I first read about Prey in Game Informer a bit before it came out, and the premise sounded intriguing. An alien shooter with a Native American protagonist, trying to save the world. The gameplay was what interested me, with its unique wall-walking, portals, and basically-never-die feature. It was a game that I was looking forward to.
Flash forward a bit, and it finally came out. I didn't get it at launch, but was surprised by how fast the price started dropping (usually, but not always, the sign of a bad game). So I picked it up used, and actually enjoyed it a lot. It's pretty much available for cheapcheapcheap wherever you might look and worth picking up, both for some easy achievements and some unique game mechanics.
The story is rather trite. Boy has girl, girl gets abducted by alien spacecraft, boy wanders around trying to find girl while haunted by his ancestors, boy gets whiny about not wanting to save the world but just finding abducted girl... etc. And God, is he whiny. "I *JUST* want to save Jen!" I wanted to claw my eyes out every time I heard a variation on that.
The storyline aside, Prey has some interesting mechanics that make it memorable. First of all, after you reach a certain point early in the game, you can't die. Or rather, if you die, you get transported to the spirit world where you shoot spirits with your spirit bow to replenish your life and spirit meters. The better your aim, the more health you'll have when you get back.
In other words, even when you're fighting the bosses, you just have to replenish your health and get back in the fight. For hardcore gamers who like challenges, that's pretty much why this game may not be for you.
Spirit walking also helps you in the game, too. Sometimes you can't go certain places with your corporeal body (like through force fields) but your spirit can, so go through and unlock the barrier. Sometimes there are special paths you can only travel in spirit form. These don't tend to be difficult to find... for some reason on this alien ship, your ancestors have marked these locations with special symbols. Friends in high places, like out of this world! (Ok, sorry about that one.)
There's also wall-walking. Lit paths on the floor leading up walls and onto ceilings can be walked on and take you to different places. If you jump off a path, gravity will kick in and you'll fall whichever direction is down. That can make for some interesting fights.
Gravity itself is changeable in certain parts. In some rooms, you'll need to shoot a target, which will shift the gravity to a wall or ceiling (depending on your perspective). This is a pretty interesting innovation as well.
Portals also make an appearance. When you encounter a portal, you can go through them into other rooms/places. Although you can't control them, these can be fun ways to sneak up on opponents in multiplayer.
Speaking of multiplayer... well, it's pretty much dead, and has been for a long time. That's not to say it's not fun. The wall-walking and portals really change the dynamics of the maps (depending on which maps you use). The fact that the game never really took off is a shame, because multiplayer here was built pretty well.
The achievements are very straightforward. Most are mission related, a few are related to minigames, and one is for beating the game on Cherokee difficulty, which is a "harder" version of Prey that unlocks after you beat it the first time. The thing is that since you can't really die, Cherokee difficulty isn't really any harder. At all. In any way. I'm not kidding. So if you like the game enough to run through it a second time, there's some more easy GS.
As I said before, the multiplayer is pretty much dead, so to round out your 1000 points you're going to need a boosting partner. Other than that, it's easy. Follow the guides, and those points are yours.
The graphics aren't great, but they're not terrible either, especially for a game intended as an original Xbox launch.
All in all, Prey is an innovative, fun game, if a little clichéd, and if you can ignore the whiny dialogue. The mechanics are interesting and fun, and it just seems like there's a lot of unrealized potential in this game. Should 2K ever want to make a sequel, Prey 2 could turn out to be a serious contender after a little tightening, and one that I'd really look forward to playing. As cheap as it is, easily worth picking up.