Prey is a tense, moody game that makes you distrust everyday objects because they might secretly be monsters. Whether you’re just launching the game or well into your exploration of Talos I, here are some tips for making it through.
I never played the original Prey, and that hasn’t been a hindrance to me at all. That Prey, which was developed by Human Head and came out in 2006, has absolutely nothing to do with this game. This version is more like a new System Shock.
I’ve found most PC settings to work out of the box, but I definitely had to turn up my brightness a bit. It helped me spot non-disguised mimics better and navigate some of the less well-lit corridors and vents.
Quick save is your friend in Prey. You’re a lot squishier than the enemies you’ll be facing, especially early on, and death lurks around every corner. You can even quick save during combat, so if you’re chipping away at a particularly tough Typhon, save during the fight to keep from losing your progress.
If you’re the kind of player who likes a challenge, you’re in luck. We’ve found “normal” difficulty to be plenty hard enough, especially in the early stages.
In addition to medkits and healing food and drink, you can also gain health points drinking from sinks, water fountains, and coolers. The “well fed” status will increase the health points you regenerate from these sources. It takes a while, but it can boost your health above the tipping point in a pinch.
Prey has statuses that can positively or negatively affect your hero, Morgan. Radiation poisoning, for example, will make you walk crooked and slow health regeneration, while the well fed status increases the health points you get back. These effects can be countered or brought on by various situations or consumables. Your statuses will appear as symbols in the lower left corner of your screen, and you can also check them in the “data” menu.
The early game of Prey can be tough, but a good weapon can help. You can get the shotgun almost right away from security in the Talos lobby, even if you don’t have access to enter it yet, by climbing on some pipes. PC Gamer has this handy guide, so if you’re finding yourself outgunned early on (spoilers: you will), head toward security as soon as you can.
This one requires a little more investment than the shotgun, but the Q-beam is a bad ass laser weapon that’s saved me more than once. You can get it in the Beams and Waves lab in the Machine Shop. You’ll need the Repair II skill and enough spare parts to fix the hull breach near where you find Dr. Calvino before you can enter, but it’s worth it.
As you progress through the game, you’ll find more and more weapons, including at least one that’s better than what you started with. I regretted piling weapon upgrade kits into a weapon I just ended up tossing, so even if you have the skills necessary to kit every weapon out, you might want to save one or two.
Healing resources, psi hypos, and suit repair kits can be scarce. Luckily, Talos I is fitted out with operators who can heal you, repair your suit, and refill your psi pool free of charge. Look for their stations littered around Talos, and create as many as you can. (Just watch out for corrupted operators, which are nasty enemies.)
You want to pick up everything you can in Prey, which means you’ll run out of inventory space pretty quickly. Investing in the Suit Modification upgrade will let you fill your pockets with more junk, in true video game style.
Talos I is a big place full of offices, nooks, and crannies to explore. You’ll miss out on a ton of stuff if you just beeline for your objectives (if you’re playing with them on at all). Here’s how to make the most out of your journey through the station:
- There are multiple ways to solve every objective. If a door needs to be hacked but you don’t have the hacking skill, poke around a bit. You’re almost certain to find an alternate route: a keycard, a window that can be smashed, or a crevice you can slip through with your morph ability.
- Visit every computer terminal you can find. In addition to having story details, terminals will often contain passwords, information about alternate routes, and codes for doors and safes. Some terminals will have detailed area maps you can download.
- You can use the GLOO gun to climb to seemingly unreachable places. I GLOO gunned my way up to Alex’s office without the right code by creating a set of stairs along the rock wall. It can be finicky at times (GLOO won’t stick to every surface), but it’s a great way to get to places you feel like you shouldn’t go.
- A lot of side quests will be in areas that initially seem inaccessible, but you’re likely to come across the necessary keycard or next step as you progress through the plot. If you give it your best shot and still can’t seem to find a way in, keep following the main story. There’s a good chance something along the way will help you.
- Hull breaches can also make previously inaccessible areas accessible. You’ll need enough spare parts and the right repair skill level, but it’s worth poking around outside the station for holes to patch up. Breaches will be indicated with green dots when you’re in the Talos exterior; simply float up to them until you get a prompt and hold down the button (G on PC) to repair.
Good on Talos I for being environmentally conscious! Recycling provides you with the resources you need to create ammo, health kits, neuromods, weapons, and more. You craft items with fabrication plans you can find around the station.
- Always know where the nearest recycler and fabricator are. They’ll be marked on your detailed area map. You can almost always get back to previous areas if there’s a location you’re fond of; I tend to go back to the ones in Morgan’s office a lot, because I feel pretty safe there.
- Loot everything; you’ll need it. This is where that upgraded inventory will come in handy.
- If you’re missing a certain material, you can use recycling charges to create it. Just toss one at an area full of stuff and let it do its magic. You can even use recycling charges on enemies, which can kill them or at least take off some of their health.
- You can automatically transfer junk to the recycler (on PC it’s by holding the F key), but there’s a lot of stuff Prey won’t consider junk that you can recycle too. I had a tendency to run out of synthetic material a lot, which I needed to craft my precious shotgun ammo, before realizing I could recycle extra guns and spare parts for it. If auto-transferring your junk isn’t giving you what you need, dig around your inventory a bit. You don’t need two of the same weapon, for example.
Fighting Typhon head on isn’t always the best way—in fact, I’d say it’s almost never a good idea. Ammo is scarce, you’re squishy as hell, and enemies are tough. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Conserve your ammo. You can unload everything you have into one enemy, only to find yourself short-changed for another fight down the line. Look for other ways to take out enemies besides spending all your resources.
- Stealth is your friend. If you can get the drop on enemies you’ll do more damage, and there are even neuromods that will increase that damage. Use tools like the Typhon lure, boltcaster darts, or the decoy created by your Phantom Shift Typhon power to keep enemies off your tail.
- Use the GLOO gun to paralyze enemies so you can damage them, break up mobs, or get away.
- Charge your wrench shots for more damage.
- Use the environment to your advantage. O2 and explosive canisters, oil slicks, heavy furniture, and flames can all damage enemies while saving you ammo. You can also close doors or impede them with the GLOO gun to put some distance between yourself and a baddie.
- If you haven’t upgraded your Typhon powers past the point where the station thinks you’re an alien, turrets are your friend. If you know a lot of enemies are coming, you can set up some turrets and hide behind them to let them do your dirty work. I actually backed down from the Typhon powers due to my fondness for my turret friends. Investing in Repair II will let you fix broken turrets, and Repair III will let you fortify them when they’re damaged.
- When in doubt, run. Running and screaming frantically has saved my ass more than once in Prey. There’s no shame in it, and if you’re anything like me, you might even find yourself in a cool new area as you flee in panic.
Neuromods are the building blocks of how you unlock new abilities in Prey. The skill tree gets expensive fast, and you don’t even unlock Typhon powers until well into the game. Should you spend your neuromods as soon as you get them, or save them up for the pricier, more powerful parts of the skill tree?
My colleague Kirk Hamilton suggests saving your neuromods at least until you find the Psychoscope, which lets you unlock Typhon powers. You’ll need to research Typhon to unlock what these powers do, which means you’re looking at a long wait before jamming all those needles in your eye. Especially at the beginning of the game, your upgrades can make a big difference, but it would be a shame to find that perfect power, only to be unable to afford it.
I didn’t save my neuromods. They aren’t hard to come by in Prey, and you can even fabricate them yourself. I never found myself wanting a power and not having the neuromods; I was more likely to need more research than the mods themselves. That said, I’ve been sticking to the human powers rather than the Typhon ones, so there’s a good chance I’m missing out on a lot of great stuff.
As far as powers go, the Typhon ones we’ve found the most useful are Morph 1, Kinetic Blast I, and Phantom Shift I. Morph lets you turn into objects and is great for getting into tight spaces or evading enemies. Kinetic Blast is a good way to push enemies back while conserving ammo. Phantom Shift lets you do a short dash that I haven’t found incredibly useful, but it creates a decoy that has definitely helped me.
Prey gives you a ton of options, and you’ll never find yourself stuck without a certain power or ability. Do what feels right.
This one might seem contentious. Should you plan your build out in advance, or focus on one tree? Be a stealthy hacker or a gun-wielding soldier? Honestly, I’ve been spreading my upgrades out somewhat less-than-thoughtfully, grabbing whatever I need at the time. As such, I might not be maximizing my efficiency, but I’m responding on the fly in a way that I like. I haven’t found my diverse build to be hindering me, and it’s been fun to be able to do a little bit of everything. There’s plenty to see and do in Prey, so my diverse build feels right at home.