Previews

Prey 2: Radical departure or a step too far?

We take our first look at Human Head's sequel...

First thing's first: If you're coming to Prey 2 with wild anticipation because of the 2006 original, you might be disappointed.

This is a sequel to Human Head's perspective-bending FPS like Wacko Jacko was a sequel to his child self. It carries the name and points to the history, but everything else has changed.

There are no portals for one thing, dancing on the ceiling is a thing of the past and popular protagonist Tommy has been shoved from the lime-light in favour of Killian Samuels - a US Air Marshall - and the linear shooter has been expanded into a sci-fi sandbox.

How, then, can Human Head even justify giving this game the Prey name, the cheeky little scamps? You might be asking with a prod of the finger. Well, the studio will tell you that despite a complete overhaul of Prey's game mechanics - and perhaps overhaul isn't drastic enough a word this time - the core of Prey remains intact.

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Of course, the soft, creamy core of Prey probably meant different things to different people but, as far as Human Head is concerned, the essence of the franchise consists of two main ingredients: the conflict between man and alien and the inclusion of game mechanics that a trigger happy FPS market would be pleasantly surprised by.

Generously dishing out the benefit of the doubt for now, then, let's have a look at some of the few direct links Prey 2 does have to its predecessor: The Keepers are still key, taking the alien role in that all important man vs. alien battle and, in terms of narrative, the sequel actually begins in exactly the same way as the original.

You've probably seen the reveal trailer, where a bit of turbulence turns into an alien attack on a commercial airline flight.

As you'll see, new protagonist Samuels makes a futile attempt to take on The Keepers with his puny man pistol but, more importantly, our old friend Domasi "Tommy" Tawodi is sitting somewhere in the rows as well, presumably clutching his boarding pass as all this goes on and as yet unaware of the adventure he's about to embark up.

What Prey 2 does then is take us back to that original flight but attaches to another victim of the attack and follows his story there. Tommy's still around - Human Head is keen to press in response to our initial disappointment - and he will play some role later in the game. Right now though, this is Killian Samuels' story.

Samuels is taken to the planet Exodus and, with no memory of how or why he's ended up there, decides to make the most of it as a bounty hunter while at the same time searching the "alien noir" world for answers.

Turns out that alien noir is pretty pleasing on the eye. To say there's a Blade Runner influence (which Human Head does say without any qualms) is an understatement; at certain points, when the city is framed just perfectly for a second, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were watching the 1982 cult classic itself, albeit with a bit more colour.

All the ingredients are there for a pretty spectacular looking neon dystopia; the multi-level walk ways, the angular sky-scrapers stretching beyond dark cloud and the flying cars, silently sliding along invisible roads in the sky.

LIVING ON A PREYER
For a first impression, Prey 2 does a good job of making the world feel alive, with aliens of all shapes and sizes scattered about the city, some of them going about their every day business, some of them begging for money and some of them generally up to no good.

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