A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Prey: Mooncrash is a paid expansion to Prey, a sci-fi role-playing game in which players do combat with aliens, robots, and the occasionally human using guns, blunt objects, and augmented abilities. Dead and mutilated bodies are frequently found in the environment, and bleeding effects are shown when the player's character is hemorrhaging. Players take on the roles of several characters attempting to escape an overrun moonbase, uncovering surprising details about both the threat and the people who worked there along the way. The story tackles several heady concepts, including the ethics of biomedical science, extreme corporate power, and transhumanism. Parents should be aware that this isn't a mindless shooter, but rather a game that rewards curiosity, experimentation, and strategic thinking.
What's it about?
PREY: MOONCRASH provides a story, setting, and characters separate from Prey, the game upon which it expands. Players assume the role of a space worker living on a small satellite above the Lunar surface. In order to complete his employment contract and return home, his company demands that he run through multiple simulations of an accident that occurred on the moon below, viewing it from the perspectives of several people who experienced it firsthand. Play involves many of the same tools, weapons, and abilities found in the original game -- including sci-fi guns, ability-enhancing computer chipsets, and superhuman psionic abilities -- but the story is so condensed that a player can work through the simulation and escape the ruined base in a single sitting. The overarching goal is to run through the simulation multiple times, unlocking new characters and areas each time, as well as new personal goals and company quests. Elements in the simulation change and sometimes become harder in later runthroughs, but the player's characters slowly grow in power and abilities, which are carried over from one run to the next. Plus, players can spend earned simulation points to buy equipment for their characters to start with, creating a sense of progress that makes things a little easier.
Is it any good?
Downloadable content (DLC) can be hit or miss in many games, but this expansion pounds the action nail squarely on the head. Prey: Mooncrash is essentially a smaller version of everything that made the original game so compelling. It provides an engaging and emergent story that will have you questioning everything you thought you knew and gives a huge range of abilities and options for both traversing the environment and dealing with enemies. It also offers another mysterious, beautiful, and secret-laden sci-fi world to explore. Don't worry about having forgotten how to play or exploit the original game's intricacies; optional tutorials pop up whenever a new ability or mechanic comes available, ensuring that you know how to make the best use of it. You'll be back to using the goo gun to create platforms to the roof and setting up strategic turrets to ambush your enemies in no time.
If there's a spot where this DLC falls a little flat, though, it's a sense of repetition that sets in after the first half dozen runs. Arkane Studios did a good job of gradually doling out new areas to explore -- and different ways to escape the base -- as players unlock new characters and abilities, but there are parts of the facility that you'll get to know a little too well after traversing them so frequently. Still, when the diverse action and dynamic storytelling are this good, it's hard to complain too loudly. Prey: Mooncrash will remind you why you loved the main game, and leave you hungry for a proper sequel.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. Do you have a hard time keeping from starting up another run through Prey: Mooncrash's moon base the moment you finish one? How many runs make for a satisfying play session?
Is the violence in Prey: Mooncrash acceptable because it's mainly against shapeshifting aliens, or is it problematic because you see bodies and destruction as a result of alien rampages?
Some corporations are so massive they're almost comparable to cities or even small countries, but how do you think governments ought to keep their power in check?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Bethesda Softworks
- Release date: June 11, 2018
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Topics: Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Language, Use of Alcohol, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.