Friday, April 8, 2011

Metroid Prime Trilogy Review

This was one of the last reviews I did for Radical Reviewers and one of the better pieces I have written. Things have changed in the past year, the game is out of print and is now super-rare. 

Hey there, it’s Kevin with yet another Radical Reviewers Review. This time, for what is in my opinion, one of the greatest collectors edition products in video game history. We’ll be reviewing Nintendo’s Metroid Prime Trilogy for Wii.
After skipping an entire generation, Nintendo decided to reboot the Metroid_Prime_TrilogyMetroid series on the GameCube. To do this, they purchased a Texas-based independent development company called Retro Studios, made out of alums with portfolios varying from Half-Life to Starcraft. The decision to use an American studio to develop a Nintendo game was already a radically different decision. It would only continue to change from there.

In 2001, a trailer was revealed for the final build of the game. It showed gameplay from a first-person perspective. This immediately drew a huge backlash from fans of the series, who feared that their beloved Metroid would turn into shooter like Quake or Halo. These fans decried the game, feeling that it was dishonest to the adventure themes of previous games. Nonetheless, Metroid Prime succeeded in drawing a massive amount of hype, with a live-action advertisement and a marketing ARG. 

When it was finally released in 2002, Metroid Prime defied all expectations. Drawing a metascore of 98, it is the highest rated game of the sixth generation. Critics praised the tight controls, atmospheric visuals, intense action and adherence to the Metroid formula. Metroid Prime made a perfect transition to the third-dimension, and would soon spawn a series.

Retro immediately agreed to create two new games in the subseries. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes was released in 2004 for Gamecube to rave-reviews, praising its darker atmosphere and gloomy story. Nonetheless, Echoes failed to generate the record-breaking sales of its predecessor. A Wii sequel was released in 2007, bringing the best graphics of the series, perfect pointer-based controls and improved action.

Historically, Metroid Prime games have all brought high metascores of 98, 95 and 92 respectively. Noting this, Metroid Prime Trilogy rivalsThe Orange Box in terms of value.  For fifty dollars you are receiving nearly eighty hours of gameplay and three of the finest Nintendo games ever created. Even if sold in a standard white plastic box, Metroid Prime Trilogy would still be an epic deal. But in addition to the games, a Collector’s Edition tin-casing is supplied as is an art-booklet printed on glossy photo-paper.

The list of upgrades and bonuses does not stop there. Metroid Prime 1 and 2 have been ported to the Corruption Engine, featuring stylish bloom lighting, 16:9 widescreen and updated textures. This effectively makes the aging Gamecube games look state-of-the-art on the visually challenged Wii. Of course, precise pointer-based controls have been implemented along with a new difficulty level. Topping it off is an integrated achievements system, which gives the player tokens for accomplishing certain objectives. These tokens can be traded for concept art and music. These additions make the Gamecube games far more enjoyable than before.

Despite the first-person perspective, the Metroid Prime games can hardly be considered first-person shooters. Emphasis is moved from linear-combat to exploration of an open world. Metroid games revolve around the collection of items and upgrades. New items give access to new areas, which behold boss fights, platforming challenges and adventure aspects. Simply put, few other games provide the experience of developing from a feeble bounty hunter to a one-woman army with integrated rocket-launchers, cloaking-mechanisms, personal anti-gravity devices, grappling-beams, morph-balls, bombs and energy cannons.
By far the most important aspect of the Metroid Prime games is the scanning-mechanic. By using an item called the “Scan Visor”, Samus can collect information about enemies, environments and items as well as decode logs. All information is saved into an internal logbook, which tells a gripping backstory. This mechanic effectively makes Metroid Prime one of Nintendo’s strongest story-telling games.

Many first-person action games have made attempts at integrating platforming into their gameplay. Half-Life is infamous for attempting to integrate platform challenges in Xen, to no avail. The first-person perspective and lack of visible feet made platforming imprecise and frustrating. Unlike its influences, Metroid Prime provides the best first-person platforming in gaming history. To compensate for the first-person perspective, platforms are amply-sized and spaced from each other. Making movement a speedy and pleasant experience. This contributes to an excellent shooting mechanic. Pointer-based controls make combat more intense and fun than it has any right to be. A large variety of foes with varied AI scripts makes shooting radically different from other games.

The Metroid Prime games are very well known for their atmosphere and backstory, and this sentiment is easily echoed. Numerous effects and details have been added to make Tallon IV, Aether and the GF System one of the most inspired, detailed, memorable and believable virtual-worlds ever made. Extensive craft has been placed in giving the world a history and a backstory. The player can simply spend hours at a time researching the backstory of Metroid’s sci-fi/fantasy world. Thus, exploration is fun and rewarding and the player is given great motive to thoroughly scour each area for secrets.

Recently, Nintendo has announced that Metroid Prime Trilogy will soon go out-of-print. Go after it now to pick up this fine collectors-edition before it becomes super-rare.

Metroid Prime Trilogy is easily one of the finest compilation titles ever made. Three history-making games have been put into a package of legendary value. To be rare in the future, the only reason not to buy it is if one has played the compiled games before. 4.5/5

The Good
  • Insane value, 80-hours of gameplay, plus Collector’s-Edition Specials, for the price of a standard game.
  • The games serve as the paragon of first-person action-adventures
  • Gamecube games ported to Corruption Engine with motion controls.
  • Incredible story and atmosphere
  • Much improved multiplayer
The Bad
  • All old games
  • Not much value if you’ve already played the entire trilogy

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