Twenty years ago, Samus Aran entered a new dimension in her first 3D adventure: Metroid Prime. A Space Pirate distress signal set in motion the evolution of the Metroid series, introducing a trilogy of new threats and thrills into the universe.
After several generations of Nintendo consoles and a compilation of the Metroid Prime Trilogy, rumours started to circulate regarding a remaster or remake of the original release. The time has finally come – just over two decades later, we finally get to set foot on Tallon IV once again, this time fully remastered in HD as Metroid Prime Remastered. Could this be the prime release to whet our appetite for the upcoming fourth game in the series? I remember my first immersion into Metroid Prime, my very first foray into the Metroid series. It was soon after my fourteenth birthday, and with some money left over, I was browsing the shelves of new releases at my local HMV. This one Wii title, Metroid Prime Trilogy, caught my eye, not knowing the game would eventually spark my interest and love for the series. I still recall the joy of exploring the diverse environment of Tallon IV, scanning each and every object I could set my eyes on, and admiring the atmosphere of the title. Metroid Prime holds a special place in my heart, so learning that I could now re-experience my adventure on the Nintendo Switch with high-definition visuals was a truly exciting moment.
Set some time after destroying the Space Pirate stronghold on Zebes, Samus intercepts a distress signal upon a space station orbiting Tallon IV. She soon realises the station was used for scientific research and biological experiments by the surviving Space Pirates from Zero Mission. Following an obligatory escape sequence and loss of abilities, Samus pursues the Pirates who fled to the nearby planet in order to rid the scourge of the galaxy once and for all. Little does she know that there are far more devious forces at work which will ultimately bring a new threat into play. Upon your arrival at Tallon IV, you’re essentially left to your own devices, with little guidance on where you need to go next. If the game notices that you’re a bit stuck (regardless if you’re just chilling in Phendrana Drifts), your suit will detect data or energy signatures to gently nudge you in the right direction. As you explore the planet’s diverse biomes, you may find pathways that seem impossible to reach with your basic abilities. Per Metroid fashion, recovering your abilities becomes essential upon traversing the surface of a planet that was once inhabited by the Chozo. Each ability you recover also gives you a sense of power, gradually unlocking Samus’s true potential. Something I adored about the original is how the game tackles the story. You’re free to just get on with your mission as you please, but if you take a moment with your Scan Visor, you’ll have the opportunity to gain insight into the occurrences of Tallon IV. Why have the Space Pirates chosen this planet? What happened to the Chozo inhabitants? Why are the Space Pirates not allowed pets in their research stations? It’s a lot of fun scanning everything in sight; as they say, knowledge is power.
These abilities range from various visors, such as the X-Ray Visor, suit upgrades that grant you protection from hazardous environments, and even the ability to morph into a ball with the Morph Ball. Speaking of the Morph Ball, the Spring Ball returns from Echoes, Corruption and Trilogy, allowing you to jump as a ball by pressing X or flicking your remote upwards; a welcome return that makes Morph Ball Bomb combos easier to manage. For the most part, it’s an absolute joy getting lost on Tallon IV, whether that’s figuring out where to go next or just watching the world go by. With the addition of updated visuals, Samus’s journey is truly a treat for the eyes. It feels that Metroid Prime Remastered goes above and beyond compared to other remasters or enhanced remakes. Retro Studios could’ve been lazy, but instead, it seems they’ve essentially recreated a lot of the assets from the ground up. Metroid has never looked more beautiful. Try shooting a missile at a nearby wall for a glimpse of the hunter behind the visor. It also seems a lot of animations have also been reworked, and don’t get me started on that lighting. Let’s just say if Prime 3 ever gets remastered, Elysia will look absolutely gorgeous; give me hope, Retro!
Another upgrade Metroid Prime Remastered includes is its updated control schemes. There are four main modes of play: Dual Stick, Pointer, Classic, and Hybrid. Dual Stick brings Metroid Prime’s controls up to date, making the game play like modern first-person shooters. There’s an added option, which is easy to miss, that also enables the player to use the gyroscope to move the camera akin to Splatoon 3. Pointer mode is very similar to how Metroid Prime 3 and Trilogy control, allowing you to aim and shift the camera by moving the controller. It works okay, but you’ll never reach the same accuracy as you do in Prime 3 and Trilogy. It’s recommended that you use detached Joy-Cons in docked or tabletop mode as a traditional controller is no fun here. Classic does what it says on the tin and uses the same control scheme the original game uses. With a little modification of the settings, you can also use a GameCube controller too. Finally, Hybrid combines both Classic and Pointer modes, the difference being you have to hold down R or ZR to activate Gyro mode. During my playthrough, I primarily opted for Dual Stick with the Gyro Camera setting enabled.
A few other quality-of-life features have been added to the remaster including a colour-blind mode and a casual difficulty setting which reduces the amount of damage received from enemy fire. In addition to this, each room also loads a lot quicker. In the original, the doors acted like loading screens. Usually, it would take a few seconds for a door to open, allowing the next set of rooms to load. In the remaster, doors open almost instantly, no longer hindering the smooth gameplay. There’s still a little room for improvement however. It would’ve been nice to see some other features that have been introduced in more recent titles. A feature I would’ve found incredibly useful while getting lost is the ability to set waypoints so I’m not having to constantly reopen the map to ensure I’m heading in the right direction. This would’ve saved some time when I accidentally looped back on myself! A setting that highlights areas on the map worth exploring for suit expansions similar to Metroid Dread would’ve been nice too. Perhaps it’s something to think about for future updates or further potential remasters.
Metroid Prime Remastered truly shows how a remaster should be done. The updated visuals are an absolute joy for the peepers, especially on the Nintendo Switch OLED Model, and the variety of control schemes offer a range of options to suit your playstyle. Everything this remaster does enhances your adventure through Tallon IV and offers newer Metroid aficionados a chance to experience how Metroid Prime first started, preparing them for what lies ahead in Metroid Prime 4. Ultimately, the title is still a lot of fun to play, now it just looks even better doing so! As amazing as this game is, it is fairly disappointing that the credits from the original game have been completely omitted in this release, instead replaced by a single sentence: ‘Based on the work of Metroid Prime (Original Nintendo GameCube and Wii Versions) Development Staff’. It’s honestly heartbreaking that all the staff who worked tirelessly on the original 2002 title aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Seeing how many remasters and remakes, such as The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D and even Metroid Prime Trilogy, have a separate section to include the credits from their original counterparts, it’s a shame that this hasn’t been done in Metroid Prime Remastered. We hope that Retro Studios and Nintendo both recognise this and rectify their mistake in a future update soon. In the meantime, if you’d like to show your support, the credits from the original game can be read on Wikitroid.
Written by Leon