In the Game: “Metroid Prime Remastered” is a Masterpiece

February 8th had a Nintendo Direct that was filled with nonstop BANGERS. I am talking back to back great reveals. Every game announced was a game that had certain fanbases freaking out. We got a better look at Pikmin 4. We got to see a much more in depth look at Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. We even got confirmation on a new Professor Layton (hoping and praying I’ll get to to review that). So many great games and wonderful surprises. But the biggest surprise also happened to be a shadow drop. Metroid fuckin’ Prime REMASTERED.

Nobody knew leading up to February 8th that we would be given a remaster to an all-time classic like Metroid Prime. We all saw this one coming eventually, but it was so sudden and such a shock. I didn’t really have a major relationship with the Metroid series until I played Metroid Dread and loved that. I’ve always been much more of a Castlevania guy. I played Metroid Prime very briefly as a child but had no clue how the gameplay loop worked. I didn’t know that every time you unlocked a new item, you unlocked new paths from previous rooms and areas previously traveled. I am an adult now. I am 26 years old and I have played many Metroidvania games. I know what to do now. I have been waiting for the day where I could see why people call this one of the greatest games of all time. I can finally say this…

Metroid Prime is one of the greatest games of all time and Metroid Prime Remastered is even better.

For starters, this remaster is stunning. Retro Studios did an incredible job making this game look and feel like a modern release. The difference between the original on the Gamecube and the remaster on the Switch is night and day. It is genuinely baffling how much better the game looks AND how perfectly it runs. 60FPS the entire way through my playthrough. Not once did I have any noticeable frame drops. Retro Studios are showing what the Switch is can actually do. When comparing this performance to the performance to recent games I’ve covered on the PS5, this destroys them. Does Retro Studios hire wizards? How did they make this look as good as it does and perform so flawlessly? It’s pure magic.

This is PEAK video game design. The environments, ambience, music, enemies, bosses, all iconic. The music, much like the graphics, has been remastered and is clearer and more engaging than it has ever been. One of the best OSTs in video games has never sounded as good as it does now. If you’ve never heard any Metroid music… change that. Some of the most incredible electronic ambient music and industrial music made for the medium came from this game and this series. When you hear the ambient synths, chimes and symbols that make up the Frigate Orpheon theme you are transported, almost physically, into this spaceship. You can close your eyes and you are physically in this place surrounded by alien life and dangers at every corner.

The Chozo Ruins sound exactly how they look. Old and dilapidated yet futuristic and filled with technology that is unfathomable to current. The snowy ruins of the Phendrana Drifts are filled with synths, pianos, bells, harps and angelic voices that really sell the alien winter wonderland vibe. I could go on and on about how incredible the soundtrack and overall ambience is, but it’d be better to experience it yourself. Even if you decide not to play the game you HAVE to listen to the soundtrack. You’re doing yourself a great disservice to skip this one. Brian Eno wishes he could have written this soundtrack.

Metroid Prime Remastered looks and sounds absolutely amazing. But how does it play? This will come as a surprise to no one. Metroid Prime Remastered is essentially a perfect first person shooter. I know it had this quality when I was a child, but I was too dumb to comprehend the game’s mechanics. I assumed I couldn’t move any further and I quit. The idea of making progression just out of reach in almost every room and corridor you traverse is genius. Sometimes you might see a door that you can’t open with any of the weapons you have, and then later you get the ice beam and realize it opens doors that look a lot like the ones you couldn’t open on the other side of the map. So, you go back to that area and you’ve unlocked a whole new path to explore. Or maybe you see a track on the ceiling that you can’t traverse until you unlock the ability to magnetize yourself while in ball form.

It’s similar to Mega-Man in the way that every time you beat a boss, you gain a new power-up and can maneuver areas differently. The way it differs is that the more abilities you gain, the more you are able to traverse the world and progress through the story. Ages ago, games like Metroid and Castlevania would have been known as action/adventure games. Nowadays, games where progression is based on re-traversal through old areas with new items is referred to as a Metroidvania. Games like Hollow Knight, Bloodstained, and Axiom Verge probably wouldn’t exist the way they do now if these games didn’t invent the genre. This style of progression makes the pacing perfect. Every time you find a new item you have an aha moment and remember a room with a locked door or a ledge you couldn’t reach. It makes putting the controllers down an Olympian feat. I think I played 11 hours straight until my joy-con died. I am glued to this experience. We are so lucky that Metroid Prime exists. Its existence is the reason so many beloved games exist and we take it for granted.

I want to personally thank Nintendo for this review code. It’s not every day I get to play a classic for the first time. I’m actually happy that I was able to wait until my mid twenties to play this. I don’t think it would have had the same impact on six year old Wade. I can’t wait to replay this in a few years and get the nostalgia that many people felt from their childhood. The fact that I am able to have this experience and play this game is very special to me. I am so lucky.

I know the fame and adoration the Metroid Prime Trilogy has. I can only hope this means we get Metroid Prime 2 and 3 in the future and that the love and passion put into this remaster is put into those games. Playing this remaster has made me yearn for Metroid Prime 4. I think it’s safe to say that Metroid Prime 4 is officially one my most anticipated releases next to Street Fighter 6 and Final Fantasy XVI. 2023 is proving to be an amazing year for music and video games which just so happen to be my two passions. My excitement for what’s to come is bubbling at a rate it hasn’t before.

I didn’t even mention the updated controls that finally make the game play like a proper FPS. Proper dual stick controls weren’t implemented on the Gamecube for whatever reason, and the Wii port added motion controls. Metroid Prime on the Switch gives you the option to do both! The motion controls are very precise, but it’s undeniable that the best way to play it is with the proper dual stick controls. These quality of life changes are just even more bonuses and reasons to revisit this game or to dive in for your first time. I’m sure this would feel like such a massive change to me, but I haven’t played this game since I was six years old. I don’t have the memory of how the game originally handled.

Metroid Prime Remastered is perfect. To take such a beloved game and to repurpose it for the modern era must have been such a daunting task, but Retro Studios and Nintendo were able to make it happen. They have taken everyone’s favourite game and made it widely available and better than ever so it can be more people’s favourite game. I am so taken back by how much I enjoyed this. It’s only $40 CAD which is such a steal for the amount of game you are getting. Metroid Prime Remastered is one of the best Nintendo Switch games. It’s also probably the best remaster I’ve ever played. Most importantly, I have finally seen the light. Metroid Prime always was and forever will be one of the greatest games ever made.

What a gift.

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