Praey for the Gods, a review of a homage to Shadow of the Colossus



The homage to Shadow of the Colossus created by a team of just three people has surprisingly launched on PC, PlayStation and Xbox: Praey for the Gods review.

What drives a team consisting of just three people to embark on a complex undertaking full of unknowns such as making a homage to Shadow of the Colossus? We wondered that back when No Matter Studios announced the game back in 2015, when it was still called Prey for the Gods, without the added vowel under Bethesda’s request.

Successfully funded on Kickstarter the following year, the title entered Early Access on Steam in 2019 and we had the opportunity to try it twice in the course of time, finally going to verify the mechanics of this peculiar action survival and its eventual ability to offer an experience in line with the great ambitions of the authors, determined to bring even on PC atmospheres similar to those of the masterpiece directed by Fumito Ueda.

In short, a lot of water has passed under the bridge and we have finally arrived at the point: we are faced with a clone wacky and lame or a work that not only pays homage to a great classic but also manages to bring out its own personality? We tell you in the review of Praey for the Gods.

History

Praey for the Gods, the light that points to the next colossus

Barely mentioned, the story of Praey for the Gods tells of a world covered by ice and doomed to extinction, unless someone reaches a place at the edge of the known lands: an island on which move huge divine creatures, which seem somehow connected to this calamity and therefore must be found and eliminated.

The skilled hunter we control in the game bears the burden of a difficult task: after a desperate journey, she will have to explore the island and find seven giants, trying to kill them by climbing on their gigantic bodies and activating a series of seals. These will be exhausting battles, at the end of which the warrior will find herself dragged by a mysterious wolf to the foot of a regenerating fountain, while in the sky a column of light will indicate the next objective.

Gameplay

Praey for the Gods, a glide sequence

Praey for the Gods is one of those games that are not lost in chatter, as indeed did Shadow of the Colossus (here the review of the remake), and therefore should be understood with practice rather than tutorials. Our character can move freely within the scenario, although having to submit to the limits of a stamina indicator that prevents her from running or glide to infinity and that goes to characterize in a decisive manner the phases of climbing on the fur of giants.

The clash with the first titan, which occurs almost immediately, introduces us to the mechanics of a combat system clearly derivative, in which, as mentioned, you have to climb on the monsters and activate the seals to kill them, trying to resist when the creatures try to hurl us away. These are peculiar boss fights as they incorporate a puzzle component sometimes not trivial: identify the weaknesses of the enemy on duty is not always easy, and in the same way you have to memorize their attack patterns because certain shots can eliminate us instantly.

Praey for the Gods, the first colossus

There are some good ideas, see the ability to use the grappling hook as part of a bullet time that allows you to recover seemingly desperate situations – especially when you’re about to plummet into the void – but also several uncertainties on the front of the controls and interactions, which unfortunately give rise to episodes of great frustration when you are killed because maybe our character has not clung when we asked him to do so.

The clash with the gods hidden within the scenario is clearly the focus of Prey for the Gods and is in fact the best realized part of the game, which, however, also tries to invent an open world with some annoying threat to eliminate and secrets to discover. The result, however, is sketchy and uninteresting, also because of the inevitable repetitiveness of the assets that go to characterize the snowy setting.

Survival elements

Praey for the Gods, a part of the map and the interface

The differences with Shadow of the Colossus emerge more than anything else in the survival elements, which, however, prove to be a bit weak: the hunting sections, useful for obtaining meat and other resources, are rendered on the screen in a very rough way, and in general the obligation to feed, rest and shelter from the cold is more often than not an extra complication that you could do without.

If you want you can fulfill this desire in the initial settings of the game, when you are to select the difficulty level among the four available. There are, in fact, three different presets to adjust the survival component: in the first case this element has little impact on the gameplay, in the second case the mechanisms are all active but without exaggerating, while with the third preset you go to exasperate a bit ‘all aspects based on hunger, fatigue and cold.

Even the equipment is related to the survival component: swords, clubs, axes, bows and even the basic grappling hook are subject to wear and tear and therefore can break when we use them too much. At that point we’ll need certain resources, mainly wood, to repair them or build new ones: a system that the developers have simplified at the suggestion of the users, since it happened to be in key situations without fundamental items for progression.

Playing with the incidence of the survival aspects on “medium” we had some headaches only in the coldest and windiest areas of the map, and of course when we had to dive into the icy water for some quick swim. Finding caves to shelter in, light a fire and rest is not so easy, and generally having to resupply before a battle is a tedious task.

Colossi

Praey for the Gods, one of the giants of the game

Let’s go back to the giants, undoubtedly the protagonists of Praey for the Gods. Again, the design is often derivative and unoriginal if you already know Shadow of the Colossus, but that does not mean that a good job has not been done in the staging: these are giant creatures that move as such, their apparent slowness turns into speed and length when they try to hit us, and also on the front of the animations has been done a good job.

Compared to the Early Access version, the game has received two additional giants and a new, spectacular ending: a truly exciting battle that occurs after the elimination of the seventh titan and that will see us climb a huge structure attacked by new monsters, in this case wrapped in flames, while in the sky moves menacingly one last flying creature to be shot down.

Graphics and sound

Praey for the Gods, the seventh colossus

As for the technical sector, Praey for the Gods feels the weight of many years of development and an old-gen connotation, which, however, can give in certain cases of the sequences visually very interesting. To think that such a work was made by only three people is incredible, but they are precisely the limits of production to raise the most perplexing, especially when you come across some glitch.

Unfortunately, optimization has not been improved since our last tests, which means that you have to reduce a bit ‘the density of the furs and the quality of the shadows to be able to run the game at 4K and 60 fps with all other effects at maximum using an RTX 3070, despite a polygon count far from extraordinary. Nothing to say instead for the sound, which can count on convincing effects and a soundtrack really evocative.

PC System Requirements

Test Configuration

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 10400
  • Video card: NVIDIA RTX 3070
  • Memory: 16GB RAM
  • Operating System: Windows 10 64 bit

Minimum Requirements

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2500K; AMD Phenom II X4 940
  • Video card: NVIDIA GTX 670, AMD HD 7870
  • Memory: 6GB RAM
  • Memory: 6GB RAM
  • Storage: 8GB space required
  • Storage: 8GB space required
  • Operating System: Windows 7 64 bit

Recommended Requirements

  • Processor: Intel Core i7 3770, AMD FX 8350
  • Video card: NVIDIA GTX 770, AMD R9 290
  • Operating system: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 64 bit

Comment

Praey for the Gods is a passionate tribute to Shadow of the Colossus made by a team of only three people. The commentary could be closed here, because it’s easy to imagine the rest: the experience is necessarily derivative but the boss fights certainly have their why, they are challenging and exciting although sometimes frustrating for the wrong reasons. There are remarkable sequences in the game and others that reveal the limited means available to the authors: a lot of heart but not always a great ability to effectively bring on screen certain ideas, see for example the rendering of the survival elements and the open world in general.

PRO

  • Intense, multi-faceted and spectacular boss fights
  • Some remarkable sequences, excellent soundtrack
  • Exciting final part
  • Uninteresting survival and open world elements
  • Some problems with controls and interactions
  • Inevitably derivative
  • Have you noticed any errors?
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