Metroid Prime Remastered Review: Samus smashes it in perfect remaster
Metroid Prime Remastered is a complete HD makeover of one of the all-time greats, and original developers Retro Studios, along with Iron Galaxy Studios, have helped this masterful icon stay true to its identity.
After completely skipping the N64 altogether, Nintendo’s storied Metroid franchise returned on the Gamecube with 2002’s Metroid Prime, moving away from the conventional 2D, side-scrolling action we’ve seen in the likes of Metroid Dread and instead delivering a first-person-inspired game.
The original was deemed a masterpiece and has one of the highest Metacritic review scores of all time. So it’s not a shock to see that fans have been begging for a Metroid Prime Trilogy remaster for years.
Nintendo Switch players now have the opportunity to delve into Metroid Prime 1 Remastered, and thanks to a refined control scheme and top-notch visual qualities, it’s a stunning remaster of a legendary title that’s aged very well.
Metroid Prime Remastered: Key details
- Price: £34.99/$39.99
- Developer: Retro Studios/Iron Galaxy Studios
- Release Date: February 8, 2023
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Metroid Prime Remastered trailer
Samus’ story is simple yet effective
An abundance of Space Pirates stands in the way of Samus Aran once more as the battle-hardened hero immediately jumps into the action by landing on a ship whose crew has been overwhelmed by the hostile force.
Within minutes, Metroid Prime Remastered has you exploring, platforming, and ultimately going toe-to-toe with a sizable boss — just Metroid things.
From there, Samus winds up on Tallon IV where she finds traces of the Chozo race and needs to explore the planet to uncover its history while tackling a large helping of Space Pirates and regaining lost Suit abilities.
A majority of the game’s story and lore are tucked away in data entries that can be found all over the game’s various areas, adding an extra layer of depth to Metroid Prime Remastered’s simple premise – recover 12 Artifacts and save the planet.
There aren’t many cut scenes and the narrative is pretty slim, but it’s enough to explain Samus’ purpose and ultimate goal in the game. Besides, this leaves more time for you to get back into the action.
Metroid Prime Remastered gameplay is still a GOAT
I should preface this by saying I haven’t played the original Metroid Prime, so this experience was new to me – as it will be for many people playing the remastered version for the first time in 2023.
Some games and series are sometimes so far ahead of their time that you can scarcely believe it. Metal Gear Solid is known for being a classic example of this, but I firmly believe that Metroid Prime Remastered had no right to be this good when it debuted in 2002.
Described by Nintendo as a “first-person adventure” game, Metroid Prime focuses on exploration, platforming, and puzzle-solving just as much as it does its combat.
Throughout your 10-20 hour journey – and your runtime really will depend on your intuitiveness and desire to discover – you’ll fight countless creatures across the game’s main hub areas.
Phendrana Drifts will send an icy chill down your spine with its cold climate and blue enemies, whereas the sweltering heat of the Magmoor Caverns will have you begging for someone to turn the air conditioning on.
You’ll become acquainted with these locations very quickly too as the gameplay loop keeps players cycling through the same sections to access new areas, find helpful upgrades, and progress the game’s natural story.
While ‘backtracking’ may be regarded as an ugly word in gaming, Metroid Prime Remastered makes it an art form as most loops have a real sense of purpose and the repetition doesn’t grate.
Going through the Chozo Ruins for the 20th time is made fun as by then you’ll have gained game-changing skills such as a Double Jump, negating time-consuming obstacles you previously needed to overcome, or the ability to cling to walls using Samus’ Morph Ball form.
Earning a new ability will usually take place near an elevator or path that will inevitably take you back to an area you needed that item for. Failing that, objective markers and hints will also help to push you in the right direction — it’s all logical.
But it’s not just Samus that changes, so do the levels. New enemies will appear, and unsurprisingly, things will get harder the stronger you get. In essence, this is an early form of what we now know as Roguelike games, again, an example of Metroid Prime Remastered being way ahead of the curve.
You have four main guns each with additional functions and four visors that you will all need to switch between to capitalize on enemy weaknesses and reveal hidden items. Enemies and doors will require certain guns meaning that you will have to diversify your tactics to survive.
I also found that Metroid Prime Remastered casts the onus on the player to become stronger, which was refreshing compared to the traditional XP system found in many modern games. You want more life? You’ll need to seek out Energy Tanks. Tired of running out of missiles so quickly? Use your scanner to find breakable surfaces concealing Missile Expansions.
These are things that you’ll need to do, as the game will spike in difficulty later on. It’s a challenge, but a fun one that is indicative of older game design before games like Demon’s Souls came along to remind gamers of how things used to be.
The boss fights are epic, the sense of progression is almost euphoric at times, and the game handles like a dream when using a modern controller such as the Switch Pro Controller.
The sights and sounds are Prime
Another area that Metroid Prime Remastered absolutely smashes out the park is its sound. The soundtrack is infectious with virtually every piece of music being liable to keep you awake at night with its catchiness and capacity to cause fear.
Every track is memorable and covers a wide range of moods. One second it will flirt with softer electronic rhythm before blasting you with anxious, horror-driven beats in the heat of full-scale conflict. It doesn’t matter how late into the game you get, coming head-on with Chozo Ghosts or Space Pirates never stops being unnerving.
The HD polish refines what were already considered to be stellar graphics and they make locations and character models pop.
Tie all of these components together and you’ve got an electric atmosphere that is slyly a terrific motivator in making you want to do those repeated level cycles.
Verdict – 5/5
This is as easy a perfect score as you’re likely to ever see. Metroid Prime was a masterpiece back in 2002, and it holds up impeccably in 2023.
Everything synergizes, each and every element cohesively blends into one another, and there is not an ounce of effort wasted. Metroid Prime Remastered has been in demand for years for a very good reason: It’s a flawless, fun work of art that makes the wait for Metroid Prime 2 and Metroid Prime 3 Remastered, and the upcoming Metroid Prime 4, feel even longer.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
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