Review by buruburu1

"An Impressive Shrinking of a Great Console Series"

Graphics (30/30, judged by era)- There's simply little room to argue that in the first year at least of the DS' life, this was not the best looking game on the system. The 3d engine chugs along smoothly and puts out engaging environments. It's certainly no Gamecube, but the DS handles this type of game well. There are short pre-rendered clips which are largely pointless and repeated often; they're heavily compressed to boot. The creatures themselves could be viewed as a weakness in the game, but since you're usually keeping your enemies at a distance, they merely render small most of the time; this is more a drawback of a small screen than anything. Overall the game takes a proven visual design and translates much of what made it impressive to a smaller screen.

Sound- FX/Voice (9/10) Overall, a very good sound package. This is a good game to play with headphones to get into the ambience of the game. A few sounds are way too loud and annoying, particularly the death sirens.

Sound- Music (5/10) Where the original game had a mostly sparse and haunting minimalist soundtrack, and the console rebirth of the series added a great electronic soundtrack to it, this game sits somewhere in-between. It doesn't use the Metroid Prime composer, and seems to suffer for it. Instead, someone sort of emulating that style takes the reins and turns out a few ok tracks but mainly a lot of forgettable ones that aren't bad or annoying, just mediocre.

Game play- Length/Replay (10/15) Including death retries, this game clocked at about 18 hours for the single-player adventure. It was actually a good length for the content, yet because of the price of the game, is a bit meager. Had it gone on much longer it could've certainly started to feel tired. I did not take the game online via wi-fi, which you could certainly do for some fps multiplayer mayhem; I happen to really dislike that sort of game so didn't bother trying it. However, you could easily get the rest of your money's worth if you wanted to by playing online, which would bump the total score of this review to a 9.

Game play- Story (2/5) The story is minimal and largely unimpressive, created to shoehorn in the multiplayer game and the appearance of other bounty hunters you can play in that mode, and who appear in-game. Thankfully much of the back story is doled out through scanning things in-game, as in the console version. This makes the world come alive a bit without making you sit through plot-points that would be unimpressive otherwise.

Game play- Game Design (25/30)- It's overall very impressive that the game is what it is. The world is sufficiently large, spanning 4 environments that open up multiple times each depending on items acquired, and the game plays an awful lot like its console big-brother. The controls are both impressive and disappointing at the same time: on the one hand, the aiming and firing is very accurate and feels PC-like using the stylus for mouse-look and aiming. However, the way you have to position your left hand for d-pad movement and left shoulder firing (there is a lefty-option as well) is difficult to hold for a long time. This is unfortunate because even though this is a handheld game, it needs to be played in half-hour to 1 hour chunks to accomplish anything, and that's when the hand cramping can begin. There is a 2-handed option that doesn't use the stylus, but it's not the stylus hand that's bothered in the default control mode.

As well, there are a couple of places where it can be difficult to ascertain what to do next either through vague goals or less-than-intuitive triggers, which can result in a lot of futile investigating of worlds you've been to. The 3d-navigable world map is fairly useful, if a little tricky to get used to, but hindered by the screen size. There are also a lot of weapons, this is largely a good thing, but then this causes the game to become color-reliant and as a color-blind affected male this was occasionally problematic.

If I'm giving short shrift to positive aspects, it's because the positives could be summed up easily as being very much like the GC version. The whole escape-from-the-exploding-area thing, present in I think every Metroid title, gets overused here. For instance, you will be required to flee a level or face destruction, yet you'll be forced to go back to it…and it won't be destroyed. A fun game mechanic, but overused.

**Final Thoughts: An impressive title that runs is more limited by hardware than anything.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 06/18/12

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

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