Review by videogamer1030

"A good FPS multiplayer with a very condensed single player "Metroid" on the side"

I bought this game primarily for the single player, hoping it would be like the main trilogy of Metroid Prime games. I knew it wouldn't be, but I hoped it would, so the Metroid fan in me bought this out of obligation. Truth be told, Hunters is actually like the Prime trilogy- just very watered down. In Hunters, bounty hunter Samus aims to claim a mysterious "ultimate power" before it falls in the wrong hands. Different hunters each have their own reasons for wanting the power, and it is up to Samus to beat them to it. Samus fights with her arm cannon in a first person perspective, direction is controlled with the stylus. She can also roll into a ball to reach small passageways.

There are reasons why Hunters failed to capture what the Metroid Prime games did. One reason is the graphics. Graphics are stellar for a DS title, but it just doesn't suit the DS because Hunters feels compressed. When I want 3D graphics, I want that huge screen, it makes the world seem that much more expansive. Even though the D Pad does work for this title (far more than Mario 64 DS, because there isn't as much platforming), the screen is just too limited. I want to see every finite detail, especially in a game like Metroid. The 3D map is also hard to read because it's hard to adjust it to the right angle.

The game also lacks the polish of the Prime trio. The game is somewhat expansive, but the design isn't anywhere near as clever. Bosses aren't nearly as well designed or exciting (they are only a series of two that repeat with little variation for far too many times (four each!?)). All other enemies appear far too often as well, including fellow Hunters. Basically, the game consists of going on different planets, collecting 3 artifacts to enter warp portals, fighting an uninspired "boss", and running back to the ship before a timer runs out (just for the sake of having an escape sequence, because the planet doesn't even explode). As the game progresses, all the planets get revisted for a second time, when Samus can open doors with weapons not previously obtained. She repeats the same actions but goes to areas previously not accessable.

Samus' trademark equipment is mostly missing, but there are a new series of different weapons for her to obtain, which are used by each of the different hunters. Weapons found around the worlds open up different colored doors and have different functions. For instance, one weapon functions like a sniper weapon, another drains out enemy life using absorbing volts.

People bash the single player experience, but it's not entirely bad, just severely disappointing for Metroid. It still managed to hold my attention and get me somewhat absorbed, just not to the same extent as all the other Metroid games. The single player managed to bring some neat ideas to Metroid, like different planets and hunters (which Prime 3 expanded on), as well as good audio tracks. Exploration, puzzles, and information scanning are still present, but they're not nearly as developed as they are in the Prime trilogy, all being put behind the combat (which is also lackluster). The single player game is shorter than the other Metroid Prime games, a blessing because it would have been painful to play if it lasted any longer.

I find this game comparable to Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, in that there is single and multiplayer, but they've now reversed roles. While multiplayer was an afterthought in Echoes, in Hunters single player took a back seat.

Multiplayer is very fleshed out this time. There are six hunters to use, all kinds of options (deathmatch, stock, capture the flag, etc,), and Wifi battling (with voice chat). One can play against friends, CPU's, or online. The game is the most well developed Wifi title on any Nintendo title to date.

Battling is very well done for many reasons:

A. Each Hunter has different strengths and weaknesses

B. Hunters all have different alternate forms (morph ball styled). Alternate forms are quicker and smaller, but lack stronger firepower.

The game was much more developed than Echoes in multiplayer and yet, Echoes multiplayer was almost more fun to me. It was simplistic and it had lock on features. No extensive sniper headshots or anything, just fighting for fun. I guess it depends whether one likes FPS games or not.

\The lack of targeting doesn't make the game much harder, just less fun. I loved strafing and targeting in the Prime games. Aiming, no matter what type of control is used- doesn't feel natural to me. Admitedly the DS, Wii, or PC are good tools for aiming, but even so, I never feel there is 100% accurate precision.

Overall, Hunters isn't the 2D Metroid I am craving nor is it a slot into the 3D Prime trilogy. I like to think of it as a spinoff, it's not entirely bad, but it's more for multiplayer FPS fans than Metroid veterans. Veterans like myself can feel free to give it a try, just expect a halfway decent experience as opposed to an incredible one.

Gameplay: (5/10)- Decent single player, but multiplayer is the main focus. It was nice to get single player on the side but it could have used more polish.

Graphics: (8/10)- Incredible for DS, but doesn't look as good as the main Metroid Prime games do.

Story: (3/10)- Not as good as one would hope for Metroid. Some details are in scanning environments, but the plot is overly basic and doesn't fit well into the Metroid storyline. There aren't even any Metroids or Space Pirates in the entire game.

Audio: (8/10)- Sounds like Metroid should, but nothing outstanding.

Lasting Appeal (9/10)- Multiplayer will keep you coming back for a while, especially if you're an FPS fan. Single player quest is not replayable at all though.

Overall: (5.5/10)

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 01/05/09, Updated 09/08/09

Game Release: Metroid Prime: Hunters (US, 03/20/06)

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