Review by Aegis_Runestone
A decent entry, worth playing through at least twice (7.5).
Hailed as one of the worst games in the series, Metroid Prime Hunters offers a little more than expected from other reviews. It stands out as a unique variation of Metroid--specifically Metroid Prime--mostly focusing on the 'first-person' aspect of the first-person adventure genre than the adventure part. This review will go in-depth in the advantages and disadvantages of each part of the game: Gameplay, Graphics, Sound/Music, Story, and Re-playability. Note: This review will not take Multiplayer into consideration.
Metroid Prime Hunters takes a step back from traditional Metroid gameplay with the lack of suit upgrades, and primarily focusing on beam upgrades. A typical Metroid player may find this disappointing from the start, however, the upside is there are many different beams to choose from, and getting one beam opens up the door for more exploration without actually having to hit a boss (that is, after the first two bosses) up to a certain point.
Hunters is designed similarly to Metroid Prime 3: Corruption in that there are multiple planets to visit. However, Hunters does the multiple planet areas better than Corruption. How? Early on in the game, the player receives access to all four planets (well, two of them are space stations) after defeating the first two bosses. After this, where the player goes next is up to them. Exploration is one of the key parts of the Metroid series, and one thing Hunters has over Corruption is exploration. Granted, overall, Corruption's planets are better designed, but Hunters comes up on top because of the allowed access to all areas early on.
Weapons are the key to exploration. After defeating the first two bosses, the last two planets are opened up, and they contain a weapon each. Depending on which weapon the player chooses, a part of an area from an 'older' planet (or even the planet they are currently on) will open up. And always, getting a weapon from one of the 'newer' planets will open the path to another weapon on one of the 'older' planets. This cycle repeats between the two sets of planets and it allows the player to avoid the core bosses completely and explore the planets freely.
How is avoiding the core bosses an advantage? The player will learn early on that there are no suit upgrades to be gained from core bosses--only key items. Thus, exploration--as stated earlier--a core mechanic to Metroid is more emphasized than Corruption.
There are also the other bounty hunters. These bounty hunters will show up multiple times (even after being defeated once) in an attempt to kill the player. When going to the planets 'out of order,' the ship will tell the player about which bounty hunters they'll encounter on the planet they are exploring (unless it's a planet they are 'supposed to' be at).
However, there are many frustrating parts of the game and repetitive fetch items within the game that can irritate the player, taking away from that feel of exploration. The controls are another issue--some find them appealing, others find them obtrusive. Fortunately, there are multiple choices (through the options section inside the gunship) to setup the controls. Despite that, each control scheme has advantages and disadvantages to them. The default controls using the stylus allow for better accuracy with weapons, whereas the button control scheme allows for easier movement.
The enemy hunters can end up breaking the repetitious parts of the game and have their own dangerous weapons which can create a new challenge for the player as they explore the Tetra Galaxy.
-Gameplay Score: 7.5/10-
The graphics in Hunters are both dismal and fantastic, but more dismal. The movies/cutscenes have the most beautiful graphics the reviewer has ever seen in a DS game. The movies are done very professionally, and Samus looks great in every one of them.
Unfortunately, the graphics in-game lack the potential to be as fantastic as the movies. It is probably due to the high-quality movies that the game lacks so much graphical power during gameplay. The models and textures appear as if they were made in the 90's, and do not carry the strength of the other Prime games.
Therefore, the player will find the graphics department lacking, placing a large dent in the graphics' score.
-Graphics Score: 6/10-
The music, at first, seems rather boring when the player first enters the game; however, it improves as the player progresses through the game. The songs both carries a good beat (like some of the Prime games) and/or provides a creepy atmosphere (which is often associated with Metroid games). Hunters does well in both departments despite being a DS game.
The sound also does not disappoint, despite the fact that some of the sounds are re-used for parts that don't make any sense. Regardless, for a DS game, the sounds are well-made and fit the atmosphere of the game. Even if they aren't completely realistic.
-Sound/Music Score: 9/10-
Hunters has the typical, mysterious, "destruction of a past society due to unknown reasons" storyline in the same vein of Metroid Prime. It feels like Nintendo didn't know what to do with the story and had to copy Metroid Prime's. However, there are some key differences in the story that make hunters stand out. Although the idea of capturing the "Ultimate Power" seems cliche, the use of it to attract the enemy hunters just makes the game more interesting.
The Scan Visor makes a return, and its use is vital for collecting all the data for the logbook (like in the other Prime games), and like Metroid Prime, it is vital to understanding the story and what happened to the alien race that was destroyed. Unlike in Metroid Prime, the alien race's devices and creatures are used, in an attempt, to stop the player from discovering the source of the destruction. Apparently, the race wants to keep it a secret and does everything in its power to prevent Samus from uncovering the mystery.
With its cliches and near-copying of Prime's storyline, it does damage the story's score.
-Story Score: 7/10-
Many players will put down the game once they finish it. While there are hints of secrets to be found at the end, this reviewer imagines that without some of the classic Metroid components (suit upgrades, for example), the player will feel dissatisfied with the game.
However, because of what was mentioned earlier, Hunters carries a myriad of ways to play the game due to the order the player chooses to obtain the weapons. It gives them the choice of taking on the core bosses, exploring more, or a combination of both. Not to mention that the enemy hunters are chosen at random at 'out of order' planets for Samus to face. This creates allows for the player to explore the Tetra Galaxy with different approaches. Granted, there is a limit to how many ways the game can replayed, but that is the case with every game. It's recommended to give the game at least a second playthrough.
Therefore, despite the possible dissatisfaction from the player, the game has a lot of re-playability.
-Re-playability Score: 8/10-
Looking back at Hunters after many years of Metroid games, it is clear that while this one of the weaker entries in the series, Metroid Prime Hunters is also a decent entry in the series that's worth playing at least twice.
Final Score: 7.5/10
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Metroid Prime: Hunters (US, 03/20/06)
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