Home > Gaming, Opinions (Gaming) > Gaming: Project Pile of Shame – Day Seven

Gaming: Project Pile of Shame – Day Seven

The project: To spend two hours playing every console game from this generation that I own but have never touched (the ‘pile of shame’), to see if any of them are worth spending more time with. With Prey 2 recently announced it seemed like a good time to try out:



The portals use the same orange and blue colouring as Portal does and I have no idea why.

System: Xbox 360

Reason I’ve never played it: It’s just one of those games that was bought in a batch with some others and then slipped through the cracks.

Achievements earned: Seven (80 gamerscore)

Thoughts: I waited a long time to see proper portal technology in games. It was one of those things that I really wanted to see and thought it was possible (though I know nothing about game development), with things like Duke Nukem 3D and Unreal having security monitors and portals that did similar things – showing another area of the map on a flat screen – but did so in what were clearly flat, low-resolution images. I wanted to see versions that looked exactly as if they were physics-defying 3D rifts in space, and it wasn’t until playing the demo for Prey that I finally saw them.

While Prey doesn’t treat them casually they aren’t a feature that defines the game in the way that they do in a game like Portal, they’re there to add extra layers to the light puzzle and exploration elements of the game. There are also switches that alter the direction of gravity so that traversing an area might involve rotating the gravity onto the walls or ceiling (and back again), which at times was disorienting in a similar manner to playing as an alien in Aliens Vs. Predator (though to a lesser extent). The gravity switches caught me out a few times as I’m not used to checking the ceiling for a viable route, leaving me lost for a few seconds before I thought to look up. It all helps add to the alien feel of the setting, an alien spaceship that abducts player character Tommy and the people near him.

The opening sequence of the game brings to mind two different first-person shooters, Half-Life and Duke Nukem 3D. Like Half-Life the opening puts you in a safe location, introducing some of the basic controls and setting the scene before suddenly kicking things off in spectacular fashion. It also has lots of the ‘pointless’ interactivity that I appreciated in Duke Nukem 3D, letting you play a couple of basic arcade machines and change the channel on the TV or music on the jukebox. Other than the standard switches it isn’t really something that continued into the alien sections (I clearly didn’t stumble across the alien leisure facilities) but it was still nice to see in the opening.

The main character of the game, Tommy, is a Native American and the game makes a big deal out of that. Not just in the sense that they make sure you know he’s Native American but by actually incorporating it heavily into the story mechanics. Tommy can spirit walk to access areas he can’t reach with his physical body (and while spirit walking his weapon is a bow), is assisted by the a hawk spirit and upon death he enters a spirit world he fights spirits to regain health (which suggests there’s no actual game over, just work you have to do each time you die). It’s nice to see a main character who isn’t yet another macho, white marine (which sadly seems to the character of choice for Prey 2).

It’s also nice to play a shooter that isn’t so heavily chasing Call of Duty (Prey released a year before Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare came out and turned the series into a phenomenon, and had been in development in some form eight years before the very first Call of Duty game launched). That doesn’t mean the game feels old-fashioned (it only released five years ago, after all), just refreshingly different for a shooter these days, and I’m looking forward to playing some more.

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