Prey isn´t Half Life
During the past weeks Bethesda gave the Press the opportunity to play a Preview Build of Prey so they can publish their Previews. While this is all good and fine, I read one thing a lot in these Previews of german and some english websites: “Prey-as good as Half Life 2”. That´s why we gathered here, that´s why I just had to talk about it, I can´t let something as wrong as this slip away without a Comment.
What made Half Life so great: An Overview
Half Life 2 were both games that changed the industry. If you ask why, lemme give you a quick Overview why Half Life 2 was such a great game.
First of all, you have to understand that it wasn´t a Shooter in general, what made Half Life so great is the fact that you can´t categorize it. Sure you shoot things, you drive things and so on. Nontheless this game never kept it´s genre, while Half Life 2 started as a Shooter it actually was everything, you puzzeled your way forward, you had fun with physic based weapons, you had Tower Defense-like parts, you basically had a bit of every First Person genre. That´s what made it so great, along with it´s design and Story, Half Life wasn´t just an amazing Shooter, it was an amazing experience, because it crossed genres, because it redefined Shooters and that´s something no game could achieve till now.
Now you know the main reason Half Life 2 was so great but why can´t Prey be as good? I mean we never played it till now! And while that may be right, the things that were shown and the things that were written about it already indicate that it´s impossible and to be honest, do you think any game could be on one level with Half Life?
First of all, Prey is a normal Shooter with metroidvania elements and it will stay a normal Shooter metroidvania elements. You shoot things and progress in the story, get new weapons or magic granting you the ability to transform in a cup for example, with which you can unlock new areas or secrets. At the same time Prey has an open-world, which connects the different missions. Additionally you have to be aware of your environnment since your enemies can disguise as well, making them an unpredictable thread.
But hey, that are some different genres! Well while this may be partially right, lemme explain why this could only be compared to Half Life if you really want this headline and aim for a rather unexperienced audience.
First of all, Half Life didn´t mix these genres by implementing them on top of their Shooter gameplay, they often replaced it by other mechanics, just look at the zombie city, they made a completly different game out of it. Well, that was fairly obvious but just wanted to get it out of the way.
The most important point however is the fact that Prey doesn basically not much new, we know first person metroidvanias, we know Hub-worlds and it´s bascially a Dishonored as Shooter in a different setting as it seems till now, not a revolution for the entire Shooter genre. Sure you may have a feeling of terror, if you know that even a chair could be an enemey but it seems more like a hidden spawner, you enter the room, the monsters transform and attack you. It doesn´t seem like an element that they use to its fullest or something that´s very important for a genre that focuses on Gameplay.
Prey may seem like Half Life if you just compare the most general facts we know about these two games but that´s not even close to the truth. Half Life made something new, something that no game really tried, it mixed genres, it replaced genres, it tranformed. Prey however is a Shooter with some gimmicks that seem rather limited, sure transforming in a cup is cool but will it help you outside of riddles? No, same with the monsters, they all seem like cool ideas but if you think about it they´re just known ideas wrapped in different paper. Not much of this game is truly new and it´s by far not comparable to Half Life.
All these Previews comparing it to Half Life just scratch the surface, they didn´t understand what made it great and it´s hard to explain since you have to play it but the fact that Prey markets itself in the Half Life direction offers such a great opportunity for clickbaiting titles that clicks and money get prioritised instead of good journalism.
Oh and for the record, I don´t think that Prey is a bad game, I just don´t like the way it gets treated by the media …