What do people think of the Prey demo? The guys over at Shacknews are totally orgasming over it, which makes me a little timid of posting my opinion there, since I'm just not feeling it.
I like the wall walking and the portals, I'm so-so about the spirit stuff, but I got the feeling that the demo didn't really do much more than introduce the concepts: I'd like to see how they get developed further.
I think the Doom3 engine (the non-ETQW variation) is one of the most restrictive engines in recent memory, and is responsible for most of what I dislike.
- The lighting is dynamic, great, but it's ugly and frustrating how quickly everything fades to black.
- All the objects in the game are built with really simplistic profiles to avoid casting complex shadows, making everything feel bloated and blocky.
- There are never any more than 3 enemies on screen at once.
- The environments are almost exclusively corridor based, with two directions to move in - forward and back.
- Those two facts makes combat extremely simplistic - just a matter of pointing your gun at the enemy and backpedalling if appropriate.
- The over-use of specularity means that environment styles are restricted to shiny metal and shiny wet flesh.
- The facial animation is utterly inadequate, with a focus instead placed on fancy environmental animations. Inevitably this means over-complex machines doing vague and generic tasks and stupidly elaborate door-openings.
I could probably go on for another couple of paragraphs, but my point is this: The only thing that feels different between Doom3, Quake4 and Prey is the cross-section shapes of the corridors, the shapes of the doors, and the shapes of the weapons.
Beyond the portals (which are very cool), it feels like the same tired game as its engine-brothers. I can't decide whether the portals, wall-walking, etc redeem it or are just a brief distraction: a clever way of disguising the broken corridor-shooting-backpedalling dynamic by hiding the corridors.