Review by TyphlosionIsMe
"Not as great of a game as it's said to be, Wi-Fi or not."
Metroid Prime Hunters has been hailed as one of the best DS games out there right now. But is it really all it's cracked up to be? After a few weeks, I found this game to be almost unplayable again. This review may have minor spoilers.
The story is VERY basic: an "ultimate power" has sent signals out to many different worlds, and seven hunters are racing to see who can be the first to control it. The question being: WHY do the other hunters have any part in this game? The back story for them is limited to a single line in the instruction manual. They could have intertwined neatly into a deep storyline, but the player is limited to "they just do". To gain access to this ultimate power, you must collect a number of "octoliths": another tired and repeated story line. Collect the *blank* number of *blanks* to unlock the *blank* which is inevitably the final boss. Any validity of the rest of the story is set back by the tedious system it uses to tell it; to reveal most of the story you must scan artifacts to "research" the storyline. The catch is, most of these are invisible unless you use your scan visor. This is a major turnoff as a casual gamer who doesn't want to search every crevice just to get a portion of the already poor story. If the background had been more in depth and interesting, I may have felt the need to search these out. But why bother if the story is so disappointing anyway?
For a DS game, I must admit the graphics are incredible. The attention to detail is superb; for example, each hunter has a customized face mask with different layouts, and the character models themselves are stunning. Lava flow looks pretty awesome, rocks look like rocks (which is good), and everything looks very much in place. Bullets and lasers look stunning, as they leave trails, glow, and have other laser-y special effects. The FMVs are also amazing, showing off the full capabilities of the DS. The only bone I have to pick with this is that patterns are often repeated. It may seem like you've already been somewhere when in fact it just looks like the place you've already been. Also, the feel of "dread and foreboding" that Metroid Prime had is not in this game. Overall though, very nicely done.
Nothing more than decent. The constant "pew pew pew" of the lasers kind of gets on your nerves, and the cliched "creepy music" plays over and over again. Nothing to say other than it fits the game.
The way the game makes you put your hands is unpleasant to say the least. Throw out every aspect of control of a first person shooter you've known- everything you know is wrong. You must hold up the DS almost completely with your left hand- you only have one finger free with your right (two to hold the stylus and one to press the R button.) This wears out your left hand if you're holding it up for an extended period of time, and your right hand is in such an unfamiliar position it's hard to get used to it. The pressing of R is very very awkward indeed. The benefits of this scheme, of course, is to make the player have more precise control of the character. I found that I needed to turn down the sensitivity of the touch screen to aim, it moves too fast to get a reliable headshot off with the default settings. 9/10 for reliability, aim, and control; much much less for comfort.
Single Player Gameplay: 4/10
Single player is what single player normally is in an online game: a quick sidequest to do when you're bored or not in a Wi-Fi spot. This game is no exception. Difficulty is practically nonexistant; the single player game should be a breeze to anyone familiar with shooting games. The only tough part is getting out of the levels when a "timer" comes up. In these senarios, you must get back to the beginning of the level in a certain amount of time. This wouldn't be so hard if not for the fact that the level looks the same no matter which way you go, and the map is frustratingly confusing. I constantly find myself trying to navigate around the map, only to rotate the map, losing my bearing and accidentally travelling back to the end.
The enemy AI in this game is far from good. The other "hunters", supposed minibosses that are supposed to give you a challenge, do not provide it at all. Their basic strategy is to stand still, occasionally sidestepping and launching projectiles at you. They don't take cover, run when low on health, or anything a real human would do. Just stand there and take your shots. If they beat you, they take one of your octoliths, but I've never had any of them beat me. If this is the best miniboss AI can do, you can imagine the regular enemies: the only challenge they provide is numbers. A game should not have to throw dozens of enemies at you in one room to beat you; that's just not fun.
Tedious, repetitive, and way too easy to be considered any type of a challenge.
Wi-Fi Gameplay: 5/10
This is supposed to be the saving grace of this game. Apart from a lacking single player and uncomfortable controls, the online is suppose to save it. For the first few weeks, I thought so also. But then the real side of it came out, slowly but surely. Most everybody online uses a few select characters; Samus, Trace, or Sylux. This wouldn't be so bad, except that only one strategy is used by any of these characters. For example, with Sylux, all anyone ever does is use the Shock Coil. It does MASSIVE DAMAGE (excuse me), and is very hard to avoid, unless you spam your alternate form.
Oh, alternate forms (Alts, from here on). Another lame and annoying part of Wi-Fi play. Some people only use their alternate forms, which are meant as alternates, not the only form to use. This is annoying because you only have one attack in that form, either lunging at your opponent or rotating to hit. Either way, it's physical attacks that damage the opponent. This leads to a massive "spam alt fest", in which each person uses their alt to try to kill the other, because guns are too unreliable to hit the small and fast moving alt forms. This is not fun at all, as I'd rather have an old fashioned shootout, not a repetitive spinning fest.
This game is extremely unbalanced and glitchy also. A few characters are rendered useless because of the sheer impossibility to win with them. Glitches are abound, freezing your opponent, walking through walls, and one character which shall go nameless can ever go inside a rock and shoot out at everyone else. The bugs seem like they would have been easily avoidable and fixed, and really ruin the gameplay. It's the users and the glitches that make WiFi absolutely shameful. If not for the friend code function (which is still tedious and unnecessary; why should adult gamers be "protected" when in reality there's no danger of anything), the random pairing of opponents would be unbearable. The only thing worth is playing with your close friends so you can make rules such as not doing glitches.
Overall (not an average): 4/10.
Summary: Mediocre single player, buggy and annoying Wi-Fi. Hurts your hands while you're at it also.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 08/09/06, Updated 08/31/07
Game Release: Metroid Prime: Hunters (US, 03/20/06)
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