Metroid Prime Remastered review: “Resonates as much as it did 20 years ago”

Peering through the lens of the Combat Visor, it is easy to believe that it’s a window – your way of assessing the acrid ecology of Talon IV. But it’s really a mirror, reflecting the anguished determination of Samus Aran as bright beams of light illuminate dark and dusty corridors. Two decades later, Metroid Prime’s smartest visual flourish has lost none of its impact. Is that down to the quality of this remaster, which occupies uncommon ground between faithful emulation and confident reconfiguration, or because the foundations first outlined by Retro Studios have largely circumvented the slow decay of time? It’s difficult to say, although I can tell you that Metroid Prime Remastered is a triumph.

FAST FACTS: Metroid Prime Remastered

Metroid Prime Remastered Switch screenshot

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Release date: February 8, 2023
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Developer: Retro Studios
Publisher: Nintendo

I was 13 years-old when I first steered the bounty hunter down to the inhospitable surface of Talon IV, following the aftermath of an explosion aboard the Orpheon – a Space Pirate frigate ripped apart by biological experiments. In hindsight, I now understand that I was too young to completely appreciate this video game‘s achievements. I’m 33 now, and Remastered is like seeing Metroid Prime for the very first time. A quiet, contemplative adventure where the balance of power shifts gradually. Not as you repair the damaged Varia Suit, slowly expanding its capabilities with hidden Chozo technology, but as you gain a better understanding of the alien flora and altered fauna that surrounds you. That hurts you. That hunts you.  

Surveying the unknown

Metroid Prime Remastered Switch screenshot

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Metroid Prime is underpinned by vibrant imagination and powered by a vivid attention to detail. That was true of the original, though the atmosphere is undoubtedly accentuated after a careful remastering process. The hiss of a power suit straining against the weight of movement, the audible crosstalk as visor modes layer atop of one another, the sharp exhale of air as Samus’ energy shield is peppered with plasma. All of it combines to create such a severe sense of place that the Arm Cannon quickly feels like a direct extension of your fingertips – more so than ever before now, with the introduction of a (sometimes finicky) dual-analog control option alongside ‘classic’ and ‘pointer’ schemes. 

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