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Metroid Prime Hunters (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Metroid Prime Hunters on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Metroid Prime Hunters hurts, both physically and mentally. The Nintendo DS is not too well suited to the FPS genre, and whilst Hunters does have a lot of adventure and puzzle elements to it as well, it still plays like an FPS, and hurts like an FPS. You would assume that the ability to keep people hunched playing a game on the tiny little DS for hours on end would be a good thing, but it really isn't. Metroid Prime Hunters has given us hand cramps; indeed, we loved not too wisely but too well. Awesome game, shame about the pain...

The story is as elaborate as ever. You find yourself in the Tetra Galaxy, controlled by the Galactic Federation and once home to an allegedly mighty race called the Alimbics, they lived (amazingly enough) in the Alimbic Cluster until for some reason they died very quickly, like the dinosaurs. Fast forward quite a long time and a mysterious message is being beamed out of the supposedly abandoned region, it translates to "The secret to ultimate power lies in the Alimbic Cluster", obviously every power-mad person in the universe with a speedy little spaceship wants a bit of the action, so it is up to you (Samus Aran) to work out what the hell is going on and kick some ass along the way.

Never before has a game looked so stunning on the Nintendo DS. The graphical level arguably surpasses the N64's capabilities and the whole game looks brilliant. The atmosphere and permanent sense of impending doom has been captured perfectly here with moody lighting, hugely detailed environments and truly disgusting looking creepy-crawlies both big and small. The weapons effects are excellent and the power beam looks brilliant as always when in full firing glory. Add to that some truly stunning looking cut-scenes (which you can watch on their own in a special gallery as you unlock them during your progress through the game) and you have a title that is a veritable feast for the eyes.

Screenshot for Metroid Prime Hunters on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Sadly, it isn't so much a feast for the fingers. Whilst the control system is very accurate and admittedly does work rather well, it does hurt. Playing this game on the DS has crippled us to such a level that our hands now resemble misshapen claws rather than the soft, well-moisturised, girly digits they once were. Nintendo have included a total of two control methods and everything can be set to either left hand or right hand depending on your preference. The two modes of control are Dual Mode and Touch Mode, the former uses the buttons and the latter (rather unsurprisingly) you use the stylus or thumb strap. We persevered with the Touch Mode, and found that after a bit of practice it worked fantastically well. The accuracy is excellent, with all the aiming done using the touch-screen on the DS, you move around using the D-Pad, jump using the R button and fire or plant bombs (when in Morph Ball mode) using the L button. It makes controlling the game remarkably simple once you get the hang of it. The only downside to the touch-screen control is that changing weapons and morphing into your swanky ball form are done by small buttons on the touch interface, which can cause the problem of changing weapons to missiles when you don't mean to. Another slight gripe, in the heat of battle, you don't want to take your eyes off the top screen to fiddle about with the touch-screen, it might just cost you your life...

Screenshot for Metroid Prime Hunters on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The emphasis on scanning and exploring still plays an integral part in Hunters. Throughout the game you will have to scan objects in order to make things happen or discover more of the ever-suspicious storyline. Sadly, it is nowhere hear as expansive as fans of the series will be used to. The game feels painfully linear, and your quest to collect the eight Octoliths dotted throughout the gaming worlds is a simple case of pushing forward and shooing a lot of the time. The gaming environments may look pretty, but a lot of them lack depth. There is very little backtracking to be done and certainly not many side-missions to be taken care of. Aside from occasional morph-ball maze or refreshingly complex puzzle to be solved, it is often a case of the familiar and predictable. Indeed, the bosses in the game are just as annoyingly mundane. For each Octolith you collect you have to fight a boss, which are all remarkably simple and only ever really increase in difficulty. We have to say that the encounters with other bounty hunters during the game act as the biggest battling highlight, setting up an intense and exciting deathmatch, very much akin to the multiplayer mode.

Screenshot for Metroid Prime Hunters on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Using Nintendo's much-lauded Wi-Fi connection you can instantly set up a battle against a random opponent anywhere in the world. Up to four people can play at once in a variety of arenas ranging from small stupidly fast paced areas to large sprawling worlds in which finding anyone to kill seems to be harder than actually killing them. The online set-up in Hunters is rather odd. You select your preferred character, then everyone votes on which arena to play in and then you're straight into the deathmatch. What is most bewildering is that at first you can only play all the game modes against people whom you have the friend codes of to start with, which make it a somewhat limiting experience. Thankfully, the game does offer a total of seven multiplayer modes when playing against your mates using the friend code system; it is clear that Nintendo is trying to encourage people to play against people they know, bless their giant corporate cotton socks. The voice and text chatting elements (which only work in the lobby area) seem to work very well and add a fun aspect to the gaming experience. Thankfully, you can only chat to your friends, meaning that being told where to stick whatever to/on/up/under whomever by some adenoidal fat American teenager is no longer an issue. Furthermore the whole online system is slick and well put together.

Oddly for a Metroid title, the multiplayer experience is what makes the game. With single and multi-cart modes also available and so much fun to be had playing against your mates or Internet buddies the game goes from disappointingly average to a brilliantly conceived piece of DS mastery. There is a great amount of skill involved in playing the game, with fast movement and devastatingly sharp shooting skills the order of the day. Apparently it vibrates too (if you buy the appropriate adaptor), but we're yet to experience that dubious pleasure.

Screenshot for Metroid Prime Hunters on Nintendo DS- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

The controls do hurt your hands for the first week or so, which is a fact. We have to admit they do work very well and the accuracy and speed of movement you can achieve with a bit of practise is impressive, but we can't help but feel that very painful hand cramps and wrist-ache should not be part of an enjoyable gaming experience. Blasting at enemies and engaging in some impressive deathmath scenarios is terrific fun and the adventure elements are still enjoyable.

Graphics

The textures, the detail, the lighting, the general presentation and everything in between are utterly outstanding. People who say the DS can't out-graphic the N64 are idiots and this game is definitive proof. The superbly put together cut-scenes add that extra level of spit and polish to make this the best looking game on the DS so far.

Sound

Some lovely sound effects for the guns and enemies coupled with a brilliant musical score make the sound just as atmospherically brilliant as the graphics. The DS is really pushed to the limits to chuck out some truly immersive effects. The voice-chat feature is also very well implemented.

Value

The single player mode is disappointingly short, but the multiplayer section really adds the value to this game. The sheer amount of enjoyment you get out of playing the game via the Wi-Fi connection is reason enough to buy this game.

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Nintendo have done the series proud. Hunters remains true to its gaming roots, but also brings in some new ideas to spice things up. We never thought that a Metroid game would have such an awesome multiplayer, but we have been proved comprehensively wrong here. It looks and sounds fantastic and if you can get past the searing pain of hand cramp and aching wrists to start with, you are in for a treat. Truly outstanding, a must buy for all DS owners.

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04.05.2006

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Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Adventure

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (62 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Great review, I got mines a day early and am loving it. Spot on about the controls though.

ooooh finally more people on C3 with it. Will need to get a match organised some time ^^.

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

If I was a DS owner, I'd have this game hands down.

Mine should be arriving tomorrow, with a wifi dongle! So no more disconnecting for me! ( my router sucks)

Can't wait to play this lil gem. :D


You found the word nipple! And you love touching them!

ooooh finally more people on C3 with it. Will need to get a match organised some time ^^.

yeah he gets tired of me beating him down all the time :P

I have to admit the first thing i believe i said about this game was that "the graphics are shit, the sound is good, controls like shit and the game is fucking shit"

Much hasnt really changed, although i warmed to the game it is as tempo says really the story mode as nice as it is, it is rather mundane and linear. Its good but over far too soon. Dont get me wrong though. I would reccomend it to anyone its just a major dissapointment to me.

Great review tempo Smilie

I completed it a few weeks ago(got it from the import shop) and I loved every bit of it! Still playing a lot of multiplayer now :Smilie My hands didn't hurt though, not even when playing the demo...

~Getting on C3's massive tits since 2K5.~

"Nintendo DS is not too well suited to the FPS genre, "

Your the only person on the planet that feels this, incidently.

The DS is *perfect* for the genra.

The thumbstrap is almost as accurate as a mouse, and far moreso then analogue sticks.


The DS should be swamped with FPS's.

Please give our little random review show a try;
http://randomreviewshow.com/index.html
We have special effects and umm...stuff...

It isn't though, you need two-handed controls to play an FPS, the DS is touch screen, that means (logically) you hold it with one hand and use the touch-screen with the other. I'm sorry, but any game that causes people physical pain whilst playing it (and its not just me, have a look at some other reviews) is doing something wrong. There is a reason why it isn't swamped with them, simply because they are difficult to do and because they are not certain to work. Yes it is accurate, but it isn't practical IMO.

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I'm dying for this game, not for the multiplayer, but because I love solo Metroid so much...I need to be sorted out with a copy, stat! Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I have had this game for a long time (I live in the U.S.Smilie and I think the review was spot on.

Working like a fiend isn't very fun... and surprisingly isn't very fiendish either.

Out tomorrow im looking foward to getting it

Hmm i don't think it causes any pain wwth the thumb strap, but yeah theres a high learning curve, and be warned! The online is friggen hardcore!

XBL Gamertag: James2t3
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

lol, I got mine off Ebay (US copy) for

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

This review is somewhat not as pleasing as I hoped and in some descriptive points, such as the storyline description, looks and sounds remarkably similar to what ONM wrote. However, I prefer ONM's review because it is far more descriptive, more illustrative and doesn't spend half of Page 1 discussing a bad choice of control configurtion.

Remember, there are four control configurations and recommended is using the stylus and touch screen to look around, double-tap to jump, D-pad to move and strafe with the left shoulder button used to fire. That should stump your hand cramps.

Either way, the review here settles well but isn't enough to make me pass on this game. I'll pick it up after E3.

I think mot peoples beef with it is it's got a high learning curve(but once mastered is very nice) and it isn't metroid, but from the start it was it was gonna be more Unreal Tournament than Metroid Prime.

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

Seeing as I have never touched an issue of ONM I might struggle a bit to copy it, besides, the storyline is boring! And there are only really two control congiurations (Dual and Touch), and yes the thumbstrap does make the latter a bit nicer, but you still have the problem of changing weapons, moving into morph-ball form, etc. It works well, but it is cumbersome.

Certainly pick the game up though, it is great fun! :Smilie

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

Fair enough, James, but you should pick up ONM; the magazine itself is great.

It is like anything really. If you play console games a lot then shift to an MMORPG for PC then you will have a learning curve to get through and get used to to enjoy a great game.

I haven't played the game itself so I can't comment on it that much. However, I forgot to take in to account that ONM has the whole magazine to talk about this game and you have to limit yourself to two pages, but nevertheless, still a good review in itself!

From what I had previously heard this game was thebe all and end all game for the DS. But this review has shown me otherwise, it hasn't deterred me from getting the game, but has told me what to expect. The way a review should be, good job Tempo

Nice review.

It's a fun game, but I can see what you mean about causing pain. It gave me a headache because it's sometimes difficult to distinguish enemies on the screen because of the tiny resolution, and hand cramps are always lurking. The right score given, methinks.

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