So yeah, this game is fantastic. Probably the smartest non-BotW AAA game I’ve played in a long time. Just in terms of design and freedom it gives the player a great amount of agency without making it too much overwhelming.
I think a large part of that is due to so many mechanics in the game existing in the world. Crafting and recycling could have easily been pressing f next to a table and bringing up a big menu that paused the game and all, but instead the interface exists in the world. This led to a really tense moment for me where I was out of ammo (biggest issue actually, I NEVER HAVE AMMO) and medkits and needed to kill a fire phantom in a room with a recycler and fabricator. What I ended up doing was luring it into the corridor temporarily by throwing a lure, as the Phantom left I rushed to recycle all my materials and create a box of shotgun ammo, snuck up behind the phantom and used all my ammo to kill the phantom. It was so tense and wonderful and the stakes wouldn’t have been there if these mechanics weren’t a part of the world.
Clearly this game is getting a fair amount of comparisons to the Shock games and immersive sims in general, but I want to offer another comparison:
This game feels so much like Metroid Prime to me it’s uncanny.
Alright, so not everything is similar, but it is hitting all the same notes the Prime games hit for me. The labyrinthian nature of the game world, the varied enemy designs, the horror elements, there’s even scanning! Scanning! But in particular it’s the connected world that really hits it home. I don’t think there has been another shooter to really do it this well (if at all) since the Prime/Prime 2. It’s really been regulated to open worlds or linear paths for a while and I understand that as it’s difficult to make backtracking feel good, but Prey’s world remains interesting even the third or fourth time through!
I don’t know, I’m just loving this game!
EDIT: Oh, also a pro tip for new players: during the opening helicopter sequence, look down.