Before I begin, let's take a moment to think about it. I used to play video games well, but now I've shifted my focus to playing video games well. I used to be a bit of a... sailor, and would usually quit. Then do it again. And again.
I was dumb — kids are dumb. Metroid Prime was released when I was in second grade, and I remember playing the demo on some promotional disc or something. I think I was already enjoying Sonic Adventure 2, so the "Citizen Kane of video games" was bound to hit my head. I didn't understand what all this scanning was about until my window closed.
First, I want to mention how incrediblely good Metroid Prime Remastered looks, whether you're playing in docked or handheld mode. The graphics are so clear and sharp it's almost like looking into one of those GameCube-era prerendered magazine foldouts.
The design of the Prime games is truly outstanding; it's hard to think of another game that I'd describe as a "first-person shooter adventure." Movement is slow, but the act of looking around is somewhat mitigated by the new dual-stick controls. This leads to an almost meditative state as you enter a new area and maneuver around without seeing anything at all.
When described as that, Metroid Prime has the same qualities as a great old-school point-and-click adventure. Swapping visors to discover secrets or scanning all of the lore in a given location can take a while, but it never feels like time wasted. The world of Tallon IV is meant to be cleaned of its secrets, one upgrade at a time.
With a generous lock-on system, combat becomes as simple as it ever was. The game was never meant to be fun outside of boss fights, after all. Well-placed hint and thoughtfully crafted lead-backs always steer the player in the right direction.
The feeling that you must return to a blocked path, an impassable... passage is shared by everyone; Metroid Prime, with its extensive first-person explorative capabilities, captures this essence to the finest degree. Zones are laid out fairly carefully, and there aren't too many obstacles to go back to.
As per the series norm, bosses are a major highlight. They aren't particularly challenging most of the time, but their fairly grandiose scale makes each of them much more impactful. As a young, dumb kid, I remember being (understandably) terrified of the Parasite Queen — who serves as an intro boss of sorts — and the mysteries surrounding Tallon IV.
It's easy to forget how complex Metroid's lore can be, and I was deeply invested in the ancient Chozo scrawlings which spoke of a deadly poison and their quest to prepare tools for a "chosen one" (Samus) in a ritual to contain it. It's kind of funny, giving a diegetic explanation for all these bizarre powerups being scattered all over the place. "She'll find the Wave Beam and open that one entrance in the
Metroid Prime is an absolute shining example of this sort of thing: From the way the Morph Ball switches things over to a third-person platformer, to the way Samus' visor reacts to environmental dangers, every decision is downright inspired, and it's easy to take for granted in 2023, especially if we got more games of this calibre.
This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game. Nintendo provided a code for the review.