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Forums Index -> Fistful of Joystick -> PREY! PC demo out 360 demo soon
PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:45 pm  Reply with quote
Verbal Kaleidoscope/Dread Central Staff

Joined: 21 Jun 2006
Posts: 110

As I guessed, the 360 demo is tailing behind the pc demo (microsoft have their own quality control that a demo must go through usually adding a few days to the release of the 360 demo)... but my PC being up to the task i went to be a little early, pulled myself out of bed at midnight, downloaded the demo and played through the single player in full before returning to bed.

if you're interested in this one already, and have a PC and broadband, you really need to check out the demo. 450megs isn't really that big a size demo these days, espescially when you consider you get about an hour of single player and a handful of multiplayer maps and modes too (those i didn't get to last night).

off the bat, the interesting part about the demo is that it's the first hour of the game. demos often show a handful of levels, or are the start of the game, but half the size. there's plusses and minuses to doing it this way, but i liked it. sure you only get to see the early weapons, enemies and environments, but given that you can move your demo save over to the full game, the demo isn't spoiling anything. however far you got in the demo, you can start there in the game.

it's a simple idea, but i've got to admit i love it. it makes the demo almost like a piece of episodic content.

the demo itself is a trip.

controls are standard first person shooter stuff, with that slight doom 3 engine tweak of not having a use button, but aside from having interactive screens like doom 3 did, you'll also see your hand come on screen to indicate you can interact with something, and then pressing fire makes you push/pull/switch on/off whatever... which works quite nicely.

the first area the game puts you in is pretty small and enclosed and is saved from being just another interactive cut scene by giving you a bunch of stuff to play with. not just the usual flushable toilets and turnable taps, but 4 arcade games, a tv and a juke box.

the juke box has at least a dozen tracks including some blue oyster cult, judas priest and mxpx, which all really add to the illusion.

after some time talking and messing about with all the stuff, Don't Fear the Reaper comes onto the jukebox and the tv starts barking out warning messages in a style that reminded me a bit of Night of the Living Dead.

that's when the alien invasion kicks into force, as the bar gets torn apart and you, your girlfriend (the bar maid) and your grandfather all get pulled up into one of the freakiest spaceships you'll have seen.

sure, the mixture of organic and technological components won't surprise you much, but stuff like the sphincter doors make you feel like you're literally walking around the bowels of a spaceship (ho ho!).

that's only a tiny part of it's freakyness though as is the way people are getting goriely mangled by sick machines. not, the real freakyness is the size of the ship, a massive web like hollow sphere, and the mind bending technology it uses to have multiple gravitational fields and portals.

ah yes. portals. been reading about them since 1997. portals are rips in space that let you travel instantaneously from one area to the next pretty much seamlessly. that might sound that different to a teleporter, but in action the truth is pretty evident.

not only can portals move, but the exit of portal could be oriented in any way. you could walk through a portal into what looks to you like a corridor, when in reality it's a shaft and once you've stepped through you'll start plummeting downwards what looked like something completely safe.

portals can be hidden to, so you could unknowingly walk through one and turn around to find a wall behind you.

that's only scratching the surface too... if an exit portal is smaller than the entrance portal, you'll find yourself shrunk down on exiting. you can shoot through portals also, and it's often effective and fun to do so.

then you have glowing walkways that defy gravity and let you walk across them, up walls and upside down across the ceilings. then you have rooms that just have different gravitational directions. then you have rooms that contain items on the walls, ceilings and floors, that when shot spins gravity around so that whichever surface the thing was on is now essentially the floor.

the combat is pretty straight forwards... but traversing the levels and getting your head around the messed up impossibilities makes up a large part of the gameplay.

there is another couple of twists. you play a cherokee indian, who is not a believer in cherokee religion... at first. you learn to spirit walk midway through the demo, which lets you leave your body and pass through any energy barriers, fire, that sort of thing. you can interact with buttons but doors won't open for you, and it leaves your body defenceless, but armed with a spirit bow, you aren't defenceless as a spirit either.

enemies will notice you, usually only after you instigate combat with them, and if they 'kill' your spirit, you'll be back in your body. it's quite useful for scoping out an area before going into it, and certain puzzles will require you to make use of it.

an added twist is that when you die, it isn't game over (at least not once you can spirit walk, i didn't die before you could spirit walk, so i'm not sure what happens before you learn that ability). you get dropped as a spirit into the spirit realm, still with your bow, and you have to shoot down and red and blue flying spirits that recharge your health and spirit accordingly... after a short while a hole appears in the ground that will drop you back down into your previously dead body to keep on kicking ass.

it might not be something everyone likes as you could argue that it makes the game 'too easy', but given that you'll still be in the exact same mess you were when you died, and given what it does for the flow of the game, i really like the way it's come together.

the graphics are pretty variable... the human characters kind of look and animate a bit weirdly, but the aliens look and animate great. there's a lot of blood and gore... and the messing dirty squelchy organic areas impress a lot, as do how smoothly traversing through a portal is.

a couple of portals were just black for me, and i'm not sure if that was on purpose or a glitch, but it was only two and nothing that prevented me enjoying the game.

the weapons so far have been a bit cliched in use but not remotely in design. you start off with this thing that fires red bolts which is essentially your basic assualt rifle with zoom type of weapon. it looks freaky though, and 'zooming' makes this organic attachment come out the side of the gun and stick onto your face. you have 'grenades' which are actually these little creatures that you find crawling around. they explode when they die, so 'firing a grenade' involves pulling of the leg of one of these things and throwing it. it works just like a grenade though.

i did get a more interesting weapon near the end, that initially was just a standard plasma kind of weapon, but you reload it by leeching power from outlets. depending on the type of power you leech the gun works differently, and blue energy turned it into an ice thrower (like a flame thrower but it freezes stuff) which was much more interesting and a lot more fun to use.

all in all, i'm really looking forwards to the full version, can't wait to check out the multiplayer and look forwards to playing the single player again.

the game has an auto adjusting difficulty level, which seemed at a nice balance to me, but you can't always vouch for everyone else.

been looking forwards to this one for a long long time, and it's great to see those promises from 1997 finally being paid off and still being fresh and interesting.
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