Prey is a crazy game. It’s fairly clear from the first five minutes of the game that you’re in for a lot of WTF moments when you take control of Morgan Yu. I won’t give much away, but suffice it to say that while you can’t customize your character outside of choosing a male or female, you can customize just about everything else, from your play style, to what strange objects you want to morph into, and those choices can really impact your experience with the game.
The story is really interesting and makes you want to keep chugging along to see what the hell is going on. But there are some accessibility issues that make that hard at times.
Let’s start with the captions. Sometimes they’re decent and fairly easy to read, being put in a slightly darkened box, with the speaker’s name in yellow.
And other times, like when up against a bright background, or a busy background, they’re not the best. Throughout the game you’ll get calls from January, your only friend on Talos 1, and they’re indicated in an icon on the screen, so it never seems as though somebody is just randomly talking and you don’t know who.
Visual cues, early in the game before you get the hang of everything, could stand to be a little bigger. I found myself having to move closer to my TV on and off during the first half hour or so because I couldn’t see well enough which button I needed to hit. But that problem takes care of itself once you’re familiar with the button mapping.
Enemy’s health is clearly displayed in a bar above each enemy and something I found to be quite helpful when dealing with Mimic enemies in particular, was that a quick change in color saturation happens when you’ve come into an area with a Mimic that’s mimicked into something else. This goes very well with the change in music that hearing players get when they’re near an enemy. This visual indicator of enemies is not always the case though.
Many many times throughout my few hours of play time, I found myself dying, or close to it, because while a hearing player would have heard the Phantom enemies talking and growing louder the closer they get, there is absolutely no indication that they’re talking until you’re right up on them or within sight of them, and by then it’s usually too late to hide if you’re taking the stealth approach. This was also an issue that came up in the image above. In this particular scene, there were captions showing up on the screen with absolutely nothing in sight. In order to finally figure out what was talking, my hearing partner had to guide me to where the sound was coming from, as it was obvious to her because it grew louder the closer you got.
The visual cues are pretty great throughout Prey. Items you can collect glow a bit, and button instructions for actionable items appear onscreen.
There are different symbols for different kinds of quests (main, side, and missing crew searches) and they’re displayed very clearly as long as they’re active.
Also helpful are the icons that indicate something nearby can be repaired (which is often also indicated by the sound of electrical snaps and such).
All in all, Prey is a great game that provides unique experiences, but that has the same old accessibility problems of nearly every other AAA game there is. These problems are annoying because they continue to be issues in games despite players voicing their needs, but they won’t stop you from being able to play and enjoy the game.
Prey is a great game that provides unique experiences, but that has the same old accessibility problems of nearly every other AAA game there is. These problems are annoying because they continue to be issues in games despite players voicing their needs, but they won’t stop you from being able to play and enjoy the game.