Xbox Game Pass — the Netflix for video games on the Xbox One — has a collection of more than 100 games that Xbox and PC users can download and play to their heart's content for a reasonable price of $9.99 per month. We’re talking AAA titles that were at the top of gamers’ wish lists when they were released several years ago. And as April begins, one blood-curdling, survival first-person shooter will be leaving the game's subscription service. This is one that all sci-fi horror fanatics will want to grab before it disappears forever.
Prey leaves Xbox Game Pass on April 15, so you’ve got two weeks to clear up space on your computer or console to play through the creepy space odyssey. But before you get lost in trying to escape the alien-infested space station that Prey will drop you in, here’s a quick refresh on what the game is all about and how well it was received upon its 2017 release.
How Prey was made — Prey was created as the spiritual sequel to the 1994 first-person shooter System Shock, which set the standard for modern sci-fi shooters and inspired games like Deus Ex (2000) and BioShock (2007). Developed by Arkane Studios — the same minds behind the Dishonored series and Bioshock 2 — and published by Bethesda after the company acquired the rights to the franchise in 2009 from 3D Realms, Prey is widely regarded as one of the best first-person horror games ever.
It reboots the well-received survival FPS Prey (2006) developed by Human Head Studios, but Prey was envisioned as something completely different at first. 3D Realms announced Prey 2 that same year, but development didn’t begin until 2009, and Bethesda pulled the plug on the sequel in 2014.
The franchise was given new life in 2016 when Bethesda announced the Prey reboot at E3 that year, which the publisher said would use none of the elements from Prey 2 besides “you’re being hunted by aliens.”
Prey's plot involves dealing with terrifying aliens on a broken space station — Arkane’s take on Prey was a fully reimagined narrative and was mostly unrelated to the 2006 release. Players are placed in the shoes of Morgan Yu as he explores the space station Talos I where scientists have been researching a hostile alien species known as the Typhon.
Naturally, the live Typhon on the station break free, and players need to avoid being flayed alive by them. To do this, they must collect futuristic weapons, learn new abilities, and explore key areas of the station to expand their resources and powers (you're able to harness some Typhon-related abilities).
Prey was critically acclaimed upon its release — Prey was generally well-received according to review aggregator Metacritic, but if you’re looking for a gruesome, extraterrestrial bloodbath, like the Dead Space series, this isn’t it.
Many reviews were not impressed by Prey’s combat, even though there’s almost an endless array of weapons for blowing away any Typhon that crosses your path. What does stand out, however, were the intricate environments that encouraged exploring every nook and cranny of Talos I. Many of the same reviewers praised the game’s atmospheric tension that kept them at the edge of their seat, compelling them to slowly turn around corners as they progressed through the game in anticipation of yet another jump-scare. Similar to the BioShock series, the strength here is in the world design and depth, not the combat.
So if you’re looking to get creeped out by some shadowy alien creatures, pick up Prey before it leaves Xbox Game Pass on April 15.