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Funny To A Point – How To Play Prey Like A Professional

by Jeff Marchiafava on May 19, 2017 at 03:04 PM

This week I'm sharing my invaluable insight into how a professional video game preyer preys Play. Or something like that.

Longtime readers know my biggest passion here at G.I. isn't uncovering mind-blowing conspiracies, telling hilarious jokes, or speaking truth to power, even though I'm phenomenal at all of those things. My real passion is educating amateur gamers just like you. That may sound extremely generous of me, and it is, but I view it as my duty – not everyone can get paid to professionally play video games like me, or enjoy the incredible intuition and skills that result from such a venerable career. But that's precisely why it's so important for me to share my wealth of wisdom; I can't make you as good as a professional gamer, but absorbing even a fraction of my insight will make you a profoundly better player, and your resulting happiness is all the reward I need.

I've provided this service to the gaming community countless times over the years, for games like SkyrimGTA V, Dark Souls II, Metal Gear Solid V, Far Cry 3The Last of Us, and Tomb Raider, all of which were met with ecstatic praise. I put my enlightening How To series on hiatus after I launched Funny To A Point, but when I started Prey, I knew it was time to reprise my all-too-important role.

Simply put, Prey can be brutal – if you're an amateur. Surviving on Talos I doesn't just require skill, it also requires the right mindset, which few non-professional gamers have achieved. That's where I come in; my insightful advice will reprogram your broken brain to make you a better gamer. I'm kind of like a cult leader, only I use my powers for good, and I won't ask you for money when this is all over!

If you've never read one these features, here's how it works. For each entry, I list a common situation you might find yourself in while preying Play. Then I describe how an amateur would respond – if it sounds like something you would do, just know that your resulting shame and embarrassment is all part of the learning process. After the amateur description, I outline what a Professional GamerTM would do; this is how I personally handled each situation while playing the game, and it's where you should start taking notes to be more like me. Now that the explanations are out of the way, let's get to it!

Situation: You start playing Prey.
How an amateur handles it: Follow the opening prompts up to the roof of your apartment and then board the helicopter to begin the journey.
How a pro handles it: Obsessively poke around every corner of your apartment and hallway before begrudgingly heading to the roof. Once there, get distracted by the large fence enclosing an area that clearly doesn't go anywhere. Head back to your apartment and proceed to carry every crate and box you can find into the elevator, along with the bench from the hall to boot. Spend 30 minutes trying in vain to stack them high enough to jump over the fence, repeatedly toppling them with every slightest misstep because they clearly weren't designed for such an exercise in stupidity. Finally give up and punt a small box over the fence in a fit of anger, only to watch it bounce off an invisible wall. Lament the time you just wasted as you head onto the helicopter.

Situation: You're riding the helicopter to TranStar Corporation, 10 minutes an hour into the game.
How an amateur handles it: Look out the window at Prey's super-imposed credits, then walk into the building to begin your training.
How a pro handles it: Rotate back and forth in your seat for what feels like forever because you've already been playing the game for an hour and haven't done anything other than lug around boxes like you just got evicted. Wait as the helicopter lands on TranStar's roof, then continue your Quixotic quest for nonexistent secrets, walking to each corner of the building even though you can clearly see there's nothing there. Stroll back to the helicopter and climb up onto the hood, then jump as your character is instantly killed by the propeller blade. Smile as you see that your gross incompetence has earned you a hidden achievement, then instantly regret it when your last save transports you back in front of a half-collapsed pile of boxes, requiring you to sit through the entire helicopter ride again.

Situation: You've discovered a deadly alien species that disguises itself as ordinary inanimate objects.
How an amateur handles it: Move through the environment slowly, looking for items that appear out of place, or duplicate items in close proximity to one another.
How a pro handles it: Move through the environment waaay too slowly, until your snaillike pace and obsessive attention to detail cause you to fall asleep. Stubbornly keep playing even as you continually nod off and wake up staring at the ground/ceiling. Continue investigating the environment, then doze off with your thumb on the joystick, causing your character to blindly creep along a wall. Get blasted awake by a full-body cringe as an alien attacks you out of nowhere and swing your wrench wildly at whatever is in front of you because what the hell just happened!?!? Save the game before realizing you just lost two-thirds of your health in the comically inept fight, and that your in-game play timer is now permanently borked. Go to bed, then lie awake for an hour because your heart still won't stop racing.

Situation: 30 90-ish? minutes in and you're still having trouble with those damn mimics.
How an amateur handles it: Continue using the lame-o strategy of looking for duplicate and out-of-place items, spraying them with the GLOO gun when in doubt.
How a pro handles it: Obsessively swing your wrench at every object, then pick it up and throw it for good measure. Walk around a kitchen counter and freeze when you find an upturned coffee urn on the ground. Silently wonder if it's lying there because it's a deadly alien, or because the other crap you just whacked knocked it over. Slowly creep up while charging your wrench attack, then unleash it on the suspicious appliance. Suffer another full-body cringe as Morgan grunts out of the surround speaker behind you and the totally-not-an-alien urn clatters away from the impact. Respond to your wife that you can't "stop doing that" because jumping is involuntary and she'd be paranoid too if she was surrounded by shape-shifting aliens!

Pro Tip: If you ever find an alien oozing out of a public restroom toilet, LEAVE IT ALONE.

Situation: You've acquired your first Neuromod.
How an amateur handles it: Peruse the skill tree and then unlock the ability that interests you most – like a SUCKER.
How a pro handles it: Waiver between the hacking ability and repair ability, because you could use both of them immediately in the starting area that you are still in for some inexplicable reason. Finally choose the hacking ability and backtrack to the vulnerable computer. Hack it, only to feel an instant tinge of buyer's remorse because all it netted you was a blueprint for a toy crossbow. Reload your last save and choose the repair upgrade instead. Backtrack to the foyer and try to fix whatever the heck those weird gravity tubes are, only to find out that you're one spare part short. Scour the area for any resources you might have missed, then give up and reload your previous save. Choose hacking AGAIN, then backtrack to the computer and hack the blueprint AGAIN. Continue on, only to stumble upon an already-fabricated version of the crossbow 20 minutes later.

Coming Up Next: More hot tips you definitely won't find anywhere else...

Situation: You just ran headlong into a room containing a hulking phantom.
How an amateur handles it: Immediately switch to your GLOO gun and hose it down, then leave the room to regroup and devise a proper plan of attack.
How a pro handles it: Freeze in your tracks, paralyzed by surprise and fear. Slowly back out of the room like Homer when you realize the phantom somehow hasn't noticed you yet. Save the game, then switch to your stun gun in an attempt to save ammo. Zap the phantom, only to see that it doesn't actually hurt the terrifying creature, but merely stuns it for a few seconds as the name clearly implies. Zap it again and then hit it with your wrench, getting murderized shortly after. Go through the process of electrocuting, hitting, and eventually dying to the beast several more times. Eventually fall back on your main combat method of shooting the enemy pointblank in the face with a shotgun and then running around the room like a crazy person. Finally bring it down, then begin your ritualistic looting without worrying about mimics because you already covered every inch of the room during the firefight. Jump as you get ambushed by a chair. Beat the devious alien to death with your wrench, then continue whacking everything in sight because you can't trust anything in this damn game!

Situation: You still can't reach the second floor of the first area on Talos I, which you've backtracked to yet again for some reason.
How an amateur handles it: Come back after you've leveled up some more and purchased the repair skill to fix the gravity tubes.
How a pro handles it: Shimmy up onto the roof of the security booth then jump to the nearby sign. Spend ten minutes trying to make the jump from the sign to the second-floor balcony, repeating the process every time you miss. Finally have the wherewithal to save while you're standing on the sign, then try in vain to make the jump for another five minutes. Facepalm when you remember that you have a gun that's capable of making climbing platforms on pretty much any surface you aim it at. Shoot a foamy lump of glue onto the balcony, then hop up with ease.

Situation: You've wandered into a room with a giant floating robot that kills you almost immediately.
How an amateur handles it: Fall back on your original false instincts to leave the area and return later when you're more powerful.
How a pro handles it: Unleash all of your shotgun shells on the machine even though each one only does a sliver of damage, then get torched by what you suspect to be a plasma orb, though you died too quickly to be sure. Reload your last save and take a detour up to the floor overlooking the giant machine. Thank your lucky stars as you spot two deployable turrets in the corner. Throw them down to the first floor, then jump down, only to see that both turrets broke in the fall, and you can't repair them because you opted for a NERF toy instead. Instead, go Home Alone on the robot's ass, setting up a string of recycling charges on the ground that lead back to a pile of explosive tanks you painstakingly dragged from nearby rooms. Lure the robot into the room, then run back to the safety of cover. Watch as the robot effortlessly floats over the recycling charges with detonating them, then nukes the pile of tanks from a safe distance with what on closer inspection is definitely a plasma ball of some kind. Charge the robot with your wrench in vain and get instantly disintegrated. Reload your last save and crawl out of the lab while convincing yourself that you could take your new nemesis down now, but you'd rather explore somewhere else for the time being.

Those gaping inventory holes make everyone's blood boil...right? 

Situation: You just found a cache of Neuromods!
How an amateur handles it: Use them to continue purchasing abilities that support your playstyle – like a SUPER SUCKER.
How a pro handles it: Invest them all in the necropsy skill, because even though you don't know what "exotic material" does and you haven't found a fabricator yet, you can't resist re-looting the trail of corpses you've left all over Talos I. Head all the way back to the first area, then wince when you realize your inventory is already full because mimic tumors don't stack for some dumb reason. Gorge yourself on the various food snacks you've been hording to make more space even though you're already at full health. Reorganize all your remaining items because the weapons and ammo should really be next to each other and the stupid vertical psi syringe is totally throwing off your inventory's feng shui. Grab a few more tumors while contemplating how weird video games are. Head to Yu's office, which is the objective you've been ignoring for the past hour, only to find fabricator/recycler combo you needed before you wasted all your health power-ups. Throw all your tumors into the recycler and collect your sweet exotic cubes. Repeat the process of filling up your inventory and returning to the recycler several more times. Find out from your co-worker the next day that you can manually stack tumors by pressing the auto-arrange button. Go on a rant about how tumors should stack themselves, then once again reflect on how video games really are the strangest things.

Situation: You hack the door to a computer room that's home to two phantoms.
How an amateur handles it: Quit exploring random rooms and stick to your main objective, like all the other sheeple.
How a pro handles it: Unload a clip of pistol ammo into the first phantom, only to get blasted into oblivion. Run back up the three flights of stairs to the door after reloading your last save, but get electrocuted by the hacking minigame three times in a row. Reload again while cursing whoever still thinks stupid-ass hacking minigames are a good idea. Return to the door, but jump over the railing and shimmy across the narrow ledge to a nearby balcony, bypassing the room altogether. Jump as you get attacked by a cardboard box-turned mimic. Shoot five times at your attacker, then reload your save again because you can't justify the wasted ammo. Hoof it back up the stairs and save at the top like you should've done 15 minutes ago. Creep back out onto the balcony and shoot the box. Shoot two more times as it scurries towards you, cracking the glass floor beneath it. Kill it off with your wrench, then congratulate yourself for saving two lousy bullets.

Creep around the side of the balcony to another door. Open it, and realize you're just on the opposite end of the room with the two phantoms, and you really need to deal with these suckers. Creep back across the ledge and run all the way back down to the lobby to retrieve the turret you've (courageously!) hid behind numerous times before. Drag the turret all the way up the stairs again while wondering why the creators of Talos I didn't spring for a damned space escalator. Set up the turret directly in front of the doorway. Stand back and open the door, then watch as the turret gets blown to smithereens in a single shot before even spotting your tormentors. Desperately charge in and shotgun one of the phantoms in the face three times until it explodes, then plug the second phantom with your final shell. Whack it with your wrench and run like crazy as your health bar is sliced to ribbons. Realize you've scurried straight into a dead-end in the darkened room. Pull out your pistol and crouch down, then fire wildly at the pursuing phantom in your own Saving Private Ryan-esque standoff. Kill the menace with your last shot, then marvel at the realization that you really did need those two extra bullets!

Heal and loot everything in sight, then triumphantly stroll out of the room. Abruptly fall through the glass floor you broke earlier, taking massive damage as you plunge to the lobby floor. Smile when you realize how big of a sucker you are for immersive sims, because despite all the boneheaded errors and deaths, you're still having a lot of fun.

For way less helpful Prey tips, check out Javy's embarrassing guide for novice amateurs, and Bertz's suggestions for avoiding aliens like a big sneaky baby. Need more laughs? Click the banner below to visit Funny To A Point's fancy-pants hub!