Review: Metroid Prime Remastered

After many years of rumors and speculation regarding the Metroid Prime trilogy making its way over to Switch, Nintendo finally opened the floodgates by announcing Metroid Prime Remastered during the airing of a Nintendo Direct presentation in early February 2023. Immediately following its reveal, the remaster of the critically-acclaimed 2002 GameCube action/adventure first-person shooter was released digitally via the eShop, quickly skyrocketing to the top of the competitive sales charts. Even still, some Metroid fans opted to wait a few weeks for the physical version of the game to hit store shelves, launching February 22nd in North America and March 3rd in Europe. As those dates rapidly approach, let’s explore if Metroid Prime is really worth your Metroid time.

On a technical level, Metroid Prime Remastered is so much more than your typical remaster. For example, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD rendered the game in a higher resolution and included some quality-of-life features, but the visuals largely remained the same. The differences between a “remaster” and a “remake” can be a bit confusing, and although Metroid Prime Remastered doesn’t quite qualify as a full remake, it’s certainly impressive in its own right. While the core gameplay remains unchanged, graphical elements such as textures, models, and lighting effects have all been drastically improved upon if not entirely replaced, somehow managing to run at a perfectly silky smooth 60 frames-per-second in the process. Retro Studios, alongside the many other developers that worked on the project, really knocked it out of the park in making a two-decade old game feel brand new. I just can’t stress enough how gorgeous this game looks on the Switch OLED.

As for what hasn’t changed, Metroid Prime has aged very gracefully, with the same level of polish and quality care you’d expect from a modern first-person shooter. Despite being Samus Aran’s first venture into 3D, the non-linear exploration genre of the Metroid series was adapted wonderfully, even still to this day, thanks to the exceptional craftsmanship of the world itself. Unlike some of the classic FPS games of the era, which were stereotypically made with mindless violence as the main selling point, playing through Metroid Prime requires strong puzzle-solving skills and a pretty good sense of direction. Based on your cognitive ability in those regards, it will take anywhere between 10-20 hours to beat the game to completion.

The world of Metroid Prime is not entirely open, but it’s far from being linear either. You start out with a limited number of locations that you can access, but as you progress through the game, the world opens up to you more and more. Different biomes are separated by the use of elevators, but load times are so instantaneous that it’s hardly a burden. As your world map gets larger though, it can be easy to get lost, especially since backtracking is such an intentionally common occurrence. Are you unable to open a specific door yet? You’ll have to come back to it later. It can be somewhat tedious at times, but the environments are so beautifully designed that you’ll likely come across something new every time you revisit an area you’ve already explored. Just make sure to frequently visit the Save Stations… or you’ll sadly lose hours of progress like I did.

For those unfamiliar with the series, in Metroid Prime you play as Samus Aran, an intergalactic bounty hunter, as you explore and traverse the alien planet Tallon IV. Rather than the story being exclusively told through cutscenes or dialogue like in most games though, the context of your mission is mainly provided by manually analyzing objects and enemies with the use of your Scan Visor. This not only helps the world to feel incredibly robust, but also drives home the exploration aspect, as it really makes you feel like you’re discovering and investigating things for yourself. Everything you scan with your visor is conveniently entered into a log that you can access at any time, which can be useful if you forget the weaknesses of an alien you’re trying to defeat, or if you just want to go back and take in the extensive lore some more.

Samus is equipped with not only a Visor, but also a Power Suit, Arm Cannon and Morph Ball. The Power Suit is your armor, the Arm Cannon is your weapon, and the Morph Ball does exactly as it suggests, morphs you into a ball so you can get into hard to reach places. All of these tools can be upgraded by acquiring different modules. Using these found upgrades are what allow you to access new areas, defeat various enemy aliens, and complete intense boss battles. Each module adds a new mechanic to your arsenal that helps prevent gameplay from ever growing stale. Almost all of the abilities are fun to use, with the exception of the Thermal Visor, as it made me feel disoriented, but fortunately it only needs to be used for brief periods.

Retro Studios made sure to include all the control options you could ever want, meaning at least one of the four available configurations are sure to fit your needs. “Classic” faithfully replicates the original controls of the GameCube version, “Pointer” accurately emulates the Wii port by enabling motion controls for camera and aiming, “Hybrid” adds motion controls to the GameCube control scheme, and “Dual Stick” is a modern, more traditional control method. I personally opted for the Dual Stick controls, but no matter which you decide to go with, rest assured you’ll have a great time as you explore, gather info, solve puzzles, and blast the uniquely threatening creatures on the mysterious planet of Tallon IV.

Metroid Prime Remastered takes an already almost perfect GameCube classic and improves upon it even more by significantly updating its visuals and controls. With a budget friendly price point, Metroid Prime Remastered is an absolute must have for any Nintendo Switch owner, even if you played through it on Wii/Wii U via the Metroid Prime Trilogy. I feel envious of those that get to experience the magic of this underrated gem for the first time. Here’s hoping that similarly remastered versions of Metroid Prime 2 and 3 also come to Switch sooner rather than later, so that we can all prepare for the upcoming juggernaut which is Metroid Prime 4.


A copy of Metroid Prime Remastered for review purposes was provided by Nintendo UK.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *