Metroid Prime Review
It's not just one of the single most atmospheric games ever created, but it's also quite simply one of the best.
Let's get right to the point: Metroid Prime is the best GameCube game to date. It's one of the best games on any platform this year, and, for good measure, it's also the best game yet in Nintendo's highly acclaimed Metroid series. Many were rightfully skeptical about whether an unknown Texas-based developer could take the classic open-ended, side-scrolling action adventure gameplay formula of the Metroid series and successfully translate it into 3D. And these are the people who will no doubt come away most impressed of all with Metroid Prime, which is in every respect a pure and true successor to the series of games that inspired it. At the same time, those who have never played a Metroid game before are likely to be just as taken with Metroid Prime. This first-person action adventure game is filled with so much detail, style, and originality that literally every gamer should play it.
It's not a first-person shooter. Metroid Prime doesn't play like any other game that's come before it, and it emphasizes exploration and investigation at least as much as pure action. So the pacing is deliberate at times, though the going is never slow. As in all other Metroid games, you'll assume the role of interstellar bounty hunter Samus Aran, whose objective this time out is to search the planet Tallon IV for signs of illicit activity on the part of the Zebesian space pirates and put a stop to them once and for all. Clad in her distinctive red-and-gold power suit, Samus is a self-sufficient and versatile, and controlling her is quite a bit different from what you may be used to in first-person games.
Don't expect some sweeping space opera of a story. This game draws you in not with storytelling but with a vast, seamless 3D world that sprawls out in front of you in all directions, just waiting for you to discover all its many secrets. These secrets are justified: Samus' unique body armor was crafted by a mysteriously vanished race of birdlike scientist-philosophers who colonized Tallon IV and hid away its greatest treasures for their own kind. All this is suggestive of one of the most impressive accomplishments of Metroid Prime: It never breaks you out of the experience of the game. The far-flung futuristic technology and the imaginative alien world come across as surprisingly believable.
While Metroid Prime isn't plot-driven, it provides you with lots and lots of context. One of the game's key mechanics is Samus' ability to switch between a number of different "visors," which are essentially different types of heads-up displays. Her default view, the combat visor, provides a clear, straightforward picture of her surroundings and features a helpful radar display for tracking enemy movement. In this mode, Samus can easily target and accurately fire upon any enemies in the vicinity. Meanwhile, the other visor she starts out with requires her to lower her weapons, but it allows her to analyze various objects of interest, from Tallon IV's numerous alien creatures to environmental anomalies to alien technologies. You scan objects the same way you'd normally target them: by pressing and holding the controller's left shoulder button, which commences a quick scan that then reveals key information using concisely written text. Objects that can be scanned are denoted with colored icons visible only in scanning mode, and truly important objects are clearly highlighted, effectively giving you the option to bypass all the other unknown items of lesser import.
While the notion of reading pseudo-scientific text while playing Metroid Prime may not sound very appealing, it actually works pretty well as a sort of storytelling device. When you eventually raid the space pirates' stronghold, you'll feel a chill as you read about their various genetic experiments and look over their reports on the damage you've caused. Also, scanning enemies generally clues you in on whatever weaknesses they may have, though it's a bit odd that the action pauses for your reading convenience. Every new creature species or other important piece of information you scan is stored in a logbook, and you'll likely enjoy reviewing this material every now and then, since it's all written using such a cohesive style.
In addition to her combat visor and scan visor, Samus will eventually find a thermal visor used for detecting heat signatures of living creatures or energy sources and an X-ray visor used for detecting illusions or incorporeal objects. You can easily switch between the four visors by pressing different directions on the D pad, and you can likewise switch between your four different primary weapon modes (assuming you've found them all) by pressing in different directions using the controller's right analog stick. The classic Metroid weapons are all here. Samus' default semiautomatic power beam rapidly fires bursts of superheated energy. Her wave beam's electrical charge is especially good at disrupting energy-based opponents or triggering long-dormant energy sources. Her ice beam can freeze foes in their tracks, making them brittle enough that they can be shattered. And her plasma beam shoots intensely hot lavalike rays that can disintegrate victims on the receiving end. Samus gains the ability to charge up an especially powerful blast from each of these weapons, and she can also fire a limited number of ballistic missiles that can be combined with any of the main weapons for a number of extremely damaging special attacks. Unlike in previous Metroid games, none of Samus' weapons are ever replaced--her arsenal only grows in size, and all her available armaments remain tactically useful throughout the game.
This is a masterclass in game design. It is the perfect example of a developer with an uncompromising vision, and the wherewithal to deliver on it. Sadly these types of games are extremely rare, and we haven't seen many in our current generation. Dark Souls comes to mind, as does Journey, Half-life 1 and 2, and maybe Bioshock.
This is indeed a legendary game. One of the best of all time; and to this day provides a level of substance far above most games, and easily all games of this generation.
simply One of the BEST of the decade (and of all time - a must play- if you think you like videogames )
GS's review for one of the best games ever is also one of its largest reviews -- 3 page written review and 20 minute video review. Very good, even if I read it after playing the game.
I picked up the trilogy a few months back as a collectors item, decided to dust it off and give Metroid: Prime a shot. My goodness, what a treat. I had forgotten that triple AAA titles these days lack the substance games like this have. The atmosphere, the music, the visuals, the controls are amazing. And using a HD Wii cable (Yes they exist, why have you not heard of them ? No idea - go buy one NOW) this simply is stunning. Took 8 hours of my weekend and I loved every minute of it.