Review by EJRICH
Foreword: When word got out that a rookie developer named Retro was going to make a first person shooter out of a beloved franchise, many critiques out there criticized the fact that they were doing something different, something out of the ordinary. I can say that after playing this game to its fullest extent, all of the small innuendos that these writers had about his game were completely diminished, as this game is truly one of the best games on the market for the GNC. This definitely proves what I have been pushing all along, that in simple terms you don't really need to be a head in the game designer market to create something truly magnificent. I personally think that retro should honestly receive an award for having to put up with all of the garbage that was flung at them, as they not only proved everyone that had doubts about this game wrong, but they also created something that really was meant for a dieing series. Your probably wondering why I said dieing, and I'm going to tell you as simply as possible. Previous to this games release, the metroid franchise as a whole had been primarily dormant for about 7-10 years, and that's a real long time when you put it all into perspective. Thankfully, it truly came back with a big bang, as this game is a masterpiece by all means of the word.
I'm sorry; I honestly can't make out a story from this game. There are very few, if any at all, plot points from which you could scrap together a story from. You primarily go from one location to the next, mainly getting your mission objectives from your ship. That being said, the environment does tell a story of its own, as fans of the original series can honestly see the connections from some of the previous entrées in the series. Ruins from Samus's past lurk everywhere, and sadly they are in an abysmal shape. To top that off, native inhabitants mutated by phazon have taken up residence inside of them. That being said, an amazing history is actually being told throughout the landscape. One thing that I will say is that be sure to pay very close attention to the climax of the game, as if you do intend to play the next entrée to the series, you'll wish you did.
I'll be getting into scans later, but through scans you can actually get some of the pre happenings prior to your arrival. I think that this really gives a good back-story to it all, and I really want to push you to pay very close attention to them if you are a metroid purist, as some of the previous games happenings are finally explained in length. I truly appreciated the depth to which they explained these touches, and I think you will to.
This area was being heavily criticized throghout its development, as just the thought of the series being a first person shooter kind of deterred some from even thinking about playing this in the first place. I can say that the control system itself was criticized as well, but maybe it was just for its unorthadoxicity. Still, change is definitely for the better, as this game shines in this category.
To all of you who originally made fun of the control system, it was probably just because you really have never experienced something like it before. Granted, it is a little unorthodox at first when you are getting used to it, but once you get past the way it is laid out, you'll find that everything fits in magnificently. I can truly say that everything fits its purpose. Now the reason the system is a little unorthodox in the first place is simply because of the way it's laid out. You really have to watch your hand movements when you're playing this, as it's really easy to mess up due to the lack of coordination that is sometimes required to get past an area.
Your game play is divided into two main portions, morph ball takes on a traditional third person perspective, while your normal play consists of first person. Your weapons are laid out to the c stick, while your visors are positioned on the directional pad. The fact that they are separated helps ease off some overall tension, but it also adds to some confusion, as at first I kept getting them mixed up. Your map is accessed by pressing the start button, but you can always see a small portion of it depending on which room you are currently abiding in. This works, as if the whole map was on the screen you'd probably want it off because if its overall girth.
Morph ball segments are done in third person view, and are actually the only moments from which you get to view the environments in that view. The thing that I liked about the morph ball segments was that you could traverse large portions of rooms relatively quickly, and when you're playing a game such as this that requires a large amount of backtracking; it's always extremely helpful to be able to get around a little quicker. Another good point is that your view lets off a little backlight that illuminates an otherwise darker game. This not only helps light some useable areas, but it also adds to the convenience aspect that sometimes is sorely lacking.
The world through which you will be traveling through is extremely vast and sometimes even a little hard to navigate. Adding to the fact that each area is divided into a bunch of rooms, you'll find yourself spending a good portion of your time traversing a couple of main areas, which can further be divided into sub areas.
Scanning is a very important part of game play, as you'll not only learn about some of the lesser known objects of discussion, but you'll also sometimes in an enemies case learn of a potential weak spot. That being said, if you decide to finish off the entire collection, a daunting task if I do say so myself, you'll find that you have access to an extended cinematic sequence from which you will learn some really important things about the sequel. Basically everything is scan-able, with some scans being natives to only one room throughout the entire world. Adding to the fact that some scans can only be gotten at one point throughout the entire game, and you have before you a big task for which you can possibly hope to accomplish. Concept art is unlocked for the persistent, which is always a nice treat.
One thing that I really want to comment on is the overall variety of enemies that populate the world, as from returning space pirates to new bosses; you can always see everything as it comes. Bosses are great, as they are normally both extremely hard,drawn-out battles. With that, they also decided to include series mainstays such as ridely and metroids, which really add to the overall nostalgic, feel that can come out of this experience. I'll also say that ridely is as hard as he's ever been, and some may even call him one of the hardest bosses this series has ever spawned.
Excellently done in every respect of the word, Retro truly went over every detail with a fine tooth comb. From the splashing water on your visor to the amazing lighting effects, I can truly say that this is the one point of the game that was done to its fullest perfection. Something that I'd like to comment on is the fact that they really seemed to master the light and dark effects of the areas in general. Granted, some things are very dark, and when I say that I mean virtually un-seeable. If you can get past that, then you are truly in for a magnificent treat.
Another thing that I think deserves mention is that there is such a variety of wildlife that populates the planet. Plants such as moss and large shrubs grow everywhere, just like as if you were in some form of a forest, a large waterfall tops it off to boot. Other areas include a desert like ruin area, complete with its own variety of old ruins. Crevices can be seen from above, and to an explorer they are a dream come true. That's another point about this game, upgrades to your arsenal can be found littered throughout the landscape, which is truly a treat for the persistent. What makes this truly special is the pure amount of upgrades that there is in the first place, as the whole game has a wealth of them around every corner. This really adds up for some serious backtracking, but it really only adds to the fun in which you get to see every area once again. What's really cool though is the fact that you get to start off in a largely organic environment, but by the climax of the game you are in a futuristic space pirate headquarters. The change of pace that this provides is very welcoming, as it kind of makes the game move along at a smooth, pace.
Music/ Sound: 7/10
This game is primarily made up of moody melodies that contribute largely to the game's feeling of uneasiness. I never felt safe as I was playing this, as the music would always throw me for a loop. Tunes don't always fit there environment, so that's why I gave this the score I did. One thing that I would like to add is that the battle music with the pirates at the end of the game fits it perfectly, so if you're interested in a good adrenaline rush I suggest you play and listen to that part of the game. The overall atmosphere that is achieved through this is amazing, and I thought that they couldn't have done a better job putting in some of the games more climactic sequences.
Guide or No Guide: Guide
This is my new section that I just concocted, and it will primarily talk about if you would want to purchase a guide for the game or not. In this particular case, I'd say buy the guide. I twill not only help you get through the game, but it will also help you to complete the massive scan library that may or may not be able to completely finish otherwise. Maps are always useful, so that's a plus. I suggest you pick up a guide that fits your tastes, but make sure to stay away from the Nintendo one, as it really is horrible to say the least.
Ridely basically gives this game this score, as he is almost impossibly hard for a first time player. Not only that, but the other bosses as well are sure to give you a headache or two. Otherwise, you generally should only have a problem with the end of the game, when the space pirates rear their ugly heads.
Family Friendly: 3/10
Not meant for children under the age of 10, that's for sure: P. Otherwise, this is a shooter, so if you disapprove of that then you should stay far away from this game. There is some mild blood, so that's an issue as well.
This game can easily be completed within about 5-6 hours if you're fast, and probably even less. I think the record is somewhere around 3 hours, but that person must have been on steroids.
It has its skeptics, but it all turns out to work wonderfully when it's all said and done. It may be a bit cumbersome, but you'll get used to it with time.
Final Opinions: One thing that I think should be remembered by people everywhere is that even if you don't want a beloved franchise to go into a new direction, and even if you don't want to see a rookie working on it, you should always be willing to take a chance, as this game alone can prove anyone wrong in terms of pure fun, design, and everything in general. They spawned a sequel off of it, and whether you like it is really up to you. I liked this one more, but that's just me. All I know is that the new one slated to come out for the WII will truly put an emphasis on what this franchise is supposed to be.
Scant at best, this section should have been a little more fleshed out.
Game Play: 10/10
Excellently produced. I can't say how much I enjoyed this.
Even in today's day and age these are still some of the best yet.
Off in some small areas, overall creates a atmosphere of fear.
Guide or No Guide: Guide
Great for getting all of the scans, I suggest picking one up.
Hard towards the end of the game, and believe me when I say it's hard.
Family Friendly: 3/10
Game is pretty short, so I say rent
Excellent in all respects.
My Final Score: 10/10
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/02/07
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