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LTTP: Metroid Prime Remastered - Is it still great, or is it nostalgia?

Does Metriod Prime still hold up, or is it nostalgia?


  • Total voters
    160

darthkarki

Member
Sheesh, this ended up way longer than I expected. TLDR: I didn't love the game. Too much backtracking, poor level design, no story, annoying combat. But what do you think? What do you like/not like about it?

================================

I just completed Metroid Prime Remastered. This is my first Metroid game, and perhaps being somewhat overhyped by the praise the original has received over the years I'm left mostly underwhelmed.

I've wanted to play the Prime trilogy for a long time but haven't had the opportunity. They are some of my brother's favorite games, I'd say they are considered classics - well received at release, and that opinion doesn't seem to have shifted over time - and I love "Metroidvania" style games (despite the fact that I've never played a Metroid or Castlevania 😏). I was very excited hearing about remastering efforts for the Switch as that would allow me to finally try them out - with a facelift to boot.

The good:
  • The remaster is very well done. It easily stands among the best looking Switch games. I love how many control options were included - however you want to play, you're likely covered.
  • The overall conceit is perhaps unoriginal but still classic and always appealing - traveling through space, exploring alien worlds, fighting monsters. A lot of the environments have a good sense of atmosphere.
  • The different visors is a very interesting concept, although I don't think the implementation was quite perfect. I did enjoy scanning everything around the environments, building up logs, and learning story details through them.
  • Some of the puzzle elements were pretty cool - finding out you could double-hop with the morph ball bombs blew my mind. Wish there was more of that!

The less good:
  • Starting with the worst design element: backtracking. Dear God, this was so annoying. At least half of the playtime is just endlessly traversing across the same damn corridors and rooms over and over to get from one end of the map to another.
    • This game is desperately crying out for fast travel spots, and honestly just including that one thing would make it so much more enjoyable. Returnal did this perfectly - it's a very similar design with branching corridors and rooms, but a handful of fast travel spots drastically reduces the frustration and wasted time of backtracking.
    • Alternatively (or even better, additionally), this could be ameliorated by better level design with more interconnectivity and shortcuts. I love in games like Demon's Souls where you will fight hard through a long gauntlet to get to new areas, but then will open a new door that allows you to instantly walk right there in the future. In Prime, you may enter an area and make your way to the objective by one path and come back by another, but both paths are super long and annoying to re-traverse. It doesn't make it any faster to get back, just different, and that's not better.
    • To me, the biggest draw of the Metroidvania style is the progressive acquirement of new tools that allow new actions and access to new areas. I'll see something I can't access yet, but then acquire the necessary tool, allowing me to come back and try again. But when that requires walking for miles back through a hundred boring corridors filled with the same stupid respawning enemies to get there, and then back again when I'm ready to continue, I have absolutely no desire to try.
  • Level design. For the most part, the game is one long corridor after another. It's just not very interesting. There are a few smaller areas that buck this trend - Chozo Ruins and Phendrana Drifts have some more interesting rooms and some paths that interconnect and loop back on themselves - but those are the exception. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the Magmoor Caverns. That entire area is literally one long corridor: in almost every room, you enter one side and walk out the opposite. There are exactly two rooms in which there are more than one enter and one exit door, and they don't even lead to extra paths, just one room sticking off the side.
    • Again, this problem is exacerbated by the fact that you have to continually re-traverse these same boring corridors over and over. It might not be the height of level design across the industry, but it would at least be less aggressively in-your-face about it if it just had fast travel spots or a few more shortcuts.
  • Story. ...What story? :D Seriously though, I was surprised that there is basically no story or characters (besides what you glean off of scanning - more on that later). I was under the impression the Metroid series was a little bit more narratively driven. There is not a single line of dialogue. There are a handful of short cutscenes that amount to "you arrived somewhere" or "you departed somewhere". This is my understanding of the plot:
    • Samus goes to investigate a derelict ship's distress beacon. It seems like there are some monsters aboard that attacked the crew.
    • I fight a big monster.
      • What is this? Why do I care?
    • A metal space dragon shows up and then leaves. I follow it to the nearby planet.
      • Why do I follow it? What is the space dragon? Why do I care?
    • I wander around killing wildlife and collecting bits of my equipment that is lying around for some reason. I think I'm trying to find the dragon but have no idea if what I'm doing is heading towards that goal. It seems there are more intelligent aliens doing some kind of experiments as well.
    • I find a bunch of glowing keys and bring them to a temple and the dragon shows up now for some reason. It attacks me for some reason, so I kill it.
      • Why can't I leave the planet now? Isn't finding the dragon why I was here?
    • I use the keys to open a passage into a cave beneath the temple. Since I can't leave, I explore.
    • There is a big glowy monster down there that attacks me, so I kill it. Now I can leave.
      • What is the monster? Why do I care if it lives down there? The previous civilization is already gone, what more damage can it do?
I'm being somewhat facetious - since when do we balk at shooting anything that moves in a game? My point the game doesn't really explain anything that is happening or why it matters.​
    • Of course, this is completely ignoring what I already noted: scanning. I actually really appreciate that kind of storytelling and piecing together what happened to the previous civilization and the details of what the space pirates are working on. However, I think that should be additive, not the entirety of the game's story. I think the fundamental, core plot should be presented in a more traditional fashion.
  • Poor combat. I'm not terribly fond of FPSs in general, but some do better than others at delivering satisfying feeling combat. A few elements that I think contribute to this: interesting and varied player weapons and abilities, enemy variety and behavior, and hit reactions.
    • All Samus really has is a gun. Even if there is a lot of variety in guns, I need something else - grenades, a melee attack, something - so that I'm not just shooting endlessly. It gets repetitive. I know that technically you have morph ball bombs also, but you can't use them for most combat scenarios. It's really a puzzle tool for specific use cases.
    • There are a fair number of enemy types, I wouldn't say that's a problem. Some of them, specifically the wildlife, have some more interesting behaviors as well. But in the second half you're constantly facing waves of space pirates and Chozo ghosts, and they got old really fast. They shoot a couple shots, then maybe move a little bit, and then repeat ad nauseum.
    • Some enemies have reactions to certain beams: some can be frozen, and that is fun. But most have no reaction to your shots. You just fire until they die, and nothing really interesting ever happens.
    • Lastly, but perhaps most importantly: so many of the enemies are the most ridiculous bullet sponges. The bosses especially are guilty of this. It's just not fun spending minutes on end tapping the same button over and over to shoot the same enemy over and over with the same weapon over and over until they die.
  • Respawning enemies. Considering you retrace your steps through the same areas multiple times, it wouldn't make sense for you to clear out an area and then never face an enemy there again. But it also sucks spending a ton of time fighting stupid bullet sponge enemies, going two rooms away and coming back, and then having the exact same goddamned enemies reappear. It at least needs some randomness and variability. Of course it's worsened by the fact the combat just isn't very fun to begin with. I ended up just racing through rooms as quickly as I could and avoiding every combat encounter possible, which I do not find to be a ringing endorsement.
  • Visors. I actually really like this idea, and using it in exploration was very enjoyable. But you also need to use it in - you guessed it - combat, and I feel like the effects were designed to be used for slower paced exploration. It's just too blurry, disorienting, and hard to see when you're moving quickly and trying to track multiple targets.
  • Gaminess. This is really subjective and personal. Everyone has different tastes and different levels of tolerance for realism vs gaminess. I love the realism of The Last of Us and I love the gaminess of Mario. In Metroid Prime though I feel there's a bit of a disconnect between the realism of the environments and story, and the gaminess of this immense amount of your personal equipment spread out all over this planet in bespoke rooms, floating in some kind of technology implying that it's meant to just be sitting there, but... why? And then you have these doors that for some reason have to be shot by different types of beams from your gun to open, which... just doesn't make sense. Samus' suit design kind of goes here too - the artstyle is maybe too faithful to the 2D originals while the environments have become much more realistic. It stands out in an odd way.
  • The ending. The final boss fight(s) were quite dramatic and impressive, minus the bullet sponginess. But the ending after that... oh my word. Anti-climactic is an understatement. Text states the area is collapsing, so I thought I was going to have to escape like on the ship at the beginning. But no, it cuts and you appear outside. The ground is rumbling, it feels like everything is going to come down. You call your ship, it arrives, you jump on, look back, and... there's a little fire on the ground. The end. The whole thing is maybe a minute long.

I recognize I'm coming at this 22 years later, and there have been a lot of advancements since then. Many of the things that have been done better in later games were done first here, and it was probably very innovative at the time. But we do have different standards now, and that's kind of my point/question: is this really still a great game now?

I'd compare this to something like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. I also recently played that for the first time, and it was magical. It absolutely stands the test of time and is fantastic to play now even for the first time.

Personally, if someone is looking for Metroidvania style games today, I wouldn't recommend this one. I think there are far better examples:
  • The Batman Arkham series
  • God of War 2018 and Ragnarok
  • The Ori games
  • Returnal
  • Probably more but that's all I can think of at the moment.
If anyone managed to make it through this book, how are Prime 2 and 3 in comparison? Did they do anything to improve on the elements I did not enjoy? Or is it mostly more of the same?
 

ADiTAR

Banned
Backtracking, there really isn't that much if you know where you're going, but it's also ok for a game that has amazing art style that every room is distinct and beautiful.

Level design is sublime, it's what makes every room interesting to get back to.

Story, there's so much lore and story, you need to read it thru the game. It was and still is a very innovative way to tell a story without forcing you to watch 10 hours of cut-scenes.

Yeah, combat is just ok. But it's also fun as you progress your beams get stronger, you don't even have to engage in most of it. Also boss battles are great and varied.

Game still holds up, because it's done so amazingly well. Combines amazing art, music, design, etc.

I never played God of War 2018, is that a Metrodivania now?
 
cFooyD5.jpg
 

Punished Miku

Gold Member
I vastly prefer Dread, and 2D Metroid. But I am going to give this another shot soon. Bought the remaster and haven't gotten to it yet.
 

RoadHazard

Gold Member
Backtracking, there really isn't that much if you know where you're going, but it's also ok for a game that has amazing art style that every room is distinct and beautiful.

Level design is sublime, it's what makes every room interesting to get back to.

Story, there's so much lore and story, you need to read it thru the game. It was and still is a very innovative way to tell a story without forcing you to watch 10 hours of cut-scenes.

Yeah, combat is just ok. But it's also fun as you progress your beams get stronger, you don't even have to engage in most of it. Also boss battles are great and varied.

Game still holds up, because it's done so amazingly well. Combines amazing art, music, design, etc.

I never played God of War 2018, is that a Metrodivania now?

Kind of, but mostly in terms of optional stuff. The main game is pretty linear, although you do come back to some places to access new areas etc.
 

Tg89

Member
Metroid Prime is a masterpiece, and the Remaster just makes it better IMO. It might be the greatest single player game of all time.

To each their own I guess, but none of those games are on the level of Prime. The God of War games and ESPECIALLY the Arkham Games aren't qualified to wipe Metroid Prime's ass as far as I'm concerned. They're also distinctly not Metroidvanias. Returnal is dope, but still not on the level and not exactly a metroidvania (it does capture similar vibes in terms of atmosphere though).

Hollow Knight is the closest we've gotten in terms of Metroidvanias.
 
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Tg89

Member
Backtracking, there really isn't that much if you know where you're going, but it's also ok for a game that has amazing art style that every room is distinct and beautiful.

Level design is sublime, it's what makes every room interesting to get back to.

Story, there's so much lore and story, you need to read it thru the game. It was and still is a very innovative way to tell a story without forcing you to watch 10 hours of cut-scenes.

Yeah, combat is just ok. But it's also fun as you progress your beams get stronger, you don't even have to engage in most of it. Also boss battles are great and varied.

Game still holds up, because it's done so amazingly well. Combines amazing art, music, design, etc.

I never played God of War 2018, is that a Metrodivania now?
God of War 2018 has a couple Metroidvania elements in terms of its design but no, not really. It's similar to how Dark Souls has some of the same world design (shortcuts, and connected world, mostly).
 

RoboFu

One of the green rats
I played it back in the day at launch and always thought it was MEH... so I played the remaster and played all the way through it but still think its just OKAY. But it was still good enough to keep my attention to play through it again.. so IDK. I think its that most of the game is really good but the end game having to get all the relics and the last boss fight judt dropd all that greatness for me leaving me with a MEH nastolgia. If that makes sense. lol
 
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diffusionx

Gold Member
The big problem with the game is the combat. It's not very fun at all. As I understand it, the original Cube controls are a little more fluid in terms of weapons switching, but even with that, I didn't enjoy the fighting. Where the game reallly succeeds is the level design and storytelling in the environment. It's really incredible and devs today could learn some lessons from it. Oh, and it has the best 3D map.
 

darthkarki

Member
Backtracking, there really isn't that much if you know where you're going, but it's also ok for a game that has amazing art style that every room is distinct and beautiful.

I think the bolded part is key, and this is where I think nostalgia really clouds judgment. If you've already played it multiple times and it's stuck in your memory, of course you can take the most efficient path. When you play the game for the first time, you don't know where you're going. But even taking the most efficient route, I think you'd be surprised if you actually looked at how many times you're going back across the same areas.

Of course whether or not that's even a problem is purely preference. 🙂
 

ADiTAR

Banned
I think the bolded part is key, and this is where I think nostalgia really clouds judgment. If you've already played it multiple times and it's stuck in your memory, of course you can take the most efficient path. When you play the game for the first time, you don't know where you're going. But even taking the most efficient route, I think you'd be surprised if you actually looked at how many times you're going back across the same areas.

Of course whether or not that's even a problem is purely preference. 🙂
I actually saw someone play, and the first few hours of play are kinda liner, because the game really directs you where to go at the start.

I actually played it on the GameCube, and Wii, and still got lost because I wanted to be smart.
 

Ristifer

Member
I appreciate your views on it. Don't agree at all with the final assessment of the game, but that's okay. The more people experiencing this game, the better.
 

NeoIkaruGAF

Gold Member
It’s still one of the best games ever made.
There’s no nostalgia here, some people just don’t understand world-class level design when it smacks them in the face for a dozen hours with a plasma beam. The map, the traversal, just moving around in this game is pure joy, and something the industry has very rarely matched in 20 years.

MP’s only undeniable flaw is the ridiculous frequency of enemy respawning.
 

poodaddy

Member
Skipped it back in the day and got it a few months ago and absolutely adored every second of it. It made me nostalgic for when games were made like this, and the experience was truly one of the best I've ever experienced in the medium, no bs at all. Just a great, complete, beautiful, enthralling, well designed adventure.
 

Fbh

Member
I played through the Prime trilogy for the first time when it came to WiiU in 2015 and thought it was really good.

Not "best game of all time" material like some say but still great. I actually wish more studios would make shooters like that these days-
 

engstra

Member
I'm currently playing for the first time and am really loving it for what it is. I wish they would make more of these kind of games nowadays.

I do agree with OP that the combat is a bit whatever. I was really surprised by the lack of narrative, always assumed there would be a bit of backstory and dialogue but there is absolutely nothing and I wished there was a bit of context and exposition about what you're doing and why. Considering that you go through the same areas over and over again while exploring I do wish the enemies wouldn't respawn every time.

But despite that I am really loving it.

Ps. Do you at any point unlock unlock something that marks upgrades not picked up or similar? I know I've left a couple missile upgrades as I didn't have the ability to access but cannot for the life of me remember where on the map they were located
 
Good point, I never thought about that.
Sarcastic Laurie Metcalf GIF by ABC Network


Honestly though, different strokes, different folks. The combat isn't super interesting, but it still works very well even now, IMO, and I love that there's so little story. I love the atmosphere, the levels are great, the backtracking and navigating is part and parcel of metroidvandias.

In its day, it was absolutely groundbreaking. It translated Metroid into 3D as well as Ocarina translated Zelda into 3D.
 
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nkarafo

Member
"Backtracking"

Every time someone types this word, a kitten gets burned alive somewhere.

It's called "exploration" people!

Since when exploring is a bad thing? What is the alternative? Just follow a straight line so you never have to re-visit an area twice?

Literally ALL games that have some sort of exploration also have "backtraking" (sorry little kitten).

It's the physical law. In order to explore, you need to look around even in places you were before, because you might have missed something or because your first path was the wrong one. It's similar to people complaining about being lost. Well, if you don't like being lost then you also don't like exploration at all. Which means it would be better to stick with linear, cinematic games.

Also, your story argument is flawed as well. The game has a rich story. But what you want is... another cinematic game with plenty of characters and talk. Well, sorry, Metroid isn't that game, you are supposed to be isolated and nobody else is around to help you. You know, you can create a story like this is you want, it's still a story...

Stick with the mainstream AAA games OP.
 

darthkarki

Member
It’s still one of the best games ever made.
There’s no nostalgia here, some people just don’t understand world-class level design when it smacks them in the face for a dozen hours with a plasma beam. The map, the traversal, just moving around in this game is pure joy, and something the industry has very rarely matched in 20 years.

MP’s only undeniable flaw is the ridiculous frequency of enemy respawning.

This is what I'd like to talk about and understand, and I laid out in the OP why it does not seem to be world-class design. Do you have any deeper thoughts on any of those particular points, or any explanation of why it is fundamentally good design to help me understand? If your main argument is "I like it", that's totally fair, but that doesn't make it great design.

To reiterate one point: the Magmoor Caverns is one long corridor, you basically hop across lava from one end to the other. There is nothing particularly interesting in the design, nothing challenging to navigate, and especially once you've gone through it once, having to do it multiple times is repetitive and dull. Most of the rooms are also fairly small, meaning you can't even keep up consistent momentum as you have to stop and go through doors very frequently. Can you explain what is world-class about the map or traversal here?

I'd argue this area might be better if the enemies never respawned, because all they do is force you to stop and lose your momentum so you can blast them a couple times before you move on. There's no challenge or variety, it's just an impediment. If they were gone, you could at least enjoy trying to fly through the whole area as fast as you are able.

Skipped it back in the day and got it a few months ago and absolutely adored every second of it. It made me nostalgic for when games were made like this, and the experience was truly one of the best I've ever experienced in the medium, no bs at all. Just a great, complete, beautiful, enthralling, well designed adventure.

I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! I do love the complete focus on gameplay many older games like this have, I'd agree there's a lot of unnecessary fluff in many more modern games. Personally it's hard for me to become engaged and feel like it's an "adventure" when there's almost no context for anything that's happening, I need just a little bit more of a background for what I'm doing.
 

nkarafo

Member
It’s still one of the best games ever made.
There’s no nostalgia here, some people just don’t understand world-class level design when it smacks them in the face for a dozen hours with a plasma beam. The map, the traversal, just moving around in this game is pure joy, and something the industry has very rarely matched in 20 years.

MP’s only undeniable flaw is the ridiculous frequency of enemy respawning.

I don't mind the respawining too much because as you get stronger, you destroy those enemies much faster, which also makes you feel the difference.

For me the game has 2 flaws: The constant weapon switching and the annoying music during the ghost encounters.

Both could be easily fixed or improved. For instance, the colored doors could just become plain doors after they get unlocked, just like the missile doors. There's no reason to remain beam-specific once you proved you have obtained the weapon and opened it once. The beam specific enemy types could also receive some damage from the "wrong type" beams, just less. So you can still kill them with whatever beam you enjoy using but also have a good reason to switch.

The ghost battle music could also only play the first time you encounter these ghosts. There's no reason to play it again when they respawn because there is no tension anymore. So just play the music once every time a new ghost in a new area appears.

With these improvements, i think the game would be perfect.
 

Robb

Gold Member
Every time someone types this word, a kitten gets burned alive somewhere.

It's called "exploration" people!
Why? Is backtracking a negative?

That’s just a natural part of all Metroid/Metroidvania games. That’s one of the best parts about the genre imo (as long as the map is well thought out/designed), actually learning the layout and finding new secrets in old areas.
 
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nkarafo

Member
Why? Is backtracking a negative?

That’s just a natural part of all Metroid/Metroidvania games. That’s one of the best parts about the genre imo (as long as the map is well thought out/designed), actually learning the layout and finding new secrets in old areas.
Beats me. I have no idea either. Exploration is also my favorite thing in videogames. But after Metroid Prime became successful, the word changed to "backtracking" so it's easier to complain about it i guess.


I do agree with OP that the combat is a bit whatever. I was really surprised by the lack of narrative, always assumed there would be a bit of backstory and dialogue but there is absolutely nothing and I wished there was a bit of context and exposition about what you're doing and why. Considering that you go through the same areas over and over again while exploring I do wish the enemies wouldn't respawn every time.
There is a lot of backstory in the game. You just have to look for it instead of waiting for some cut-scene to show you.

There are no other characters because the story is about you being isolated. Which is a story that can exist.

Combat was never the main mechanic in any Metroid game. Enemies are mere obstacles for the main event, exploring and solving the map. That's what Metroid is all about.

Unfortunately, just because it's in first person, people assume it's an FPS where you have to aim and shoot with precision. This game doesn't need that because it's a different kind of game. Its first person in the same way Portal is. To immerse you more into it's world. Not because it's a shooting gallery.
 
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Robb

Gold Member
Beats me. I have no idea either. Exploration is also my favorite thing in videogames.
Same but “exploration” is such a broad term. “Backtracking” encompasses that specific kind of exploration where you revisit areas multiple times to find new things. At least to me.
 

Poordevil

Member
I played Metroid Prime back in the day. In fact I still have my GameCube and the game.
What we have here is a First Person Shooter. A corridor shooter along the lines of Quake or Doom. But it was more innovative in its puzzles and your ability to transform.
I remember enjoying it for a while. The graphics and music were great. But like the OP the backtracking threw me for a loop. I couldn't decide if it was the game design, or me screwing up. It got so bad I put the game down and never finished it.
With the announcement of the remaster I considered breaking out the GameCube and giving Metroid Prime another whirl. I still might.
 

cireza

Banned
Starting with the worst design element: backtracking
This is an exploration game. You are meant to remember the places you have been and know when to come back. Being on rail is actually NOT what a Metroid game should be. So no, Metroid Prime is not like your modern linear AAA games.
Story. ...What story? :D Seriously though, I was surprised that there is basically no story or characters (besides what you glean off of scanning
This is an exploration game. You arrive on a planet where things happened, and you are supposed to understand what happened by scanning the environment. There is not one guy standing there to explain to you everything that happened. So no, Metroid does not tell a story through endless cutscenes like your modern AAA games. It is more akin to a great game like Outer Wilds.
Level design. For the most part, the game is one long corridor after another. It's just not very interesting.
How you find the level-design bad is beyond me. It has a lot of variety, many interesting places and great usages of your equipment. The work around the visors for example is brilliant.
Poor combat. I'm not terribly fond of FPSs in general
This is not meant to be a FPS anyway, it is an adventure/exploration game. Combat is not meant to be super technical, enemies are most of the time obstacles to be avoided. More serious battles rely heavily on locking the enemies, and bosses have patterns and are like small puzzles, in the tradition of Nintendo games such as Zelda.

Overall, it seems to me that you expected typical features your random modern action game, but Metroid has never meant to be this and that's fine like this. It mustn't be changed for something that we already experience in spades.

I do agree though that they made the visors too blurry.
 

nkarafo

Member
Same but “exploration” is such a broad term. “Backtracking” encompasses that specific kind of exploration where you revisit areas multiple times to find new things. At least to me.
So the difference is the number of times you re-explore an area?

What's that number? Is it a specific one? What number turns exploration to backtracking?

Metroid Prime doesn't even require you to backtrack more than once in most areas. Only in Magmoor caverns that connects all areas you need explore more than a couple of times but all other areas you only need to visit once or twice. Unless you want to 100% the game that is.

Most other games that require exploration, like open world games or RPGs, have a LOT more "backtracking".
 
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Robb

Gold Member
So the difference is the number you re-explore an area?

What's that number? Is it a specific one?
I don’t know, there probably isn’t one. But that’s how I interpret the term.

I definitely wouldn’t say I backtracked a lot in Zelda Tears of the Kingdom, for example. But I definitely did in Metroid Prime. I’m not sure if your statement is true about only having to go back once or twice. In either case, to find all the secrets you have to revisit pretty much all areas multiple times with new abilities and the game doesn’t tell you where to go in most cases, encouraging you to go back to previous areas and looks around.
 

darthkarki

Member
"Backtracking"

Every time someone types this word, a kitten gets burned alive somewhere.

It's called "exploration" people!

Since when exploring is a bad thing? What is the alternative? Just follow a straight line so you never have to re-visit an area twice?

Literally ALL games that have some sort of exploration also have "backtraking" (sorry little kitten).

It's the physical law. In order to explore, you need to look around even in places you were before, because you might have missed something or because your first path was the wrong one. It's similar to people complaining about being lost. Well, if you don't like being lost then you also don't like exploration at all. Which means it would be better to stick with linear, cinematic games.

Also, your story argument is flawed as well. The game has a rich story. But what you want is... another cinematic game with plenty of characters and talk. Well, sorry, Metroid isn't that game, you are supposed to be isolated and nobody else is around to help you. You know, you can create a story like this is you want, it's still a story...

Stick with the mainstream AAA games OP.
Let's try not to play semantical games. Exploration and backtracking are not the same thing.

Exploration is player driven. By definition it's not guided, I'm looking around of my own volition to learn the area and see what I can find.

Metroid Prime has some exploration, but it's actually fairly limited. Most of the time you quickly run into an obstacle for which you do not yet have the tool, so most of your progress is along the critical path. The problem is that critical path goes back across the same areas multiple times where there is often nothing new to see or do. This is exacerbated by the fact the exact same enemies respawn every time and the combat is not very enjoyable, so I'm forced to replay the exact same non-enjoyable portion of the game multiple times.

Your argument makes sense in an open-world game where you can choose your own pathway from point A to point B and explore in-between as you will. That's not possible in Metroid Prime. The map is a series of corridors - there is only one way from point A to point B and it's the same every time.


Regarding the story, I don't think you quite understood what I was saying. It's not a "flawed argument" as I did not present an argument. I merely stated the fact that there is essentially no story presented to the player besides what you glean from the environment. That's objectively true. I stated that my preference is slightly more of a motivation to go on in addition to the environmental storytelling. You don't have to jump to saying the only alternative is a AAA narrative driven cinematic game - there is a fair bit of wiggle room in between those extremes.

I don't have a problem with the majority of the backstory being delivered via environment, but to restate one question: why does Samus follow the dragon to the planet? What even is the dragon? That happens in a cutscene. There's nothing for me to scan to find out why that is happening. Shouldn't there be some reasoning behind a major point in the course of the game?
 

engstra

Member
There is a lot of backstory in the game. You just have to look for it instead of waiting for some cut-scene to show you.

There are no other characters because the story is about you being isolated. Which is a story that can exist.

Combat was never the main mechanic in any Metroid game. Enemies are mere obstacles for the main event, exploring and solving the map. That's what Metroid is all about.

Unfortunately, just because it's in first person, people assume it's an FPS where you have to aim and shoot with precision. This game doesn't need that because it's a different kind of game. Its first person in the same way Portal is. To immerse you more into it's world. Not because it's a shooting gallery.
I'm picking up all the logs that can be scanned etc which provides a lot of backstory about the areas you visit in Tallon IV. My issue is more with overarching story. Who am I? Why did I go to Tallon IV etc.

I don't have any issues with it not being an FPS, a 1st person exploration game is great in my eyes. I guess it's more that the combat feels like filler as there isn't any real challenge or danger to encounters and that it becomes repetitive to kill the same enemies everytime I have to go through the same area to get to the collectibles I might've missed.
 

Skeptical

Neo Member
What a coincidence, I just finished it last night. And I can safely say that the design is still awesome. I'm not going to say the game is perfect, of course. There are plenty of aspects that I hope Prime 4 improves on. But when it comes to translating a 2D game to 3D for the first time, this ranks right up there with Ocarina of Time as the most impressive examples.

First of all, story. I'll grant the ending is short (an escape sequence was planned but cut for budget/time). Although FYI, you did miss another teaser if you didn't get 100%. But the lack of cutscenes/dialogue is excellent. It's a key element of the Metroid series that Samus is alone and isolated. There is no one to talk to. There is no need for story elements. She's on a mission, she knows what she's doing, she's going to complete it without chatting with the locals or quipping to herself or whatever. Prime 3 did have what you wanted, and it seriously hurt the pacing and atmosphere. Speaking of pacing, Metroid games are great for being meaty enough length-wise for a first playthrough, but also being short enough to warrant replayability. Again, cut scenes/story gets in the way of that (yes, skipping cutscenes is possible and all, but it still hurts the pacing). Leaving all story as optional via logs was a deliberate choice to invoke Super Metroid's minimal story and encourage repeat playthroughs (you probably aren't going to scan/read them all again).

Also, you need to give room for fanservice. Metal space dragon may not have meant anything to you, but it was a cool moment for long time Metroid fans. Did you also wonder why there was a random cutscene emphasizing a flying jellyfish as well?

Poor combat - Again, I'll grant that this isn't the most action-intense game around. But it sounds like you weren't using your options enough. Bullet sponges? I was surprised that Omega Pirate and Metroid Prime were LESS spongy than I remembered. Were you using super missiles liberally? Most enemies go down very quickly to them. Same with variety of weapons. Bombs are useful on a couple bosses. Prime pays tribute to Super Metroid by having a boss that is normally challenging but can be defeated easily with a trick. There are options there.

Level design - I was thinking about this a lot during my playthrough and I don't think you give the designers enough credence here. Yes, I still remembered where I was going, so I didn't get lost much. But there are only a few items (plasma beam and space jump being the big ones) where it wasn't clear where to go to get them.

The game does have clear design of being large rooms connected by small corridors, but this was a necessity of the Gamecube's limitations that may not be clear when playing the Remastered version. The corridors were needed to hide load times (and even that wasn't good enough on the GC with Flaaghra or the Impact Crater). True, I wish they would have done more with the corridors to spice them up (a lot of the morph ball ones were interesting, for example, but the tubes did nothing), but I grant this as a necessary evil.

Magmoor linear? Yes, that is the point. You spent a while in Chozo ruins, which were branching with multiple loops and a few large set piece rooms. Combat was easy, platforming was minimal and safe, and the focus was on getting used to the game and collecting your first few items. Then you get to Magmoor and the enemies hit harder and the environmental hazards are everywhere. It's a tense atmosphere (accentuated by the music), intending to make you feel like you need to get through it as fast as possible. Hence the linearity. When you do, you make it to Phendrana where the atmosphere is cooler (literally), slower paced, and the threat is less severe (at least in the opening room). It's a transition area.

And later it serves the purpose you ask for, as a fast transport area that links a lot of the game together. You complain about backtracking and want fast travel. Meanwhile, a key element of 2D Metroidvania design is that, when backtracking is required, the obstacles should be trivial to make it shorter to traverse than the first time through. Usually this is through improved movement options, but that is harder to do in a 3D, First person game. Instead, the designers made Samus quite tanky. Thus, your reward for proper exploration and finding powerups is to just ignore combat/environmental hazards while backtracking. Magmoor is long? Just run through the magma at the end of the game and it's actually quite short. Space pirates or chozo ghosts take a while to kill? Just ignore them! Again, if you recognize your options, you find that any tedium the game has is minimized.

You say that we would be surprised at how much backtracking or repeating rooms there are. Again, I just played the game. Yes, I knew where I was going, and that helps. But I was specifically watching how often and how much backtracking is required, and the answer is less than one might expect. Again, Prime has great design here, and not surprising since it apes Super Metroid. The game has a few open areas early on to give you a sense of wonder and space without letting you get too far off the main track (e.g., showing so many doors at the landing site even though most are quick dead ends). But it is a mostly guided linear path. You follow a loop in the Chozo ruins and get missiles. You get back to the main entrance room, and of course the route you need is the one blocked by a blast door. This linear path keeps you from backtracking too much if you pay attention until you finally get the boost ball. Now the linear path is dead, and you need to go all the way back to the beginning. But it's not too bad, because you have so many new items that exploring is different. If you haven't picked up a bunch of missile expansions/energy tanks, now is the time to do it. And it's the PERFECT time to do it, because this is shortly before entering the space pirate base and the combat kicking up a notch.

It's reminiscent of Super Metroid, which is a linear path to upper Norfair before you finally have to climb the long tower back up out of it and head back near your ship to continue on the critical path. And providing lengthy breaks between backtracking like this is good design, as it means there are multiple new routes/powerups to get rather than just a few.

It's the same with the artifacts, by the way. Very few of the artifacts are in a painful location that requires unrewarding backtracking. It's not perfect, but I found the artifact hunt to be a well designed excuse to increase your collection percentage rather than a slog at the end.

That's all I got for now. I know you are have reasons for thinking the way you do, but hopefully this helps with a different perspective.
 

Astral Dog

Member
Its a very unique FPS,the developers did a fantastic job translating the Metroid vibe to this format

but,i consider it the weakest of the trilogy still and it has aged a bit, the 'combat' is weak,and Pacing is boring at times
 
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Paltheos

Member
Speaking as one of the game's biggest fans, playing the remaster highlighted the game's progression is not perfect. This is from my post earlier in the year as I was playing. #4 is the big one, and I lay it out in some detail.

Metroid Prime Remastered. Still a good game (held up better than Super Metroid, anyway!). Jumping and rolling and boosting quickly around Tallon IV still feels satisfying. Collecting collectables is still fun. Bosses are still good, mostly (I replayed again on Hard yesterday and Omega Pirate can be frustrating even when you understand his AI). The facelift's done the game some good. A few criticisms:

1) Might be eyes starting to go bad, but some parts of the environment are darker than I remember and I have to stumble about to find exactly where to go to get out. Minor issue though. Edit: This was an issue of the TV I was playing on and the angle I was sitting at. I finished up my MP run in handheld mode and had no lighting issues in the same areas where things had gotten dark prior.
2) Lock-on is stingier than I remember. That is, the distance from which the reticle can be positioned away from a desired target before firmly locking on to that target when prompted feels stricter than I remember. This is only an issue when I'm charging a beam because that part of my hand is too occupied to move the right thumb stick but this is one area where the tank controls were better (the only one?).
3) Priority drops are barely a thing in this game! I don't remember how vanilla MP handled them, but I know in MP2 when you were out of ammunition or very low the game made a point of prioritizing those drops. This is really only an issue for Power Bombs as I needed to farm drops early on because there are so many Bendenzium gates near where you acquire them, and outside of certain boxes which seemed pre-programmed to give certain drops, farming for PB drops was pure luck of the draw, usually with bad odds.
4) Few shortcuts sometimes made traversal a pain. The landing site on Tallon Overworld and Phendrana's Edge are on opposite sides of the map, for instance, and it takes several minutes to trek over there and back . Some trips back and forth are bit much too just by repetition. It's been a long time since I played this game without sequence breaking (i.e. always get Space Jump first lol), but man that first Phendrana trip is rough. Ruins --> Magmoor --> Phendrana (Boost Ball) --> Magmoor --> Ruins --> Tallon (Space Jump) --> Ruins --> Magmoor --> Phendrana (Wave Beam) --> normal progression through Thardus ... and then after that Magmoor --> Ruins again for Ice Beam and then --> Magmoor --> Phendrana *again* for Gravity Suit --> Magmoor --> Tallon (for Crashed Frigate) *directly* finally now that you have Spider Ball. --- Playing MP again with a vanilla route with no sequence breaking, it's clear how much MP2 improved on backtracking pathing. Yeah, sure, it's a little boring at first how all the regions in the game are clearly designed to be completed in sequence and be accessed from a central hub area (even if that hub area at least has puzzles, expansions to find, etc.) but the games opens up two sets of shortcuts as you play through the game that are placed decently well so that nothing's too agonizingly far away - first, more regular elevators scattered about the levels and, in the endgame, the beam of light transporters in the regional energy rooms.

tldr the game forces you through Magmoor too often, a location that generally has little to do, and Echoes is more fun to play for compacting maximum traversal time and providing more shortcuts, even if the design is a little less organic as a result.
 
Yes, it holds up, great games that are actually great hold up indefinitely, because they're infused with the passion and creative vision of their developers. And they're always worth experiencing. Not everything new is better. Technically, you will have to appreciate video games based on the time and system they are made for and have leniency and common sense, but aside from that, great games are great games.

But that doesn't mean that they'll appeal to everyone. Look at me for example, The Witcher 3: GOTY and Elden Ring are easily some of the greatest video games ever made. My top best video games ever made looks like this:

1. Heroes of Might & Magic III: Complete Edition
2. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
3. Planescape: Torment
4. Elden Ring
5. The Witcher 3: GOTY Edition
6. Diablo II: Lords of Destruction (Resurrected Edition) - and i'm gonna say this: still the best fucking game in its series with the best loot itemization, progression, atmosphere, soundtrack, artstyle and with such a elegant, pristine design; it's simple yes, but it's such a perfect fucking game to play because of its simplicity. PoE is a badly unoptimized clusterfuck with no atmosphere. D4 has the worst loot itemization and level scaling (?!? WTF ?!?) ever so 'end-game' might as well not exist.

But some of these will not appeal to people and they'll have wildly different lists. Doesn't mean i have to dismiss those views. On the contrary, i'll acknowledge and respect that opinion if of genuine and honest.

Metroid Prime always held up, and it's practically brand new thanks to the Remaster. A lot of people that never played it before on the Gamecube fell in love with it on the Switch.

And here's a shocker - I truly do not like Metroid and Zelda. I've tried almost every single entry at some point in my life, and they just do not appeal to me at all.
 
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