Rather than put out early review copies, Bethesda and Arkane Studios opted instead to give a free demo of Prey that let you play through a limited selection of two areas in Talos I, the game's massive, alien-infested space station.
While the demo did give a fairly apt taste of what you'd be getting in the full release of Prey, it's not all the same. Whether you were impressed or unimpressed by the demo, you'll want to keep a log of the main ways Prey changed upon full release, even if you just want to do exactly what you did before.
Load Times Are Shorter (On PC)
Unexpected news came in the form of reports of great performance for Prey on PC, which not many people expected following the lack of a PC demo and the infamously bad PC performance of Dishonored 2, Arkane Studios' previous game, developed by a different team at Arkane).
As someone who played the PS4 version, I can tell you that PC will be far more desirable. For one, you will be much more precise with aiming, which will help immensely when dealing with small, fast-moving enemies such as mimics. More importantly, the load times between areas are measured in seconds rather than minutes, so it will be a much more fluid experience than you had during the demo, if you switch platforms, anyhow.
The Shotgun Is In a Different Spot
The Demo of Prey presented you with a shotgun before you encountered any real threat. Those expecting that kind of hand-holding in the full game will be sorely disappointed. In fact, getting the shotgun can be a tricky task, requiring you to get into the locked Security Office. You can read more about that process in this location guide.
And, it's not the only weapon that's placed differently, with various throwable weapons scattered throughout in different places, so it's important to remember that if you took the time to memorize every weapon location in preparation for the full game.
This was a gift from God, if I've ever seen one. The music in Prey's demo, particularly the music that plays when you encounter an enemy, had the same volume disparity from the rest of the game as television commercials to your regularly scheduled programming.
And, not only was the volume ramped up to 11, the music also lingered long after the encounter was over. That means a mimic would pop up, I'd kill it with a shotgun blast, and Prey would insist on playing the rest of the riff before shutting up.
Fortunately, neither of these things are the case in the full version of Prey. The music is quiet enough to not be obtrusive, but present enough to let you appreciate the quality of Prey's score (and to still terrify you).
Access to different areas immediately
Almost every area in the Prey demo besides the Talos I Lobby was sealed off with a knowing label telling you that it's not accessible during the demo. While not every area automatically opens up during the full game, there are a few choice places you can and should go after clearing up the Lobby.
Mainly, the demo made it so you couldn't backtrack to the Neuromod Division once you get in the Talos I Lobby. Having played the full game, I can certainly see why that is, as you'd have access to areas that would provide potential spoilers and get you in way over your head in terms of enemies you could face.
That being said, this is the first place you should go after doing everything you can do in the demo. I know I found some pretty important stuff there, and I haven't even explored everywhere I could just yet. Imagine what you could find?
Door Glitch Isn't Worth It
While working on my impressions of the demo, I became aware of a glitch that allows you to force your way through doors that shouldn't be accessible, and I expressed concern that this could de-incentivize exploration. In the demo, I stand by this criticism, but in the full game, this couldn't be further from the case.
The key here is that there are so many other places to explore that you'll never feel like you need to get through just this one door, because there are always other places to explore. The opportunity cost just doesn't add up.
Not to mention that, even if the glitch hasn't been removed, they at least made it way harder to pull off. Why would I spend ten minutes and a ton of GLOO trying to glitch my way through one door, when there are ten more doors waiting for me in different areas, areas I couldn't access in the demo? It's just not worth it.