Metroid Prime Remastered on Switch
After years of speculation over whether the Switch will receive a Metroid 3D game in the form of the Prime trilogy, or Metroid Prime 4, Nintendo has decided to immediately announce and release a remaster of the original game by Retro Studios. While it took a while to get to that point, the good news is that it was well worth the wait.
From the start of Metroid Prime Remastered, it’s immediately obvious that this game is much more than the typical HD remaster. Immediately upon stepping onto Talon IV as bounty hunter Samus Aran, the gentle rain and lush green surroundings are just begging to be explored and enjoyed.
Where many developers would normally increase the game’s resolution, Retro Studios has updated the 20-year-old models, given them new textures, and completely overhauled the lighting system to give this remaster a look and feel that rivals some of the best-looking Switch games.
It’s fun to jump into the model viewer and fully appreciate how far this game has come since it was originally released on the GameCube in 2002. Stylistically, the ports arguably don’t look as good as they did in the original version. Still, it’s something you’ll hardly notice when compared to the gorgeous looking environments in Metroid Prime Remastered.
What’s even more impressive is how well the gameplay transferred over from the GameCube version of Metroid Prime. Like any Metroidvania game, there’s backtracking here and there to explore previously discovered areas with newly unlocked abilities. Fortunately, enemies in certain areas change throughout the game to keep things fresh.
Plus, Metroid Prime Remastered’s 13- to 15-hour adventure means that even with rewinding, the game never overstays its welcome. The story slows down a bit as you hunt down Artifacts to get to the final battles, but this section doesn’t last long enough for it to feel like it’s dragging on.
Alternatively, players can spend as much time as they like with this game, hunting for secrets and each upgrade. If that’s not enough, there’s also a hard mode that can be unlocked by completing the game on Normal or Casual difficulties.
Additionally, the high-action combat requires players to stay engaged in the game with four different arm cannons to master and four visors to choose from as well. Testing out different combinations of visors and weapons to best take on specific enemies is almost like a minigame on its own.
Furthermore, the incredibly satisfying platforming in Metroid Prime Remastered was also carried over from the original title. Swinging over magma pits and taking death-defying jumps through the treetops is the best feeling ever. Hardly any FPS before Prime and very few since its launch in 2002 have had such a great platform. It’s admittedly simple with the Space Jump (double jump) and the Grapple Beam being the most complex parts of the platform. Still, the basics are done extremely well.
It doesn’t matter if you like Metroid Prime Remastered for shooting or platforming, there is no bad control scheme to experience the game. Fans of the original will be happy to know that the classic controller style still exists and is compatible with the GameCube controller via the USB adapter. Wii pointer controls are back along with brand new dual stick mode which is essentially the modern fire button layout and hybrid mode which combines classic and motion controls.
While it seems like a small addition, having four distinct control options is huge, but not just for the sake of variety. The original control scheme offers fans of the original game a comfortable way to play, the pointer controls give Wii owners who missed the GameCube something familiar, the dual stick allows FPS fans to easily swipe into game and mode hybrid is there for fans who enjoyed the Wii and GameCube Metroid games. Long story short, it lowers a barrier to entry that could easily dissuade people from playing the game if either of those options weren’t present.
Casual mode in Metroid Prime Remastered just continues to lower the entry difficulty for players not looking for a significant challenge. The Prime franchise isn’t known for being extremely difficult. Still, the addition of a casual mode is welcome for people who aren’t sure about giving the game a try because of its perceived difficulty. Also, the normal mode and hard mode are still there, which means there are plenty of challenges for anyone who wants them.
Even if you’re planning on getting through this game on the hardest difficulty, the best part of the story is that it can be enjoyed simply by reading the log entries at any time. Furthermore, these short world-building paragraphs can even help with difficult enemies and bosses, giving the player hints about what weapons they are vulnerable to or what visor to use if they are invisible in standard vision.
Even without the background information in the logs, it’s not too hard to understand what’s going on in the story just based on your surroundings. At the start of the game, there are several rooms with water filled with poison. Poisoned water gives the player clues to look for the source of the contamination which is a boss.
When defeated, contaminants are removed from the water and it becomes easier to move through certain areas. As a result of this action, thick vines can grow in certain areas that end up blocking other parts of the map. The game is full of examples like this of how to use gameplay and environment together to tell the story of Metroid Prime. It serves to make every inch of the map feel alive.
Finally, what unites Metroid Prime Remastered into a neat and tidy package is the beautifully crafted soundtrack. The relentless driving theme of the Caverns of Magmoor, the delicate desolation of Phendrana Drifts, and the utterly disturbing, almost dissonant noise of the Phazon Mines are just some of the highlights of this stellar work.
Even the game’s little jingles are fantastically memorable. The sound that plays when a secret is discovered awakens a sense of exhilaration that is only rivaled in games by the feeling of hearing the equivalent sound in a Zelda game. The short music that plays on save feels like a breath of fresh air and gets you ready to get back into the fray with renewed vigor (oh, and full health, too).
As a whole, Metroid Prime Remastered is a reminder of Retro Studio’s masterful game-making skills, but also of how great a 3D Metroid game can be. The present and future are clearly bright for the Metroid franchise at that small studio in Austin, TX. After years of stagnation, the Metroid Prime series now looks fresher than ever.
Furthermore, Metroid Prime Remastered sets the standard for remastered games going forward. This title is arguably the most beautiful game on the Switch, and it captures the magic of the original all over again. Metroid Prime Remastered reminded the world why people consider this to be one of the greatest games ever made.
Reviewer: Omar Banat | Award: Choice of editors | Copy provided by the Publisher.
- Fantastic graphics.
- Great controls and lots of options.
- Excellent soundtrack.
- Masterful environmental storytelling.
- Difficulty settings lower barriers to entry.
- Extremely fun gameplay.
- Slows down a bit before the final battles.
Release date of
February 8, 2023