July 21st, 2006

Walter

Prey Demo

So, I got to try the demo of Prey, the super-delayed 3DRealms game. (It's no Duke Nuke'em Forever, of course, though it's up there as far as overhyped 5+ years late releases go.) I'm not sure if it really counts, because an entirely different game studio ended up making the game, using the Doom3 engine, but hey...

Anyway, it's surprisingly good. Not only is it very pretty visually, but it's fun, not super hard or frustrating, and does a lot of new things, as far as puzzley FPS/Adventure games go. Variable gravity is probably the big feature... There are pushable and shootable buttons to change what up and down currently are, and this causes your character (and any loose objects in the room) to get hurled around. Some rooms have a shootable gravity generator on each wall, allowing for some really wacky fights.

There are also "gravity pathways"... I.e. trails that go up walls, or across ceilings, that have their own localized gravity. These make for some interesting levels, especially considering that they sometimes attached to moving platforms, and can be turned on or off, and you can also jump off of them into normal (maybe I should say "ambient") gravity.

The main character is also sort of a departure from the usual FPS heroes, and you do get a sense of personality from him as he talks and comments on things (as in the old 3DRealms games). But rather than being a sterotypical ninja/action hero self-parody, he's a bitter, sarcastic young native american man. That doesn't sound like fun on paper, but it works pretty well in the game in terms of getting you into the character and the story (beyond the "aliens and exploding stuff" part.) He does have a few annoying "demographic" moments (finding a new weapon and saying "I bet I can rock some shit with this!" or something) but he's much more likeable and genuine than any other 3DRealms hero I can remember.

(Well, except Caleb from the "Blood" games, the lovecraftian/evil dead/indiana jones style cultist turned monster hunter, who quoted MacBeth and mumbled show tune lyrics to himself in a creepy villain voice when he was bored.)

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