For many, Metroid Prime is one of the greatest video games of all time. To this day, there are few titles like it, and in the 20+ years since it launched on GameCube, it is still a blueprint for game design. In 2002, we saw what Metroid looked like in 3D, making the jump from 2D. This necessary stepping stone for the series proved to be wildly successful as it kept the complex environments while showcasing technical wizardry on one of the world’s most miniature consoles.
When Nintendo stealth dropped Metroid Prime Remastered on February 8, the internet collectively lost their minds. Sure, the rumours have spun time and time again, and it has been a talking point for enthusiasts and journalists for several years. With every new Direct, a new Metroid rumour would enter the discussion but with nothing to show.
That is of course, until this week.
Alienated on Tallon IV
Between the original on GameCube and Metroid Prime: Trilogy, I’ve landed on Tallon IV several times over the years. For some, Prime is comfort food and you’ll know what I mean when hit the main menu and hear the iconic music hit your ears. From the earliest introduction where Samus intercepts a distress signal, it is clear that Nintendo went above and beyond to make this more than a basic remaster. This version of Metroid Prime Remastered was developed by Retro Studios with assistance from Iron Galaxy Studios, among a group of talented studios.
Playing as bounty hunter Samus Aran, finding herself stuck on Tallon IV, stuck having to deal with space pirates. The opening segment where we’re exploring a space station is still one of the best openings to a video game, serving as a tutorial to welcome newcomers.
As with the main Metroid series, in Metroid Prime, you gradually gain abilities such as the morph ball and missiles. These will allow you to access areas we couldn’t reach before. Tallon IV features all sorts of different biomes, from places that are freezing cold (oh, hi Phendrana Drifts) to literal magma geysers (I see you Magmoor Caverns) that require thermal resistance. Metroid Prime Remastered is a game characterized by its wide variety of situations, interesting mechanics and diverse yet powerful enemies and bosses.
Technically, Metroid Prime Remastered runs at 60 frames per second with little issue. And most loading screens are masked by seamless (which is something the original did in 2002) transition, showing how advanced the entry was two decades ago. Without a doubt, Metroid Prime is not only one of the most important and influential action games of all time, but it was a system seller at the time.
Graphically, the port is no slouch either. Everything has been a fresh coat of paint and the entire planet feels more alive than I remember. Some of the minor details to this day are some of the most memorable things about Metroid Prime, like seeing Samus’ reflection in her visor. This trend continues as the trilogy expands, serving a bigger purpose. This even extends to Samus’ hand positions based on the cannon currently equipped, adding some of the most incredible little details that set the series apart from competitors.
Metroid Prime Remastered is far more than a simple coat of paint
Given these are some of the things I’ve noticed that are pretty damn incredible, I feel like it needs to be stated that this is a 1:1 port with nothing new added. What it does add, are several quality-of-life improvements making this port feel right at home on the Switch.
Tallon IV has been recreated with new textures across the board, enemies look far better, and the effects offer something I’d expect of a game developed for the Switch.
But that’s not all, more noticeably, the Switch handles differently compared to the GameCube or the Wii, so you’ll have a modernized control scheme to look around and aim at the same time. It is a huge improvement over the original but that’s not to say purists won’t get the enjoyment of this port as it also retains the original control scheme.
I can’t stress how great seeing Metroid Prime resurface on the Nintendo Switch is. Not only do new generations get to experience an innovative classic, but it also is definitive proof that Retro Studios was ahead of its time. Metroid Prime Remastered is hands down the best version available and should not be skipped over.
Something else I should mention is Samus’ ability to scan environments. You can scan your surroundings and the local wildlife and fauna. This is something only the Prime series offers, so if you’re coming from Dread, then you’ll likely be experiencing this for the first time. Scanning essentially is key to surviving Tallon IV — without it, you’ll miss out on critical information needed to move forward. For enemies, it’ll add context and while it doesn’t have the pacing of new titles, gives you the time to take the information in.
If the stealth drop does anything for the trilogy, my one desire going forward is for Nintendo to understand how much this series means to a lot of people around the world and give the sequels. Nintendo has laid out the groundwork for Prime 2: Echoes and Prime 3: Corruption to receive the same treatment. After all, it seems like Retro has its work cut out given how long fans have waited for Metroid Prime 4. Regardless of your history with Metroid Prime, I can’t stress how incredible the entire series is and with some love from the community, sets up the sequels we sorely desire in this day and age.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: Switch