Category Archives: Modern Games

Prediction: Xbox Scorpio will have exclusive games…eventually.

Microsoft unveiled their latest two revisions of the Xbox One, (or what I lovingly call the Xboner…I know, old joke, just can’t stop typing it.) the Xbox One S, and Project Scorpio. The Xboner S will feature slightly better processing power and a smaller footprint than the original Xbox One, with the ability to play videos or Ultra HD Blu-Ray in 4K, but it’s not playing games at that new level of visual sweetness. (I’ve never actually seen a 4K monitor or TV…does it look that much better?) Yesterday (June 15, 2016), Mr. Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox division at Microsoft, said that the Scorpio will do nothing for gamers who don’t have a 4K TV, suggesting that the games will essentially look the same, just with an upscale to the higher resolution. He even went so far as to say that if you don’t have a 4K TV, than you should settle on getting an Xbox One S. (Seriously just about typed Xboner there again.)

Today (June 16 2016), he “clarified” his comments, stating that the Scorpio will absolutely have a visual impact on Xbox One games versus the older model console for players on 1080p TVs. In addition to that, the new hotness will be four and a half times more powerful than the original Xbox One. But don’t worry, any games that come out on the Scorpio will be playable on the ol’ Xboner.

Phil Spencer, probably.

Phil Spencer, probably.

Yeah, I don’t buy that.

My guess is that this is one hundred percent a soft generation leap for the console market. Sure, all games on the Scorpio when it is released will also be playable on the Xbox One for NOW, but give it a year or two, and we’ll start seeing Scorpio exclusives. Once households across the world and mass media have started embracing 4K TVs, the Scorpio (and likely the PS4 Neo) will already have an install base with a good number of early adopters, making the launch of the next generation of consoles that much smoother. Then in another year, Scorpio exclusive games will outnumber Xbox One games, and another year after that, no more Xbox One.

Hell, it may even take TWO new consoles to fully move away from the Xbox One. That’s how the cell phone market does it. You still saw people running around using their iPhone 4s when the iPhone 6 was released. Apps still worked between the two pieces of hardware, but more and more, those apps aren’t supported on the older phones.

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This may all be old news to the people who have been really following this closely. I just figured I’d write out my thoughts on here. And after writing out most of it, I found that even the head of Xbox Operations, Dave McCarthy, says this will wipe out generational upgrades for console gamers. Everyone is saying consoles are getting closer and closer to PCs have it wrong. Consoles are becoming smart phones.

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Arcadian Atlas – I Pledged Support to a Kickstarter

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I’ve always been wary of the crowd funding option of developing games, mainly because of blunders like Mighty No. 9, which STILL isn’t out. But there has been one game that I’ve had my eye on since I started creating content: Arcadian Atlas. This game draws inspiration from Final Fantasy Tactics, which is one of my favorite games of all time. It’s currently in the Kickstarter phase, and has raised about $40k of it’s $90k goal with 19 days to go as of 4/19/16.

I’ve been watching one of the developers from Twin Otter Studios, Becca Bair’s posts on Twitter for almost two years now. I was at first just interested in the pixel art that looked a lot like something from one of my favorite games. I really dug the artstyle. When I realized this content was for a game, I was instantly interested. I wasn’t one of the first backers on Kickstarter, but as soon as I was able, I pledged $20 to get a copy of the game digitally upon release.

If you’re a big fan of tactical RPGs like I am, then you may want to get in on this, or at least check it out. They’ve been making good progress, and I really believe they are sincere and dedicated to their goal. Kickstarter should be used for projects like this, where new, upcoming artists and developers have a chance to fund an awesome project, not where well known, famous industry icons can fund their pet projects…I’m looking at you Inafune.

Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1266693296/arcadian-atlas-tactical-rpg-inspired-by-classics/

Their website: http://www.arcadianatlas.com/

Twitter Handle: https://twitter.com/TupelosHoney

Indie Game: The Interview: Iggy’s Egg Adventure

I recently sat down with the developers at Ginger Labs LLC, the men behind the new game “Iggy’s Egg Adventure”, now out on Steam for PC.  I found out about the game when I watched Kovic, a YouTube let’s player and streamer, play it live.  It looked like an interesting 2.5D platformer that threw back to games like Donkey Kong Country.  When I attended the Pixel Pop Festival in St. Louis Missouri, I was able to meet the guys behind this game.  After a bit of chit-chat in front of their display, I was finally able to briefly play the game. It played just as charming as it looked.  I decided to reach out to the creators for an interview, and they happily obliged.

CONTINUE READING AT GAMING REBELLION

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Review

After years of waiting for a new (full) Metal Gear game, we finally got it on September 1st of this year.  Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the latest story of a man known as Big Boss, and features a pretty huge format change from previous Metal Gear games.  Some of these changes were very welcome when playing through this new entry, while some others were pretty disappointing.

Hideo Kojima, the man behind the Snakes, pulled one of his trademark pranks on the gaming industry back at the Spike Video Game Awards in 2012 when he announced this game under the pseudonym, Joakim Morgan and the fictional new game studio MobyDick.  The game community quickly saw through the ruse, and figured out that this was in fact a new Metal Gear Solid title.  Kojima had some pretty lofty plans for this game, including a very compelling story, amazing graphics with his new FOX engine, and an open world or sandbox type gameplay.  Things were looking VERY interesting and Metal Gear fans were excited to finally get their hands on this game.

Konami didn't fire Kojima, they just couldn't find an office with enough space for his gigantic head.

Konami didn’t fire Kojima, they just couldn’t find an office with enough space for his gigantic head.

Personally, I was incredibly excited about this chapter.  Promises were made to us that we’d finally see where Big Boss snaps and becomes downright EVIL.  Kojima likened his game to the amazing TV series Breaking Bad, where the main character goes from a mild mannered science teacher to a full on drug kingpin.  For me, Metal Gear Solid games have always been about the insane story first, and gameplay second.  Not everyone sees it this way, but a lot of the most hardcore Metal Gear fans are in my boat.  Gamers who aren’t die-hard Metal Gear fanboys such as myself complain of long and drawn out cutscenes and not much gameplay in between.  I definitely understand their complaints, and agree that it’s a sign of poor game design, but because I love the over-the-top stories, it doesn’t bother me…well, except the insanely boring and ridiculously convoluted codec conversations in Metal Gear Solid 2.

I planned out what would happen for the release for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.  I took a day off of work at the end of the week to give myself a nice four day weekend (US Labor Day was Monday), and I planned an entire month to release Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid related content under the banner “Metal Gear Month”.  I drove to my local game store after work on launch day and purchased it.  I streamed the first hour or two on Gaming Rebellion’s Twitch channel, and was greeted with an opening sequence fit for a Metal Gear game.

A Hideo Kojima Game

A Hideo Kojima Game

After the prologue, you’re pretty much thrown into an open world and given various missions to complete at your leisure.  Traveling across the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan and fighting the occupying force of Soviet soldiers feels really good, honestly.  The gameplay is exceptional and responsive.  After getting used to the controls, which is honestly on me rather than the game (I played the game on the Xbox One, and I’ve never been an Xbox gamer…I’m still surprised how much flipping the face button labels from what Nintendo traditionally uses messed me up), I was easily sneaking, sniping, and shooting without so much as a second thought.

As Big Boss, you are given the freedom to approach missions how you’d like.  As long as you accomplish the mission goal within a decent time period, you can be awarded a better mission ranking.  These rankings are largely arbitrary, while the main reward are the soldiers you extract to build your own personal army and GMP, the game’s form of currency.  In some missions, attacking head on actually makes more sense than sneaking around.  You may have to take on several heavily armored vehicles with a rocket launcher, or blow up enemy communications equipment.  In one instance, I started sniping enemy soldiers who were positioned outside a large and fortified barracks.  After they heard my gunfire, I made my way unseen to the other side of the base.  While the Soviets were investigating my original location, I crept into the barracks from the other side and completed my mission without issue.  In another mission, after several failed attempts and sneaking through it, I just went in, guns-a-blazing with as much firepower I could take with me.  I blew up both armored guard vehicles and extracted the target supply truck, then ran for it.  I completed the mission with an “S” rating, the highest available.

"I don't need to keep you alive to achieve the highest rank, you know." - Bauer Snake

“I don’t need to keep you alive to achieve the highest rank, you know.” – Bauer Snake

While the approach to this kind of gameplay is nothing new, it felt fresh to me, mainly because for the last few years, I’ve been playing a lot more “retro” games than newer stuff.  Gamers have been drawing a lot of comparisons to the Far Cry series, which I’ve never played.  I see a lot of parallels to the Assassin’s Creed series, myself.  While Big Boss doesn’t climb towers and buildings as well as Ezio or Connor, he still has to stealth into areas and neutralize targets, go on missions where he has to follow a target to gather intel, or escort a high priority character through hostile terrain.  These missions seem a lot less of a chore than they do in other similar games, largely because of the excellent and responsive controls.  Big Boss never interacts with the environment in a way you don’t expect unless you screw up and give him the wrong command.

The mission structure that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain uses isn’t anything new to hardcore fans of the series.  The last main entry to the franchise, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker used a VERY similar structure for sending Big Boss on his missions.  Casual fans of the series may see this as something new, as Peace Walker was initially released on the PlayStation Portable, and later ported to the PS3 and Xbox 360 in the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.  In both games, there are main operations, and side operations, with the main operations telling the bulk of the story.  Some side ops missions will initiate story elements when completed, or will even trigger a main ops mission.  Completing more missions means more GMP and more opportunities to recruit soldiers and grow your mercenary army and Mother Base, your unit’s headquarters.  The difference between The Phantom Pain and Peace Walker is the open world, which makes The Phantom Pain feel much bigger and more grandiose in scope than its older brother.

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Even though the mission structure was used in a previous Metal Gear game, it still feels a bit jarring when comparing it to the other games in the series with a numbered entry.  Every other numbered Metal Gear Solid title was very linear.  While these games gave you a base or bases to infiltrate and explore, there were never any real deviations from the main mission, thrusting the story into the spotlight much easier.  In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the story takes a much smaller role due to all the secondary missions and the huge landscapes that Big Boss has to tackle.  The game makes you feel as if you MUST complete a good number of secondary missions, delaying your progress in the main game, so you can upgrade your Mother Base, weapons, armor, and buddies.  I think it would be incredibly interesting to see how hard the game is if you decide to ignore your Mother Base growth and side ops.  This may be something I decide to take on in the future.

One new addition to the Metal Gear series is the ability to bring a buddy onto your missions with you.  This is an incredibly awesome addition to the game, and makes you feel a sort of camaraderie with your digital companion.  You have the choice of bringing your horse, D-Horse, your dog, D-Dog, the Sniper, Quiet, or the mini Metal Gear walker, D-Walker, with you to assist in operations.  The AI for these buddies, D-Walker and D-Horse aside, is VERY good.  D-Walker is mainly used as a vehicle until you get later upgrades for it, and D-Horse will mostly only do the things you command him to.  D-Dog will scout out enemies and resources for you, making sneaking much easier.  Quiet will not only scout out enemy outposts and strongholds for you, but will also provide cover fire for you if you are discovered.  D-Dog and Quiet in particular are a lot of fun to work with throughout the game.

I'm cluckin', they hatin'

I’m cluckin’, they hatin’

Metal Gear Solid V isn’t that difficult.  Though there are plenty of difficult missions, the majority of the game is pretty fair and not too tough.  Upgrading weapons and equipment makes the game a lot easier, as you can develop more potent weapons, uniforms geared toward sneaking or direct combat, and even secondary items like the famed stealth camouflage.  If you fail a mission too many times, you are given the option to play through wearing Big Boss’s Chicken Hat, which allows you to run around undetected no matter what.  I personally never used this, because I felt like the game was taunting me anytime it suggested it.  Supposedly, wearing the hat in a mission will carry over to any following story cutscenes, and I definitely didn’t want to see Big Boss smoldering at other characters while wearing the ridiculous piece of headgear.

The game looks really good, but honestly, even playing this on an Xbox One, I’m starting to see a law of diminishing returns here.  The Phantom Pain on Xbox One DOES look better than the version of Ground Zeroes I played on the PS3, but not by a ton.  Sure, the textures are a higher quality all around, and the weather effects look really good, but at this point, it’s not this huge massive difference that you saw generation to generation in previous years.  This isn’t a jump from PS2 to PS3 or Xbox to Xbox 360.  It almost feels like a half jump to me, and maybe that’s just because I’m not a huge resolution-o-phile.  I’m not discounting people who get really excited about incredibly high resolution graphics and 60 frame per second performance, I’m just not one of those people.  The graphical difference between generations as a whole just isn’t impressive to me.

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That being said, there were a few moments were I was impressed with the visual presentation, specifically when looking at the world I was exploring.  The big difference between generations is the fact that these newer systems have a much greater draw distance than previous consoles.  You don’t see that same pop-up of foliage and background objects that were present in games like, say, Skyrim.  The scaling of distant buildings as you travel closer is very smooth.  Overall, the technical aspects of the graphics in today’s machines is apparent, even if it’s not immediately noticeable.

I miss some of the old themes that were present in previous Metal Gear Solid titles, particularly the main theme that was established in Metal Gear Solid 2.  The music IS well done, and there are some very catchy tunes, however.  The mission preparation theme was stuck in my head for days.  The major notable aspect about the game’s soundtrack is the inclusion of numerous famous 80’s pop music.  You can collect tapes within the game to add to your collection and listen while you’re sneaking around.  Having Big Boss sneak around and take out enemies while listening to “Kids In America” is pretty funny.  According to numerous online sources, you can also import custom music on the PC version, so that’s kind of neat too, I guess.

Ocelot busts into the Big Boss and Kaz bromance to make one big bromance triangle.

Ocelot busts into the Big Boss and Kaz bromance to make one big bromance triangle.

The part where Metal Gear Solid V kind of loses me is the story.  Now, when I say it loses me, I don’t mean that I don’t understand the story or that I have trouble following it.  That’s actually the problem.  There isn’t enough convoluted, campy, over the top, 4th wall breaking, melodramatic dialogue.  This doesn’t feel like a Metal Gear Solid game to me.  For the most part, it feels like just another action game, with the only reminders that this is, in fact, a Metal Gear game being Huey Emmerich’s voice and the (very) occasional monologue.  There are a few points late in the first chapter that make you feel like the story action is finally starting, but then it suddenly stops, never to really be seen again.  The story sequences that are sparingly sprinkled throughout chapter 2 feel disjointed and don’t flow together very well…probably because most of the missions you undertake during this chapter have absolutely nothing to do with the story.  I don’t want to get too deep into this without spoiling what is there, but just know this: I’m a hard core Metal Gear Solid fan, and I was VERY disappointed by how this part of the game was handled.

Kiefer Sutherland takes over David Hayter’s iconic role as Big Boss, and throughout the whole thing, I honestly couldn’t suspend my belief.  Big Boss was talking with Kiefer Sutherland’s voice.  I’m NOT criticizing Kiefer Sutherland’s performance of Snake.  He doesn’t do a terrible job, honestly.  The only problem I have is that he doesn’t talk all that much, and when he does, he sounds like an “A-list” actor with a recognizable voice.  When a voice actor voices a character, they ARE that character. They change their voices to a degree that when you hear the character speak, you don’t think of the voice actor behind the character, you think of the character.  This is why David Hayter was so effective as Snake. You didn’t hear David Hayter, you heard Snake.  When you hear Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid V, you hear Kiefer Sutherland.

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It’s okay, Quiet, there are still plenty of Hayter Snake games to enjoy.

 

Additionally, a lot of the story is left for the player to listen in the form of cassette tapes.  These replace the codec conversations of games past, and they don’t do a great job.  These are honestly just a lot of briefing tapes, with no urgency or passion because the conversations almost never happen during the story action, but in between.  With the exception of a VERY angry Kazuhira Miller, most of these feel pretty flat and lifeless.  They aren’t any fun to listen to…and they sound like briefings.  Trust me, I’ve been in many a military briefing, and unless you have some kind of intimate passion in military strategy and politics, they’re pretty boring.

Overall, I actually liked Metal Gear Solid V pretty well.  The game was a blast to play, and I even find myself wanting to go back and play through the side ops that I left unfinished.  The game is pretty lengthy, though I’m sure I’ll be back for a second go in a few months when I eventually replay all the Metal Gear games for the bajillionth time.  Sure, the story left a lot to be desired, but honestly, it’s still worth a play.  The game is very good, but I wouldn’t go around telling anyone to pick this up now at full price unless you are that die hard Metal Gear fan that needs to know what happens NOW.  Likely, if you ARE that die hard Metal Gear fan, you’re probably already finished with the game or in the midst of it now.  Give it a shot, definitely, but don’t break the bank to do it.  Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was an interesting experience, and in the coming weeks, I’ll have a full story analysis on Gaming Rebellion.

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Progress Report – Tales of Symphonia Chronicles

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I’m playing through Tales of Symphonia on my PS3 currently.  It’s honestly got me hooked, but I keep noticing huge flaws as I play.  I don’t think I’ve ever been this hooked to a game I don’t know if I actually like.  It’s a really weird feeling.  I’m getting ready to run through the ice temple and I was thinking I was pretty close to being done with the game, but after looking at a walkthrough last night to see where I was at, it looks like I still have quite a bit of game to go.  I feel like I’ve been playing this game forever, but I’m not sure how much I mind.

I’m going to do a full review on this game when I’m done, but I wanted to point out some issues that I have with the game so far.  The biggest issue that I have is movement in the overworld.  It’s freaking awful.  The camera sticks too close to you, and if you want to pan out, you have to find waypoints on the map so  you can ride your giant dog creature.  Yes, there is a task for you to complete in each region to be able to get a better camera angle.  Additionally, you get to sail a boat, and it handles like its gliding on ice.  Why make it hard to control something on the overworld map?  It’s SO FREAKING STUPID!  On the good side of things is the battle system.  It’s a lot of fun to fight enemies.

That’s all I have right now.  Expect a full review once I finally finish the game.

Thoughts on Konami

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As you’ve undoubtedly heard, Konami is going to stop developing console video games in favor of focusing on the mobile game market.  Metal Gear Solid V will be their last console game after cancelling the much anticipated Silent Hills last month.  This isn’t a huge surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the company over the last few months.  People were wondering “what the hell is wrong with Konami?” after troubles with famed developer Hideo Kojima, cancelling games like Silent Hills, and delisting itself from the New York Stock Exchange.  This news probably answers all those questions.  Konami must figure that going up against giant western companies like EA and Activision/Blizzard was just not something they were willing to do anymore.

After the initial sting of knowing some of my favorite console titles will never see the light of day again, I realized something: I’m not disappointed by this.  The last new Castlevania game I played was Portrait of Ruin for the Nintendo DS.  Metal Gear Solid V will be released on September 1st, barring any new surprises, and it will be the last entry to the Metal Gear Solid story, which could have ended years ago with Metal Gear Solid 4 without issue.  I’ve never been a horror fan, so I’m not a bit disappointed by the Silent Hills cancellation.  I feel terrible for the huge Silent Hill fans out there that got a taste of a new Silent Hill game, then had the rug pulled out from under them, though.  When was the last new Contra game released?  Remember Gradius?  It just seems like I’ve really been living without new Konami games for years and when I think about it that way, I just don’t care….you know, unless they cancel MGSV.

Koji Igarashi is developing a new game that will be the spiritual successor to the Metroid-Vania type Castlevania releases.  Bloodstained is a game that I’m really excited about and will buy as soon as it is released. (I’m still weird on backing Kickstarter projects…I’ll buy the game when it comes out)  Sure, no more Belmont clan or Dracula, but isn’t everyone always complaining about new intellectual properties and new ideas?  I’d love to see a new story from the man behind games I loved in the past.  I guarantee you that if Hideo Kojima doesn’t retire, he’ll probably go the same route, and whatever he decides to develop, a Kickstarter campaign will fund it in no time.

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Metroid Prime for the Nintendo Gamecube

Until recently, I was only a casual fan of the Metroid series.  I absolutely loved Super Metroid, and I enjoyed the Game Boy Advance titles.  I played the original Metroid quite a few times when I was a kid, but I never owned it, and I had never completed the game until about a month or so ago.  I picked up and played through Metroid: Other M recently, and had some pretty strong opinions about the story, but otherwise really liked the game.  When the Cartridge Brothers announced Metroid Prime as the Cartridge Club game of the month for April, I knew it was time for me to finally finish this game.  I’ve owned a copy since it was released back in 2002, but I only ever got as far as the end boss, then gave up.  I hadn’t even given it a real chance again until last month.  I initially tried to play the game on the Wii U with my shiney new Metroid Prime Trilogy I downloaded the day it was released on the eShop, but the motion controls turned me off immediately.  This review covers the Gamecube version of the game.

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Metroid Prime takes place immediately following the original Metroid.  Samus receives a distress signal from the Space Pirate frigate that is sitting in orbit of Tallon IV.  She boards the frigate to find that the Space Pirates have been genetically modifying their own race, and the experiments have backfired.  After defeating the parasite queen, Samus escapes the frigate before it explodes. Before boarding her ship, she sees what looks to be Ridley, the dragon like being she killed on Zebes, flying above the doomed ship.  Samus follows Ridley to the surface of Tallon IV, where she explores the planet to stop the experiments the Space Pirates are conducting on themselves, Metroids, and the highly radioactive substance known as phazon.

The story is mostly told through Samus’ ability to scan computer monitors in Space Pirate bases and ancient tablets in Chozo Ruins.  This is all told through text crammed into a small text box.  A lot of people boast this as a great way to involve yourself in the story only as much or as little as you want.  I’m a huge advocate of story heavy games, but with a game like this, I’d rather just take in the atmosphere of the setting and play the game.  I’m not too interested in reading little blurbs and journal entries and the like, as I feel it kills the pacing of the gameplay, but I see the value in including this type of storytelling, and I appreciate that it was included.

Travelling through the different areas of Tallon IV was incredibly fun.  Each area had it’s own feel, looked great, and had excellent music to accompany it.  Metroid Prime still looks great today.  It’s amazing how powerful the little Gamecube really is.  This is probably one of the best looking games of the generation it was released in.  The textures don’t sport a high resolution like more recent games, but you have to take into account that this game was released 13 years ago, and it still holds up.  The overworld is lush and green and everything feels so alive.  The Magmoor Caverns give you a sense of danger everywhere you step.  The Phendrana Drifts almost make you want to bundle up just because everything feels so cold.  On top of the awesome environments, Samus looks amazing.  Her HUD fits perfectly with the game and just looks like something that you would actually see if looking through her visor.  There are incredible visual touches like the arm cannon freezing up when you charge your Ice Beam, and Samus’ reflection in the visor when bright lights appear onscreen.  I still can’t get over how good this game looks and how easily I was able to get immersed in such an incredibly detailed world.

The soundtrack just adds so much to the atmosphere of the game.  This music sets the mood for each area, and helps immerse you into the world that you are exploring.  It’s not only atmospheric, but it also brings some very humworthy melodies.  This is something a lot of games today haven’t been able to accomplish.  Sure, some of the modern soundtracks sound great and add atmosphere to a game, but they just aren’t very memorable or noteworthy.  My favorites are the second Tallon IV overworld tune, and the second Phendrana Drifts theme.  There are also a ton of pieces that are remixed from previous Metroid games, such as the theme from Magmoor Caverns, which originates from Norfair in Super Metroid.

After playing countless modern games that use dual analogue sticks to control your character, Metroid Prime’s control scheme was a little tough to get used to at first.  Using one analogue stick for movement in a 3D space is dated and less than ideal.  Stating this, you do really get used to this after a short period of time, and by the end of the game, you’re moving around the battlefield like a metroid killing, bounty hunting, boss.  Switching between different weapons is also a bit clumsy at first, but because of the level design, you get so used to it, that it’s hardly a concern by the time you start facing waves of enemies that will require you to change your beam types on the fly.  This point in particular is a huge strength of Metroid Prime, you do not gain abilities that become useless later on in the game.  Even your initial weapon, the power beam, sees practical use in the very late stages.  Every weapon and item you collect has a use, and it makes the game an incredibly balanced experience that you don’t see a whole lot in games of any genre.

While this game looks like a first person shooter, it really is the “first person adventure” that Nintendo billed it as when the game was released.  You will see plenty of action, such as skirmishes with space pirates, metroids, or huge boss enemies, but not the waves and waves of enemies you’d expect to see in a game purely based around shooting.  There are tons of puzzles and platforming elements that you’d come to expect of a Metroid game, and the game executes these perfectly.  You’d think jumping from platform to platform would be tough in a first person viewpoint, but the developers really nailed it.  It’s smooth and you’ll almost always feel confident of the jumps you make.  I could go on and on about the different aspects of gameplay that really help this game along, such as the morph ball, the different types of visors that will help you see the world in different and interesting ways, the optional super weapons, the way backtracking is handled by opening shortcuts for you to use with your new equipment, and the varied and exciting enemies that have you using different weapons and tactics to defeat them.  The gameplay is damn near perfect.

As great as this game is, I do have a few minor gripes.  First, I would have loved to have seen a spring ball mechanic added to the morph ball.  This would have made traversing several areas a bit smoother without having to switch back and forth between morph ball Samus or using bombs to hop, both actions that take a bit of time to complete.  Second, the scan results are in such a small window that it’s a bit of a pain to have to read through each and every one.  A bigger text box would have helped.  Lastly, the final area has a very sharp spike in difficulty that honestly brought out the raging gamer side of me.  The area leading up to the final boss was incredibly frustrating the first few times I had to travel through it.  If the final boss kills you, you have to make your way up the small platforms while dodging dive bombing phazon infused metroids that are really hard to kill without using up power bombs.  It was a test of patience that I didn’t really enjoy, but after finally defeating Metroid Prime, it was an incredible feeling of accomplishment.

I was very happy to finally play through and finish this fantastic game, and if it weren’t for the Cartridge Club, I don’t know that I would have ever gotten back to playing it.  I highly recommend Metroid Prime for any gaming fan.  Fans of side scrolling action and adventure games like Super Metroid will enjoy this game, and shouldn’t be put off by the first person point of view.  I’m not a huge first person shooter fan myself, but I thoroughly enjoyed this game.  I would expect fans of that genre will also enjoy Metroid Prime, broadening the appeal to a mass audience.  The game is 13 years old, but still holds up well, if you get used to the initially wonky controls, which you will.  Now I’m excited to tackle the rest of the Metroid Prime series, so I’ll have more thoughts for you on those games in the future!  Thanks for reading!