Metroid Prime Trilogy (Wii) - Review by Chris
After an 8 year wait coming off of the back of Super Metroid, the Metroid series finally resurfaced to fans' delight. Having been outsourced to Texas based Retro Studios, the Prime series of games looked to take Samus and all that encompasses the series in a new direction, all loving wrapped in a 3D form. Each of the three entries into the series have become highly acclaimed worldwide as some of the best games not only on Nintendo's systems but on any system ever and so the re-issuing of these games in a single package, on a single disc makes this one of the best values for money available on any platform ever.
The gameplay for the originals is brought to the Wii in a similar vain to the New Play Control titles that Nintendo released earlier in the year. However, unlike the Pikmin games or Mario Power Tennis, Nintendo and developers Retro Studios decided to make more significant improvements to the original Gamecube games and have managed to shoe horn all three entries of the series, including the third entry which is already available separately on the Wii, onto a single dual layer disc and when you consider the sheer size and length of these games, it's an amazing thought and achievement.
The two Gamecube games, Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, have been brought complete as they were and haven't received much in the way of an overhaul gameplay wise, but then they never needed it. Metroid Prime still sells itself as the best of the series, nailing the loneliness of a solitary bounty hunter trying to get to the bottom of the distress call she answered before landing on the surface of Tallon IV. It was fantastic back in 2002 and remains so now.
Metroid Prime 2 is perhaps the game that has seen the most significant changes to it. Some people have begrudged that the difficulty of certain bosses within the game were too high and so Retro Studios have turned it down a bit to make it just a bit easier for those who had trouble with it the first time around. It's only a small change but many will welcome it. The multiplayer element also included in this has returned but hasn't been changed at all and while it was a nice attempt to push Metroid in the multiplayer spectrum, the games are best played in the single player and so you won't bother much with this element.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption brings the series to a close in spectacular fashion but has received no improvements over the core gameplay from its original 2007 release. This in itself isn't a downside but those who became familiar with the series through this game won't find anything new to play through when it comes to Corruption so would be best advised to take that into consideration. When you consider then consider you have all three entries in the series on one disc, the amount of play time available here is mind boggling. Each instalment can take anywhere between 10 and 20 hours to complete and sometimes more if you are a perfectionist. This then adds up to be one of the most complete titles on the Wii offering considerable length. And the best part is that you don't have to play through the games systematically. If you've been playing Prime 1 for awhile and won't to skip ahead and see what Echoes or Corruption is like, then you can do so whenever you like and come back to your save file at anytime.
With all three complete games crammed onto a single disc, you would think that there would be significant loading issues that would dog such a product. Luckily, the opposite can be said, with Retro Studios having done their work to minimise the loading times between each area and as a result it feels much more seamless than it originally was. Likewise, the token system implemented into Corruption has been reworked and included in all three games now, allowing you to use tokens for beating bosses or for completing a certain number of scans to unlock extras such as artwork or the use of the Metroid Fusion suit for Prime 1. There's a fantastic amount of gameplay here, then and while it may represent more of a piece of fan service, it's newcomers to the series that will undoubtedly get the most out of playing all three games for the first time.
While the Gamecube controls for the original two Prime games worked well, having played Corruption and attempted to go back they just feel dated and static compared to the fluidity of the aforementioned title. Thankfully, you can now play the original two games with the motion controls and the games are much improved as a result. Traversing the environments and aiming is now so much easier than it was prior to their revamping and although some might be upset that there is no option to play these games in their originally controlled form, the motion based controls really are better and do make them better games.
All three games have held up considerably well, although Corruption really can't be judged on this level given it was only released 2 years ago. Yet the say remains, and the art style across all three titles is one of the strongest in any game in the modern day. Providing lush and living environments that stretch out in front of you, as well as more confining ones that push up the tense atmosphere that the games are all about, the Metroid games have always and will always be highly regarded not only for their gameplay but also for their design. Retro has spent some time working on the overall presentation of the first two games and now both sport higher resolution textures as well as the first entry sporting bloom lighting. As a result, stepping out onto the Phendrana Shores or Tallon IV is still as remarkably breathtaking now as it was back in 2002. Really, it's a testament to the designers at Retro Studios that they managed to take the best of the design work from the earlier Metroid games and bring it into 3D with such high fidelity.
Another area where the games have always excelled was in the audio department and all of the score is reprised here for your listening pleasure. The sultry and more at ease tones of Prime 1 ease you into the series, while still helping to create the tense ambience that the series is well known for, while the darker, more edgier tones of Echoes shows a shift that mimics that duality of the dark and light world and their specialised gameplays. Kenji Yamamoto and his team have done fantastic work across all three titles to provide a soundtrack that perfectly matches the gameplay while being some of the most memorable music from the franchise, with earlier soundtracks having been remixed for these games.
If you haven't guessed it already, Metroid Prime Trilogy is a must buy for anyone with a Wii. The collection contains three of the best games from the last 10 years with improvements that make them even better and there is nothing else available on the market that comes close to being as complete a package as this. They've been integral in the progression of the games industry, with many titles striving to achieve what these games have and so they stand as a testament to the development and design work from both Retro Studios and Nintendo and how they can remain so relevant today is something to be applauded. If you haven't had the opportunity to play these games, then now is the perfect chance to. And even if you have played them before, the ability to play them again with new controls should rekindle many memories for those familiar to the games.
Pro: Builds on past AW games and has loads of features.
Con: Can get frustratingly hard.
Final score: 10