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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: 2K Games
Developed by: Venom Games / Human Head Studios
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Players: 8
Release Date: July 11, 2006
Written By: Andrew S.

Prey has been in the works for a long time. Ever since it was announced back in 1995, gamers have been eagerly waiting to play it. After delay after delay and near cancellations, Prey is almost here and Microsoft is offering gamers the chance to download a demo of the first five levels with included multiplayer on Xbox Live or online. How does the demo stack up?

In Prey, you play as Tommy, a Cherokee Native American, who wishes nothing more than get off the reservation with his girlfriend Jen. You begin the game in a bathroom with Tommy staring himself down in a mirror, contemplating on how to persuade Jen to leave the reservation with him. Jen calls you and you’re off to the front of the bar. Along the way, you meet up with the tribe leader who is also Tommy’s grandfather. He warns that his Cherokee instincts senses trouble, but Tommy rejects his grandfather’s beliefs. You then enter the bar where Jen is serving two drunken men. What’s noticeable about the bar is the level of interactivity. You can push around stuff, pick between a variety of music to play, and even play some computer cards or rip off of Pac-man. After Tommy picks up his wrench and discusses leaving the reservation with Jen, the two drunken men start trouble. Tommy pulls out his wrench and you enter your first combat encounter. All you need to do is simple hit the guys and go down easily. After which, an alien ship rips open the roof of the bar and take Tommy, Jen, and the grandfather along with it.

The next level begins with a conveyer “ride” around the alien ship known as the Sphere. As you move along, you can hear the screams of other people as they are killed and experimented on. Eventually, an unknown creature sets up some explosives and sets Tommy free. You must now race around the ship in search of Jen. Your first alien encounters are carnivorous creatures about the size of a dog and are easily dispatched with your wrench. Eventually, you’ll come across alien infantry and after you kill it, you receive your first gun, which acts much like a machine gun, except when you are in zoom mode; it functions as a sniper rifle.

You’ll soon come across your first portal, which are perhaps the most impressive thing about the demo. You can look through a portal and can be looking at two entirely different areas at once. Stepping through is a seamless experience with no load times what so ever. Tommy will reach his grandfather just in time to watch him die. Tommy swears to avenge his death and you’re off to go find Jen again. Soon you’ll come across gravity walks, which essentially let you walk on walls and ceilings. The walks are impressive because when you walk on them, it will appear you’re walking rights side up, but once you begin fighting enemies, you’ll notice them falling up instead of down when they die. Your next weapon are little green creatures that act like grenades. You’ll battle through the ship until you walk across a caged bridge. Enemy soldiers will begin to shoot at the bridge until it breaks and you fall to your death.

Tommy awakens in the Land of Ancients to meet the spirits of his dead grandfather and his dead bird, Talon. Tommy’s grandfather preaches that Tommy must learn to use the power of the Cherokees and instructs him on how to use spirit walk. When you enter spirit walk, Tommy’s spirit leaves his body and you are now able to walk through objects Tommy’s body couldn’t. This comes in handy for some of the later puzzles. Also in spirit walk, you are armed with a bow that can dispatch of foes quickly. The catch is that your body is exposed to harm while in spirit walk and using the bow takes away spirit. Once all the spirit is gone, you can use your bow anymore. To regain spirit, you simple collect the souls of the enemies you have killed. Tommy is returned to the ship to complete his mission where he hears the chatter of unknown feminine voice.

From this point on in the game, when you die, you are taken to a spirit world where you must battles the spirits of the dead for a short while, and then you are brought back to life. No game overs here. You’ll continue on through the ship, using the Spirit walk to solve new puzzles. You’ll encounter your last gun for the demo, which can be altered depending on what type of energy it contains. When red energy is absorbed, it shoots out burst of fire, but when blue energy is absorbed it shoots a freeze mist. Prey is perhaps the only game that I’ve seen where children are viciously killed. In one scene, you’ll seem some sort of spirit explode a little girl, and then ram a little boy’s head into a long spike. The last puzzles of the game involve shooting switches, which flip the entire room. The final part of the demo, you come across the bar again which has been ripped completely out of the ground. You’ll fight off some enemies and then you must locate the right portal to go through and you’re done.

I was unable to connect to a multiplayer session, so I unfortunately can’t give impressions on that. Overall all though, the Prey demo is one of the best demos to come out in years. It contains a lengthy amount of the game and all of it was fun and enjoyable. I entered with no expectations and walked away impressed. Look for Prey when it hits stores in the mid-July.

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