E3 2011: 'Prey 2' Preview

Prey 2 E3 Preview

After Human Head Studios announced that Prey 2 would be abandoning many of the appealing and unique elements featured in its predecessor, many fans’ interest in the sequel waned. Since then, however, a new CG trailer for the game released that promised that, despite any real through line between the titles, this would be a game worth checking out.

At this year’s E3 we got a chance to witness a live demo of two levels from Prey 2 — one set towards the very beginning of the game and one set after your character, Killian Samuels, is a fully equipped bounty hunter. Are you curious to see if Prey 2 is worth a look? Read on to find out.

As soon as the demo began, the developer demoing the title made it abundantly clear that, while Prey 2 doesn’t star the Native American main character from the first game, it still shares some similarities, mainly in how its story kicks off.

Seen briefly in the first Prey, the airplane that is suddenly sucked off Earth by an alien aircraft was carrying one Killian Samuels as its passenger. Instantly whisked away to locales that are very alien in architecture and nature, Samuels is forced to fight for his life against a very hostile alien force.

Combat in this first sequence seemed a bit exaggerated — as Samuels U.S. Marshal-issued firearm was able to take down well-armed alien enemies in one shot — but this is really only the introduction to the main gameplay of Prey 2. After the game has hit its stride, it becomes an open-world experience that looks like a combination of Brink and Blade Runner.

Well-equipped with a ton of gadgets (except for a complete recollection of his past experiences on the planet Exodus), Samuels takes on a variety of missions that task him with hunting down various disreputable aliens in order to make a living. Central City, the main setting of Prey 2, is a densely populated area that features a wide variety of locations to explore, both horizontally and vertically.

In order to make the player feel like a force to be reckoned with, Prey 2 bequeaths the character with the ability to scale buildings, leap across rooftops, and hover to lower platforms with the use of “lift assist boots.” As the player explores this very Blade Runner inspired series of buildings they will be able to determine their play experience in two ways: with a reputation system and depending on which bounties they choose to take on.

The mission showcased in the demo played out much like the sequence in the trailer — with Killian in hot pursuit of a fleeing bounty — and allows the player to use their free-running abilities to close the gap. Much like the movements seen in Mirror’s Edge, free running provides opportunities both to navigate the play area with ease and to use things like ledges as cover.

Prey 2 E3 Preview - Gameplay

Combat puts a new twist on the first person shooter by incorporating things like auto-firing missiles mounted on your shoulders and an enhanced vision mode to give the player a significant advantage. Combined with the parkour-based traversal, the enhanced vision, which illuminates enemies, persons of interest, and new missions feels a bit over-powered at this point, but its use is more focused on keeping the player on the right track in this very open and visually impressive world.

Even though it might not bare any resemblance to the first game, Prey 2 is a title to watch for 2012. Gameplay isn’t anything unfamiliar, but by borrowing a handful of interesting features from other popular titles, there is a potential for a compelling experience. Missions and reputation respond to the player’s preferences, and might have larger impact on NPC interactions, which is always a plus for gamers.

Prey 2 didn’t have much to say for itself before E3, but now having given a brief demo of the gameplay, it has made a strong case to be on every gamer’s radar.

What do you think of Prey 2 now having heard about the gameplay? Are there any fans out there who are willing to give the game a chance despite little connection to the first game?

Prey 2 is slated to release next year on the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

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