I used to keep a list of "possibles" to add to my game collection and Prey was one of them. It wasn't particularly high on my list and so I passed it by in favor of some others. This was before my downloading days, but as the availability of PC box choices started to grow slim in my neighborhood, I went looking for this one. However, by this time, it seemed to have done a disappearing act. I really didn't give this much thought until I ran across a few decent reviews that renewed my interest. Digital providers no longer had this game, but I eventually found it languishing on the shelf of a retailer and the price was right. I now realize that I probably got one of the last remaining open market copies anywhere.
Although Prey was released first, this game very much reminds me of Dead Space, which I played first. Our hero, Tommy, is a Cherokee who has no interest in his native heritage and would love nothing better than to get off the reserve where he lives. What stops him is a girlfriend who refuses to leave. While contemplating how to convince her, there's a sudden alien attack on earth and Tommy, his girlfriend Jen, and his grandfather are amongst many people who are transported to the invader's ship. Finding themselves firmly encapsulated within metal pods, Tommy is only able to escape with the help of a mysterious stranger, but Jen and his grandfather are not so fortunate. Although Tommy's only real interest is in saving his girlfriend, reluctantly this goal becomes intertwined with helping the stranger and saving the world. Thus, in pursuit of his loved ones, he begins his voyage through this vast and rather creepy craft discovering to his horror that humans are being processed for food or mutated for grunt work.
It's not really a spoiler to tell you that his grandfather is killed early on as this forms a major part of the game. His grandfather will speak to him from the spirit world and put Tommy in touch with some powers that enable him to progress in his search to save Jen. Our hero remains ever reluctant, however, to believe in the traditions of his people and he's a hard case to convince.
There are a few really cool things about Prey; the ability to spirit walk, the gravity defying walkways that prove a blast, the alien weapons and the use of portals. The ship is truly otherworldly in design and you may suddenly find yourself not knowing which way is up. This was also the first game where the operation of vehicles wasn't something to be dreaded because I seem to be a terrible driver. Although I do just fine in real life, vehicles and especially ladders in games seem to be my nemesis. I have a tendency to plunge off them as if I have suicidal urges. Prey doesn't have one ladder and the shuttle driving is a snap. The other thing I appreciate is the ease of controls. In my opinion, I think many games go way overboard with keyboard commands whereas I consider a well-developed game to be one that concentrates on good strategical combat instead of a myriad of mindless button mashing.
Throughout the game, Tommy will acquire weapons, fight aliens, solve puzzles, discover who the mysterious stranger is and come to appreciate his Cherokee heritage. All in all a pretty good romp. If there were anything negative to say it would be a tendency to repetition of the scenery. You may start to grow too used to the environment as most of the game takes place within the ship, but this is really nitpicking and no different than many games that are confined to a limited territory. However, once you get to the shuttles, it opens up some new areas and you get to play around outside.
This is not a fast-paced shooter, but I thought the game content was quite well balanced between story, puzzles, enemies, combat and exploration. So if you like FPS with a type of horror element, you should definitely put this one on your list should you ever stumble across a copy. I found it quite imaginative in places and I appreciated that the choice of weaponry really did make a difference to the damage you can deaI to each alien type. I thoroughly enjoyed this game and it lands as one of the top in my books. It is, however, getting hard to get a hold off, so if you see it snap it up.
The making of Prey seemed to be plagued by problems and it was a very long time in development. Shortly after its release, a sequel was announced but this did not become official till March 2011. Prey 2 was scheduled for release in 2012, but that never happened.UPDATE Nov 2015: Prey is only available from private sellers. However, to the best of my knowledge, the key can still be activated on Steam as long as it has been unused.