The new benchmark for remastered games

In 2002, many of us old school metroid fans were concerned about the series’ move to 3D with Metroid Prime. However, when the game was finally released, it nailed the 3D approach. So to have this game remastered and still feel like new is pretty remarkable.

Defined between the first metroid game and Metroid II, Metroid Prime introduces us to the strange and very dangerous substance known as Phazon. Highly radioactive and mutative as a result, it’s also more than a little sentient.

Drawn to the planet Tallon IV, Samus is faced with her old enemy, the Space Pirates, trying to leverage Phazon for a new weapons program. The previous Chozo colony was seemingly wiped out by the Phazon infection and now Samus is stuck in the middle trying to fix things.

from Metroid Prime the setting was almost as important as how the game was played, not least in terms of how the narrative was delivered, although I’ll get to that in a moment.

Gameplay is what defines Metroid Prime aside and to understand why, I need to explain a little about the previous 2D games in the series.

metroid previous games had a lot of involved platforming sections and complex level design. So when it was announced that this game time was being switched to 3D, many players were skeptical that it would work.

That’s because the first-person platform had already been a nightmare in other games. Judging distances and where you needed to go was much more difficult when in first person.

Metroid Prime fixed all of that by making the gaps you had to jump a lot less rigid, and kept the level design more compact and simple. This meant that you could not only navigate an area without getting lost, but also not tear your hair out trying to jump between platforms.

This was the first thing that Metroid Prime resolved, but what really made this whole gel together was how the game added different viewfinders and divided up your weapon types.

There are a total of four visors and four types of weapons in the game. For the visors you had combat, scan, thermal and x-ray. For weapons, you had power, wave, ice, and plasma.

Doors, as above metroid games, required different weapons to open, but it was the combat that changed all that a few points.

Certain enemies didn’t operate in the visible spectrum, so switching to different viewfinders helped track them. Furthermore, enemies also required different weapons to take down. When you mixed it all together, you had to switch sights and weapons on a case-by-case basis, often in the same room to track what was going on.

It was an amazing setup and the mastering was absolutely necessary to proceed. Admittedly, this sort of visor/weapon swap didn’t occur until later in the game, but it’s a good example of how Metroid Prime reexamined the core of what is a metroid game was supposed to be and came up with something new.

Viewfinders also helped with navigation and puzzle solving, with the scanning viewfinder informing you of the points of interest in each area and how certain enemies should be dealt with.

The scan viewer was also the primary means by which much of the game’s history and past was told. That made all the appearance of from Metroid Prime story tied to the game’s inherent exploration structure. You discovered the story as you went along, with each area adding geographical context to what had happened.

This is where I enter this new Remastered version and why it’s really remarkable. All of the above is still true, but now the game looks totally amazing.

Metroid Prime it was already a beautiful game, but this one Remastered update is a big improvement visually. It’s also insanely faithful to the original game, not just in terms of a plethora of small aesthetic improvements, but even more attractive looking environments.

The game also plays identically to how it did on the GameCube and later Wii, though the motion controls are a bit off on the Switch.

You also have a new dual analogue setup for the controls, but I would recommend sticking with the GameCube setup.

This is because in the original game, switching visors was mapped to the D-pad and weapons were on the C button. This meant you had two independent controls for visors and weapons. In the new dual analog setup for Switch, switching visors and weapons is mapped to the D-pad, with weapons accessed by holding the X button.

It seems like a small change, but when combat starts later in the game, that extra layer of control input to access a different weapon gets in the way.

However, there is a definite learning curve with the original GameCube controls and many may find the dual analog setup more familiar.

Another visual change noted online is that the ports on the Remastered version looks much simpler compared to the GameCube original. However, I understand why this decision was made.

In the original GameCube game, the environments were beautiful to look at, but rather plain in terms of texture detail. So, in order for the doors to stand out more, they were visually more complex. conversely in this Remastered version, the environments are much more detailed, so in order for the doors to be clearly visible, they have been simplified in terms of texture.

While some might want to get the old doors back, being able to crawl your way through an area cleanly and straightforwardly is something the original game stood for and this implementation is definitely true to that.

A final, albeit minor, point is that both Metroid Prime It is Metroid Fusion were originally released at the same time and consequently had shared functionality. There, you can connect your Game Boy Advance to the GameCube and share data, how to unlock Fusion Suit in Metroid Prime.

It seems that this functionality is no longer present, at least not currently, but I suppose it is compensated by much more extensive Extras sections with more galleries.

General, Metroid Prime Remastered is a surprisingly accurate remake of a definitive gaming classic. Not just in terms of its great visuals, but also how nearly identical it is to the original. Even for a game that’s over two decades old, Metroid Prime it still looks as fresh and functionally relevant as ever. If only most modern first-person games had level design as good as this one.

Metroid Prime Remastered

Platform: To replace

Developer: retro studio

Editor: nintendo

Released: February 8, 2023

Price: $39.99

Punctuation: 10/10

Disclosure: I bought this game with my own money and ended up with 100% item completion.

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