E3 2011: Prey 2

E3 2011: Prey 2

Prey 2 is not Prey. It became clear at the Bethesda E3 Prey 2 screening that the portal and gravity mechanics that made up most of the core gameplay of Prey were not returning for the sequel. Instead, we’re given an open world, mission based sandbox shooter. In this spiritual sequel, you are no longer the hunted, like you were in Prey. Prey 2 presents a more empowered character, putting you in the role of the hunter.

The story takes place on the planet Exodus, a planet that is tidally locked to its sun (meaning one side always faces the sun, and one side always faces away). In the original Prey, you see a plane crash into the Sphere. Prey 2 takes one of the plane’s passengers, a U.S. Marshall, and makes him the new protagonist. You have no memory of Earth, or of who you were before your abduction and transplant. In spite of this, you have spent years becoming a well known bounty hunter due to the retention of your Marshall skills. The game’s missions revolve around hunting bounties while your memory slowly returns.

Prey 2 brings some changes to the first-person shooter genre by adding elements of platforming. Now, you’re not going to be an Ezio or Faith, but you’re going to have more gap-leaping and obstacle climbing than a Master Chief or pretty much any other FPS character, which brings a very interesting new twist to the standard FPS mechanic. Speaking of the FPS mechanic, there are a few modifications to what most people expect in the genre. First, your weapon is not always drawn. Drawing your weapon is a conscious choice, and evokes different reactions in the people around you; some could become hostile, while others become fearful. Another feature is the agile combat system Prey 2 uses. Sliding, cover, climbing, jumping, and regular motion can all be smoothly transitioned from and into, all while you’re keeping up a steady rate of fire from your weapon. Think action-hero movie firefight, and I think you’ll get a good idea of what they mean by “agile combat.” Oh, and the game is gory. Heads exploding, etc.

The bounty hunting system is very well built. Once you get a contract, it’s up to you to use various means of finding your target and bringing him in. The best tool before entering any confrontation is the HUD scanner, which lets you track your target easily, even through walls. How you approach your target, and how your target will react, will vary depending on the target and on your personal style. Want to grab a hostage before going in to a bar filled with your target’s goons? Ok. Keep in mind, the target may not give two craps about the hostage, and tell his goons to just start shooting, but hey, at least you tried. Have a solo target? Why not sneak up and escort him slowly out of the area with the barrel of your gun in the small of his back? Of course, he might have friends nearby who will just start fighting you, but hey, it’s the thought that counts. Once you’ve captured your target, maybe they’ll offer you even more money than they’re worth just to let them go. Do you betray your contract for the extra money, or keep good faith with your employer to ensure future work? You can interrogate your captures before turning them in, but be careful; excessive interrogation can lead to excessive death on the part of your target, and then you’re SOL on the bounty.

Prey 2 looks like it will be a beautiful open world, first-person shooter/platformer. It comes out on 360, PS3, and PC in 2012. Keep your eyes peeled, because this will be one you won’t want to miss.

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