FutureFive New Zealand logo
Consumer technology news from the future
Story image

Game review: Prey

By Contributor
Sat 1 Jul 2006
FYI, this story is more than a year old

As far as opening sequences go, Prey pretty much nails it. I won’t spoil it, but the gist is that Tommy (a Cherokee man), his girlfriend Jen, and his grandfather, are taken to an alien colony. In typical sci-fi story fashion, these aliens harvest humans for food, so when grandfather bites the dust (not as big a spoiler as you might think) and you’re separated from Jen, you’re in somewhat of hurry to rescue her before the inevitable pulverising.

What plays out would be a pretty simple ‘good guy versus aliens’ shooter, but things are shaken up by the ‘clever’ use of gravity, portals, and the ability to ‘Spirit Walk’.

This means that you can float, scale walls and basically throw all sense of reality out the window. Prey really does mess with your head - throwing up some insane level designs and a few tricky puzzles.

Much has been made of the ‘Portal’ technology seen in Prey, and to be fair it’s pretty damn cool - at least for the first few hours. They’re basically one-sided doors suspended in air that take you to another part of the level.

This is actually much cooler than it sounds, as you can peer into these portals, seeing the area you’ll be teleported to, and even see enemies launch an attack through the portal door. From an early stage in the game Tommy is given the ability to Spirit Walk.

You can take control of his spirit (while his body hangs motionless in the air) and in this alternate world you can see and use things that aren’t in the mortal world. Armed with a bow and arrow, you also have the potential to cause a lot of damage, but you’ll need to return to Tommy’s body in order to make your way through the majority of the levels.

There are a few clever puzzles here and there, but at times you’ll wonder why it’s necessary to continually repeat the same set of actions While the pros and cons of the portals, changing gravity and spirit walking can be argued, the weapon selection is top drawer and nicely varied. The current trend to limit weapons you can carry is gladly nowhere to be seen, so after a while you’ll be carrying a sack load of guns, all deserving their place in your arsenal.

Each weapon also includes a secondary mode, with everything from a grenade launcher for your machine gun-like weapon, to a recharge tool for the rather excellent Leech gun, capable of using numerous energy types as ammo. At times you will be faced with so many enemies that your more powerful weapons run dry, so you’ll be forced to fall back on your standard Hunter Rifle. Thankfully this never runs out of ammo and can double as a very handy sniper rifle.

At various points you’ll hop into a small spaceship, equipped with a tractor beam and a gun. Because you can move around in all directions within the 3D space the controls become awkward at times, but on the whole the vehicle sections break up the gameplay quite nicely and the powerful weapon lets you dispose of enemies without much trouble. Being swamped by enemies isn’t a prevalent problem, but as the action heats up towards the tail end of the game, it does occasionally verge on overkill.

Thankfully you can’t actually die, not in the traditional ‘game over’ sense anyway. When you ‘die’ Tommy is taken to the Death World. Here you’ll be in spirit form and must take down as many wraiths as possible, replenishing your health and spirit gauges as much as possible before being returned to the real world. This could very easily be seen as a cop-out by Human Head, implemented in order to side-step choke points within the game, but it works.

The soundtrack is the star of the show, with some brilliant tunes and a collection of great licensed tracks that crop up from time to time, although perhaps not often enough. Weapon effects are solid, and while the aliens don’t really say much, they sound great and never irritate due to overuse of certain sayings. Tommy can often be heard shouting amusing swear-filled sentences as things happen in the game, and the voice acting across the board has been handled well. Full online Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch play is included, and it has a rather unique Prey twist.

Game modes are pretty standard, but it’s the way the maps are designed that makes online Prey a completely different experience to what you’ll be accustomed to. Walls can be walked on, players are running around all over the place, above, below and beside you, and it’s utter chaos.

Spirit walking is also available, but your spirit gauge will gradually run out over time, meaning you’ll have limited time to make a kill. It might be a little too insane for players that prefer traditional Quake and Unreal Tournament gameplay, but it’s great to play something that’s not a carbon copy of every other online game on the market.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: JBL Flip 6 portable speaker
Once you switch it on, and listen away for up to 12 hours, you will quickly realise that this is a little speaker looking for a party.
Story image
InternetNZ
How well do rangatahi understand cyber safety in Aotearoa?
Do rangatahi in Aotearoa understand the importance of being safe online, or has lifelong exposure to the internet resulted in widespread complacency?
Story image
Firewall
Why printing security plays a vital part in keeping Aotearoa safe
While internet printing, mobile printing and other similar technologies have no doubt made things easier to manage, it has also brought a whole new set of problems to the table.
Story image
Servers
New Zealand cloud provider challenges Google's claims on data control for region
A Wellington cloud services provider says Google's claim it will offer New Zealanders complete control over their own data is not true.
Story image
Home security
Hands-on review: Eufy Wire-Free Dual Cam Video Doorbell 2K
We have had our house secured by Eufy products for over seven months now. We love the brand, and it has never let us down.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Digimon Survive (PlayStation 5)
Since there’s little actual gameplay in Digimon Survive, the biggest draw card to the game is its long and interesting story.
Story image
Malware
Research shows attacks on the gaming industry are getting worse
Web application attacks in the gaming sector have grown by 167% from Q1 2021 to Q1 2022, according to new research from Akamai.
Story image
Tablets & laptops
Hands-on review: Xencelabs Graphic Display Tablet
Xencelabs seemed to show up out of nowhere on the market. I had no idea who they were or what they were about, but I was very intrigued.
Story image
Home Entertainment
Hands-on review: TCL 65″ C835 Mini LED 4K Google TV
We introduce you today to a TV that brings the height of immersion to your viewing experience: The TCL 65″ C835 Mini LED 4K Google TV.
Story image
Printers
Comedy legend Jimeoin fronts Epson advertising campaign in NZ and Australia
According to Epson the company’s EcoTank models now account for 74% of all printers sold in the category in New Zealand, alone.
Story image
Gaming
Everything we know so far about NBA 2K23
As excitement for the next iteration of 2K Games’ NBA basketball series builds, some new information on the upcoming game, NBA 2K23, has been released.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Logitech Astro A10 Gen 2 wired headset
We get our hands on this incredibly good value for money headset for use in wired environments.
Story image
Phone
Hands-on review: Obsbot Me AI-powered mobile phone mount
The Obsbot Me is an independently controlled portable mobile phone mount that can track its target without the need for software or a connection to a phone.
Story image
Product Management
TeamViewer and Siemens to innovate product lifecycle space with AR
TeamViewer's new partnership with Siemens Digital Industries Software to bring the power of TeamViewer's AR platform, Frontline, to Siemen Teamcenter software.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series
If there's something missing in today's gaming industry, it's the wonderful discovery of finding new games for hire at your local video rental store. I remember my family hired out the first Klonoa game for the PSOne back in 1997, and it was a blast to play as a kid.
Story image
VPN
Hands-on review: Norton Secure VPN
Norton is obviously serious about your privacy. They have a “No-log” policy, which simply means that they do not track or store any of your on-line activities.
Story image
Apple
2degrees unveils eSIM functionality for selected devices
2degrees has enabled eSIM functionality to work with a variety of Apple, Samsung and Oppo devices, including a range of iPads.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: TCL 30 SE mobile phone
TCL continues to provide consumers with budget phones that still pack a punch with the TCL 30 SE mobile phone. 
Story image
Dark web
Beware the darkverse and its cyber-physical threats
A darkverse of criminality hidden from law enforcement could quickly evolve to fuel a new industry of metaverse-related cybercrime.
Story image
Malware
Minors using Discord servers to spread malware for cash
Avast has discovered an online community of minors constructing, exchanging and spreading malware, including ransomware and a mix of information stealers and cryptominers.
Story image
Gaming
Logitech G’s new Aurora collection looks to help change gaming stereotypes
The company’s new Aurora collection is designed to be gender inclusive, not gender exclusive, addressing the needs and wants of women gamers while also still appealing to a wider general audience.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review - Xbox Cloud Gaming
I've had the opportunity not just to access the game pass but also its new shiny feature, Xbox Cloud Gaming. In this review, we'll be deep-diving into just what Xbox Cloud Gaming is, how it works and, well, if it works.
Story image
Netsafe
Major media companies sign new online safety framework for Aotearoa
A new joint development between Netsafe and some of the world's leading social media companies is set to provide Kiwis with safer online experiences.
Story image
Cloud
Microsoft and Auckland Transport announce new cloud agreement
Auckland Transport (AT) and Microsoft have announced a new cloud agreement aimed at promoting innovation, reducing costs and improving sustainability in transport services.
Story image
Sustainability
NZ program recovers and recycles more than 177 tonnes of e-waste
The TechCollect NZ pilot program says its milestone of recovering and recycling more than 177 tonnes of ICT e-waste recognises the efforts of many.
Story image
Fibre
Orcon brings faster fibre to Christchurch with Hyperfibre offering
Orcon has today launched the next generation of fibre speeds in Christchurch, bringing its Hyperfibre offering to the city.
Story image
Gaming
Chorus announces Hyperfibre sponsorship deal with NZ Esports
Chorus has put its support behind New Zealand's Esports community with a newly announced three-year Hyperfibre sponsorship deal with NZ Esports.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Jabra Engage 55 wireless headset
We get our hands on a German design professional headset that many knowledge workers could benefit from.
Story image
Planning
Digital key for smart investment in public infrastructure for NZ cities
Major public infrastructure projects can better manage risks of cost overruns and delays if they deploy data and digital tools at the earliest planning stages.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Disgaea 6 Complete
Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny originally came out in 2021, and more than a year later, the game has now been re-released.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro gaming headset
SteelSeries, being no stranger to creating premium gaming peripherals, sent over its Arctis Nova Pro wired headset kit for us to take a look at.
Story image
Gaming
Attacks on gaming companies more than double over past year
The State of the Internet report shows gaming companies and gamer accounts are at risk, following a surge in web application attacks post pandemic.
Story image
Phishing
Norton research finds NZ threat landscape diversifying on social media
Norton's quarterly report has highlighted the seriousness of the threat landscape in New Zealand.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: James Donkey RS4 Knight Wireless Gaming Keyboard
I have always liked mechanical keyboards, and this is no exception. I find the action much easier to use than the modern keyboards with limited travel.
Story image
Tablets & laptops
Chromebook and tablet shipments see another rapid decline for the year
According to research from Canalys PC Analysis, Chromebook and tablet shipments have fallen for the fourth quarter in a row for Q2 of 2022.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Keyboard
SteelSeries has taken the design of its range of Apex keyboards to create a smaller version, the Apex Pro Mini. Techday’s Darren Price checks it out.
Story image
i-PRO
I-Pro officially marks launch of brand in Australia and New Zealand
I-Pro has officially launched in Australia and New Zealand, following a series of new releases as an entity that started in early April.
Story image
Broadband
MyRepublic unveils 'choose the speed you need' mobile plans
Broadband provider MyRepublic has announced the details of its new 'choose the speed you need' mobile plans, designed for New Zealanders. 
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Wreckfest (Nintendo Switch)
Wreckfest is a fun racing game that came out for multiple different gaming platforms a few years ago. One of the best things about the game is that it's relatively cheap to buy if you own a PS4 or Xbox One console.
Story image
Virtual Reality / VR
Virtual reality app reduces phobias through NZ trial
"With this VR app treatment, trialists had increased control in exposure to their fears, as well as control over when and where exposure occurs."
Story image
Internet
InternetNZ appoints new chief executive. Will take over in October
InternetNZ has announced the appointment of its new chief executive, with Vivien Maidaborn taking over the role from interim chief Andrew Cushen in October.
Story image
Tablets & laptops
Hands-on review: HP Evo Spectre X360 Flip Ultrabook 13.5” laptop
The Spectre comes with a keyboard that makes working for long hours something to be looked forward to. It has to be one of the best keyboards I have seen on a 13.5” laptop.