Metroid Prime RemasteredSwitch ¦ action
Samus Arun has been around the space block, ever since debuting in 1986 in the 2D action platformer Metroid for the NES.
Things got a little more spicy for her in 2003 when she appeared in the 3D action adventure title Metroid Prime for the GameCube. And although it’s been described as a first-person shooter, Nintendo preferred to describe it as a “first-person adventure”, which there’s no doubt it is.
It’s since been hailed as a true classic, which saw a number of sequels, as well as the game itself reappearing on the Wii, so when a fourth game in the series was announced at E3 in 2017, it got a lot of people very excited indeed. But as the years rolled on, and a further announcement from Nintendo saying that the development of the game had to start all over again, with Retro Games now looking after it, very little has been heard of it since.
But you can’t keep a good bounty hunter down, so it seems, as the long rumoured remaster of the original recently dropped out of the blue, onto the Switch.
So how does this remaster of a classic play on Nintendo’s current console?
First it should be established what a broad term ‘remastered’ is in gaming. It’s a term bandied about more than any time right now, as so many studios are looking through their gaming portfolios to see which of their titles can be dusted down and made available once more.
Essentially, most remastered titles are given a visual and audio makeover, to make them playable on current consoles. Now how much tinkering is down to the individual studio, which is why a ‘remastered’ game can vary wildly in quality.
With this game however, Retro Studios have set the ‘remastered’ bar incredibly high, with the astonishing achievements they’ve made with it.
To be fair, the source material is a classic. You play a bounty hunter set out on a voyage of discovery. You’re initially fully equipped to take on all foes, but then you lose everything except for your basic suit and weapon. Then through exploration, you recover your items, one by one, which grants you access to new areas to explore.
You also play through the fairly unique perspective of inside your suit, looking through your visor, and relying on its HUD (Heads Up Display), and your ability to scan your environ.
Of course all of the basic gameplay elements of the game are intact, with some additions when it comes to the controller; as inventive as the GameCube controller was, controlling Samus was a little fiddly to say the least, on occasion. Retro Studios have acknowledged this by implementing the standard controls you would have for any first person shooter, and it works beautifully.
So it plays incredibly well now, but how does it look?
It was always a visually impressive game back in the day, but Retro Studios haven’t just given the game a makeover, they’ve pimped it to the nines. So much so that the game has to be considered one of the best looking on the Switch. So much so that if you’ve never played the game before, and there will be a whole generation that haven’t, it will look and play as fresh as it did 21 years ago.
The kind of game they can expect is, as Nintendo described, a real adventure. It is a game, above all, that rewards exploration. It slowly drip feeds you what you need to progress, as you make your way though the varied levels.
It may, even now, frustrate you at times, as Samus truly is the queen of double-backing, as there will be areas shut off to you, where you will have to scan and explore your terrain thoroughly, for you to progress.
There is a problem however, not with the game itself, but in the incredible feat Retro Studios have pulled off, for this will be the game that all those with the ‘remastered’ tag will from this point on be compared to. This won’t be entirely fair however, as other studios won’t necessarily have the budget or skill as Retro Studios had at their disposal, so results will still continue to vary.
But this game alone is a marvel. It has obviously been created not just from a skilful point of view, but clearly out of love for its subject matter.
It is a game that helped define the first person shooter genre, and with Retro Studios care and attention to detail with this remaster, it continues to do so, which is some achievement.
A classic reborn.