Metroid Prime Remastered Review

Metroid Prime Remastered Review Image

A lot of the things I once really enjoyed as a teenager about Metroid Prime, I’ve now come to adore even more on a second playthrough some twenty-plus years later. Its atmosphere once seen as moody and sombre, is now appreciated as a masterclass in how to elevate an environment from being just a playground to wonder about to a living, breathing world. The backtracking from biome to biome, originally a tad frustrating now appreciated more for its creation of mystery and puzzle-solving. The fact is, while my view may have changed on Metroid Prime, the game itself (aside from the obvious visual and control improvements) has remained the same, a testament to just how excellent it has aged.

In this entry of the Metroid series, Samus Aran intercepts a distress call from the Space Pirate frigate Orpheon whose crew have met an unfortunate end courtesy of their genetically modified subjects using a substance called Phazon. After a quick encounter with a rather intimidating Parasite Queen, Samus makes her escape from the soon-to-explode ship and lands on a nearby planet by the name of Tallen IV.

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What follows is your tried-and-true Metroidvania-style adventure as you explore connected biomes taking on enemies and slowly growing your line-up of weapons and abilities to then unlock newer areas and newer weapons and abilities and so on and so forth. Going from a malfunctioning suit with little more than a beam cannon at your disposal to unlocking the ability to enter into morph ball and explore snaking tunnels to completely decking out Samus with every weapon and ability is an exciting force that always compels you to continue on your journey for just five more minutes in hopes you reach your next reward. Samus’ suit will see a lot in the way of upgrades and not a single one feels wasted nor underwhelming to put into action. While weaponry is always an unsurprising pleasure to see become more powerful, even the more mundane additions like a double jumping pair of space boots or thermal visor create some interesting scenarios.

Of course, every Metroid game pre-Prime had been a 2D side-scroller, making this the first adventure in the series played from a first-person perspective. It was a risky move but one that would change the very course of the series as we knew it.

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Despite sporting the typical trademarks of a first-person shooter, Metroid Prime is better described as an adventure first and gunfighter second. Sure, you’ll be doing a decent share of blasting away foes (more on that in a moment) but what you’ll find yourself spending more time doing is simply exploring the many biomes of Tallen IV, solving its numerous puzzles and traversing its challenging terrain with some careful platforming. It’s an unexpected focus for a first-person game but one that gels so effortlessly when it comes to Metroid Prime. Shooting aside, gradually growing your set of tools and figuring out their use to solve puzzles is always satisfying, from using the x-ray visor to reveal hidden platforms to powering up machines with your wave beam to timing the use of your boost in morph ball form to ride higher and higher in a half pipe Tony Hawk-style.

Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that the game does such a stellar job of making you truly feel like an outsider on this strange and dangerous world. From scanning and learning of its many creatures, robots and plant life with your scanner visor to its unnerving atmosphere, to blindly following your gut through door after door, section after section. Tallen IV feels like the sort of intimidating place where everything poses a threat and only continues to grow in severity the deeper you explore the world itself.

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Then of course you have the aforementioned combat. Unlike more traditional shooters, in Metroid Prime you’re able to lock on to your enemies, strafing and darting around without breaking eye contact. Far from a feature to make the game too easy, it in fact allows players the ability to manoeuvre about the environment whilst dealing with foes making combat feel far more agile and free-flowing. Of course, you’ll come across enemies that require a little more thought than simply hammering on the fire button, some that need you to freely aim for certain weak points. Others that can’t be seen without turning on your x-ray or thermal visor. You’ll even have to contend with some enemies by utilising the morph ball. Regardless of their method of dispatch though, from Tallen IV’s tiny bug-like creatures right up to its behemoth-sized monsters it’s never anything short of fun dealing with plentiful wildlife.

While a straightforward HD-afying of the original Metroid Prime would have certainly been nice enough (not to mention on par considering previous Nintendo ports like 2020’s Super Mario 3D All-Stars), what we actually wound up getting is easily one of the best updates the company has ever produced. Everything from character models to the lighting to the environments themselves has been given a fresh lick of paint… in fact calling it that does the game a disservice. While the actual content of the game is exactly as you remember it, from a visual standpoint it feels more like a remake. Even the controls have seen an update offering numerous options catering to fans of the original, motion-controlled converts and those used to more modern methods.

Metroid Prime Remastered ticks all the boxes. Not only one of the best Metroid games out there, not only one of the best single-player adventures ever, not only an amazing remaster… you get the idea. The bar has been set when it comes to bringing GameCube classics to Nintendo Switch and I for one hope we see plenty more.

Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Nintendo

Total Score
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