Metroid Prime Hunters (Nintendo DS) - Review by Caleb
Metroid Prime Hunters, the long awaited title for the Nintendo DS hits US gamers on March 20th, when the game also goes online. Ever since the demo that came bundled with Nintendo DS systems, gamers have been really excited for this one. The demo took you through 3 modes in single player, but the game's multiplayer mode was the real treat. Players could hook up with three other friends who had the card (and many people did, seeing how it was bundled with the DS) and enjoy shooting matches in 3 different arenas. The game didn't last very long, but was still very enjoyable; will the final build follow suit? But the biggest question is, will it redefine FPS' on the Nintendo DS?
You really have to hand it to Nintendo Software Technology on this one; they really managed to pull of the feel of a real FPS in Metroid Prime Hunters. However, this game requires quite the learning curve, so don't go online right when you get it. It's a good idea to play around with single player or multiplayer with bots first. Since multiplayer takes up a bigger portion of the game (don't worry, I'll get to single player later), I'll talk about that first. The 7 different bountyhunters, 26 different stages (not including the random stage option), 7 different modes (Battle, Prime Hunter, Bounty, Defender, Capture, Survival, and Nodes), and 8 different weapons really add to the depth and variety in Metroid Prime Hunters multiplayer mode. The game's random match up system (which you can choose to search either Local or Worldwide, and then your skill level or any) let's you play with all the weapons, stages and bounty hunters. Unfortunately, one flaw is that this mode does not allow you to play all the modes online; only Battle is available. This isn't such a big flaw, but it really downsides the variety a bit.
Fortunately, with the friends and rivals (you can add a rival by either using the rival radar or by playing someone online and adding him to your rivals list) online option, you can see who is online and who is offline. There is also a lobby, where you can host a game. The options are similar to when using the online random match up (even more similar to the local wireless multicard option), but there are a few noticeable differences; firstly, you can choose what mode to play. Secondly, you are able to make the game available to friends and rivals, or friends only and vice versa. Another special feature is being able to chat with your friends, you can use the MIC to talk (walkie-talkie like quality) or simply send a text message. You can use this to talk about teams/strategies (the like), or simply talk about how bad you're about to own them. The experience as a whole is awesome, and you basically can't get enough of it; in other words, extremely addicting.
Even though the multiplayer mode will obviously take up most of your time, Metroid Prime Hunters' single player mode is also fun, but it has its limits. One thing you have to realize before buying this game and thinking the game is going to be one huge open adventure, think again. This mode is very linear. The game has you going through four worlds fighting the 6 other bounty hunters and getting weapons, such as the shock coil or the Magmaul. The process of getting these is very orderly, so you won't be getting them in a different combination than your friends'. Another flaw is (yes, there's another flawâ€¦) that there are only two types of bosses that you fight (besides the final boss) each twice in each world (and no, one of them is not Riley). The mode gets harder as you progress, and lots of puzzle solving and action will be involved (where the single player mode truly shines). Altogether, however, the game is pretty fun, but this is basically (overall) the game's real downside. It really depends on personal opinion, but Metroid Prime fans will be disappointed by how linear Metroid Prime Hunters is.
Overall, however, Metroid Prime Hunters' gameplay is where the game truly shines. The fantastic multiplayer will keep FPS fans wanting more, and the single player mode is fun while it lasts. The amount of variety in the game is amazing, and the boss battles are fun and keep you on your toes.
As with the original demo, the control system can be altered to best suit you but to get the best out of the game you'll really need to use the touch screen and thumb 'shoe' which came with the DS originally.
Metroid Prime Hunters has the best graphics on the DS so far. The awesome level designs are immersive and in depth, and the hunters biped and alt forms are unique and look fantastic. Not to mention the sweet cut scenes, which look console worthy. Best looking game on the DS yet, with very detailed game visuals that are sure to please any gamer, handheld or console player.
Everything about this game is amazing; including the sound and music. From each hunters unique sounds they make whenever they get hit/transform into alt form/transform to biped form, to the sounds of the doors opening, to your spaceship landing, it's all very awe inspiring. The musical score is pure Metroid, make no mistake. You won't notice it that much with all the sounds and action going on, but it's one of the parts of Metroid Prime Hunters that makes it Metroid.
The usual you would expect from a FPS DS game, with a few twists. The radar is located on the bottom screen, as well as the buttons to change to your alt form and vice versa and select your weapons. You can also see how much time you have left if there is a time limit set on this screen. A nice thing, however, is that the screen changes its style when you select a certain character. The on screen action is located on the top screen, as well as your health bar(s) and amount of kills you have gathered. The touch screen is used to move your characters view, and it's been done perfectly.
Metroid Prime Hunters is more than what you expect; the game is full of variety and depth. New hunters are a great addition to the Prime franchise, and it's nice to see that it's been implemented into a DS game with a fully fledged multiplayer mode. After playing through Metroid Prime Hunters, I can safely say a FPS is definitely executable on the Nintendo DS.
Pro: Great Multiplayer Mode, Loads of Gameplay.
Con: Linear Single Player Mode, Steep Learning Curve.
Final score: 9.5