A chance to delve back into the life of Samus Aran for our official Metroid Prime Remastered Review? How could I refuse!
Metroid Prime has long been celebrated for being one of the best GameCube titles ever be released, so the chance to see it updated for the Switch felt like a dream come true.
And in some respects it is!
However, while still an incredible game, Metroid Prime Remastered has brought forward not just the positives of the original, but the negatives as well.
Issues that longtime fans may not mind, but newcomers will undoubtedly find annoying; I’m talking about the lack of Save Stations, the awkward Morph Ball camera angles, and a World Map that offers little assistance.
My 14 hour stretch with Samus has been delightfully nostalgic, but also equally frustrating. You could argue that’s part of its charm – that it’s as infuriating as it is entertaining – but for my return to this world, I was hoping for nothing short of perfection.
Is Metroid Prime, and its remastered version, still one of the 14 best Metroid Games of 2023? Yes, without a doubt. However, I fear its hallowed credentials are sustained by returning fans and not new ones…
As a gamer who relishes exploring every secret of a game, Metroid Prime Remastered scratched that itch in abundance. There’s so many extras you can discover along the way, so long as you take the time to look off the beaten path.
Arguably, being rewarded for your exploration is what makes this a classic game – sometimes modern day shooters lack that sense of accomplishment or reward.
Still, it isn’t just the traversing of every ledge that makes exploration feel so beneficial, it’s the fact that exploration is vital for the games progression.
If you fail to find enough Missile Expansions, Samus will struggle in several boss fights; it’s the same with the Energy Tanks too. Without these add-ons, your time with Samus will be extremely hard going.
To be able to lose yourself in a world so completely, not just because you have no choice, but because you want to, is what still separates Metroid Prime Remastered from the rest.
Not Enough Save Stations
Even though I appreciate Metroid Prime Remastered’s dedication to remaining as loyal to the original as possible, the lack of Save Stations hinders gameplay.
I already hear the cries of outrage from longtime fans, believing me a heathen for not understanding that manual saves are all part of the journey, but I’m sorry, manual saving sucks.
Especially when you can play 30-45 minutes straight without a single save point in sight (I’m looking at you, Phazon Mines). To put in all that effort, only to die at the last hurdle, and thus transported all the way back to several areas before? It spoils the enjoyment factor.
Metroid Prime Remastered doesn’t need automatic saves – that would totally take away from the overall atmosphere and tension that the narrative creates.
Nevertheless, more opportunities to save would be welcomed.
It’s Awkward Being A Morph Ball
Perhaps that’s the point, but the camera angles in your Morph Ball form still feel clunky, and can really disorientate you.
As someone who played the original, the Morph Ball brought back fond memories, despite me never being able to properly control it.
But for new players? I feel it will leave a lot to be desired.
Contemporary FPS allow such immersion with camera control – they don’t rigidly hold us in place like the retro games, and while I respect Metroid Prime Remastered keeping the early 00s vibe alive even in 2023, fixed camera angles are a bind.
Visually Sublime, Audibly Iconic
Despite the niggling criticisms I’ve already mentioned, Metroid Prime Remastered is a work of beauty in terms of graphics and sound.
There were so many moments when I just sat there and looked at the visuals, Samus frozen in time, waiting for me to do something, simply because I enjoyed the aesthetics.
One of the most notably beautiful areas is inside the sunken wreckage, and even as I write this, I can’t quite believe it; I hate underwater levels with a passion, I always have. Yet these Metroid Prime Remastered areas were so hauntingly stunning that I found myself in awe.
Then when you add the music of this area, serene and emotive in its ethereal tones, the whole picture is nothing short of breathtaking.
Say what you want about why Metroid Prime Remastered is top-notch, but the visuals and audio unequivocally play a large part.
Adaptable Control Schemes
Before I leave you to continue your journey with Samus, or maybe to begin it, I have to commend the control schemes in Metroid Prime Remastered.
I know I recommended using Dual Stick in my 5 best Metroid Prime Remastered tips for beginners, but that doesn’t mean the others lack merit.
On the contrary, the Pointer, Classic, and Hybrid controls all deliver a different gameplay dynamic, if for nothing more than scratching that nostalgia itch once again.
To be able to truly customise your experience isn’t offered by many new releases, and rarely in remastered games. And the fact you can switch between the four options whenever you want only sweetens the deal.
Retro Dodo’s Final Verdict
Playing as Samus Aran again has been an honour, truly. There’s many newer games that owe their creation to the original Metroid Prime – that game set the bar, and Metroid Prime Remastered has ensured its high quality is maintained.
Even now, as I deactivate my Power Suit, I live in hope that I can dig it out in another Metroid remaster in the not too distant future; we all know Samus has so much more to offer. However, while I long for more from this franchise, it needs to adapt for new players.
Metroid Prime Remastered is a game designed with its original audience in mind, and while this is certainly key to its success, it leaves new players somewhat forgotten.
I have no doubt if I’d never played a Metroid game before, I’d have struggled to fall in love with Metroid Prime Remastered in the same way. This game is very much for original, longstanding fans first and foremost.
Nonetheless, while newbies might not adore it to the same extent, there’s still a lot for them to enjoy. And, to be honest, I envy them being able to experience Metroid Prime in all its rejuvenated glory.
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Emma has loved video games ever since she first saw Alex Kidd platforming across her TV screen. Since then, the 32 year old has dedicated an obscene number of hours to playing as many games as possible. When she isn’t obsessing over games, she spends her time honing her vinyl collection.