Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Prime Example of a Great Game


Get it?

Yeah, Metroid Prime. I missed this gem of a game on the Gamecube back when I was younger, most likely because it was rated T and I was quite young. I got the Trilogy as a Christmas gift about 6 months ago, back when it was being sold for an ungodly price and right before it got released on the eShop for $20.

But I'm not too mad. I prefer physical copies anyway, and as far as I know, the prices haven't dropped too much since the digital version came out.

Anyway, back to my point. I finished Prime 1 a few months ago, but due to my preoccupation with my summer job, schoolwork, other games, and general procrastination, I neglected to write about it until now.

I have yet to start Prime 2, so I really haven't even gotten much of a feel for the entire trilogy, but if the next 2 games are even half as good as the first one was, I'll be happy.

It actually took me quite a while to beat this game. I ended up logging about 22-ish hours by the time I beat it, but it took me about 4 months overall. I wasn't too consistent with my playing, and schoolwork always tends to get in the way too. But I finally did, and here I am.

And man, what a game. Before this game I had very limited experience with the Metroid series; I had finished the original NES one and then played about 20 minutes into Super Metroid. Other than that, I was in the dark. I was a bit skeptical about how the whole first-person perspective was going to mesh with the Metroid gameplay as a whole, but I soon realized it's less of a first-person shooter, and more of an adventure game that happens to be in the first-person perspective and involve shooting. Long story short, it's amazing.

The best part about this game for me is the feeling of isolation. The large nonlinear worlds helped quite a bit, too, but the feeling that you're alone really stood out to me. It mixed with the music and lack of any NPCs to give you an almost lonely feeling, although it wasn't as unpleasant as that sounds. If you haven't played it, the underlying story isn't readily apparent either. You have to scan inscriptions and logs and stuff to actually understand what's going on. No one really tells you anything.

Come to think of it, that really doesn't sound appealing at all. I doubt I would have been interested if I read this before playing it. It's hard to put into words, I guess. You really just have to play it to understand.

That being said, there were a few times where I wasn't entirely sure where to go or what to do, but I guess that's part of the fun of the game. You've got to really enjoy exploration to get into this game.

The boss battles are nothing short of spectacular, either. I won't spoil too much, but there's this one that involves fighting a giant rock monster and you have to use your thermal visor to find its weak points and...

Yeah. It's pretty cool.

And there are some parts of this game that are incredibly eerie. There's a section where you have to journey inside a Space Pirate-made structure (they're the main enemies of the game). You get to this huge chamber, and as you make your way to the bottom there are chambers with Metroids all around you. If I remember correctly, this is your first actual encounter with them in the game. When you get to the bottom, you pick up the Thermal Visor, and immediately, the power goes out and it gets dark. You can use your newly acquired Thermal Visor to see, but even then, visibility is still limited. As you make your way back up in the darkness, the Metroids burst out of the tanks and attack you. I was honestly pretty freaked out at this point. It probably didn't help that I was playing around midnight, by myself, in the dark, but... It made me jump a few more times than I'd like to admit, haha.

The Research Core

Other parts are pretty freaky, too. Throughout the game you can scan logs made by the Space Pirates about all the tests they're doing. They're fusing some Metroids and some test subject Space Pirates with a radioactive mineral called Phazon, and it describes the test subjects' conditions and how they become unstable and sometimes berserk, and it's a bit unsettling. Eventually you get to fight some of these so-called "Elite Pirates," and I wouldn't exactly describe them as pushovers, to say the least.

There was one bit of text that really stood out to me for some reason, but first I'll need to give a bit of backstory. There was a native race called the Chozo that got wiped out due to the Phazon brought to their planet by a meteor, but they succeeded in sealing most of it away before they died out. The Space Pirates are trying to use this Phazon to their advantage, and they need the Chozo artifacts to gain access to it.

"There have been numerous incidents involving spectral entities at Chozo Ruins sites. Several personnel have been assaulted by these Chozo Ghosts; few have survived. Survivors speak of swift attacks from nowhere, brief sightings of the enemy, then nothing, only to be followed by another attack. Science Team believes these attacks are in response to our efforts to recover Chozo relics and Artifacts. Somehow, these entities are able to interact with the physical world, and it appears they wish to keep their Artifacts to themselves. We will make them pay for such arrogance, for even ghosts can be destroyed."

Again, I'm not quite sure why, but this one really resonated with me. It's just one of the many pieces of backstory in the game, and it's not hard to miss. The game really has a feeling of depth when pieces of story like this aren't too obvious, and can only really be found by looking for them.

And then we get to the graphics. As I've said before, I'm not a sucker for graphics, but this has got to be one of the best-looking Gamecube games out there, and it was released toward the beginning of the console's lifespan. I could easily see this game being a mid-cycle Wii game if I didn't know better. The little touches really help this game to look as beautiful as it does. For example, if you're in a rainy area, when you step outside and look up, rain droplets will collect on your visor. Look down or walk under something, and it stops. If you walk through steam, fog will build up on your visor. And sometimes, if the lighting is right, flashes from your arm cannon will cause you to see a reflection of Samus's face within the visor. It doesn't sound like much, but it really helps add to the depth of the game.

And, well, that's basically it for my gushing about this game. It's absolutely fantastic, and I'd recommend getting Trilogy on the eShope to just about anyone. $20 really is such an awesome price for 3 full games in one. I'd gladly pay $20 for just the original Metroid Prime. Anyone who enjoys exploration will definitely enjoy this game. My only complaint is the backtracking required in later parts of the game, but it's still fun discovering new areas you missed when you came through the area before.

I'm looking forward to starting Prime 2, but first I've got some other games I want to finish up. I'll probably make a more casual post about my current game agenda, and also my thoughts on E3. This post ended up looking way more formal than I expected, haha. Anyway, that's really all I wanted to say. Hopefully I won't be too lazy (or forgetful) to make another post in the near future.


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