Metroid Prime Remastered Review – A Prime Example of An Incredible Remaster

    The GameCube classic returns better than ever.

    It can be argued that the original Metroid Prime is one of the most influential and best-received titles of the past two decades. The game served as a commercial success and offered incredible level design that still holds up to this day. Nothing beats opening up the game and hearing the iconic title screen music play.

    When Nintendo announced their annual February Direct last week, I didn’t expect anything related to Metroid to show up. I certainly did not expect to be writing a review of Metroid Prime Remastered when the week started, but I’m glad Nintendo had other plans and allowed us to return to Tallon IV. 

    Nintendo surprised us all by shadow-dropping Metroid Prime Remastered, the long-awaited remaster of the original Metroid Prime. This remaster is visually the same type of upgrade we saw with MonolithSoft’s Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition, a full facelift of the game for modern hardware. Prime has a heavy history behind it, which has made this remaster a big deal when looking back on things.

    The History behind Metroid Prime

    The original Metroid Prime was released in 2002 on the Nintendo GameCube, where it was met with resounding critical acclaim. Prime was the first title by Retro Studios, who was tasked with creating a new and exciting entry in the Metroid series. At the time, a first-person-style Metroid game would have never crossed my mind, but Retro made an incredibly influential and innovative classic that has been forever cherished. 

    Metroid Prime remains one of the highest-rated games of all time, standing tall two decades later at the number 19 slot on Metacritic. It is widely regarded among players as one of the greatest games of all time. With a background like this, you may be able to tell just exactly why this remaster has so many people excited.

    Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

    This eventually led to Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, which were later released over the years following Metroid Prime. Later on, a trilogy collection including all three of the Prime titles was released for the Nintendo Wii. I’ll touch on this more later, but I do expect these two titles to release on the Switch in the future considering what’s to come. 

    The series saw really no life at all after the trilogy’s release until E3 2017, when Nintendo confirmed that Metroid Prime 4 was in development. Prime 4 has been kind of a mess to watch from the outside, but I have full trust in Retro Studios to deliver an incredible title. The title originally began development at Bandai Namco, before development was completely restarted and handed to Retro in January 2019.

    It’s been four years since that announcement was made, and unfortunately, it has been nothing but radio silence when it comes to the game. That could change this year, however, as this release of Metroid Prime Remastered seems to set the stage for the series’ grand return.

    Primed and Ready (Metroid Prime Remastered)

    Metroid Prime Remastered Area Screenshot

    You play as Samus Aran, a bounty hunter who happens to land on planet Tallon IV. Prime has a very unique approach with both its storytelling and gameplay. Most of the narrative is given out through notes you can read by scanning the environment. This forces you to look around and seek different areas across Tallon IV if you choose to do so.

    When you land on the Planet, there is no marker or indication of where you need to go. It doesn’t really matter, as the game is heavily focused on exploration. You want to get lost and choose to go to that obscure path. By doing so, you’ll allow yourself to encounter different puzzles and enhancements, such as missile expansions. This level design allows the player to explore all sorts of areas they might skip if there was a standard path to follow.

    This can get sort of tedious when backtracking to areas with puzzles that you needed certain equipment to access, however, that is the nature of the original release and not a fault of the remaster. I enjoyed exploring each area and making mental notes of where exactly some puzzles were located. When I unlocked the abilities needed to complete them, I found myself constantly re-exploring areas to make sure I did not miss any puzzles.

    Metroid Prime Remastered Shooting

    Gameplay in Metroid Prime Remastered is exactly how you’d expect it to be. The game plays the same as the GameCube and Wii releases, and that is a good thing. Overall, the game might look completely different visually, but it does indeed still play the same we all know and love. It is a first-person shooter that gives you the freedom of exploration.

    While playing through Metroid Prime Remastered for this review, I used twin-stick 95% of the time. I’ll dive into this feature exclusively later, but I just want to state that it feels and plays fantastically. The controls are tight and feel great. You utilize ZR and R to shoot enemies, depending on whether you use your arm cannon or missiles. 

    This is still a GameCube title at heart, so there are some minor gameplay tidbits that definitely haven’t aged the best. Despite that, it truly is incredible how well the title has held up to modern standards. For newcomers, I believe you will walk away extremely satisfied and want to play the other titles in the series. That’s all you can really ask for with a remaster, especially like this where it kept the gameplay systems intact and just replaced the visuals.

    Remaster or Remake?

    Samus in Metroid Prime Remastered

    There have been a lot of questions ever since the reveal of the title about whether the game is a remake or a remaster. I’ll be honest, I was very excited about the game upon seeing its reveal, however, I did not realize the sheer upgrade in visuals until looking back upon some footage of the original release. That alone shows how well the art direction and environments of the 2002 GameCube release have held up, and boy does Prime Remastered make the game even better. Said art direction is captured beautifully here, with all sorts of new VFX and lighting details enhancing it further.

    The lighting in particular has seen vast changes that completely enhance almost every area of the entire game. While it isn’t anything crazy technical, the lighting transforms darker rooms and plenty of the overworld areas like the Landing Site and Chozo Ruins. There are a couple of enemies that light up the darker areas, and this helps create an intense feeling as you progress through areas like unlit tunnels.

    Metroid Prime Remastered Chozo Ruins

    When looking at the enhancements to this new version, it does bring up a good question of what draws the line between a remake and a remaster. Personally, I’d consider this to be an incredibly high-quality remaster, however, some might argue that it should be considered a remake then. Honestly, I’m just so happy we finally have Metroid Prime on Nintendo Switch.

    The entirety of the visuals and assets in Metroid Prime has been redone and remade for Remastered, making this one of the best remasters we’ve seen to date. This title was developed by multiple studios, including Retro, Iron Galaxy, and more. Iron Galaxy specifically has plenty of experience developing impressive Switch ports, such as Overwatch and Diablo III: Eternal Collection

    Samus Aran in Metroid Prime
    The opening of Metroid Prime on GameCube.

    It’s rare that we see remasters of this quality, if ever. It shows true attention to detail and care for the original, while also modernizing the title without comprising the art direction. I’m seriously impressed with how good Prime Remastered looks, with it easily acting as one of the best-looking titles on Switch by far.

    In terms of quality, this is personally right on par with the 2020 release of Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition. Both of these titles took an older title and utilized the Switch hardware to realize the vision of the original game. It’s an incredible feat that I wish more developers took pride in doing, rather than a standard facelift of the visuals.

    Prime Remastered additionally added some neat features, like the ability to turn on the narration for cutscenes that was found in the EU version of the original. Also, there is a plethora of accessibility options, with great colorblind settings in particular. On top of all these, the most monumental feature has to be the implementation of twin-stick gameplay.

    Twin-Stick Implementation

    Controls Menu Metroid Prime Remastered

    Arguably the greatest feature of this Switch release is the incredible implementation of twin-stick gameplay. You utilize the two analog sticks on the joy-con to play Prime Remastered as a traditional first-person shooter. For my playthrough, this was by far the best option for controls.

    If you aren’t feeling twin-stick, there’s no problem. The original controls from both the original GameCube release and the Metroid Prime Trilogy release on the Wii are available. You can utilize the original controls found on the Gamecube, or opt for some gyro controls utilizing the joy-con.

    On the topic of controls, there are some instances where reaching for the D-Pad can be a little tedious and tough. You utilize it to switch to scan mode and between visor mode as well. There were only a few times where I really saw this as an issue, but it is worth noting for those electing to go with the twin-stick option. 

    It’s great to have options like these that allow you to experience the game in multiple ways, honestly. The experience of playing with the twin-stick setting versus using motion controls is obviously big, which can make replays quite thrilling and fun. 

    A Handheld Delight

    Meta Ridley in Metroid Prime Remastered

    Prime Remastered is a joy to play on Switch, especially in handheld mode. The sheer vibrancy and intricate detailing throughout each environment are stunning, especially when utilized through an OLED Switch as I used for this review. The colors throughout the opening scene are daunting, especially as the deep space is envisioned through the rich black hues of the screen. Throughout each level, this really allows for immersion to be dialed up to 11 from the original release.

    The game is also locked at 60FPS, which holds extremely steady throughout. I do not remember seeing any frame drips at all during any point of my playthrough. This is just a testament to the team behind this port and its high-quality nature. For a title that looks as good as Prime Remastered does, I was pleasantly surprised with the 60FPS lock.

    Combined with the brand-new visuals, this presentation overall is just incredible. As outlined above, this is a fantastic remaster that truly showcases the raw power of the Nintendo Switch. Truthfully, Metroid Prime Remastered has made me incredibly excited to see Prime 4, as this does seem to be a small taste of what’s to come. 

    It’s truly not something that can be shown through photos or video, so I do encourage you to try the game out for yourself if you do have access to an OLED Switch. Obviously, the game does look great both docked and handheld, regardless of what Switch model you own. However, the vibrancy and deep blacks of the OLED screen truly make the experience even more immersive.

    A Superb Experience (Metroid Prime Remastered Review)

    Samus Aran in Metroid Prime Remastered

    We live in exciting times with the Metroid series, which has had a very strong run on the Switch so far including Metroid Dread and now Metroid Prime Remastered. Samus is back and better than ever. It’s likely that the other two Prime titles will follow sometime before the launch of the fourth game, so go support Prime Remastered for more appearances from Samus Aran on Switch.

    Metroid Prime Remastered is the definitive version of one of Nintendo’s best titles ever. Few modern FPS titles have reached the highs of Prime and its incredible level of design, and this remaster only enhances that experience. It’s a testament to just how great the original game was and the sheer talent of Retro Studios. If you’ve never gotten the chance to try out the Metroid Prime series, there’s never been a better time or way to do so, especially considering Metroid Prime 4 looms on the horizon.

    Disclaimer: Nintendo provided Final Weapon with a copy of Metroid Prime Remastered for review purposes.


    Metroid Prime Remastered is a genuinely stunning remaster of the beloved GameCube Classic. Retro Studios have gone above and beyond in recreating the assets and implementing superb twin-stick gameplay. Prime Remastered only improves on its original release and acts as the definitive way to experience the 2002 classic.
    Noah Hunter
    Noah Hunter
    Noah is Final Weapon’s Editor-in-Chief. He co-founded the website in June 2019 and has been writing for it ever since. In total, he has over five years of writing experience across many publications, including IGN Entertainment. His favorite series include Xeno and Final Fantasy.

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    Metroid Prime Remastered is a genuinely stunning remaster of the beloved GameCube Classic. Retro Studios have gone above and beyond in recreating the assets and implementing superb twin-stick gameplay. Prime Remastered only improves on its original release and acts as the definitive way to experience the 2002 classic.Metroid Prime Remastered Review - A Prime Example of An Incredible Remaster