True to its “immersive sim” lineage, Prey is a game that encourages one to play their own way. Arming protagonist Morgan Yu with six categories of skill trees, developer Arkane Studios doesn’t force players to invest all of their Neuromods (the game’s skill points) into only one or two paths. But with so much freedom, which of the skills found across the Scientist, Engineer, Security, Energy, Morph or Telepathy trees are best to spec toward? Out of more than 40 available options, here are Prey’s ten most useful skills:
A prerequisite for much of this list, you’ll want to unlock Repair I as early as possible. Using spare parts, Repair lets Morgan cut out a great deal of backtracking by allowing her to fix any broken Recyclers or Fabricators she finds. It can also make Talos I a safer place by letting her fix deadly broken electrical junctions, as well as its Typhon-hunting turrets (just make sure she gets her own Typhon-infused body out of their lines of sight first). Repair III might not be worth the eight required Neuromods, but the skill’s first two levels are game-changing.
Spending the two measly Neuromods on Dismantle will make you glad you first invested so many into Repair I and II. This skill gives Morgan the ability to break down the many uselessly identical weapons she’ll find littering the station into more spare parts than she’ll know what to do with. Seriously, you’ll have too many. Luckily, a quick trip to a Recycler will let Morgan turn her extra parts into much more useful synthetic and mineral crafting components, making essentials like ammo and weapon upgrade kits that much easier to fabricate.
3. Suit Modification
While it’s great that Talos I holds an infinite amount of valuable, repurposable junk, we can’t say the same for Morgan’s suit. Available as soon as she unlocks Repair I, each level of Suit Modification expands her tiny inventory (as well as allows her to pack two extra stat-buffing chipsets into her suit) so she can carry as much of that sweet trash as possible.
4. Materials Expert
Unlockable from the start of the game, this three-neuromod skill increases Morgan’s recycling yield by a whole 20 percent. Not only does this upgrade mean 20 percent more items at the Fabricator, but it’s required to install Lab Tech I in the Engineer tree, which you can use to upgrade weapons like the ever-useful GLOO Cannon and the Q-Beam.
5. Impact Calibration
Prey’s beginning is hard. Morgan’s guns are weak (if she’s even found them yet), she won’t unlock Typhon Abilities for a while, and enemies can do a ton of damage. Make the game’s early hours significantly less rage-inducing by buffing her trusty wrench with Impact Calibration. The ability’s second level raises the weapon’s damage by a whopping 50 percent, saving you ammo and stress in equal measure.
Even once Morgan finds her guns, they’re pretty weak before they’re upgraded. This may be an obvious one, but she’ll get a lot more out of each bullet if you invest in the Firearms skill as soon as she’s got a trigger to pull. Available in the Security tree from the start of the game, the second level of this ability raises gun damage and critical hit chance to 150 and 10 percent, respectively.
This skill lets Morgan harvest a good deal more Typhon material from dead alien enemies. What does that mean? More exotic material from the Recycler. What does that mean? More Neuromods from the Fabricator! As soon as you complete the quest called “Copy Protection” (triggered after first crafting a few Neuromods, the blueprint for which you’ll find in Psychotronics), you’ll be able to craft as many Neuromods as Morgan has materials for. Available in the Scientist tree after unlocking Physician I, you’re going to want to snag Necropsy ASAP for maximum upgrading.
8. Machine Mind
As we mentioned in our 10 Tips For Playing Prey, it behooves players to unlock Machine Mind in the latter half of the game. Not only will this give Morgan a mechanical ally for at least 30 seconds, it gets those flying, fire-flinging Operators quickly off her back in tougher firefights. Available after unlocking the less important Remote Manipulation, players will first need to scan Technopaths and their Corrupted Operators with Morgan’s Psychoscope. The earliest Technopath can be found floating in Talos I’s Exterior during “Through A Glass Darkly,” with two more later being spotted through a G.U.T.S. window and in the Arboretum.
Aside from sounding like a scrapped System Shock successor, Psychoshock is perhaps the most powerful of Prey’s Typhon abilities. Both dealing hefty damage and nullifying enemy psi powers for up to 20 seconds, it’ll turn even boss-like enemies (I’m looking at you, Nightmare) into easily-felled chumps. To unlock this ability, Morgan will need to scan Telepaths and their mind-controlled human slaves, which can be found in both the Arboretum’s greenhouse and the empty pool in Crew Quarters.
10. Mimic Matter
Mimics and Morgan’s mimic ability are what make Prey special. Available as soon as the player obtains the Psychoscope in Psychotronics (and scans the required number of Mimics), Mimic Matter lets Morgan turn into just about any object she finds. Not only does this provide a hilarious new avenue for stealth, but it opens up the game’s hidden areas to any players creative enough to access them. The skill is so handy that it actually precluded a number of otherwise-useful abilities (like Hacking and Leverage) from making it onto this list of essentials.
A former Paste intern and recently graduated screenwriting student living in San Francisco, Peter Amato is new to being paid to write about videogames. Help shepherd this nervous, disconcertingly tall little boy toward having a career by following him on Twitter @Peter_Amato.