Prey 2 • Page 2

Back in the hunt.

For instance, if you're being attacked by aliens from above, you can springboard yourself off a crate and grab hold of a railing directly beneath them, then hang from it and pop up as though it were regular cover - a new variable in the usually unbalanced equation that pits FPS players against elevated adversaries.

Then, if you look up at a nearby ledge, Killian may raise his hand a little to show he can leap to that. Along with the unobtrusive inventory wheel, it's a nice visual indicator of something you can do rather than a heavy-handed menu or prompt. It reflects Human Head's desire to keep you in the gameworld rather than drown you in video game paraphernalia.

Combat also owes a lot to gadgets. These keep track of scanned enemies through walls, allow you to disarm turret gunners by hoisting them into the air on an anti-gravity field and let you fire rockets from your shoulder, amongst other things. They're activated independently of your main weapon, like the plasmids in BioShock 2, so combat remains fluid.

Not all of them are combat-related. There's also a hover gadget which lets you glide down to lower levels, Batman-style. (And "Batman-style" is usually a good phrase to have associated with your game, if nothing else.)

There are procedurally generated mini-missions all about the place - like an alien being beaten up by other aliens, who may give you some cash if you rescue him - and other varieties of sideshow. Some bounties come willingly with a bit of threatening, others have allies nearby who put up a fight, and some need to be taken alive with the helpful application of electric bolas.

Other missions will be a bit more complex. For example, on the way to tracking down a bounty he or she may get in touch via the ubiquitous communication system, plead innocence and offer a counter proposal - to go after your much dirtier employer instead. How you respond depends on your own morals.

Your behaviour towards the aliens you meet is noted by an explicit, Red Dead Redemption-style honour meter, although we don't see this in action. What we do see is that if you go too far you incur the wrath of local security - flying bagel-shaped drones with searchlights and bad attitudes.

As with Grand Theft Auto and other openworld games with policing elements, persistent offences garner more attention. There are also ways to lay low and reduce your profile.

So far, you could be forgiven for envisaging a cross between Mass Effect 2 and Assassin's Creed 2. But Prey 2 is not yet as polished as the former and it is hard to say whether it is as fluid and densely populated with content as the latter. Story details and more explanation of its structure will hopefully be forthcoming soon.

It's also difficult to be inspired by the locations at this stage. RAGE, which was on show the same day as Prey 2, has a lot of character and diverse influences, but the Bowery is slightly monotonous at this stage. Places like a casino and a strip club are prosaic, populated by funny aliens on slot machines and holographic pole dancers.

When asked about this Human Head says it wants to create a recognisable visual language for the world first, before diversifying into more eccentric super-alien concepts, which is perhaps fair enough.

Where Prey 2 is genuinely eye-catching and exciting to behold, however, is when all the toys are brought together for key missions. The one we get to see involves hunting down a chap called Dra'Gar. Your client tells you he must be brought in alive and that an informant named Krux may know where he is.

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