Ever since its release in May of this year, I've been a huge fan of Arkane Studios' Prey. The art-deco aesthetic, the in-depth level design, great character and story moments, as well as unique gameplay mechanics make the sci-fi thriller one of my favorite games of the year. But for some reason, I cannot bring myself to write about it.

Upon release, hype for Prey was minimal. There were pockets of buzz here and there, and critical reception was mostly positive. However, despite being a AAA single-player game in the vein of BioShock (a genre people would wax nostalgia for near the end of 2017), commercial excitement just wasn't there.

While I was not terribly interested in the game from the E3 2016 announcement trailer, as I knew very little about the Prey IP and my only reference point for the studio was the stellar Dishonored, the game fell by the wayside for a few months. 2017 felt like so far away, so in my mind getting excited for a title more than six months in advance was unnecessary. When Game Informer published their cover story on Prey, I finally got to learn more about it, and my excitement began. This culminated with a demo released shortly before launch. A rarity in modern gaming, the demo gave players the first hour to explore (which, unlike the Wolfenstein II demo, is actually enough to get a feel for the game), and from then I was hooked. From the opening moments of confusion and excitement, I knew I would enjoy the game. I eagerly awaited the release, and picked up my copy on launch.

The full game delivered on the promises set by the demo in spades. It provided an interesting, twisting and turning plot, and some of the most unique mechanics I've ever seen in a game. "If you think you can do it, you probably can" is a phrase often associated with the new Legend of Zelda, and the same was true for Prey. With the tools and abilities at my disposal, and a sandbox-like space station to explore, anything I could think of I could accomplish. "I wonder if I can shoot that door release with this dart-gun?" I once found myself asking, and when I tried, I found myself inside a room full of ammo and materials to loot. Experimentation is at the heart of Prey, not only from a thematic standpoint but as well as a gameplay one. Using the alien powers to morph into other objects, I could hide from enemies, slip into small places, or propel myself to vantage points. Being free to solve problems however I saw fit was an exhilaration I had not felt in a long time. 

It is an absolute shame then, that Prey didn't light the world on fire with sales. "Immersive sims" are a bit of a niche genre these days, but if gamers want to keep seeing highly-polished single player experiences, they need to support the company putting them out. At this point, Bethesda Softworks is the last big publisher doing this, and I'm amazed they still are, considering the financial success of Dishonored 2/Death of the Outsider, Prey, and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus being low. 

If I wanted to detail all of the reasons I love Prey, it would take several pages to fully cover; and while I've tried in the past, I always blanked and stopped working. Whether it be my dissatisfaction with my writing, or the direction I might have taken the blog, but I could never finish a piece.

But would you look at that? I finished a piece about Prey.