I’ve been wanting to get back into Prey ever since I finished the game before my review. While it doesn’t have a New Game Plus mode, it does have tremendous replay value in terms of what choices you can make, what powers you choose, etcetera. There are even achievements for playing the game with only certain types of power upgrades. It’s these things that made GameRevolution put Prey on our most-replayable games of the year (so far) list.
But one thing keeps preventing me from actually getting back into it. You see, we reviewed Prey on PS4, and in it we noted that the loading screens took at least a minute and a half each, and the late game of Prey tasks you with traveling back and forth between major areas, queuing a loading screen each time, making the entire final act feel like a slog. So, you can probably see why I’m not too eager to hop back into Prey.
What’s worse is that they clearly are aware of this issue, and they’ve released now four post-launch patches, culminating in yesterday’s release of Patch 1.05, specifically tailored toward PS4 performance issues. Yet, in all of these patches, including the most recent one, they haven’t specifically addressed the lengthy load times on the PS4. Testing it out today, the load times still took an average of 1:40 seconds.
Of course, on other platforms for the game, this doesn’t seem to be the case. In a stunning twist, Prey, a game by the same studio behind Dishonored 2, actually performed better on PC than it did on console, and the loading screens were a big part of that.
Furthermore, the PS4 Pro also has better load times, which may signal that the game isn’t really built for a “standard” current-gen console. It was recently reported that even the PS4 Pro is seen by some developers as a restricting console, in terms of what it allows developers to do (of course, this could also be to boost the value and pay lip service to the upcoming Xbox One X, so we need to be take these comments with a grain of salt). That said, the PS4 has run similarly sized and equally demanding games without that same problem.
It’s also not clear for how much longer Prey will be supported in terms of patches and of content updates. Arkane Studios has confirmed that there will be some form of post-launch DLC, but they haven’t given any further details about it – not a launch date and certainly not a description – so we may be running out of options for them to fix this.
Ultimately, even in our review, the loading screens weren’t the end of the world, but it was a technical issue that bogged down what was otherwise a largely solid and innovative game, and the fact that it’s hindering the prospects of further playthroughs shouldn’t be ignored.