Metroid Prime Remastered (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Neil Flynn 13.03.2023

Review for Metroid Prime Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Those that don't know the origins of Cubed3 may not know that this site was started as a dedicated GameCube website. The name starts to make a bit more sense now doesn't it. As one of the longer standing stalwarts around on the site it goes to say that GameCube is very much a close and personal subject after living and breathing that generation as a gaming teen, and nothing says GameCube masterpiece like Metroid Prime. After all, the game was heavily praised in both the original review and again for Metroid Prime Trilogy. Now it is available for Nintendo Switch, just to make sure that Retro Studios' masterpiece is available to play on every home console since GameCube. This isn't just Metroid Prime ported to Switch though, this is Metroid Prime Remastered, but what is the difference? Read on to find out.

Let's set the foundation of what Metroid Prime Remastered is all about before diving into the differences. The story picks up after the original Metroid and Samus' (temporary) destruction of Mother Brain and Ridley on Planet Zebes. After receiving a distress call from a Space Pirate research station above planet Tallon IV, Samus goes to investigate. The research station has been torn apart by native creatures of Tallon IV which have been mutated by a contaminated comet which crashed on the planet years prior. After discovering that Ridley is alive and well, Samus gives chase to the surface of Tallon IV to find her arch-nemesis. While the narrative isn't strictly fundamental to the adventure, it definitely plays a part in the enjoyment of discovering what Metroid Prime Remastered has to offer. There are a number of basic short cutscenes that help continue the plot, but the real story is told via logbooks and discoverable lore using Samus' scan visor. The story is often pushed forward by short anecdotes and information on what has happened in each room, or what has happened in the past on the planet. Scanning enemies also gives information on their weaknesses but also helps unlock artwork, music and other bonuses. Scanning every item isn't absolutely fundamental to beat Metroid Prime Remastered but it could also be likened to a collect-a-thon styled objective.

Screenshot for Metroid Prime Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Importantly to note is that this isn't a port, this isn't a remake, it is a remaster, and with such a moniker it is safe to say that Retro Studios, and new co-dev, Iron Galaxy, have honoured their own previous work as such. Metroid Prime was already the best-looking GameCube game, at least in this reviewer's opinion, it pushed the GameCube to its very limit with incredible visuals and flawless performance. Metroid Prime Remastered looks and feels the same as players may remember Metroid Prime but taking another look makes it clear that visuals have not been polished, but completely re-worked. Enemy models, platforms, walls, fauna and flora, water, and just pretty much everything has been completely remodelled, incredibly faithfully to the original. Lighting has been particularly improved, as it should be 21 years later, with areas feeling more atmospheric than ever before. Weather effects in particular have seen a dramatic improvement, with snowstorms, lightning, steam, fire and rain all looking visually pleasing. The visor HUD also received visual upgrades, including the excellent reflections on Samus' visor, which look better than ever. Reflections on the visor can be incredibly disturbing for first time players who don't realise it and it can be a bit freaky the first time they see a faint reflection of Samus' eyes on screen. As is the case with remakes and remasters, particularly remakes such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D on 3DS, the game is as you remember the original, both visually and by its performance, but in reality those remakes were leaps and bounds over the original's and the same can be said for Metroid Prime Remastered.

Screenshot for Metroid Prime Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Visuals are not the only overhaul though, with control methods also getting a modern update. Control schemes in 2002 were still trying to find the best way to use that 2nd analogue stick, and at the start of the 6th generation using the 2nd analogue stick in a number of games would often cause havoc with the camera or even alienate gamers who just couldn't control both axes simultaneously. Younger gamers will certainly not have this issue, having been born in an era where 3D environments are the norm. Metroid Prime's original control scheme would certainly feel unintuitive for gamers who never used it. The original control scheme is available in Metroid Prime Remastered, under the guise of "Classic controls", and it does work with the Nintendo Switch GameCube controller adapter. This control method feels like second nature for veterans when holding a GameCube controller with movement controlled with the analogue stick, visors selectable with the d-pad and Samus' beams interchangeable with cardinal directions on the C-stick. To move the camera, players will need to stand still and hold the trigger to stop and look around. This control method might seem a bit outdated by today's standards, but the benefit to this control scheme is instant access to Samus' array of beams by flicking the C-stick. However, the default control method utilises both analogue sticks for movement, the d-pad/directional buttons for the visors, and then holding down the X button and using the d-pad to change beams. This is a little fiddly, but it is not a major gripe. Pointer controls, popularised by Metroid Prime 3 Corruption and then Metroid Prime Trilogy after it, are also available as an option for those who wish to use it.

Screenshot for Metroid Prime Remastered on Nintendo Switch

The Remaster does not change the puzzles and challenges that the original offered. Puzzles orientate on exploration and regaining and learning new traversal and combat abilities for Samus. When Samus learns new moves, such as the double jump and grapple beam, areas which were previously locked to the player open up. Remembering previously closed pathways and where to return to is part of the challenge, although the map will also be a very handy tool to utilise in this endeavour. This isn't a first-person shooter, no matter what others may say, and to call it that would be an injustice to the action adventure platformer that it really is. Enemies and bosses will certainly turn the game into a combat heavy style of game for certain sections, but it quickly becomes a game about traversal and orienteering oneself around Tallon IV. The score is also another highly commendable aspect of Metroid Prime Remastered, with great upbeat combat vibes during boss battles and absolutely awesome atmospheric beats while exploring. The Tallon Overworld music is still one of the best themes in the whole of the Metroid universe, along with Phendrana Drifts.

Screenshot for Metroid Prime Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 10 out of 10

Masterpiece - Platinum Award

Rated 10 out of 10

There are few games that command the title of Masterpiece. Without any doubt whatsoever, Metroid Prime Remastered is fully deserving of this moniker. The fact that minimal changes had to be made to a game that is 21 years old is a true testament of the original game design, gameplay loop and art direction. The icing on the cake for Metroid Prime Remastered is obviously the enhanced visuals and a control scheme that is far more fitting for the modern era. The Nintendo GameCube version may now lay to rest, as Metroid Prime Remastered is the definitive method to play this outstanding masterpiece.






Action Adventure



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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


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