Prey Offers an Immersive Gameplay Masterclass Worth Experiencing

Prey is Arkane's masterful immersive sim with freedom, narrative depth, and imagination. Play it now

Prey Offers an Immersive Gameplay Masterclass Worth Experiencing

With the recent news that Microsoft is shutting down several studios, gamers are outraged. While this isn't about that outrage, it is a terrible shame that Microsoft has spent vast amounts of money on studios only to potentially sit on IPs that may never see the light of day again.

One of those IPs is Arkane Studios's Prey, first released in 2017. Arkane Studios has built a reputation for crafting some of the most unique and compelling immersive sim experiences in gaming.

Despite its brilliance, Prey didn't exactly fly off the shelves, leaving many gamers oblivious to its charms on its initial release.

The sales numbers were seen as a letdown, especially given the relative lack of heavyweight AAA competitors around that time, and the fact that opening week sales plunged a staggering 60% compared to Arkane's prior hit, Dishonored 2.

So while Prey may have flown under the radar for some, here's why it deserves a spot on your must-play list.

What does it look like, the shape in the glass?

Stepping into the role of Morgan Yu, you awaken aboard the eerily deserted Talos I space station to find it overrun by a sinister alien threat known as the Typhon. What follows is a gripping journey of uncovering the mysteries surrounding the Typhon while grappling with existential questions about your own identity.

The atmospheric world-building immerses you in a rich sci-fi universe begging to be unravelled. Every side quest, audio log, and environmental detail paints a vivid picture, ensuring no encounter feels inconsequential.

Prey' is video games' latest sci-fi epic

But the underlying magical thread of Prey lies in the freedom it grants players in tackling challenges. The sprawling, intricately designed levels beg to be explored, with every nook and cranny potentially hiding game-changing secrets or alternate pathways.

You can approach encounters with brutal force, stealthy cunning, or an ingenious blend of abilities gleaned from the very Typhon you're battling.

Prey incorporates numerous gameplay concepts pioneered in Dishonored, itself inspired by the immersive sim classics from Looking Glass Studios like Thief: The Dark Project and System Shock. Central to this is encouraging players to tackle obstacles through creative solutions.

An immersive sim is a video game genre emphasising player choice through simulated, reactive systems combined with a broad array of player abilities, allowing for creative problem-solving and emergent gameplay beyond explicit developer design.

Elements borrowed from Dishonored include granting players agency in determining their approach, implementing in-game consequences for player actions, crafting a richly detailed game world with lore to uncover by examining environmental details, and maintaining a clean, unobtrusive user interface.

You wouldn't get that truly immersive sim experience if the user interface acted as a disruptive barrier, would you?

Starfield, Skyrim, and modern RPGs owe it all to a single '90s gem
Thief is a 90s gem that inspired so many other titles, including Dishonored and even Prey.

It's this focus on facilitating an open-ended, systemic experience where players can emergently solve challenges in dynamic ways that makes Prey a truly special experience.

Rather than presenting the player with singular-solution puzzles like simply finding a key for a locked door, Arkane wanted players to "think of this as a living, dynamic world, where there are tons of solutions possible," according to Raphael Colantonio, Prey's director.

The goal was to create an open-ended simulation that empowered creative problem-solving through multiple viable paths and methods.

Prey's gameplay systems interlock brilliantly, creating that hallmark "Arkane magic" where seemingly disparate elements coalesce into a singularly rewarding experience. Acquiring new Neuromods to upgrade abilities feels incredibly satisfying, as each new power amplifies your potential for creative problem-solving.

Video Game Prey (2017) HD Wallpaper

Looking Into the Mirror

But what truly elevates Prey is its profound narrative layered with provocative themes about identity, morality, and the human condition.

Much like other celebrated sci-fi stories such as Blade Runner, Moon, or the novels of Philip K. Dick, Prey uses its speculative premise to hold up a mirror to our own existence and examine what it means to be human.

As you peel back the mysteries aboard Talos I, Prey forces you to confront existential questions about the malleability of the self through the lens of Morgan Yu's amnesia and the use of neuromods to reshape memories and abilities.

The game subtly challenges you to reflect on how much of our identity is intrinsically ours versus being shaped by external forces.

The moral dilemmas concerning the study and containment of the Typhon evoke shades of Frankenstein - when does the pursuit of scientific knowledge cross ethical boundaries?

Prey doesn't provide easy answers, but provokes contemplation on the responsibilities and potential hubris tied to such god-like technological power over an alien ecosystem.

Woven beneath the immersive gameplay is an undercurrent of rich philosophical curiosity akin to films like Solaris or Arrival that posit how first-contact scenarios can redefine our self-perception.

Prey revels in this sense of cosmic existentialism in a way that elevates its scripted sequences and environmental storytelling into a poignant exploration of the human experience.

Whether you're a veteran of immersive sims hungry for a new challenge or a newcomer craving an exhilarating narrative-driven adventure, Prey demands your attention.

Arkane's masterwork is an essential example of why we play games – to become utterly engrossed in worlds that fire our imagination and push the limits of interactive storytelling.