The Nintendo Switch is prime time for Samus to shine in our Metroid Prime Remastered review.
Few games can claim to have a lasting impact on videogames as a whole quite like Nintendo’s sci-fi epic, Metroid Prime. Initially released in 2002 for the Nintendo GameCube and developed by Retro Studios, Prime was the series’ first exploration into 3D gameplay, bringing the classic explorative style on Metroid to a whole new dimension. And the end result was near perfection, with Samus’ mission on Tallon IV receiving universal acclaim from critics and series fans alike.
Small disc, huge game. My original copy that I played almost 20 years ago.
So is it possible to improve on a game so close to perfection? Now 20 years since the game’s debut, that’s exactly with Nintendo achieve through Metroid Prime Remastered, released exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. Tiding over fans’ hunger as they await the long-anticipated release of Metroid Prime 4, this remaster offers far more than just a fresh coat of paint for Samus’ shiny Varia Suit. Find out exactly how this is Prime made perfect in our Metroid Prime Remastered review.
Metroid Prime Remastered – Story
For those who haven’t boarded Samus’ gunship before and explored the universe of Metroid Prime, we’ll give a brief overview of the story that awaits in this atmospheric sci-fi adventure. And while Metroid games generally aren’t dialogue or plot-heavy, there’s a significant amount of hidden story simply waiting to be uncovered through detailed lore hidden throughout sprawling environments.
Samus boards a foreboding Space Pirate frigate only to discover horrors lurking within.
The story of Metroid Prime revolves around Samus Aran’s mission to the hostile planet of Tallon IV, where she is tasked with uncovering the secrets of the long lost Chozo civilization. Whilst exploring the planet and its expansive ruins, she discovers the remnants of the Chozo civilization, who had built an advanced society on Tallon IV before mysteriously disappearing. By scanning and deciphering their ancient glyphs, Samus reads of a great corruption that crash landed on Tallon IV, leading to the end of the Chozo.
The Chozo leave behind 12 ancient artifacts, created to lock away an unspeakable evil.
Delving deeper into the planet’s locales, Samus stumbles across a base built by Space Pirates, in search of ancient relics that have been hidden by the Chozo. Through collecting the artifacts, the pirates seek to harness the power of a biological known as “Phazon“, which they hope to use to conquer the galaxy. But there’s far more to Phazon than on the surface of Tallon IV, as the substance seeps beneath the planet, infecting and corrupting all that it comes into contact with.
Dangers await beneath the surface of Tallon IV.
The story of Metroid Prime is expertly crafted, with rich and detailed lore that adds depth and intrigue to the world, tasking the player with uncovering it through Samus’ scan visor. Story is slowly unravelled through the discovery of ancient Chozo history, audio logs left by Space Pirates, and cryptic messages scattered throughout the world. Narrative in Metroid Prime is far more than a reason to shoot enemies and take down epic bosses, but is integral to the experience and creates a sense of immersion in the world of Tallon IV and the mysteries that await.
Metroid Prime Remastered – Gameplay
Flawlessly combing elements of first-person shooters, platformers, and action-adventure games, the gameplay of Metroid Prime is a genre amalgam that has been almost untouched in the remaster. Most notably, players are now able to choose from one of four control schemes, some of which enhance the experience beyond belief. Where the original GameCube release focused heavily on the use of a single analogue stick, enabling twin stick controls in Metroid Prime Remastered brings this classic into the era of the modern shooter and plays like a dream.
Samus is back and (controls) better than ever.
Despite being a first-person shooter, the core aspect of Metroid Prime’s gameplay is exploration, which has experienced little to no change in Metroid Prime Remastered. And that’s precisely because no changes were needed. For a game now 20 years vintage, Tallon IV is a world that is still stunningly vast and detailed, unlike any game seen at the time. You’ll be exploring environments that truly feel alive: ancient temples, shattered ruins, and hostile natural locales.
The Chozo must have been particularly fond of skateboarding.
The map system in particular is essential, helping you keep track of progress, and sits neatly in the upper right hand corner of the HUD. The increased resolution of Metroid Prime Remaster makes this far easier to interpret, with different areas color-coded to indicate whether they have been explored or not. And you’ll be looking at the map a lot more than you’d expect, with new abilities and upgrades that allowing Samus to access previously inaccessible areas, uncover hidden secrets, and delve deeper into the mysteries of the Chozo civilization.
You’re definitely gonna need to have a good look at the map when traversing areas like these.
Combat is still key to Metroid Prime, and in the remaster it feels more responsive than ever. Samus’ impressive arsenal returns, with her arm cannon, missiles, and various upgrades allowing the player to dispatch enemies with ease. Enemies are diverse and challenging, introducing different weapons and tactics to defeat them, easing the player into the game’s real challenge: the bosses. The bosses are truly colossal, with the main enemy in each area requiring you to use your wits in addition to your weapons. And in Metroid fashion, don’t be surprised if you fail a few times.
Sorry Parasite Queen, there’s only room for one Queen in this game and her name is Samus.
In addition to the main story, Metroid Prime features a variety of collectibles, including energy tanks that increase Samus’ maximum health, missiles that are used to destroy certain obstacles and enemies, and Chozo artifacts that are collected for to progress further through the story. Such a plentiful amount of collectibles help to add replay value, encouraging players to revisit areas and explore every nook and cranny, especially through the use of Samus’ iconic Morph Ball.
So much anxiety in one picture.
Many of these collectables require that player to solve environmental puzzles, some of which require some serious thought. These are far more than just your average “put crate on button” or “light this fire to open the door” that some players might expect from an adventure game. No, Prime’s puzzles are so well-designed that you’ll be using your every wit and ability to solve them. Many utilise Samus’ abilities and upgrades in creative ways, particularly the game’s iconic “Scan Visor“, which allows Samus to draw detailed information from her surroundings.
Some puzzles will also forever haunt your dreams, like the Spider Ball tracks here.
So has the gameplay changed in Metroid Prime Remastered? Not considerably, but that’s honestly to its benefit. With interwoven exploration through a timelessly designed map, lore and puzzles that beckon you to investigate further, and boss encounters that never fail to get the adrenaline pumping, Metroid Prime Remaster now allows you to relive these incredible moments with the greatest precision possible.
Metroid Prime Remastered – Visuals
What has been changed though is Metroid Prime’s visuals. Significantly. While the game is deemed a “remaster“, this is far more than just your standard old HD port. This is a complete visual overhaul, with enhanced textures, lighting, and even brand new models to bring an already beautifully atmospheric game into its most impressive visual fidelity yet.
It’s no understatement to say that these are some of the best visuals from across the entire Metroid series, with the visual upgrade making it seem as if this 20 year old game has barely aged a day. Metroid Prime’s aesthetic features distinct sci-fi themes, drawing inspiration from classic science fiction, and looks better than ever on Nintendo Switch. Metallic textures now more accurately sheen in the ambient light, futuristic technology glows and reacts to Samus’ arm cannon, and grotesque alien creatures that appear more lifelike and intimidating.
What’s the performance of Metroid Prime Remastered?
While the original GameCube version ran at 480p in 4:3 resolution (which was the standard at the time), Metroid Prime Remastered has been natively designed for 16:9 widescreen and benefits significantly as a result. Even despite running at 900p when docked, the game looks superb on the big screen and is consistently able to achieve a fluid 60 frames per second. Resolution takes a major drop in handheld, dropping to 612p, but given the 720p resolution of the Switch screen, still holds up visually with some of the best on the Switch.
Metroid Prime Remastered – Audio
Dedicated fans of Metroid Prime will know all too well that soundtrack and audio play a crucial role in creating the game’s atmospheric and immersive world. And in Metroid Prime Remastered, it all sounds incredible and more realistic than ever thanks to a brand new 5.1 surround sound mix. This means that Metroid Prime Remastered should now be experienced through a decent pair of headphones or a hefty sound system (not just the tinny speakers on a CRT) for the best possible audio experience.
Surround sound makes you feel as if you’re actually inside Samus’ helmet.
This new audio mix allows you to focus on just how well-designed the sound effects are at bringing the Metroid world to life. Every weapon and ability has its own unique sound, but the real highlight is the moody background noises, which are especially effective in creating a sense of atmosphere. Ambient noises and environmental sounds can now be specifically pinpointed thanks to surround sound, which becomes incredibly helpful when listening out for hidden upgrades scattered throughout the environment.
And I couldn’t discuss Metroid Prime without at least giving some credit to the game’s soundtrack, composed by Kenji Yamamoto and Kouichi Kyuma. This haunting and atmospheric score perfectly complements the overall experience and has been untouched in the Remaster. Because how could you possibly improve upon perfection?
What’s new in Metroid Prime Remastered?
For returning players, this is the question most of you are probably wanting to know. And while the term “remaster” often means the game is merely given a visual facelift, the Metroid Prime Remaster offers far more than just updated graphics. All of the added extras in Metroid Prime Remastered include:
- Complete visual overhaul with updated textures, lighting, and models
- Brand new 5.1 surround sound audio mix
- Four separate control layouts, including dual-stick controls
- Accessibility options, with adjustable HUD, helmet, and colours
- 50+ brand new updated visual assets in the gallery including concept art and character models
- Bug fixes that remove glitches and shortcuts from the game
Be sure to explore the updated gallery for some extra goodies.
All in all, this is a remaster that edges closer to a remake. A significant amount of effort has been given to Metroid Prime Remastered in being able to create an experience that truly does bring the GameCube classic to a modern audience. The controls and visuals in particular are a huge improvement to the game’s quality of life and would lead you to believe that Metroid Prime isn’t anywhere near as old as it actually is.
Metroid Prime Remastered is a classic made flawless and an essential title to add to your Nintendo Switch library. With the release of Remastered, the Nintendo Switch is without a doubt the definitive way to experience the crown jewel of Nintendo’s timeless Metroid series. Given a complete visual overhaul, modern dual-stick controls, and a surreal surround sound mix with more atmosphere than ever, this is Metroid at its absolute Prime.
So, why should you play Metroid Prime Remastered?
- Nintendo’s finest Metroid, now even better
- Stunning visuals that bring Tallon IV to life
- Superb surround sound audio mix for added atmosphere
- Plays perfectly in both docked and handheld modes
- Modern control options allow for flawless gameplay
But why shouldn’t you play Metroid Prime Remastered?
- Are you a speedrunner? Sorry, all your shortcuts have been patched
A review code was kindly provided by Nintendo Australia for the purpose of our Metroid Prime Remastered review. If you enjoyed this review, join the Metroid Prime discussion on the Qualbert Discord and be sure to read more of our Nintendo reviews!