It’s incredible that Metroid Prime, the initial first-person adventure of Samus, was released more than two decades ago – it makes me feel so old writing this. Despite Nintendo’s recent surprise launch on Switch, the game does not seem outdated like many re-released games from previous generations.
In 2002, Metroid Prime was initially launched on GameCube and was an incredible display of both the hardware of Nintendo and the sheer passion of the developers for the iconic series. Similarly, Metroid Prime Remastered is nearly identical to the original game from many years ago.
The game’s graphics have received a delightful HD update, but it still manages to evoke nostalgia while feeling like a natural fit for the Switch. A significant factor contributing to the game’s magic is the implementation of modern twin-stick first-person shooter controls. It’s the finest Prime experience to date and gives the game a fresh, new feel.
Nintendo previously re-released the Metroid Prime series during the Wii-U era by releasing all three games in one bundle. However, the motion controls were hindered by the motion-focused nunchuck controllers of the Wii, and the re-release lacked the charm of the original. In contrast, the current port of Metroid Prime Remastered is excellent. While the design of everything may still seem old-fashioned due to its angular architecture, the game remains a stunning adventure.
The HD graphics update is full of wonderfully atmospheric lighting and shadows, which enhance the organic themes of the world and ancient technological ruins, making it a fascinating place to explore. The sound design also adds to the overall ambiance, with an excellent score, and top-notch ambient effects that make the game feel undeniably like Metroid while still possessing a uniqueness felt from a new game. This distinctiveness makes Metroid Prime stand out not only from other Metroid games but from most first-person shooters.
Despite being over two decades old, Metroid Prime remains surprisingly fresh, primarily because of its slower, more exploration-focused pacing. The game mechanics involve Samus switching her visor between combat and scanning modes, an integral aspect of the gameplay since there are many things to scan and interact with throughout the landscape.
This is not to say that Metroid Prime is an easy game to smash through. There are intense running sequences, boss fights, and plenty of shooting action as well. However, the overarching feeling of the game is more contemplative and reflective than most shooters we’ve seen since.
Like traditional side-scrolling Metroid games, the design emphasizes backtracking to previously inaccessible areas once Samus has obtained new skills and abilities. The 3D map is critical in keeping track of where you are, but the game doesn’t guide you throughout the exploration process. No objective markers tell you precisely where to go at all times, which ruins most modern-day games for me.
Metroid Prime Remastered is a delightful revival of a classic game that highlights how fantastic it was back then and now. It still boasts impressive graphics and sound, plays better than ever, and remains an unforgettable and unique adventure.