You wake up on a spaceship in the year 2032. The view from your apartment is great, so you grab a coffee, check out the vistas and catch up on some reading before chucking on your spacesuit and heading to the lab.
Suddenly, all hell breaks loose. Freakish shapeshifting aliens with smoking black tentacles are devouring everything in their path - mostly your space mates - and they're heading straight for you.
All you've got for help is a wrench and a strange voice on the other end of the phone.
That's the set up for
and if it sounds familiar, it should - especially if you've seen any
movie ever. Or any sci-fi movie set in space. Or anything involving aliens. Period.
No, there's nothing hugely original about Prey, Arkane Studios' "reimagining" of a 2006 release that turns that sci-fi shooter into something that feels more like a Bioshock or Dishonored game if it moved into space.
As Dr Morgan Yu, you're tasked with exploring the Talos 1, a spaceship riddled with shapeshifting Typhon aliens who come in many shapes and sizes - including, thanks to their mimicking abilities, chairs, shoes and coffee cups.
It's a simple trick that, over Prey's first few hours, turns a basic setup into a very tense experience. Scares lurk around every corner, up every staircase and through every door, making every new location a nervewracking endurance test.
Because anything could be a Typhon waiting to pounce, you're constantly scanning rooms, watching for any signs of movement. And in those early stages, before you get the awesomely named Gloo cannon, or a shotgun, or upgrade your abilities using alien mods, all you've got to defend yourself with is a wrench.
What a great start. It also helps that Prey has a play-as-you-want-to vibe, letting you pick your own path without forcing you to take certain story strands. Accompanying all this is a terrific soundtrack that's at once spooky and happy and tense and weird, adding to the game's eerie vibe. It's the best I've heard in years.
gets so much right, it's a shame it also gets much wrong. Expect to spend far too many minutes staring at loading screens, because
is full of them - and they consistently pulled me out of its otherwise absorbing world. And while the graphics are solid, there are times when everything just feels a little bit Playstation-3-in-2009. In other words, blocky and underwhelming.
It's a shame developers didn't take the time to fix the game's flaws, because Prey is still well worth your time. Like any good traveller will tell you: forging your own path is the only way to go. And that stays true when you're battling those bloody aliens on a broken space ship.
Platforms: Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC
For fans of: Bioshock, Alien Isolation, Dishonored 2
Verdict: A deceptively good space shocker