For a bold, nearly flawless take on the “other” major Nintendo brand for the next generation, the Metroid Prime games really don’t seem to be as popular as they should be. I still remember this game hitting with more of a thud than a crash back when it was released. Yes, I know it’s still a million seller, but for a system that’s sacrificing the competition in every way possible, and for a next generation installment in a critically acclaimed and influential series, that doesn’t mean much.
EGM made a statement back in their September issue that was so profound that I responded to it in their October issue and got Letter of the Month (using my real name, which I said not to do, and before they edited my response heavily and promised me a game that still hasn’t arrived). Paraphrasing, they wanted to know about the future of Metroid, and I was saying “Hey! We’ve got a damn good Metroid right here that few are playing! Why not play it?”
What I wasn’t saying was that there were a few reasons why no one was playing it. Metroid Prime has always seemed to be one of those game series that’s almost too good. The first one was so fucking overwhelming in every aspect that the developers probably couldn’t improve upon it any further, so they just used the same basic engine in the second and third games, essentially telling prospective buyers “You’ve pretty much got this game already, and I expect you to put your bank card in the hands of a 28-year-old nerd who’s looking for any way he can to finance himself out of his parent’s garage and into an efficiency apartment in the local Little Mexico.”
When you combine that with the fact that these Metroid games are not easy to just jump into, and that you can get lost or confused REALLY easy, it makes the fan base pretty narrow, but devoted. Metroid Prime 2, while still an awesome game, really didn’t add that much. In fact, I found the whole “dark world” theme to be too redundant (Zelda, anyone?), and I assume it may have alienated people from playing it.
Metroid Prime 3 promised some badly needed innovation. You’d actually get to use the ship for more than a resting station, and you actually get to do more than be a space Rambo working for a Federation you never ever see. This time you work with the Federation and meet many other intriguing bounty hunters as well as some other gameplay twists.
Promise delivered. It’s bursting with innovation, and the changes really make the difference. It’s not so underdone that you feel cheated, and not so overdone that…oh fuck it; it’s just done right.
The rest of the game is pretty standard Metroid Prime fair. Complicated architecture, moody remixes of Metroid favorite songs (though by now, that catalogue is well traveled and what you got is what’s left), and about 100,000 things to scan. I actually kinda feel the Nintendo approach to an adventure game (you know what I’m talking about) is getting old by this point. It still works and it’s still fun, but I think this ship is finally starting to sail. If not for a really awesome twist in the final dungeon, I probably would’ve finished the game somewhat unsatisfied.
My only real complaint for this game is the Wii controls. Man, are they a pain in the ass. I didn’t get it down to a science until I almost finished the game. It could’ve been made so much easier with just the option to play with a GameCube controller, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO….
Apart from that, there’s not much more I can really report. If you’ve played Metroid Prime before, you know what to expect. More of the same+. There are some extras, but nothing really worth writing about.
Yeah, I know; I’m yawning too. Can you blame me? With the brand new PODCASTING we’re doing, the reviews aren’t going to be center stage here. You can look forward to a brand new era for GameCola (or, a first era of any kind for us) as you listen to nasally voices squeak out information you already know or disagree with. But it’ll be fun! It’ll be one of the best things you’ll ever listen to. You will connect with us, and we will connect with you. You won’t even need a morning-after. I’m excited, and I hope you are, too.
And yes, I know it’s ironic to write that and not own a microphone, but guess what? Suck it.