I get the distinct impression that I have played Prey before, and not because I played the 2006 original. No, because I have played the three games that Prey uses as its foundation extensively. That being the case I find when I play Prey, I play a lot of it, but I am not sure it is because I like it, or because there is not a new System Sock, Bioshock, or Deus Ex to play.
In Prey you play as either a male of female Morgan Yu (I am playing as a girl) who has taken a job with her brother, Alex, aboard the scientific space station Talos I. Morgan was going to be doing advanced science and research, but instead she finds the station overrun with unknown aliens. It is up to Morgan to figure out what has happened and stop the aliens from getting to Earth.
To help Morgan on her way she can gain new abilities by getting Neuromods that jack in to her brain and help it function better. Much like Praxis Kits in the newer Dues Ex games you need a set number of Neuromods to unlock an ability, so to get the more advanced skills you need to collect or manufacture a lot of Neuromods.
The most unique part of Prey is the ability to recycle everything and then make new stuff from the parts. Practically what this means however is that you will find less ammo and useful stuff around the game, and end up just stuffing your inventory with a lot of junk until you can find a Recycler. Then holding on to the recycled materials until you find a Fabricator, so this functionally ends up working like the vending machines in Bioshock. Except instead of cash you carry around junk.
Like all games these days you get what I call a puzzle gun. The gun you will use as your tool to get out of all your unfortunate circumstances. Instead of a gravity gun, a portal gun, or a bow and arrow with cool stuff attached, you get a GLOO gun that can patch holes, make bridges and ladders, and entrap enemies. It doesn’t quite do everything, but if you are stuck, it is safe to say it is at least worth pondering if the GLOO gun can help you out.
Almost everything in Prey is a reference to another game. Right down to cribbing Bioshock’s Art Deco look, System Shock’s atmosphere (though a lot of games have stolen that), Dues Ex’s progression system, and Half Life’s special gun mechanic, and if I am honest, I think those games did their shtick better than Prey does. However, Prey weaves them all together pretty well, and it is competently made, so it is worth your time and money. Especially if you like the games it barrows from. I am enjoying myself, but I just wish it was more original.