Metroid is making a comeback in a massive way in the 2020s, and Metroid Prime Remastered is the cherry on top.
What happens when you remaster a perfect game in the imagery of perfection? You get Metroid Prime Remastered.
Let me first preface this by saying that I'm a more recent Metroid fan than most, having only started playing the series in recent years. My introduction to the series was the original Metroid game on the Nintendo Entertainment System many years ago. Later, I played Metroid Prime 3: Corruption; although I had no idea what was happening, I loved it. Fast forward to today, and I find myself swooning over Metroid Dread, which I consider my Game of the Year for 2021. Within a month, we received Metroid Prime Remastered and Metroid Fusion ported to the Switch. At this point, I've played through several stages of the series and would consider myself knowledgeable about the Metroid series as a whole, including what makes it great and some of its more frustrating aspects. So, how does Metroid Prime Remastered measure up to the legacy of the original and the Metroid series as a whole?
This is one of the best games I've ever played in my life. It's an open-world action-adventure horror shooter with puzzles and platforming elements. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if there was even a dating simulator hidden somewhere in this game. It's a culmination of so many different styles of games, and it executes every single one of them perfectly. If anything, the Nintendo Switch controllers, especially the pro controller, make it even better than the original game. The lock-on system and fluid shooting controls make any level of gamer a competent enough shooter to survive the battles, even if it takes some practice. Everything that felt finicky to me at first turned out to be my fault as I later figured out what I was doing wrong, such as using lock-on to dodge but remembering to stop using it if I needed to jump. The player feels the most competent, and for lack of better words, cool when they're cycling through visors and weapon types during battles in the late game, using all of the built-up experience with the equipment along the way to show them why Samus Aran is the best there is, was, and ever will be.
The creativity that went into designing Metroid Prime in 2002 is honestly unfathomable. The game was released almost exactly a year after Halo: Combat Evolved, which was considered a pinnacle in the evolution of first-person shooters. However, Metroid Prime blows that mostly linear level style out of the water with its open maps, gameplay growth, and progression. I'll say it, because nobody else will. If Metroid Prime hadn't been exclusive to a single console (GameCube), Halo wouldn't be talked about today, and that's not Halo's fault in the slightest. The amount of abilities, puzzle types, utility, and enemies in Metroid Prime is the work of some of the best minds in video game development. If there is a single game that up-and-coming developers should look to when wanting to make a masterpiece, they need look no further than Metroid Prime.
The uncovering of major plot points comes from snippet cutscenes that showcase a bit of action when things are getting really crazy. Outside of that, the entire story of Talon IV, the Chozo, the Space Pirates, and the Metroids is conveyed through a gameplay mechanic. That's right, story integration comes from the sick gameplay we can't get enough of. The Scan Visor allows Samus to read Chozo Ruins, Space Pirate computers, and scan the environment/enemies to collect data on everything. By reading this information, a whole fleshed-out plot about how the Chozo disappeared, why the Space Pirates are there, and what the Metroids are doing on Talon IV is revealed without a character ever needing to utter a single word. Making Samus just as clueless as the player and having to collect information as you explore makes the player feel synchronized with Samus and the story, able to relate to her style of learning as she goes, as they are doing exactly the same.
Many times my jaw dropped, or I would let out some quite excited exclamations for moments such as seeing Meta Ridley for the first time, discovering what has become of the Chozo, learning what Samus has to do with the story, and of course, watching the sick cutscenes play out as a treat for my journey or successes. The story doesn't take up time on the screen and make you put the controller down and get a snack. It's a part of the gameplay that encourages you to push forward to the next room, the next floor, the next sector. It's a never-ending cycle of excitement where the gameplay makes you curious about the story, and the story makes you excited for the gameplay.
It sounds like the remastered version of Metroid Prime for the Nintendo Switch is a resounding success. The developers not only updated the graphics to look modern and polished but also rebuilt the game entirely to ensure that it runs smoothly at a consistent and stable 60fps. By doing so, they have managed to capture the essence of the original game while also making it feel fresh and new. It's impressive that the remastered version is able to deliver on all the feelings and experiences that players had with the original game, despite being released 20 years ago. Overall, it seems like the remastered version of Metroid Prime is a must-play for both new and old fans of the series.
The soundtrack of Metroid Prime is indeed an integral part of the game, and it has become a cult classic among gamers. The music was composed by Kenji Yamamoto and Kouichi Kyuma, and it perfectly captures the mood and atmosphere of the game. The music ranges from ambient and atmospheric to intense and fast-paced, matching the action and exploration in the game. The use of synthesizers and futuristic sounds creates a unique soundscape that immerses the player in the world of Metroid Prime. The soundtrack has been remastered in the Switch version, and it sounds even better than before. The tracks are faithful to the original, but with improved quality that takes advantage of modern sound technology. The soundtrack is definitely worth listening to, even outside of the context of the game, as it is a masterpiece of video game music.
The Switch version of Metroid Prime is a remaster, so it isn't meant to really bring new game modes or anything too crazy, just clean up or fix things from the original game that might make it look or feel better. It certainly does that, putting a game that is more than the modern standard for game design in an outfit that looks like a game from the current day. We've already talked about the upgraded visuals, though. What about those new controls?
It's great to see that the developers have put effort into providing a variety of control schemes to accommodate different play styles, ensuring that players can have the best experience possible. The small update to the amount of shots fired before the beam charges up is a subtle yet impactful change that can make combat feel more fluid and satisfying.
The addition of Extras is a nice touch that rewards players for their progress in the game, and adds some replay value by allowing them to unlock concept art, 3D models, and music. This is a great way to celebrate the game's legacy and provide fans with some additional content to enjoy.
Overall, it seems like the remaster of Metroid Prime has been done with great care and attention to detail, providing fans with an updated version of the game that stays true to the original while also adding some quality-of-life improvements and new features.
Metroid Prime Remastered – 10/10
I am not a person who gives 10/10 scores just because a game is generally accepted as good or high quality. To give a 10/10 score, I have to believe that a game is the pinnacle of the video game experience, something that anybody can take an interest in playing or watching, and something that will stand the test of time. Twenty years later and we see that Metroid Prime will never be outdated. This will not be its last release because Metroid Prime is a perfect experience. This remastered version of the game is the cherry on top of perfection, and if there is any single game in the world, I would recommend it to every single person at once, it's Metroid Prime. It's the ultimate gameplay experience and stands as a video game that defines the entertainment medium as a whole, as it can't possibly be experienced any other way.