It wants to be different, that much is clear from the off. From the widescreen presentation of each scene to the smartass split screen cameras, Prophecy sets its agenda with astounding production values. What starts as a seemingly psychotic-homicide (committed by main character and loner Lucas Kane) quickly evolves into a well paced tale, mixing gameplay driven character background studies with ‘innovative’ action sequences.
Not once were we asked if we’d like to “take the shotgun?” or “use the switch?” Your initial goal, it transpires, is to help Lucas prove his innocence. While in the broadest of senses this involves (occasionally clunky) point-and-click style investigation, Prophecy gives you the chance to play through scenes with it’s amazing 'use the sticks to do things' control system. It sounds like a minor point but by being actually able to sweep, open, push, swim and so on, the game becomes much more immersive.
Examples? You wake up on the morning after the murder and you must wash and get ready for work. Acceptance of such day-to-day mediocrity makes it all the more nerve shattering when a policeman knocks at the door, leaving you with only moments to hide the bloody evidence littered around. When was the last time a game threw a curveball like that at you?
We can’t stress enough how integrated the gameplay and plot are - it’s far beyond anything else. Another example? It’s late at night, and Lucas’s guest - an ex-girlfriend - is reluctant to leave. When the option to say goodnight or lunge in for some tonsil tennis pops up, we go for the latter.
It all goes smoochingly for about three seconds, before she leaves in an uncomfortable trail of muttered apologies. Then watch in horror as the game-calculated mental meter of the already-unhinged Kane plummets from severely unhinged to borderline suicidal. It’s a real wake up call. You suddenly grasp what is happening - you can mess with these guys on a whim. We almost drove him to suicide - it’s possible - just to see what might happen.
Suddenly you’re thinking twice about the laws of cause and effect in the gameworld, making the story that you allow to unfold - because it’s that heavily under your control - that much more compelling. With the chance to control three further key characters in the game - including the police officers hunting for Kane - you soon realize that your goal is not to save Kane, but to find the truth about the seemingly demonic murder without accidentally ruining someone’s life.
It almost goes without saying that everything looks brilliant. There’s a huge world to pad around and, while you’re aware of the boundaries you’re so involved and able to do pretty much anything (and screw with the plot and action as a result) that you never feel hemmed in. There are some superb moments of horror too, that easily stand up to Silent Hill 2. On those rare occasions when this game did go for shocks, it scared the living shit-rocks out of us.