Metroid Prime TrilogyESRB:
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Category: First Person Shooter
Developer: Retro Studios
Includes 3 full games on one disc:
- Metroid Prime
- Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
- Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
Enhanced Wii remote controls for Gamecube titles (nunchuk required)
Enhanced 480p, widescreen presentation
Nintendo has a knack for successfully revisiting its core franchises and I would even venture to say that this happens almost more than any other developer. Samas Aran is the latest character to benefit from such treatment in Metroid Prime Trilogy (noted as Prime in this review). This trilogy brings all three Metroid Prime games together on one disc to complete the entire Phazon story arc. It consists of two GameCube titles (Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes) and the Wii title Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. With enhancements to gameplay, presentation, and a slew of bonus content, there is good reason for both fans of the game and those new to it to give Metroid Prime Trilogy a spin.
The trick to putting one’s thoughts to a review like this is keeping the age of the games in context. Unfortunately, when compared to today’s high definition graphics and high presentation values, the Metroid Prime games do show their age somewhat. That’s not unexpected though. The first Metroid Prime shipped in 2002 and at the time of its release it was lauded by critics and gamers for alike for its graphics, with particular praise for the lush environments. When you play all the games on the disc, particularly the GameCube titles, don’t expect a large graphical overhaul. Perhaps the most noticeable sign of the age of the two GameCube titles are the game’s textures, which are decidedly minimal compared to today’s offerings.
Textures aside the whole trilogy holds up rather well despite the age of the first two games, with nicely detailed characters and lots of stuff onscreen moving quite smoothly. The new widescreen presentation for the two GameCube titles is welcomed addition, especially for those with widescreen televisions. As impressive as they were when the games were just released, Prime’s environments are still quite lush and organic. Level and art designers have done a masterful job of blending such a look with function that lends itself to the Metroid style of adventure gameplay. Heck, it still holds up well against many games today.
The same preface as the graphics is necessary for the sound. Prime supports Dolby Pro Logic II. Unfortunately, my setup didn’t allow me to take advantage of this thanks to a somewhat dated receiver with limited audio inputs. That being said, what did come out of my speakers was clean, precise and very atmospheric. Despite a lack of voice acting in the first two titles (Corruption features more voice acting), what Retro Studios and Nintendo do well is maintain a pretty solid narrative with little to no use of voice acting (there are notable difference between the GameCube titles and the Wii centric Corruption). That’s not the easiest feat when you think about how many games today depend so greatly on voice acting. Music is still true to the Metroid games and even fellow staffer Kirby Y, who watched me play for awhile, commented how the music tries to pull those fans of the original 2D games into this 3D world with the use of some very metroid-like music. In true Nintendo fashion, music from previous titles has been remixed and included. Call it nostalgic but it’s a touch that I really appreciate.
With the original titles having been reviewed by us before, I chose to focus on the enhancements to the gameplay, presentation and bonus content included. If you’re new to the Metroid Prime series, without giving key elements away, the story revolves around bounty hunter Samas Aran and a mysterious corrupting substance called Phazon. Space pirates have been trying to harness the powers that Phazon possesses for their benefit but their experiments go awry. The story, which begins with the original Metroid Prime, starts with Samas answering a distress call from the space pirates’ ship. All the Prime games are played from a first person viewpoint. The move from the traditional 2D Metroid games was initially met with concern from the diehard fans, but Retro Studios did a masterful job in creating a first person adventure that stayed true to Metroid’s roots and did not fall into the first person shooter stereotype.
The most prominent addition to gameplay is the ability to control both Metroid Prime, and its sequel Echoes, using the Wii Remote and nunchuk. Nintendo has done a masterful job of implementing this new control scheme from the Wii title Corruption and there is no comparison to playing the games with the old GameCube controller. The Wii remote makes the control far more fluid and natural feeling. Both the visor and weaponry are switched simply by holding down the + or – button and flicking the Wii Remote in the direction of the option you want. Z-targeting still works masterfully too. Rather than auto-aiming, the new controls actually challenge the player to be precise and aim with the Wii remote when targeting their foes. Again, this is welcome even though it requires the player to have a bit more finesse in their aim. Simply put, being able to play both GameCube titles with these updated controls is reason enough to play through these games again. It is a far more fluid experience.
Prime allows players to play and save each of the three included games individually. I found this to be a nice touch. There is no need to play one to unlock the other and it is a nice option to have unique saves for each game. Progression through each individual game awards the player with in-game currency which can then be used to unlock bonus content such as concept art galleries. Personally, I’m not a big bonus art kind of guy but I can definitely appreciate that fans and collectors will be getting their money’s worth.
For the collectors, Metroid Prime Trilogy comes in a very slick metal case and includes a glossy fold-out leaflet that outlines each game in the Metroid Prime story arc amidst some additional artwork. Both are very nice and have a very classy look to them. It is definitely worth noting the $49 price tag, that is the same as the Metroid Prime 3: Corruption alone. There’s significant value in that to say the least.
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