Prey came out last Friday, and I’ve been doing little else but play it since. The review situation was a little wonky so I didn’t get to beat the game before it was live, but that doesn’t mean my incessant play hasn’t taught me some valuable lessons.
As I tend to always do, I wanted to impart some of my wisdom from my time spent with the game. In this case, this is a rare occasion where I have not fully beaten the game yet, but I believe I’m probably about 70-80% done, and there are so many things to talk about with Prey, I have plenty of material regardless.
This will not get into story spoilers at all, so don’t worry. This is definitely an article you’ll want to read before playing so you can avoid making some of the mistakes that I did. Here are ten things I wish I knew when I started Prey.
1. Don’t quit in frustration after the first couple hours
I’ve talked about this before, but Prey is a game that I don’t think starts out particularly strong. When you first start playing as Morgan, you are really weak, which makes this seem like some kind of survival horror sim minus the actual jump scares (other than the incessant appearance of Mimics).
But the game evolves past this in the next few hours. The skill tree looks relatively boring at first but I can promise you that A) it’s a ton of fun if you sink lots of points into the “human” upgrades, and B) there’s an entire wing of Typhon-based powers that you will eventually unlock that have the potential to make the game flat-out wild (though I’m saving that for a new playthrough). In short, this game may start really, really slow, but I’ve almost never seen my appreciation for a game pick up this much over time, so stay with it.
2. Get the extra harvest “Necropsy” upgrade ASAP
Unlike many other games in this genre, skill points are not earned from XP. Rather, you either find “Neuromods” in the wild, or you craft them. I’ve only seen a couple games ever that actually let you craft what are essentially skill points, and nearing the end of Prey, I’ve almost created almost as many as I’ve found in the wild, so this is a hugely important aspect of the game.
The only limiting factor with Neuromods (other than one side quest you need to do to be able to print an infinite number) is materials. Exotic materials in particular are hard to come by, which is why I recommend investing 4 points in the “Necropsy” skill early. You will harvest additional materials from Typhon that will net you loads more exotic materials. As such, I won’t say you’ll never run out, but you will usually have a good supply if you’re killing Typhon at a regular clip. I’m at a point where I’m running low on the other ingredients at times, but almost never exotic materials. Also, since enemy corpses always stick around, you can go back and get the lost tumors after you get the upgrade, if you can retrace your steps (which you will do regardless many times in this game).
3. Inventory space is a skill upgrade, not an item or chip
I didn’t have too much trouble figuring this out myself, but I saw online that some people were confused by this, so I wanted to spell it out. You might think that additional inventory space will be some sort of blueprint that you craft or a chip you put in your suit, but it’s actually part of the skill tree. I don’t really know why it’s arranged like that, but I would invest in at least 2/3 inventory space upgrades if you don’t want to be constantly clearing your stuff every few minutes. This is a game where collect a lot of crap. Also, there’s a bug where certain Typhon materials and spare parts don’t always stack, but you can manually combine the piles. Check to make sure this isn’t happening before throwing stuff away.
4. You can make screens easier to see with one button
One of the cooler small things about Prey is that you can access computers and screens without any sort of cut to an interface like you see in most games. You just tap the screen without any transition from normal gameplay. But while this is very neat from a tech perspective, it can be a little hard to navigate given that you’re zoomed out. Well, you can actually zoom in, which I learned about 20 hours into the game. Just click your right stick to get a more “traditional” view of the screen which will help when you have input numbers and things of that nature.
5. Turrets are your BFFs
Granted this is mostly specific to my non-Typhon-powered playthrough, as too many upgrades in that department and the station’s defenses won’t take too kindly to you, but if you can make them stay on your side, turrets are the best ally in the game you can have.
It can be tough sinking as much as eight points into a skill like the ability to fortify turrets, but this is honestly one of the best investments in the game. Most areas and most big fights you will have access from anywhere to 2-4 turrets, and if you’re able to fortify them so they’re not one-shot by enemies, you can kill even enormous bosses without firing a shot yourself, just through expert positioning and turret maintenance. Setting an elaborate turret trap for Typhon is one of the best feelings in the game, and I highly recommend it.
6. Don’t be afraid to ditch the main quest for a few hours
It took me a while to realize that I was accumulating a fair amount of side quests in Prey because I was so focused on the main objective, but some of the best times I’ve had with the game so far has been to set down the main storyline and focus on going back to other areas to complete side quests.
Revisiting old areas with new powers will be a totally transformative experience for you. Seeing side quests to completion usually offer a ton of valuable rewards, and even just finding random stuff along the way will also get you a lot of prizes, so I highly recommend revisiting all the places you can even if their purpose in the main story has been left behind. Prey isn’t a traditional open world game, but like those games, it will be better if you take some time away from the main story to explore. It’s far less linear than it appears initially.
7. Don’t forget about climbing and platforming
This may sound stupid given how prevalent climbing is in most games these days, but it’s not employed very often in Prey. With that said, just because you don’t use it much, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t an “oh duh” solution in many instances.
Once you get your jet pack, you can climb in some pretty creative ways. I have bypassed more than a few level 4 locked doors with a bit of creative platforming, particularly in the game’s larger areas. This is a game that mostly wants you to find keycards and door codes to get places, but I just want to remind you not to forget about good old fashioned climbing, as it might slip your mind.
8. There are ways to get around big heavy items in your way
While I recommend investing in repairing and a few cursory hacking upgrades, I did put off the “leverage,” aka moving heavy objects, upgrades for a while because there are fairly easy ways around these obstacles.
One trick I used early is to blow up explosive canisters next to immovable objects which then, will indeed move. It won’t blow them apart, but it’s usually enough to let you sneak into a blocked area. Later, I realized the best way to get around these obstacles is to use Recyclers to literally turn them into little bits of material.
I still recommend getting Leverage level three eventually, as you can open unpowered doors with that skill and you can’t trick your way past those, but for most heavy things, there’s a workaround.
9. Be prepared for areas to be retaken by Typhon, but it’s not really “respawning”
I started to get a little bit annoyed by what I thought were respawning enemies in Prey, given how much of a pain in the ass it is to kill them. But eventually I realized that’s not what’s really happening.
In most smaller areas, enemies do not respawn. You may have not found all of them, but for the most part, when you clear an area, it stays cleared. When this is not the case is when there are larger “hub” areas like the Lobby or Arboretum. When you complete certain major story objectives and then return to those areas, you fill find Typhons not “respawned” but having retaken the area. They are usually different each time, and for the Lobby, for instance, I’m on my fourth set of enemies there, I think. Fortunately, these are usually big areas and there are turrets around to help if you, in addition to other tactics you can use to win. So understand that dead enemies don’t respawn, but Typhon will continue to make their way to certain areas. It’s a small distinction, but one that feels pretty natural and not really annoying and cheap like it could.
10. There’s one side quest you should definitely not complete
I know I said you should do as many side quests as you can, but there’s one I think you should avoid finishing. Not that far into the game, you will be contacted by an Operator called “December” who gives you contrary instructions to your main operator, January. Not getting into any specific spoilers at all, but if you see this quest to completion, you will probably regret doing so. I do recommend that you follow the path for a good long while because there are plenty of Neuromods and other prizes along the way, but there’s a moment when it seems like you’re about to do something pretty major. Don’t do that thing. Just stop. Trust me. I know this is vague, but once you play, I think you’ll understand what I mean.
As I said, I have not beaten the game, so there’s probably still more advice to give. But I wanted to share what I’ve learned so far in the first 25 hours or so, and I do think I’m reaching the end. Hope this helps.
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