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Prey beginner’s guide: 18 things you need to know

Some tips and tricks to help you survive your first day on the job (and beyond)

Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

Welcome to Prey. A lot of this game is going to feel familiar — you’ll see bits and pieces from a dozen well-loved games in its DNA. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to immediately understand how everything works. That’s what we’re here for. Let’s talk about some of the habits you’re going to have to pick up, concepts you’ll have to learn and choices you’re going to be making as you play. We’re going to break it down into three rough categories: Your world, your enemies (and ways to kill them) and yourself.

Your world

Pick up everything

There are plenty of games where you are faced with countless items to pick up (or items you have to learn to ignore). Prey is not one of those games. Every single item you pick up has a use. There are the obvious things like food (for health) or spare parts (for repairing things) and guns or ammunition, but even (literal) trash has a use. Which brings us to ...

Know where the nearest recycler is

All of that trash, those flowers and the “used” cigars that you’ve got stuffed in your pockets are fodder for the recycler. Recyclers take all of that junk (and anything else you dump in there — like extra weapons) and turns it into raw material. You can get four types of materials: exotic (Typhon parts), mineral (metal), organic (flowers and food) and synthetic (plastics).

Your inventory space is limited, so as your arsenal of weapons increases, the space in your pockets for trash decreases. This is why we say you should know where the nearest (working) recycler is. If you turn that trash into raw materials, it will stack in your inventory and take up less space.

Fabricators and plans

You’re not going to run out of trash any time soon, but you are going to run out of ammo. And that’s why the recyclers are important. But you can’t throw raw materials at the Typhon organisms (well, you can, but it’s not going to do you any good). What you need to do is find a fabricator to feed those raw materials to. Fabricators are 3-D printers for items. What you can print is determined by which plans you’ve found. If you find a plan for shotgun shells, for example, you are no longer at the mercy of the loot gods to reload.

“Are you still there?”

Especially early on in the game, turrets are wonderful allies. You can pick them up and redeploy them in strategic locations, and you can kite Typhons into their lines of fire. Until you are better equipped to face the horrors of Talos 1 on your own (and even after that), use every turret you find. And collect them — three turrets are better than one.

Check every room

You are going to have a pretty straightforward destination to get to at any given point in Prey, and the path to get there is going to be (relatively) similarly straightforward. But the direct path isn’t always the best. There are rooms and doors and detours everywhere. And there are reasons to check every one. New (or extra) weapons, ammo, precious trash, plans or even keycards and door codes could lie behind each door. Our full walkthrough will point out the important ones, but looking in any room you can is the best way to get ahead.

Play your way

Checking all of those rooms isn’t always as easy as just walking through the front door. And that’s where Prey’s level design comes in. Many places have more than one way in. Watch for things like keypads you can hack, scenery you can climb, obstructions you can move or vents you can crawl through. Sometimes the back door will require a special neuromod or ability, which might prevent you from getting in right away. But you should never assume you can’t go somewhere just because the front door is locked.

This applies to the main story as well. Our walkthrough will focus on the most direct paths (and we’ll try to point out the alternatives where we can), but there is likely another way to do it. Keep an eye out for these other approaches if they suit your play style better. For example, doing things like sneaking through air vents and using stealth to bypass enemies will save your ammo.

Read everyone’s email

Related to the last two points is this one: Check every computer you find. With enough snooping through other people’s email, you’ll start to uncover optional objectives and keycodes to rooms you didn’t have access to.

Beyond emails, certain computers — usually ones that are hard to get to — will have a full map of the area for you to download. This will help you find even more rooms full of stuff to explore.

Also, reading emails can earn you an achievement or trophy.

Your enemies and your weapons

Charge your wrench swings

The wrench you pick up in Prey’s first hour is your basic weapon. It never runs out of ammo, and it never needs to be reloaded. You can swing away to your heart’s content (or your stamina’s limit, whichever comes first), but holding down the attack button will charge up a more powerful swing. Even in the beginning of the game, a charged swing from your wrench can end a mimic with just one attack.

Don’t forget about your GLOO cannon

The second weapon you pick up is also indispensable, even though it deals no damage. The GLOO cannon will freeze your enemies in place in a case of foam-like glue. If you can freeze a mimic with your GLOO cannon, they’re much easier to hit since they’re not ricocheting all over the room. (And charging your wrench swing will take them down with one hit.) Tougher enemies, like phantoms, can be frozen in place and kept from attacking while you unload into them.

The GLOO cannon also pairs well with your friends the turrets. Trapping an enemy in their lines of fire will make your turrets more effective (and less likely to get damaged).

Match the weapon to the enemy

We brought up those first two points because of this one: Ammo is pretty scarce (and your inventory is limited). It might feel like you’ve got plenty of shotgun shells, but if you start using your shotgun to take out every mimic, you’re going to run out and be left with nothing but your wrench the next time you find a phantom. Use your weapons and your ammo wisely.


We wrote about mimics here, but it bears repeating: Don’t underestimate them. Mimics can (and will) deal a lot of damage if you’re not careful. Learn what to watch for (two of something right next to each other) and don’t let them gang up on you.

Beyond mimics

Mimics are the basic, goomba enemy of Prey, but they’re not the only Typhon you’ll face. The basics of fighting, though, still apply. Use your surroundings to gain an advantage in a fight (or kite them to a better place), bring along some turrets and GLOO them in place.

Yourself and your gear

Stamina is a thing

Sprinting and swinging your heavy wrench will drain your stamina and leave you vulnerable, so you need to manage your stamina carefully (at least until you can upgrade it with neuromods). If you swing wildly for too long, your attacks become slow and weak. If you sprint for too long, you’ll slow down. Keep an eye on your stamina and make sure you still have something in the tank for when you really need it — like when you’re getting chased by a phantom.

The skill tree gets expensive fast

The first levels of each skill are cheap enough — one or two neuromods each — but the higher levels require four, six or eight. That means that unlocking the third level of any given skill is going to cost you 10 or more neuromods.

All of this is basic math, but here’s why we’re putting it in our Prey beginner’s guide: The second and third levels of each skill are where they get really useful.

Repair 2 lets you can fix turrets. Leverage 3 lets you move those big obstacles (and open unpowered doors). You’ll have to make some choices about what to spend your neuromods on. Spreading your first dozen across the first level of every skill will make you well-rounded, but it’s probably not the best way to play.

All of that is to say this: Plan what you’re going to spend your neuromods on and save them up accordingly.

Repairing your suit, healing and restoring psi

You have three gauges in the bottom left of your screen — health, suit integrity and psi. In much broader terms, you can think of these as your hit points, your shields and your magic or mana. The first two are pretty self-explanatory. Psi is what you’ll use when you activate certain abilities, like combat focus.

Refilling these gauges requires items. The most obvious items for each are medkits (health), suit repair kits (suit integrity, which is really just suit health, kind of like an overshield) and psi hypos (psi). Foods, for the most part, restore a few points of health. Some, though, also restore some psi or cure conditions. Read their descriptions in the inventory screen to find out what they do.

Conditions and statuses

Morgan’s well-being isn’t just limited to those three gauges, though. You will also acquire statuses as you play. Some of these are good — like well-fed, which will increase your health and stamina regeneration — and some are bad — like drunk, which will decrease your stamina, blur your vision and make walking erratic.

Your current statuses will have an icon your HUD in the bottom left (above your health gauge). You can get details on your statuses in your menu on the Status tab.

Expanding your inventory space

Your TranStar suit starts off with 45 slots of inventory space, and everything has to fit in here. You’re going to run out of room in your inventory — probably pretty early in the game, in fact. Luckily, expanding your inventory is pretty easy. Unluckily, it requires a pretty precious resource to do it.

Upgrading your suit requires you to gain the Suit Modification 1 (and then 2 and 3) ability from the neuromod menu. The first upgrade will increase your inventory to 60 slots, the second will increase it to 77 slots and the third will max out your inventory at 96 slots. Getting to the maximum inventory size will take 13 neuromods.

Increasing your health and stamina

Just like expanding your suit inventory, increasing your health and stamina is done in the neuromods menu — the abilities are called Toughness and Stamina, respectively.