During my time at E3 I had chance to talk to many journalists working in the games industry. E3 week leaves options for all of us with a common interest to speak openly about our profession and hobby of choice. The first and second questions that everyone asks each other are: “How’s your show been,” and, “What were surprised by and excited to see more of?”
The first question we all answered “Awesome! Well, long…and tiring.” For the second question, people would answer all over the place, but the common answer (for those who saw it) was Prey 2.
If you played Prey in 2006, you were met with a competent shooter with some strange elements (such as portals and vagina doors). The portals developer Human Head used were quickly forgotten when in 2007, the massive hit Portal was released by Valve and put those in Prey to shame. So, with nothing unique in its stable, and the game not being a financial skyscraper, why would Prey 2 get the green light?
Aliens. Noir. Parkour. Jump jets.
I’m sure most of you are already sold with that, but Dali told me you guys probably want to read more about the experience we had with Prey 2 at the Bethesda booth, so I will appease him (he is the boss after all).
Prey 2 picks up right where the original left off…in a way. Killain Samuels is a US Marshall that is on the airplane that you see crash into the Sphere at the end of the first game. Killain stands up seeing the wreckage of the plane around him, as if crashing isn’t enough, he then sees several alien creatures come after him. Monsieur Samuels picks up a handgun and fends off the aliens as he makes his way up some stairs. It doesn’t take Killain long to be overrun, and he is knocked out.
When the screen comes back up, it is two years later and Samuels wakes up on the same planet, Exodus. Exodus is a tidal locked planet, and the dark half is the Compton of the celestial body. Killain has taken up the job of bounty hunting in the criminal heavy area of the planet.
He may be doing his job and doing it well, but Samuels is really looking to figure out why he is on this planet. His memory has been a bit sketchy since the accident and he is the only human on Exodus that he knows of. As Killain looks around we see the planet for the first time. If you have read my work in the past, you know I am a huge fan of unique and incredible art design, Prey 2 does not disappoint.
It is obvious that Human Head took ideas from the film Blade Runner when designing the environment. Calling it “Alien Noir,” the world is very dark with many buildings that are accessible. The parkour elements give Killain many different ways he can move around the world; from climbing up pipes and leaping across gaps, if he has to chase down a bounty he is more than capable. To boot, Samuels has boosters on his… boots, so if he needs to descend several levels in a hurry, he can simply leap and coast to the next platform.
All of this was demoed in a theater, and we saw quite a bit of the mechanics in motion and they looked very smooth. The mantling of pipes and platforms was very fluid and while the jets only have a limited amount of juice, they get the job done. Not to be outdone, the shooting was very tight, as well.
Very few times do weapons in games feel like they have actual weight to them. Aided by the incredible sound design, the pistol that Killain starts with initially seemed to have some of the best weight to any gun that I have seen in a game to date. The recoil and crack of the gun was magnificent. Through two or three gunfights, each weapon used had a unique look, sound and feel. The arsenal looks to be varied as well, making for an even more intense experience.
Below is a video from G4TV’s coverage of E3 and I hope the gameplay they have can give you a slight idea of the game that will be released in 2012. If you have any questions about the footage, feel free to ask me anything and I will answer to the best of my ability.
Video courtesy G4TV, images courtesy Bethesda