In Prey, water is life

In most games, you are out of luck if you have been hurt and don’t have enough medkits to heal your character. But in Prey, you can game the system instead.

Bethesda’s Prey debuted last Friday on the PC and consoles as one of the big budget video game releases of May. One of its features is emergent gameplay, where just about anything can happen on a vast space station infested with aliens that take the shape of their surroundings. In emergent games, the game designers don’t script every action. Rather, they set up a system where the player can roam and they set the player loose in it. It’s up to the player to discover the best way to play the game, and this one little example shows how modern video games are becoming virtual simulations of real life.

At the beginning of the game, I was beset by the aliens, known as Mimics, and I used three medkits just like that. I was out of them, and I only had 50 percent health left. I passed by two drinking fountains and stopped to get a drink. Then I noticed that my health went up a single tick, to 51 percent. I drank again, and it went up to 52 percent.

I was done with the level, and there were no more Mimics around. So I figured I was reasonably safe. But I knew I wouldn’t last for long if I went to the next level with so little health. So I drank up and filled my health bar completely. I thought this was a really cool piece of gameplay that shows how Prey exhibits an extreme attention to detail by Bethesda’s development studio, Arkane Studios.

Now my character is in great shape, but I might have to use the bathroom soon. In fact, you can use the toilets in Prey, but I’m not so sure it’s directly related to how much you drink.

Now if Bethesda built that into the game, that would be cool.

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