Killer Coffee

For Morgan Yu, the star of this game there are a few rules, and one of them is: Never trust coffee, or at least a jar of coffee, or a mug.

It's true... also, that Xbox Code given to us by Xbox for Prey - might just be a Mimic! Can't be too careful!

Never trust a coffee mug on Talos 1, never trust a single inanimate object and definitely keep an eye on medkits. I'm talking about Prey, from Arkane Studios and Bethesda. A first person shooter come adventure game that'll have you blasting at shadows the moment you encounter one of the game's earlier alien typhon monsters, the lovable and infuriating Mimic.

Brilliant Twisted Science Fiction

Once you pick a male or female incarnation for Morgan you're immersed in a great sci-fi adventure full of twists, turns, aliens and lots of choose-your-own path sandbox action akin to the various mission hubs in Dishonored/Dishonored 2. Not shocking really when you look at Arkane Studios and the pedigree they've managed to build around their studio, and Dishonored.

I'm not going to say too much about the story, because you really need to experience the moments for yourself and you can do that right now by playing the first hour of the game on XBL if you're still unsure about buying this epic game.

Player Choice

Prey supports player choice right out of the gate, there's a fair few ways to solve the various environmental and combat puzzles in Prey. There are numerous skills to help you do that and you can level them up by jamming Nanomods into your character's eye. It's how you progress in Prey that shapes your Morgan, your journey and how the station comes alive as you continue to unravel the mysteries of Talos 1.

You have some mundane skills that'll help you swing your wrench better, do more damage. Hack, carry more stuff and so on. Then you have some psychic/alien powers that will be unlocked later on which come with their own pros and cons - again - I'll leave you to discover all that, because Prey works so much better if you're left to find things out on your own.

It's a first person action adventure, but there's a lot more to it - it reminds me in many ways of System Shock 2 and a bit of Bioshock - more the former than the latter though.

As you explore you'll come across areas you can't access yet, or can you? Do you already have the weapon, tools, powers that'll let you creatively bypass a locked door?

As an example, and if you're interested in working things out you might want to ignore what I'm about to write next!

There was a locked security station with some goodies inside that I wanted and a new weapon. I'd just picked up the Mimesis (Mimic power) ability by scanning Mimics with the psychoscope (an item you'll get from the game's story) - Now there was a coffee mug in the room that I could mimic but that only lets you turn into the mug and doesn't let you bypass the little open window that you can just about peek through.

So I made an impromptu stairwell of small cargo boxes and so on, until I was able to mimic the cup, land atop the boxes and jump my way up until I rolled through the small window into the room. From there I was able to return to Morgan's form and get what I needed, unlocking the door on the way out.

It's creative puzzle solving like this that really makes the game shine. Being able to use a Gloo Gun to make a makeshift bridge across a wall to access a high vent for example, all of the tools are there if you look around.

Or if I had a high enough Hacking skill I could hack the door, find a keycard, and so on.

The same deal goes for combat, you don't have to fight the aliens in Prey and many of them can be bypassed with a little bit of exploration and creative thinking.

Crafty Does It

As you explore Talos 1 you'll find all sorts of rubbish that you want to stuff into your pockets, because virtually everything has a use here. You can collect duplicates of weapons and break them down into spare parts (used to repair things) as long as you have the skill that lets you dismantle weapons. The main reason for collecting all this space junk is: Recycling.

Just throw all that crap into a Recycler and you can render it down into base materials. From there you can take it over to another machine that can take a blueprint and make an item. As you explore the station you'll find all sorts of blueprints, some really useful, like medkits and weapon upgrades - even a nanomod blueprint. As long as you have the resources you can make a new item, it's that easy.

You can also make some sweet weapons when you find the plans. Including a Nerf-style crossbow that well, it can be used to solve some puzzles in a creative manner. Not every weapon has to have a combat use.

Sandbox Space

After you complete the prologue you'll get Talos 1 to explore. Each section is a mini-hub with various ways in and out of that area. As you solve the mystery of the station more and more areas will become available and you can even unlock airlocks that will let you use the exterior of Talos 1 as a way to quickly go from zone to zone.

You will have side quests and other activities to choose from and there's a lot of content in the station for those who want to look for it, audio logs and other elements provide a fleshed out backstory and explain just what the hell's going on.

Again, none of it's presented in a linear fashion - you'll have to use your grey matter to find most of it and some of the puzzles dovetail into the sci-fi tech that's on offer.

As an example, there's a code early on in the game, one that you need to open a locked safe at the start - you won't get that code anywhere - it exists as part of something else. It's sneaky things like this that make Prey a joy to play.

Alien Fighting

If you want you can unlock powerful alien abilities that let you do more than just shapechange. You can turn their abilities against them, or you can wade in with a variety of weapons that you'll discover on the station. The wrench is a good all-round whacking weapon and can be used to put the hurt onto Mimics and everything else. Never underestimate a good solid sneak attack from the shadows.

Pistols and shotguns abound, ammo is scarce though so don't think you can John Woo things until you've got a steady supply of materials and the plans to make more ammo for your weapons.

The combat is passable, there's a bit of a sluggish feel to things though when you're going up against the fast-moving alien buggers like Mimics. My advice: turn up your aim sensitivity on the gamepad.

If combat is troublesome, try and sneak your way around, deliver hit and run attacks and then find a place to run and hide. Stealth is enjoyable and possible in Prey - later on I found it more and more useful too.

Space Aesthetics

Prey is a great looking game and whilst some of the character models, facial animations and so on are drawn from the Dishonored style of character animation - it works. If it's not broken, don't fix it basically. The whole thing runs really well and I've not yet had a crash or any kind of slowdown.

The aesthetics of the station are excellent and each area feels appropriately themed, with lots of visual storytelling filling in the gaps from the audio logs and other sources of information.

The music is interesting, the sound design is spot on with lots of sneaky ways to turn up the pressure via the audio when things are in a lull.

Saving Grace

Auto saves, save anywhere and a decent save menu make Prey a game that you can dive into for as long as you want.

Oxygen Included

The space sequences in Prey are some of the more breathtaking moments of the game, where the sound design and music combines to create a really immersive experience.

Loading Loading

Load times are not too bad and they're no-where near as long as something like Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, which frankly takes an age.

DNA On its Sleeve

Prey has little in common with the first game, or indeed with the cancelled Prey 2. A game which I'd really love to see make a comeback since it looked pretty badass and the story/twist sounded completely gonzo awesome.

Prey wears Dishonored's DNA on its sleeve, combined with that of System Shock 2 and the non-scripted AI of the Mimics. It's a great game for it and it's a truly freaky experience to play, especially when the Mimics hide in plain sight and you have no idea if that much-needed suit repair kit is real or a spider-like black oil-alien that wants to eat your face off.

I love that.

So there you have it, Prey is definitely worth a gander and it'll last you quite a while if you want to dive into every shred of information, find every clue and discover every secret of Talos 1.

Just watch out for that chair?

ARGH!