Lately the Metroid series has been having a resurgence—which is fantastic. It’s one of my favorite franchises. One of my earliest memories is watching my mom play through Metroid, and I love Super Metroid so much that I play it at least once a year. Metroid Prime was one of the best games that came from those early, clumsy attempts at turning 2D games into 3D, and it still holds up today as one of the best games ever made.
Metroid Prime Remastered is a first person adventure game. In it, you play as Samus Aran, bounty hunter and iconic video game character in her first 3D game. This remastered version isn’t built from the ground up, but it does utilize high definition textures, and some new geometry to make Samus and the planet of Tallon IV look as good as they can. Despite Metroid Prime releasing eight years after the previous Metroid game (which was Super Metroid) it chronologically takes place between the original NES Metroid and the Gameboy Metroid II.
Despite its confusing chronological placement, Metroid Prime is considered one of the best Metroid games ever made—and this Nintendo Switch release does a great job bringing it to modern audiences.
While Metroid Prime released in a time when first person shooters had a control scheme that was pretty well established, developer Retro Studios decided to go with a control scheme that didn’t allow for dual stick aiming. And while this scheme is preserved in the Remaster, thankfully you have the chance to choose between more conventional dual stick controls, and also motion controls. I played using the dual stick controls, and it was an absolutely fantastic way to re-experience Metroid Prime. The lock-on system still exists, too, which allows for a pretty unique way of moving and shooting that is extremely fun.
If you’ve ever played a Metroid game, or heard the term metroidvania, you might already have an idea of how gameplay is in Metroid: Prime. You fight enemies using your arm cannon while exploring, uncovering secrets and ways to get to areas you haven’t been yet as you go. Often, to proceed, you’ll need some sort of upgrade—whether it’s a new suit to survive hot environments, a weapon to open a specific door type, or a way to traverse to an area you haven’t been to. Metroid Prime: Remastered is a great example of a metroidvania style game, and even better—a rare first person metroidvania.
At first, I didn’t think much was done to upgrade Metroid Prime’s graphics. My nostalgia goggles were pretty thick, because once I started to watch comparison videos, I saw that a lot was upgraded beyond just a few high definition textures. Still, Metroid Prime was ahead of its time in terms of immersiveness, as it’s the first game I can remember where rain drops hit your character’s visor, and still the only game I can think of that will show your character’s face reflected in the visor after a bright explosion.
Metroid Prime: Remastered is a masterpiece. I hope they continue to remaster the rest of the Prime trilogy, and I absolutely can’t wait to see what Retro Studios has in store for us with Metroid Prime 4—whenever that shows up.
Metroid Prime Remastered is out now on Nintendo Switch.