Review by Mysmatoria

"Neither Ridley nor Kraid"

Music and Sound—8/10
I'd like to begin this by saying if you have never experienced an FPS on the DS, do NOT try any besides Metroid Prime Hunters. That's the trouble with the DS--the capabilities for an FPS are outstanding, and yet MPH is the only one I know that isn't a headache (note: slight-to-major exaggeration there). Now that I've gotten that across, let's begin this review.

I'm starting with the graphics. Let me tell you that, for the DS, they are simply amazing. That doesn't mean 10/10 perfect amazing, nor does it necessarily mean 9/10 outstanding amazing, it just means amazing. Yes, I know that they can be rather pixelated at times (as in all the time), but that doesn't stop them from ceasing to please. They aren't glitchy, either, like some graphics are. One thing that came as a disapointment, however, was that the hardware capabilities are more or less that of an N64--and yet MPH doesn't yet look like Ocarina of Time. Oh, well. Another flaw was that I never found any of the views to be breathtaking--no sunrise-lit glittering lakes, no winding canyons seen from thousands of feet into the air, etc. Nothing had that something-I'll-remember-for-the-rest-of-my-life feel--not the graphics, nor the morals, nor the fights. Nothing was epic. But that's off-topic. One major problem that's in most games is things that don't seem fully animated. For example, lava. Now admittedly MPH lava looks somewhat better than that of others, but it's not perfect. So basically I'd rank, on a DS scale, MPH's graphics as amazing--but on a universal scale, they're good, but not great.

Next is music. I really liked the multiplayer music--frantic, infectuous beats they were. However, in single player... the music was simply a drone; nothing memorable, not yet an annoyance, however. Sometimes the music seemed too soft or too frantic--a rather odd complaint, but a complaint nonetheless. I don't really have much else to say about music. It wasn't good, it wasn't bad; it didn't help much, nor did it ever hinder much. It basically wasn't worthy of paying attention to. Of course, I did enjoy the Gorea Battle Song and the songs when battling rival hunters. But that is really all there is.

Now for the presentation. I don't really think much about presentation; all I can say is that it is done adequately, not that I really care. Sorry for those who were looking for presentation.

Gameplay! The best section! Just to let you guys know beforehand, I split up gameplay and controls, so I'll cover controls in another section. The gameplay is good enough, with the option to do a single-player campaign or multiplayer classic first-person-shooter matches via single-card, multi-card, or online play. Single-card play is fun, but gets old seeing as your opponents can only be Samus and only Battle mode is available. Multi-card is great, but nothing when compared to console FPS experiences. And finally, online is solid enough, except it can be hard to find opponents, only battle is available, and the absolute worst part, I can never go online without finding an action-replay user. Seriously! Every time I go online, in at least one match, somebody will have double damage, cloak, deathalt, the Omega Cannon, super jump, or invincibility on. Only a headshot from the Imperialist will do them justice, although in the case of cloak, deathalt, and super jump, it can be hard to impossible to achieve. Then the single player mode isn't all that great. It's basically you go to a planet, fight a hunter on your quest to gain three artifacts, then face a boss (Neither Kraid nor Ridley). After fighting the boss, the planet explodes and you must escape. Sounds promising enough, but after repeating the process eight times with the same two bosses and cycling through only four planets, it can get quite dull. Not only that, but I found it to be challenging at times. Not too challenging, but challenging enough to annoy me. You also collect different weapons, but they fall short. More in the Variety + Multiplayer section. Oh and I forgot to mention, the guns have absolutely no bullet penetration—no cover can be shot through.

Controls: when you play an FPS, you want an experience that will have you out of your seat yelling, “BOOM! HEADSHOT!” Well, unfortunately, MPH doesn't quite give you that experience. With a lucky Imperialist headshot, maybe, but that's it. This is partly (not too much, though) because of the controls. You have two options, and the first gives hand cramps but is more fluent and usable, whilst the second removes hand cramps but makes it extremely hard and takes a LOT away from accuracy. The first method has you using the control pad to move around, the L button to shoot (this is the right-handed version; left handed is swapped), and R button to scope with the Imperialist. Using the touch screen, you double-tap to jump, hit icons to switch collected weapons and change into your alt-form, and aim. Hand cramps come from holding the DS with one hand. The other method has you once again using the control pad to move, and L to shoot, but this time, uses XABY to aim and R to jump. The scope is done by double-tapping the Imperialist icon on the touch screen. It's completely out-of-whack; as you can probably tell, I hate it. Thankfully, you can change the sensitivity of both methods, just NEVER put it at 15 unless you are already experienced with the game.

Variety…well the good thing that is different from the general FPS is you have the option to go into a smaller, more mobile and compact version of whichever hunter you are using. They move around faster and have their own special abilities, like the hunters themselves. They can also attack, whether it be by lunging, laying bombs, etc. So that's good. There are also 7 unique hunters, all with special abilities they can use while armed with their respective affinity weapons (ex-Samus pairs with missiles; if you charge them up with her they will home in) and their different alt-forms. Unfortunately, there are not nearly enough guns—the selection is miniscule, with only 9 guns available. Two of them are the basic Power Beam and Missile Launcher. One of them is a cheap weapon only available on one map that instantly kills anyone nearby. Then the six weapons don't have nearly enough variety and aren't that satisfying. The Battlehammer launches small-scale nuclear blasts and is the only fully-automatic gun, but it fires pretty slowly even though it's automatic. If being used by the hunter Weavel, the blast radius will be much larger. It is extremely short-range. The Judicator is a gun that fires blasts of supercooled plasma—the shots ricochet, too. Like all the other guns, they're fun at first but get old. The Magmaul is pretty much a grenade launcher. It shoots flaming rocks and can set others on fire when fully charged by Spire. The Volt Driver doesn't get old as quickly, as it is like a super-powered Power Beam. Charged it is especially fun to use, seeing as with Kanden it homes in and completely scrambles their sight. And finally, the Imperialist is essentially a sniper rifle. It fires immediately and deals massive damage, however after each shot you must “reload”. Other than those, there is no meleeing, no grenades, no bullet penetration, sidearms, perks, attachments, or rewards for kill streaks. True, it's better than some other DS FPS experiences, but it's nothing really special.

Plot—the plot is plain stereotypical and somewhat lame. True, I gave it a 7.5, but that's because generally I try to enjoy the plots of games as much as possible. Therefore I am not too harsh about grading plot. Basically, the telepathic message “the secret to the ultimate power lies in the Alimbic cluster” is spread about the universe. The Galactic Federation quickly sends renowned bounty hunter Samus Aran to retrieve the ultimate power, making sure it doesn't fall into enemy hands. On her way across the Alimbic cluster, Samus duels with rival bounty hunters and the guardians of Octoliths, the keys to the ultimate power. She also finds the weapons of other hunters along the way. After collecting the eight Octoliths scattered throughout the four planets, Samus makes her way to Oubliette, where she watches her hunters in an attempt to kill Gorea, a beast that is where the supposed ultimate power is located. They die, obviously, and it's up to Samus. She kills Gorea and, if you choose to do it the good ending way, is then teleported to a battlefield similar to a giant tree. At the bottom lies the Omega Cannon—the ultimate power. It shoots a huge blast of “omega”, destroying anything in its path. Once it collides, it explodes into other omega particles. Using the Cannon, she kills Gorea. Game over! Perhaps I shouldn't have ranted about the “horrible” plot too much, but it still doesn't compare to something like Zelda.

And finally, multiplayer. There are three options—single card, multi-card, and online play via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Single card allows up to four people who do not have the game to play, although those who do not own MPH must play it as Samus. That, along with Battle mode being the only mode available, makes it somewhat lackluster. Multi-card play has seven modes, but it is not much of an improvement seeing as there are pretty much no people who also own MPH. And online play is just like single, except it's hard to find a match and thankfully, your opponents are not restricted to Samus. The guns, along with small battlefields, and the restraint of only four people per match, can kind of ruin the fun, though…

Now for the conclusion. MPH is fun when you first get it, and the single-player adventure is a solid 5 hours (which is pretty short), but it doesn't go beyond it. The Wi-Fi rankings can be fun to fight for, but eventually the overall lackluster nature will shoo you away. If you've got nothing else to get for the DS, then go for it, but otherwise, this game is not worth too much of your notice. And the only section not in here is retro appeal, but haha, I don't think many people care. Goodbye!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 02/08/10

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

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