Metroid Prime Remastered Review – Joyous Surprise

In an unexpected move, during the Nintendo Direct showcase, the company acknowledged the existence of Metroid Prime Remastered and announced its immediate launch. This beloved classic from 2002, arguably the best game to grace Game Cube, got a fresh lick of paint for the premiere on Switch. Short of getting invited to a hypothetical, top-secret beta for Metroid Prime 4, this is probably the best possible surprise for every long-time Metroid fan.

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Although Metroid Prime was the fifth Metroid game in the series, it is considered second in the overall timeline. It has been remastered once before, as a part of the Metroid Prime Trilogy published in 2009. for Nintendo Wii. Unfortunately, in this iteration for Switch, Prime goes solo, at least for now. For brand new audiences, perplexed by the advanced lore piled up on them in Metroid Dread, Remaster represents the opportunity to explore the franchise’s roots. Learning about the early exploits of Samus Aran in glorious HD, what a delightful February!

Organic Interconnectivity

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Metroid Prime Remastered takes place on Tallon IV, the jungle planet Zebesian Space Pirates chose to experiment on Metroids. Let’s assume that you are “uninitiated” and, like my neighbor’s kids, have no clue WTH is Metroid… Nintendo tends to breed sweet confusion when naming their games. Many people, for example, think that Link is the Zelda from Legend of Zelda. The same goes for Samus Aran, the slick bounty huntress in golden armor featured in every Metroid game cover art. Actual Metroids are jellyfish-looking parasites that suck the energy out of things and people and thus not the prime candidates for photo advertising.

Moving on. After the quick prologue in the derelict frigate orbiting Talon IV, where Samus conveniently lost most of her armor powers, she lands on the surface in pursuit of the truth behind pirates and their experiments. The surface and underground of Talon IV are one gigantic maze full of interconnected passageways. Most of those are initially closed to you, opening up when you re-acquire the corresponding gear, weapon, or ability. The level layout, although constricted due to the hardware limits of Game Cube, is nevertheless a masterpiece of design. If you think that the original Dark Souls has the best organic connectivity, think again. After more than twenty years, Metroid Prime still reigns supreme in that regard.

Mighty Morphin Power Samus

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Contrary to classic 2D Metroid games, Prime is a more laid-back affair with a much deeper emphasis on exploration. There is, of course, a lot of shooting, but the violence is definitely secondary to snooping around. Scanning the environment is closely connected to everything else. It provides detailed info about the architecture and living things alike, being especially useful in boss fights. Detailed scans of the environment often give you the clue about the potential interactivity. A crack in the structural integrity of some wall, for example, should motivate you to probe it with a missile.

In the beginning, you will be navigating the vast maze on foot. Pretty soon, however, you’ll reacquire the iconic Morph Ball ability, enabling you to curl into a metallic sphere and traverse through holes in the walls. Upgrading the Ball with a deployable bomb, booster, and spider augmentations will open further avenues for progression. Revisiting each zone every time you upgrade your arsenal is essential for finding new routes. An excellent 3D map helps with divulging where those might exist.

Enhanced for the Switch

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Compared to the Game Cube version, navigation, and combat feels more organic on Switch. Dual stick controls weren’t possible on GC because its gamepad had just one analog stick. But if you desire to experience the ancient ways, you play the game with legacy controls enabled. Combat also benefits from the lock-on feature which simplifies strafing and dodging. It’s especially useful when dealing with mobs vulnerable to hindside attacks only. Last but not least, upgraded visuals offer crisp fidelity, remodeled objects, and brand-new textures. On top of all that, you can expect consistent 60 fps in docked mode. Pure bliss.

The best thing about Metroid Prime is the gradual escalation in the challenge and means of circumventing it. Besides opening a new set of doors, every class of beam weapons enables you to tackle progressively more lethal foes. Creative use of elemental attacks, like shooting ice beams at fast-flying pirates, efficiently levels the playing field. Upgrading your missile capacity is also essential, as those pack an immense punch and work as fuel to special attacks you’ll get later on. Different visors (combat, scan, thermal, and x-ray) add additional layers to navigating the environment and solving puzzles. They also make combat more exciting.

The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

Metroid Prime Remastered Review Scanning

Unlike most modern games made in a similar way, Metroid Prime Remastered actively refrains from holding your hand. Occasionally, the game will drop a hint about a significant location worthy of exploring, but it will never set a breadcrumb trail for your convenience. Finding a way is always up to you. One could argue that the acute lack of direction makes the game way too rudderless, but I vehemently disagree. Metroid Prime treats you with respect, pushing you to rely on your devices for progress. It rewards experimentation and attention to (barely visible) detail, compensating you for your persistence.

For long-time Metroid fans like myself, Metroid Prime Remastered represents an essential purchase. It’s also a perfect starter for younger players, eager to discover one of the most important gaming franchises of all time. Do yourself a favor and deep dive into it.



  • Excellent pacing and emphasis on exploration and puzzles.
  • Unparalleled, organic environmental interconnectivity.
  • Fantastic boss fights.
  • Updated visuals that offer smooth 60 fps gameplay.


  • Instead of a remastered Prime trilogy, we got only one game.
  • Remaster could have benefitted from more quality-of-life updates, such as more frequent save points.
Review platform: Nintendo Switch
Developed by: Retro Studios
Published by: Nintendo
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Author Serge profile picture
Having games be part of his life since Commodore 64 it was only natural that Serge co-founded With every new game he travels from being the Noob to being Gosu. Whether he does coding or editorial work on the website he is still amazed by the fact that gaming is what he does for living.