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Gameplay:

The game Prey can only be defined by the word…. trippy. You are Tommy, an American Indian who can wait to get away from the reservation he has been stuck on all his life. You get your wish. The shooting is standard fare but the weapons are very much alive! The “grenades” are spider-like little buggers that you “arm” by ripping off their legs, your sniper rifle has a snake like attachment that connects to your eye, and one heavy weapon is a boss’ arm. The gravity (if not the gore) is sure to toss your stomach; you may find yourself on the ceiling when you walked out of the last room on the floor. The portals that open up with the arrival of Hunters (stock enemies) are amazingly fun to toy with do to the fact that if you get behind one you don’t even see it so you can just wait for a hunter to pop out and nail him in the back. The spirit-walking element of the game revealed by your Cherokee roots is nothing special, its main use is to let you solve puzzles and throw switches. When you “die” you go into the spirit realm and have to shoot wraiths to regenerate your health which gets old very fast, but even if you don’t bother shooting any wraiths you will still return to the came to the game with partial health. AI wise there was nothing entirely special, they took cover and tossed “grenades” at me, the sniper fire was very easy to avoid due to the fact that the sniper rifle emits a red laser that shows right where he is aiming. (think Half Life 2 rockets) The boss fights are standard FPS bosses with no new elements thrown in, although (SPOILER ALERT) you do take cover behind a force shield which then breaks but as the boss sticks his arm through the hole you can reactivate the shield chopping off one arm and claim it as your own… gun…. (END SPOILER). In the end you are left wanting more action due to the fact that the game is approximately four hours long, but being able to replay the game in Cherokee mode (a.k.a. Legendary for you Halo people) adds a few more hours to the mix.

Graphics:

Prey ran “beautifully” (gorily/juicily/ect) on my mid range system with a GeForce 6600 card with all the graphics cranked to maximum with minimal lag. The lighting effects were beautiful with the way the ammunition glowed in dark places and your lighter shines into the dark. The particle effects where limited but still beautiful, and steam and liquids looked quite realistic. The actual human models looked a bit odd at times in certain postures but overall looked decently realistic (they put the majority of the bump mapping into the faces, so ignore the bodies and it will almost look like a good Pixar film). The monsters were all a biomechanical mess with shining metal sticking through the fleshy areas. Weapons looked very nice and… alive…. They all had heavy-duty bump mapping and the lighting in a room would cast proper shadows on the gun. While in spirit walking mode the graphics stay the same but everything is well lit and in a smokey blue haze. The land of your ancestors, which you make several visits to, blew me away. The rocks and mesas looked incredibly realistic (provided you don’t focus on seams between walls and floors too heavily). They were the most realistic real life based scenery since Oblivion in my book, although the point where you can look into the horizon looks a bit painted. All in all the graphics are quite up to par with today’s heavy hitters.

Sound:

The sounds of prey are a blur as you go blazing through the depths of the alien vessel but a few key things stand out. There is creepy ambient noises all around, people screaming, children crying, and Tommy comments on particularly creepy or awe inspiring scenes. The Hunters sound a bit like Elites from Halo (even when you spirit guide translates it to English for you), and the snarling of the cannon fodder beasts is a bit like dogs and a hyena. The weapon fire sound effects are standard fare as far as shooters go, although hearing your “grenades” make this little shrieking noise instead of the standard beep or boom is unsettling. The sound placing and distancing is excellent, if you shut your eyes you can still home in on the source of the sound and tell how close you are to it. The voice acting is “good” by videogame standards. They still cant get convincing voice actors sadly, all games have the overexcited actors who try to put way to much energy or urgency in their voices, or fulfills perfect stereotypes. But as I said Prey is good as far as games go. The original musical score by the guy who did Oblivion is a major bonus, it adds to every type of atmosphere they throw at you in the game. And as the credits roll they play a great indie rock song that blew most people away*.

Multiplayer:

Dare I spout this horribly pun of a name for what the designers call MultiPrey… Yes I know its bad… But playability wise its quite fun having all the guys who kicked your butt at Counter-Strike moving slowly and carefully along a corridor as you run up on the ceiling and blow them away with your choice of any gun from the game. Some innovations just for MultiPrey… are: a complex where each trench and hole has a different center of gravity, a map where the entire room is full of gravity switches so you cant ever depend on cover, and the fun ability to sit behind a portal (when your behind the portal you see through it as if it wasn’t there) and blast any poor soul who dares step through. The main flaw with MultiPrey (besides the name) is that with all the gravity switching the game will tend to lag with about 6 or more on a map (possible 18). But it does provide solid fun for a few hours. (XBOX 360 guys ignore this, this is for PC)

Appropriateness

Killing non-human, fictional beings (-3.5 pts) Blood sprays on the wall and everywhere else (-2.5 pts) Body parts can be visually unattached (-1.5 pts) Swear Words found in a R-rated movie are used in the game (-5 pts) Partial Nudity (-4 pts) Game takes place in an environment with minor occult references. (-3 pts) Im iffy as to whether the Cherokee lore is minor or majorly occult) I feel its minor as it only has “Spirit walking and the Land of the Ancestors” Occult magic is used by player. (-5 pts)

Final Ratings

Game Play 18/20 Graphics 9/10 Sound 9/10 Controls 4/5 Stability 5/5 Appropriateness 29/50

Final Score 74%

*according to the band’s website, and I for one loved it (but that’s because I was a fan of the band before hand so I’m severely biased).
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System Requirements Windows 98/Me/2000/XP 800MHz CPU 256MB RAM 64MB 3D graphics 300MB HDD Space Every girl wants to be a vet right? After all you’ll be healing cute little bunnies, dogs, cats, pigs and horses too. Did I mention that you can hire a cute guy to be your helper? Seriously this is the girliest game I’ve been asked to review yet. The box is Barbie pink and the main character looks Barbie like with blonde hair and big blue eyes. The game menus are pink and you’ll never guess what color the waiting hourglass is. This game is heavily targeted for girls I don’t recommend it for guys unless they don’t mind pink stuff. With all the girly stuff aside this game is pretty fun but it’s definitely rough around the edges when it comes to polish.

Story

If you play through the scenarios the basic storyline is that you inherit a run down house on a farm. It’s been your dream to become a vet so you re-vamp the place and convert it to an animal hospital. You’ll start off healing rabbits then cats and dogs, later you’ll work your way up to pigs and later horses (if you upgrade your facilities). You’ll start getting animals after you build enclosures for them. You can upgrade and accessorize animal pens, your hospital, and house. You can read about each species you plan on treating, and once you read all five of the books on them, you’ll be awarded a certificate.

Game Play

This game reminds me of the Sims in many ways (Though not nearly as detailed). Not only are you caring for animals, but you have to take care of your needs as well. Eating maintains your energy level and your fitness level increases with resting or sleeping. You have to purchase instruments and animal feed. You’ll have a handy cell phone/pda device that lets you know if animals are really hungry, if you’re low on food, or if an animal is being picked up or needs a follow up examination that day. When animals come in for a check up you can look them over using your various instruments. As you collect clues, you can make a better diagnosis. The process is pretty easy but there are some challenging ones that you need a specific instrument to diagnose it properly. There are three levels of difficulty (easy, medium, hard) and two game modes. You can either play scenario or free play mode. Once you have a horse facility built you can buy a mother mare to care for baby foals. You can also ride the mother mare to take a break from the hassles of being a popular vet.

Hired Help

You can hire a cute guy named Jeff to be your assistant for $100 a day. He can be helpful but he’s mostly useless. You can assign him a specific chore to do (cleaning, petting, playing, feeding) or assign him a particular animal pen. You can also spend money to train him so he’ll be more comfortable with the more exotic animals. You have to baby-sit him quite a bit because most of the time he’ll either eat or sleep. If you play through the scenarios the game hints at a romance after you beat the game.

Graphics

The graphics are decent in this game. The animal models look good and the interface is really easy to use. You can add more detail to your home/hospital by buying accessories to make your “world” prettier.

Sound

The background music is peppy in this game but it repeats often. There were some volume issues in this game as the music drowns out the voices by default. You can adjust the volume settings but the game forgets the changes you make until you go back into game settings the next time you launch the game. Perhaps this volume glitch is covering up the pitiful voice acting. They have a guy doing some of the voice acting but for other guys it’s clearly a girl masking her voice trying to sound like a boy. It’s bad.

Appropriateness

This game is pretty clean and I recommend it for girls of all ages. When you’re reading about animals they have real pictures and one of the pictures has a baby foal being born. This may prompt a discussion of birds and the bees for some younger kids. There is romance in this game but it’s completely innocent.

Final Thoughts

This is a fun game but it’s a lot of babysitting. I think anyone who likes the Sims would enjoy this title too. I’m sure many girls will love it. It does have some rough edges and it did crash on me a couple times.

Final Score

Game Play 16/20 Graphics 7/10 Sound 4/10 Interface 5/5 Stability 3/5 Appropriateness 49/50

Total 84%

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About Us:

Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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