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Metroid Prime Remastered Review

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MetroidPrimeRemasteredboxart.thumb.jpg.160ee8b2c9383171d6c02bb888afbb93.jpgAs the wait for Metroid Prime 4 stretches on, Metroid fans will have to content themselves with simply replaying one of the best games of all time. Metroid Prime was an absolute shock when it first released in 2002, partially because, not counting the simultaneous release of Metroid Fusion, it had been about eight years since the previous Metroid game (can you imagine waiting such a long time for more Metroid?) and partially because putting the Metroid formula into a first-person adventure seemed unfathomable. The doubters were proven wrong though, and now new players can enjoy revisiting the absolute magic of Samus's premier first-person quest with Metroid Prime Remastered.
First, a quick rundown of the original game. As the original foray into first-person Metroid gameplay, you might imagine there were some flaws to work out over time, but the truth is the GameCube original was completely outstanding. The first-person shooting worked nicely even with the more tank-like controls of the GameCube's unique controller, and the opportunity to explore and discover secrets in a 3D world was enchanting. Metroid Prime masterfully translates the joys of Metroidvania exploration into a 3D adventure, with hidden items, backtracking, and massive bosses. Swapping among different arm cannon beams and visors was a smart, fluid way of incorporating familiar Metroid elements while making it all feel natural in a 3D environment. Investigating every little detail and creature with the scan visor was immensely satisfying and added up to a great sense of storytelling and depth while remaining mostly optional for anyone not interested. And of course, the sense of isolation and exploration was perfect. Even without the upgrades that this remaster brings, the core Metroid Prime experience absolutely holds up as an engaging, exciting, and mysterious adventure.
And all of the upgrades in Metroid Prime Remastered simply make the experience better. The HD overhaul is the biggest and most obvious change, but it's still hard to overstate how amazing this new version of Metroid Prime looks. Fans of the original will be stunned when they see familiar locations brought to life with more detail, more complex shading and particle effects, notably on Samus's visor. In fact, new players may be shocked that this is all based off of a 20 year old game at all. You'd be hard-pressed to find the "seams," so to speak, that show that this was originally an SD game from three console generations prior. It helps that the game runs at a silky smooth 60FPS, meaning there's no choppy animation and in fact virtually no load times as you move from room to room (a small improvement over the original game). It's also a testament to how excellent the original game's art style and art direction was that it all translates into HD visuals with such stunning clarity.
The controls are the other major addition to Metroid Prime Remastered, and no matter how you like to play you'll find accommodations here. Traditionalists will be happy to find a "classic" control scheme that mimics the original GameCube's. It's great to have as an option, though anyone used to the kind of dual-stick FPS controls that have become standard with shooters will be happy to find a more modern control system as well, which allows you to move with one stick and aim with the other, using ZR and R to fire your beam and missiles. Despite not being the original intent for the game, this dual-stick setup works wonderfully and many players will probably prefer it. Finally there are the gyro controls, which inch a little closer to the Metroid Prime Trilogy's IR controls on the Wii. Perhaps if you're a seasoned Splatoon pro you'll be happy with the motion-controlled gyro aiming here, but ultimately it doesn't feel as smooth or natural as it should be. The Wii's IR controls worked beautifully but here the gyro aiming never quite feel natural.
There are a couple other small changes that consolidate various little differences between the GameCube and Wii versions as well as the North American and Japanese versions. It's nice to have more little options but they don't fundamentally affect the experience. The only other notable addition is the extended gallery that adds even more lovely concept art to enjoy.
Metroid Prime Remastered takes a masterpiece and makes it even better. Upgraded visuals and control options may seem like superficial changes, but they do an excellent job of making Metroid Prime at home on a modern system, and they're well worth the return to the planet of Tallon IV. Even without considering the original game's age, the visuals look fantastic on the Switch and hold up against any other recent release. Metroid Prime was an unprecedented joy when it first released in 2002, and Metroid Prime Remastered keeps that experience alive in a beautiful way.
10 out of 10 Metroids
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