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Prey 2 (Preview)

Prey 2In a packed conference hall at Eurogamer Expo 2011, Prey 2 Project Lead, Chris Reinhart begins his presentation by talking about Prey 2‘s connection to the original game. He asks how many in the crowd have played the first game, the number of raised hands is more than one might expect. He reminds everyone of a moment during Prey where players could see a plane being raided by alien slavers. Killian Samuels, Prey 2‘s main character, was on that plane.That’s not the only thing that connects the two games, Chris assured everyone that Tommy (the first game’s protagonist) will be an important part of the story in Prey 2.

Gameplay

With that out of the way we get straight into gameplay, Chris has started up the beginning of the game. The flaming wreckage of the plane is strewn around, he makes his way toward the cockpit to check for survivors. On the way he explains that Killian is an Air Marshall and as such he was allowed a gun on the plane. It’s here we see one of the more unique aspects of Prey 2, your gun is holstered by default. Chris explains that they original had the gun out by default but it seemed strange to be sticking a weapon in people’s faces and not have them react. So they decided they would make taking out your gun a conscious decision and one which has consequences.

Killian quickly encounters some bad guys, we get a brief glimpse of the games basic combat but Chris wants to move the demo along so he runs past the majority of the enemies. Once he finds the cockpit Killian is ambushed by the slavers and swiftly knocked out. As we wait for the next part of the demo to load, Chris explains that after these events Killian wakes up on an alien world called Exodus. It’s a couple of years later and he has no idea how he got there or what he has been doing in the interim. Well, he does remember he became a bounty hunter, as you do. He decides to continue his bounty hunter duties while trying to discover what happened in that lost time.

Exodus

The next section of the demo loaded, we are now about 25% into the game and on Exodus. It’s a beautiful world, bringing to mind a Blade Runner influenced Coruscant. Bright neon signs contrast with the dark and grimy streets. Various species of alien go about their business, nefarious or otherwise. Even at this early stage Prey 2 is very visually impressive, the world has a very lived in look.

Chris wastes no time in showing off the games new traversal system, those familiar with Mirrors Edge should have a fair idea of what to expect here. Killian can slide (right into cover even), vault over obstacles, hang from ledges and climb various parts of the enviroment. All of these things can be done in the middle of combat too, so you can hang from a ledge and pop your head up to take a few shots at persuing enemies. Or like a moment we see in the demo, you can vault from cover, quickly take out one enemy then immediately slide across the floor and take out his buddy. It makes for some exciting and fast paced combat, you can certainly see why the team at Human Head are calling it “agile combat”.

Bounty

Chris pulls up a menu which lists some of the bounty missions available. He takes a mission to track down an alien called Dra’gar, but first he needs to talk to an informant to find out where Dra’gar might be. To get to this informant, Krux, Killian has to do some climbing. But first, some hovering! If all his climbing abilities aren’t quite enough Killian has hover boots which can help with some of those bigger jumps one is likely to attempt in a futuristic alien city.

When we reach Crux he has some muscle around to protect him, in the form of a burly alien, he says he’ll give Killian the info in exchange for some cash. Chris decides he doesn’t want to pay Krux so he shoots his bodyguard and then points the gun at Krux’s head. Krux reluctantly gives up the info but says Killian will now owe him one down the line.

As Chris heads toward the nightclub where Dra’Gar is apparently hanging out he takes the chance to show off Killian’s visor. It has several different modes, the most useful of which is its scan. Scan acts very similarly to detective mode in Arkham Asylum, it will highlight people in different colours depending on their threat level. Green for neutral, yellow for those who could become hostile and red for the most assuredly hostile. Blue is also used to highlight your target, making them easier to pick out amongst the crowd. We also get a glimpse of a couple more visor modes, lumisight (night vision) and DNA tracking which can be used in some missions to track suspects.

Gadgets

When he finally reaches the nightclub and gets eyes on Dra’Gar, Chris decides to sneak up on him and hopefully talk to him. Unforunately Dra’Gar isn’t in a talk mood and heads straight for the door, at which point we see he has the ability to teleport. This makes it very easy for him to put a bunch of henchmen between himself and Killian. It’s also a great excuse to show off more of Killian’s gadgets, such as the super powerful shoulder-mounted rockets. They make short work of the henchmen, and the chase continues. Chris catches up to Kra’Gar and tries to catch him with Killian’s bandolier, a device that snares enemies in energy bands, Kra’Gar quickly teleports out of it though.

Eventually Kra’Gar runs out of places to run, so he offers Killian money to let him go. Despite it being more than the bounty on Kra’Gar’s head Chris decides to turn him in. Here we see how bounties are dealt with, before being transported (teleported) to the client Killian can interoggate the prisoner. This could lead to more information about other missions, but push to hard and it could also lead to a dead bounty.

Prey 2 is a huge departure from the first game, were it not for the inclusion of Tommy it could quite easily be a completely new franchise. While I didn’t get hands on, the new mechanics all looked very impressive, fluid and fun. If the final games missions and world can be suitably filled out then Prey 2 could easily be one of the stand out games when it releases next year.

Originally published on Square-Go.com

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