The first hour of Prey isn’t a great indication of the depth of its combat systems or the breadth of the player’s skillset, but it sure is a great indication of how screwed everything is.
The first 15 minutes is dedicated to setting up a safe, utopic space for the main character. It’s so cozy, I wouldn’t have minded if Prey was just a live-far-far-far-above-your-means simulator with a light retrofuture aesthetic. Give me a cream-colored couch and a deck, and I’m set for life.
But then the rug is pulled out from underneath you. Like full blown shotgunned from under your toes. Hard enough go from a clean, happy-enough apartment purgatory to a dangerous, expansive environment within moments. Swift enough that the next 15 to 20 to however many hours are probably going to be spent in complete distrust of anyone you meet—and reality itself. Prey sets up a fascinating, involved narrative bursting with potential. I wish I felt as optimistic about how it’s technical performance.