The other day, my colleagues Kirk and Riley were having a discussion about how miraculously well Prey runs on their gaming PCs. “Good optimization?” I thought. “In a big-budget game with console versions? Obviously, I have to put this to the test.”
I travel a lot, so what I wanted to know wasn’t whether Prey would perform like butter in a sizzling pan on a beefy rig. Rather, I was wondering if it could achieve baseline functionality on my humble Microsoft Surface Pro 4, with its pithy 4GB of RAM and integrated Intel graphics card. Now, my Surface isn’t a horrible machine by any means, but it’s definitely not made to run brand new triple-A games. I wasn’t expecting much. And yet:
It works! It’s playable! I can make phantoms go boom!
Generally speaking, I tend to get 40 FPS in enclosed areas, 30 in most places, and 20-25 in large areas with enemies and complex lighting. There’s some occasional stuttering, but it hasn’t impacted my experience much so far.
Ideal? Hell no. Bearable? Totally.
Granted, Prey isn’t all that graphically complex of a game, something enabled by its stark, sterile art style. Still, I dig its look, and I’m all for more games I can play from hotel rooms and friends’ couches. Speaking of, protip: if there’s a mouse loose in your friend’s apartment, and it starts thumping around once every 30 minutes or so after 1 AM, Prey becomes a thousand times scarier—especially if one of your greatest fears is a mouse shitting all over your clothes.
Here are my current graphics settings, if you want to give it a try on your own Surface (or roughly equivalent non-gaming PC):