Review by ZFS
"After eight long years of waiting, the lovely Ms. Aran graces us with a spectacular comeback."
After 8 long years of waiting Samus Aran has returned in her most massive adventure yet. Unlike the traditional Metroid games, Metroid Prime is in first-person. It would be stupid to call Metroid Prime a first-person shooter though, because it is not; rather Metroid Prime is a first-person adventure. Yes, you still do shoot your arm cannon and what not but the game has so much exploring to it that you cannot possibly call it a FPS. Anyway, with Metroid Prime we have a totally new outlook on the Metroid series in comparison to other Metroid titles. Other than the fact that it is now first person, there are still tons of features that are totally new to the series and work so very well with it. For example Samus can now scan just about everything in the game, while some things range from very important to just fun to read stuff the scanning is a definite plus and is the way the game gives you your information rather than through subtitles or characters speaking. Now, prepare for an experience like no other...
In Metroid Prime you play as Samus Aran. An intergalactic bounty hunter who is charged with the defense against the Pirates and other horrid enemies. In Metroid Prime you also, as I have mentioned, play in a first-person aspect. No longer are you able to see Samus' full body anymore, but this doesn't mean that the Metroid series has turned into a FPS. The focus is not on blasting wave after wave of enemy forces rather the focus is on you exploring the wondrous planet of Tallon IV.
During her mission on Tallon IV Samus will be able to do a number of different things ranging from exploring crashed Pirate Frigates to the huge Chozo Ruins. During her adventure she uses such things as the Visor. Her visor can be used a number of different ways and allows for her to do a number of different things. The scan visor is the most important, with the scan visor you will be able to do a number of different things such as scan enemies to discover weaknesses, get information on them, and record them in your log book. This is one of the best new additions to Metroid Prime, with the scan visor not only do you discover enemies but it also used in activating switches, encrypting pirate data and so forth -- a truly remarkable addition. There are a number of different visors in Metroid Prime that will help you progress forth each one also has a special feature that the other does not.
Another very fun part of Metroid Prime is the combat system. The fun part about it is that you can jump around, jump from side to side and even lock on. The combat system, I must say is very well done. The reason? The sheer amount of difficulty the enemies put forth. When fighting enemies most of them will put up a tremendous fight before you're able to take them out, and in some cases they will take you out. The thing about the combat system that makes it so great though is the action in the battle. Never once do the battles in Metroid Prime feel ''stale'' or ''boring'' instead you're always trying to defeat the enemy before they defeat you, because that is the goal and they do intend to do it. Also, if you have played previous Metroid games you will know that the damage the enemies do to you is not weak and continues to be strong in Metroid Prime. The enemies you face will always do a good assorted amount of damage each time they hit you, so that means if you're fighting a load of enemies and you don't dodge, odds are your going to lose to them. That's what makes the combat system great.
The good thing about Metroid Prime is that is lengthy, has great puzzles, and most of all does not have a guide that tells you everything. Notice the last part? That is what makes Metroid Prime a tremendously great, long game. You don't have a mission objective, there isn't someone always telling you, you need to go here next or you have to do this to continue. Instead you are free to explore the alien world of Tallon IV right from the get go. Of course there are locations that are restricted until you find the necessary item to reach the area, but almost everything in Metroid Prime is unlocked to the player so that they can go and explore it, thus keeping the tradition of making Metroid games as non-linear as possible. There is basically no problem with Metroid Prime when it comes to gameplay, everything is done so well and is so finely crafted that there isn't a single problem with the gameplay. Retro Studios has done a great job of making Metroid Prime and hopefully will continue with it in their next game Metroid Prime 2.
The graphics in Metroid Prime are so freakin' good that it is not funny. The amount of detail put into everything around you is just phenomenal. Everything from the schematics of the enemies to the water that rests in Tallon IV everything is just awesome. One of collect effects from the graphics has to be the rain when you first arrive on Tallon IV, if you look into the sky you will see the rain bouncing off of Samus' visor. That is just a tremendously good affect of the great graphics.
One thing that I like most about the graphics is the amount of detail that they've put into the environments. Sure, usually good graphics do mean having great environments, but in Metroid Prime the level of detail is just too good. Everything from the dirt on the ground to the cracks in the walls everything just shows everything so well that is hard not to just look in awe as you see the places around you.
From the dark environments to the bright places of Tallon IV usage of lighting effects is great in this game. The shadows of stuff glistening off the floor to the dark shadows of a cavern everything just fits into place and works well with Metroid Prime. Because Tallon IV is has such a dreary feeling to it a lot of the levels are darker without a ton of light, but there is light and it isn't very dark where you couldn't see. Everything seems to work graphically and there isn't much to say other than the graphics are pretty good.
Okay, the audio is good but some of the tracks are just so bad that it is not even funny. I mean for example the transfer in elevators with the beeping music is just bad, I hate it. There a few tracks like this that just doesn't fit well with what's going on at all. Now I'm not saying that the audio is bad, just a few selected tracks of it just aren't up to par with the Metroid series and just feel like they are out of place in the game. There are other musical tracks though are awesome. Music can go from easy and calm to hectic and fast, it all depends on the situation and where you are at. Really there should've been more tracks from past Metroid games to get a feel of the old games, but instead they decided to go with completely new tracks for everything. There are though some tracks from past games that work sound good and when you hear them you will definitely notice that they have been slightly remixed and sound better.
The sound part has no bad parts that I can think of. Everything sounds great, from the sound of a missile exploding to the change of one of your beam weapons mostly everything sounds good. If you have played Metroid before most of the sounds you hear will be very familiar, while others are completely new, which is to be expected. All in all the audio is great and won't leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth minus the few horrid tracks that there are.
Usually I do not cover control in my reviews, but this game needed it. Basically the control of Metroid Prime feels weird when you first start playing. It almost seems that it just won't work well at all, but once you start playing through the game you will soon master the controls and you will be moving around your controller with ease not worried about accidentally pressing the wrong visor or beam weapon. One thing that you don't have to worry about in controls is a camera. Since there is no camera you don't have to worry about the camera switching over and screwing up in a battle since everything takes place in first-person.
The replay value in Metroid Prime remains as good as all the previous installments in the series. Despite the fact that the game brings a 3D look to things, the ability to get under 2 hours with 100% completion is always a create challenge. From completing the game in that manner to sequence breaking (getting items before their meant to be gotten) all adds up to one great replay value experience. Plus, the game is done so well just roaming are aimlessly has its own little perks.
Overall, Metroid Prime delivers the Metroid series into 3D wonderfully. The once doubted first-person view gives the game a much deeper atmosphere than usual, the music sets the darker tone, and the graphics are enough to blow your mind away. Nintendo has yet again taken one of their top three franchises and successfully brought it over to 3D. A gaming experience that everyone should have the joy of experiencing.
Final Score: 10
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 04/18/03, Updated 04/25/06
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