Metroid Prime has long been considered one of the greatest achievements of Nintendo’s GameCube library. The series’ smooth transition into the first-person genre was defined by its frenetic action, extensively explorable environment, clever puzzles, and challenging boss encounters. Although the latter two decades have worn down on the original release, Metroid Prime Remastered brings the title back in full force, like Samus by the end of each game.
Metroid Prime Remastered takes an already stellar original title and gives it a shiny coat of paint. While not unique to this release, I’m impressed by how well Metroid Prime’s art style translates to modern visuals. Meticulously detailed textures and vastly improved lighting further enhance the already beautiful character models and environments. Even the sound is better, making the excellent soundtrack more enjoyable. In fact, everything looks and feels so good, you could easily fool a less knowledgeable player into thinking this is a new release for 2023.
The visual improvements are notable, but the modern controls are a downright revelation. This version of Metroid Prime offers various control settings to allow you to play the way you want. The classic and pointer controls, meant to emulate the single-stick GameCube and motion-control Wii settings respectively, play to the nostalgia of those who experienced it on those previous platforms. However, the new dual stick option is the best way to play Metroid Prime.
This setting (the default) maps motion to the left and aiming to the right in the most effective control modernization I can remember. This new control scheme makes almost zero concessions in its updates; The best compliment I can give is that my modern first-person shooter brain instinctively knew how to perform almost every action with minimal tutorial or guidance. When combined with the lock-on system of Samus’ suit, the game delivers the amazing power of fantasy of being one of the galaxy’s ultimate bounty hunters.
With these improvements in tow, Metroid Prime Remastered opens the door for new audiences to experience one of the biggest Nintendo exclusives of the 21st century. Exploring Talon IV is an eerie and atmospheric delight; The original development team at Retro Studios clearly understood how to transfer Metroid’s established formula to an all-new genre to aid thoughtful exploration of an ever-expanding map while gaining new powers. Throw in memorable boss fights, stellar environmental storytelling, and thrilling combat encounters, and Metroid Prime’s great design still feels awesome.
I emerged from my review of Metroid Prime with only minor complaints. The unwieldy camera, lack of a real waypoint system, and cluttered HUD show the game’s age when you’re in the morph ball but are minor complaints in the grand scheme of this remarkable remaster. Even the antiquated checkpoint system and abundance of backtracking are little more than nitpicks and add to the tension without feeling cheap.
Metroid Prime Remastered is much more than meets the eye, which serves as a testament to how brilliant and timeless the original design was. Visual and performance improvements go a long way to make it more approachable, but paramount to those upgrades is the fact that it controls almost any other shooter on the Switch today. Metroid Prime was a masterpiece in 2002, and that assessment still rings true in 2023.