, and this would be all the better if there was a new game plus mode. Dishonored 2 didn't have this at launch, so there's reason to believe there won't be with Prey, and that would be a shame.