Metroid Prime Remastered

Metroid Prime Remastered

Optimized Prime.

Optimized Prime.

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Review game Metroid Prime Remastered, Optimized Prime.

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I have no trouble recommending Metroid Prime, even after two decades of its initial release, with the one small caveat being that the controls require some getting used to. I can now finally say without reservation that Metroid Prime Remastered is among the greatest first-person shooters ever created, thanks to its excellent updates. This updated version is a wonderful example of how to both respect a highly regarded classic and bring it up to date; it goes above and beyond the usual coat-of-paint remaster by adding contemporary controls along with amazingly improved models and textures. It’s a far cry from the disappointing treatment that the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection on Switch received. Playing it again feels almost entirely new, evoking that same fresh feeling as the Dead Space remake or Resident Evil 2 and 3.

Metroid Prime stands out from other classic first-person shooter games such as Halo, Half-Life, Titanfall 2, and Wolfenstein due to its solo experience. Not only is there no multiplayer, but there is also not a single conversation to be had, no radio, and no AI assistant voices chatting in your ear. Prime enjoys the setup of this game, which centers on Samus Aran, a lone hunter on a dangerous planet. Similar to other outstanding Metroid titles (such as Super Metroid, Metroid: Zero Mission, and the most recent Metroid Dread), Metroid Prime’s narrative restraint results in a singularly melancholic grandeur. Thanks in large part to Metroid’s primary inspiration, Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece film Alien, it’s more horror than space opera.

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Tallon IV, the planet, has undergone as much development as any character, as seen in its flora, fauna, technology, geology, and “other” features. It also includes a significant amount of encyclopedic lore that can be acquired through a HUD scanning function. Compared to all the extremely talkative games we play these days, the story is told through experience with your surroundings alone, and even though the narrative techniques aren’t being updated, it still feels revolutionary and modern. (It should be mentioned that the Metroid series hasn’t fared well when it comes to character additions; Metroid: Other M and Metroid Prime: Hunters, in particular, have particularly ridiculous world-building.)

Tallon IV is Prime’s greatest accomplishment.

Tallon IV is the main achievement of Metroid Prime, despite the game having many other excellent features. Every room is distinct from the others thanks to unique details, names, and purposes for each space. A subterranean lab houses experiments in tubes that serve as jump-scare time bombs; a furnace chamber pumps heat through morph-ball-sized vents to other areas; and a bubbling fountain cascades down the side of a sunny sanctuary hall. Everything is logically organized to match the plot and environment, but there’s a clever way in which the world reflects your advancement: with a new skill or weapon, rooms that once required effort and perseverance can be quickly navigated.

Arm Canon

At first, fans of Metroid Prime on the GameCube had to argue that the game was something other than a first-person shooter because of how clumsy and awkward the controls were. Instead of enabling full dual-joystick movement, you had to lock onto a target and fire. Switching from any other shooter to this was like having to relearn how to walk. Since then, there have been attempts to use a variation of the original GameCube controller’s controls or the Wii-like motion controls introduced in the Metroid Prime Trilogy collection, but none of them have been designed to be easily mastered by the majority of players. However, the new dual analog stick controls are identical to those of contemporary shooters and, in certain cases, even slightly simplify battles. Your dexterity in strafing, jumping, dodging, and controlling your view is immense.

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Through a visor mounted in a helmet inside your suit, you explore the ruins, caverns, and labs of Tallon IV. This is an ideal setup for first-person immersion. Like many games since, the visor’s HUD provides all of your basic information, but it also functions like a real, high-tech glass dome, stifling Samus’s cries and even momentarily reflecting her own startled eyes in bright light bursts. It is all the more startling (in a good way!) when you emerge into the third-person Morph Ball view because these are all clever little tricks that make the wall separating you and the world on your TV or Switch screen melt away and let you blend dreamily into it.

The wall separating you and the world on your TV or Switch screen dissolves with clever little tricks.

You can switch to your Morph Ball mode at any moment. When you do, the camera shoots outwards, allowing you to see Samus crumple into a ball the size of your knees and roll through confined spaces, solve puzzles, or just zoom really quickly while going backwards. It tests your dexterity in a completely different way than first-person shooting or platforming; many rooms have a feature that requires you to switch forms, ranging from a straightforward hidden passageway to a maze-like physics-based contraption you must navigate with precision rolling. Samus can occasionally be seen in third person when she’s not in ball form, as in the extremely rare (high frame rate, beautifully remodeled) cutscenes. Occasionally, though, the camera will flash back into Samus’s helmet, giving you a rare glimpse of her and illuminating the intricacy of designing a game around what is essentially a first-person shooter/pinball machine mash-up.

With the exception of the third-person Morph Ball, Metroid Prime Remastered lets you do many of the same side-scrolling Metroid activities, like swinging from a grappling hook, jumping across unstable platforms, and climbing enormous, vertical areas that are teeming with dangerous creatures. Even though it was all very new in 2002, it seems commonplace now. A double jump is cleverly implemented to give you an extra moment of mid-air adjustment to solve a lot of grappling and precision-jumping problems.

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Additionally, because Prime is forgiving of obstacles beneath your feet, there aren’t many replay areas where frustrating falls have left players frustrated. It is possible to overlook a platform, but this is nothing that wouldn’t occur in Super Mario Bros. It’s interesting to note how much better I am at first-person platforming after playing Halo for 20 years; this is something that modern shooters just do, and it’s ingrained in my FPS muscle memory. Both the landings and the jumps are still flawless in the Metroid Prime Remaster.

Both the landings and the jumps are still flawless in the Metroid Prime Remaster.

Even though I primarily used a Pro Controller, Metroid Prime’s portability is still astounding, despite being less innovative after six years on the Switch. Of course, trigger-happy shooters are less at ease with the Joy-Con attachment on the Switch, and Prime has an odd default control feature where you have to press both the shoulder button and the trigger to fire a shot. That’s not optimal for either controller configuration, but on the Joy-Cons, it’s particularly inconvenient due to the proximity and small size of those buttons. Additionally, there are Wii-style pointer controls that mimic the controls from the Metroid Prime Trilogy on the Wii by using a detachable pair of Joy-Cons. The fact that they function as intended is a pleasant bonus, but Prime Remastered is best experienced with the new dual analog controls.

When It Was At Its Best

The main addition to Metroid Prime Remastered, aside from the controls, is a total redesign of the graphics, which never compromise on the aesthetic that made the original so charming. It looks exquisite, as beautiful as any modern Switch game. Water ripples, steam occludes, insects light the way and cast shadows like lanterns, and metal reflects and shines (except for the mirrors; for some reason, you can’t see yourself in those).


Even though Metroid Prime has been one of my favorite games for a long time, I’m still surprised by how solid its foundation is. After 21 years, in 2023, Metroid Prime Remastered only needed to update the graphics and modernize the controls to reclaim its place among the best games available for purchase. This ultimate solo mission quiets the noise of lengthy cinematic cutscenes and hint-giving companions, which make up a large portion of today’s single-player games. While those things have their place, Metroid Prime Remastered demonstrates how an incredible world can be created, along with some unique and entertaining tools to explore it with, to tell a story, and to create a grand adventure. I urge you to play Metroid Prime Remastered and lose yourself in the game.

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