E3 2011 – Impressions of Prey 2 (PS3)

Our first appointment at E3 2011 was with Bethesda, and after getting actually play Rage on the PS3 (impressions incoming) we were treated to a hands-off, live demo of an alpha build of Prey II. Before we sat down, it was described as being very close to the parkour-heavy CG trailer that had been previously released the week prior to E3. I was pleased that they answered the question that was on many peoples’ minds regarding this second iteration within the Prey universe, “How does this tie-in to the first game?”

About halfway through the first game, while you’re in the sphere, you see a giant jetliner crash on a small “moon” or whatever, that jetliner obviously being the one portrayed in Prey II. You wake-up in the plane wreckage, dazed and wondering what’s going on. As an Air Marshall, you actually get to carry a firearm on the plane, which comes in handy as you’re attacked by aliens as you make your way up a hill to the main body of the wreckage. This entire section is really a mix between tutorial and prologue, as you learn how to use the cover system, and how you can actually fire your weapon while bounding-over cover, which is a very sweet in my opinion. You’re eventually cornered and knocked-out, only to awaken sometime later, but that’s where the first part of the demo ended.

They fast-forwarded the story to about halfway through the game. To survive in the alien environment, your character has used his skills to become a bounty hunter, and we pick-up at a point of time where you’re tasked with a new bounty that’s wanted dead or alive. The environment is dark ,and as we find out, the planet is essentially split into halves, with one always in light and the other eternally in darkness. The city is awash in neon lighting in a definite cyberpunk style reminiscent of movies like Blade Runner or the animated Akira.

There are many tools at your disposal, but one that’s incredibly valuable is a visor that indicates not only where your target is, but also the level of hostility anyone else that you encounter is. Green means that the character won’t mess with you, but Yellow or Red indicates a level of hostility that could result in a confrontation. As a gunfight erupts, there’s a definite “old west” feel, even though this is all in a futuristic and technologically advanced time. One mechanic that you would think has been borrowed from Brink is the automated bounding system. Jump over a gap and your character automatically grabs the ledge. Look up, and your hand moves to indicate that you can climb up, and objects in your way can essentially be traversed automatically with a simple button press. Movement is very fluid and definitely seems to make the experience a lot more comfortable instead of being a hinderance.

As the character makes his way to the bar in which his target is holed-up, there are a couple of different ways that the encounter can be approached. One way is to climb through a window and attempt a sneak attack, or in this case, one of the target’s associates is out side the bar, so you knock him over the head and take him hostage as a meat shield. You burst into the room where your target and his cronies are, and as bullets riddle your hostage, you dive for cover and begin a massive gunfight.

The target escapes out of window and begins running. You chase him over varied urban terrain over and under different obstacles, and then you see a streak of light as he teleports himself over a short distance, across a pretty big gap with a pretty hefty drop. This won’t slow you down however, as within your arsenal you also have boots that allow you to hover and descend gradually. As your target teleports more frequently, you begin to realize that he has to be able to see his destination, which you can use to your advantage. He zips past a moving train which you jump onto, then over to another moving in the opposite direction, all quite fluidly and relatively effortlessly. As I said earlier, a lot of this foot chase was depicted in the CG trailer from earlier, and you see all of th tricks within the game as well, including the stasis grenades and the ability to lock onto multiple targets with your shoulder-mounted rockets.

You corner your target in a dead end, and without the ability to teleport (since he can’t see any destinations,) you fire a capture device that detains him. He attempts to bribe you, which you actually have the choice to accept or not (which will ultimately affect your reputation down the road.) In this demo, the bribe is refused and the target is teleported via the device to somewhere far from you. The demo ends with a humongous creature attacking you, in true cliffhanger fashion.

What I saw I was really surprised and impressed with. It does seem like the ties between the first game and this one are pretty loose, and really more in terms of universe than gameplay or characters. The visuals are stunning and colorful, and what we saw of the action was very solid. It’s being developed by Human Head Studios, and I’ve liked a lot of what they’ve done in the past. I came into E3 wondering about Prey II, and honestly not being that interested nor excited, but after the demo I will say that Prey II is definitely on my list of “one’s to watch” for upcoming games.

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  • Awesome! I thought the first Prey was pretty cool, so it’s nice to hear that they’re taking it sort of a new direction (from what it sounds like), thanks for the info!