Ah space – however much we want it to be all starships, R2-D2s and friendly E.T aliens, the reality is more likely to be that if and when we begin properly exploring the stars, it's going to be simply terrifying.
Enter Prey, the latest sandbox playground from Arkane Studios, the team behind the Dishonored franchise. Essentially Bioshock in space, it's as unsettling as that sounds, seeing you marooned on a space station, under attack from creepy shapeshifting shadow creatures.
You may at first want to take the next rocket back to Earth, but with these tips you'll be showing the star beasts who is boss as soon as the proverbial waste hits the fan. Read on for the top strategies on how to take on Prey.
Keep your ears peeled for mimics
Mimics, along with Phantoms, are the most abundant enemy you’ll encounter on the Talos-1 space station, so learning to plan for their fairly predictable attacks will see you right for most of the game. Mimics, as their name so cryptically hints, emulate the shapes of small to medium sized objects (think coffee mugs, chairs, etc) so give each new room a scan before blundering in.
Any props that look out place are usually a dumb Mimic trying to get the drop on you, so hold down the melee button and run in for a potential insta-kill. If that hit doesn’t kill them, a second strike will certainly finish them off.
Stealth is your friend (for a while)
Much like the early hours of System Shock and its spiritual successor Bioshock, Prey is a game that demands a more stealth-orientated approach until you’re better equipped and have greater access to game-changing skills. With that in mind, be sure to use sound and height to your advantage.
Most Mimics will make a wet, clicking noise while the tell-tale gurgle of a Phantom should alert you to their presence. Move in a crouch or slow walk to reduce your own noise footprint and be sure to use furniture and air vents to navigate certain areas without triggering an enemy attack.
Recycle and fabricate as often as you can
Until you can upgrade your inventory a little later into the game, you’re almost certainly going to have full pockets by the end of your first hour or two in Prey. The solution is start thinking more economically, so take anything that isn’t entirely essential and turn it into craftable materials with your Recycle Charger.
Also keep your eyes open and suitably peeled for Fabricators - these Star Trek-aping gizmos will enable you to able craft all the important resources (such as pistol bullets and medkits, two of the most important things in your inventory). Just make sure you have the schematics for them first...
Interact at a distance with the Huntress Bowcaster
So we’ve already covered the importance of knowing when to use stealth (i.e, all the time in your first few hours), but sometimes a particular pathway might be blocked by scenery or a gaggle of Phantoms. The answer, your trusty toy crossbow, of course!
The Huntress Bowcaster might not be able to damage any of the inky monsters roaming the corridors of Talos-1, but its long range is still powerful enough to activate switches at a distance, enabling you to enter lifts and cross thresholds without tipping your foes. You can even use it to cause distractions, opening up even more options.
Embrace the way of the GLOO gun
It might not be deadly, but the GLOO gun is still one of the most versatile tools at your disposal in the world of Prey. For a start, it’s ideal for incapacitating certain enemies (especially the ultra-aggressive Phantom) as enough shots can freeze it in place - switch to your shotgun or your wrench and get in close for a quick kill before it breaks loose.
The GLOO gun can also be used to bridge small gaps and offer access to previously out of each areas with makeshift platforms. These will eventually disintegrate, so be sure to get your clambering out of the way before they shatter.
Turrets are your best friends
Talos-1 is not a particularly friendly place to explore, so having some backup is a boon you likely won’t survive long without. When it comes to the early hours of the game, take our advice and pick up any automated turret you find.
Much like the flying turrets that changed how you went from prey to predator in Bioshock, the stationary turrets available on Talos-1 can turn the tide on your alien foes. Use them to cover you when you’re pinned down or as a means of covering your back while exploring a certain area. You can carry up to three at once.
Always check those emails
This being an Arkane Studios game, there’s plenty of juicy plot details and hidden narratives to be found in the emails stored on the computers of Talos-1. Apart from adding some meat to the story, these written tidbits can also sometimes provide passcodes to certain doors and unlock side objectives that would have otherwise gone completely unnoticed.
Keep an eye out for any computers that are otherwise sealed behind locked doors. If it is that well protected, it’ll almost certainly have something worth downloading such as a map of the immediate area. Time to get creative with those alien powers of yours, eh?
Do you know your status?
Keeping an eye on the three gauges on the bottom left of the screen will ensure you know how much health you have, how well your suit is holding up and the level of your psi. But did know there’s a deeper level to Prey that affects everything from health generation to movement speed?
These are known as statuses and they work in the same way that a buff or debuff would work in a regular RPG. They can be found in the ‘Status’ section of your menus. You’ll pick these up as you progress through the game and they can have both good and bad effects on you. Be sure to choose the right Neuromods too as these will drastically affect your progression.
Always have your Psychoscope to hand
Working like a cross bewtween Fallout’s VATS scanner and Batman’s Detective mode from the Arkham games, the Psychoscope in Prey is one of the most versatile tools you’ll ever possess. For a start it can be used to identify foes, providing a handy breakdown of each one’s strengths and weaknesses. You can even use to research Typhons and ultimately unlock new perks.
Its grey scale scanning mode can also be used as a rudimentary pair of night vision goggles when things get a little dark on Talos-1. Flashlights don’t often last long - so flip on the Psychoscope and you’ll have a much better chance of avoiding a nasty sneak attack from a Mimic.
Water coolers are health havens
Even in the latter part of the game, health is scarce and dangers are abundant - especially with plenty of one-hit kills to keep you on your toes - so any source of life is… well, a life saver in Prey. With that in mind, keep your eyes open for those innocuous water coolers sitting unnoticed in the corners of certain rooms.
Much like taps in Dishonored 2, these aquatic receptacles can help restore your health. However, each time you interact with one it adds a tiny sliver of life to your health bar. It can take a painfully long time to restore your health, but if you’re cowering from a stalking Phantom in the next room it can make all the difference.