Review by pikapoo_123

"A deep and robust multiplayer, that sadly takes away what defines a metroid game."

Metroid Prime Hunters is the latest installment in this classic franchise. In this game, the galactic federation receives a telepathic message, informing them that an “ultimate power” lies in the distant tetra galaxy. So what does the federation do? They send Samus Aran to recover the power for the federation. But more on the story later. Metroid Prime Hunters is a unique handheld title, adding slick graphics, precision controls and a fantastic online experience, all in one package.

Controls - 9/10
Simply put, the controls are reminiscent of PC shooters. The D-Pad controls movement, while the touch screen aims, jumps, switches into a hunter's alt form, and changes between many varieties of weapons. There is a number of sensitivity setting for the aiming, so you can choose one to fit your liking. Switching between weapons couldn't be easier. With a drag of the stylus, you can go from a magma mortar launcher, to a high-powered sniper beam. The only flaws with the controls are the jumping and switching to the alt form in a few hunters. While having to double tap the screen to perform a jump, it is possible to accidentally switch weapons or forms, which can make for awfully tedious platform jumping in single player.

Graphics - 9/10
Metroid Prime Hunters easily pulls off the best graphics in any DS title to date. The game includes a library of per-rendered cut scenes that looks absolutely jaw dropping. The game itself runs at a great framerate, even wile 4 characters on screen blasting and laying bombs all over the place. However, some of the 3D models of the characters can look jagged at times, and textures look pixilated if you zoom into them with a sniper beam. Other than those easy to ignore flaws, Hunters looks phenomenal on the DS.

Story - 7/10
Metroid Prime Hunters was designed as a multiplayer game, and to incorporate this into the story, they added 6 additional hunters to search for the “ultimate power”, all for their own reasons. Some want it for themselves, others for peace or their people. After you face a hunter, you will find them randomly afterwards, almost like Metroid Fusion. Which brings up another point, Metroid Prime Hunters doesn't feel like a Metroid game, but rather a Legend Of Zelda game, searching a dungeon for a triforce shard, then moving to the next. Hunters sends you on a un spoken mission to recover artifacts known as Octolits, the key to unlocking the ultimate power. This varies from the typical Metroid gameplay, where you backtrack, look for upgrades and missile expansions, explore new areas etc. The game tries to compensate by adding doors that you cannot open later and other minor ad ins, but it still doesn't feel like a Metroid game. Not that exploring with new gameplay is bad, but certain genres should stay what they are. How would it be if The Legend of Zelda became a puzzle series?

Multiplayer - 10/10
Metroid Prime Hunters, while lacking in story and single player modes, was designed to be a multiplayer oriented game. With the ability to play locally, with multi and single card, you can do battle with your friends, even if only one of you has the game. However, the real gem of multiplayer is of course, online multiplayer. Multiplayer with WFC on Metroid Prime Hunters blends simplicity and satisfaction into a smoothie of online multiplayer bliss. The main complaint with Mario Kart DS's online play was that you couldn't play people you had played before in the future. This is solved through the Rival List. After you play some one, you can add them to your rivals list, and you can join their games and play their friends and rivals together. If you play with friends, you come together in a similar manner, but you have the ability to use voice chat in the game lobbies, making it easy to talk trash to the people you just owned in a 2 on 2 deathmatch. The game also tracks all your statistics, from kills, to win percentage, even your disconnect rate and number of headshots online, so you can compare your rank and record with that of your friends and rivals online.

Overall - 9/10 (not average)

Metroid Prime Hunters is a fantastic online multiplayer experience; with one of the deepest shooter multiplayer mechanics in recant years on any console or PC, and certainly the best on a handheld. When designing such a fantastic multiplayer system, it may have been necessary to sacrifice what makes a Metroid game a Metroid game, which is exploration and backtracking, not a battle royal searching and fighting for ancient relics.
All in all, if you want a deep, satisfying, competitive multiplayer game to play online with your Nintendo DS, look no further than Metroid Prime Hunters. If you don't have access to WFC or many friends with a Nintendo DS, and aren't much of a Metroid fan, you may want to give this game a pass. Metroid Prime Hunters will likely not make some one a Metroid fan, Metroid Prime or Metroid Zero Mission are better alternatives for a newcomer to this classic, and alive series.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/27/06

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