How to metroid prime trilogy is flawed

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#1
Metroid prime 1 and 2 are among the best adventure games out there but unfortunatily these games were originally made for the gamecube controller which very much compromised the game design.

Metroid prime 3 did benefit from being made for the more capable wii remote controller but it doesn't offer the sense of isolation as the first 2. Prime 3 subjects the players to various intrusive hints/guidance that cannot be turned off.

The strong point in these games is being able to explore amazing planets and figure out how to progress.
 

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#2
Bad combat and aim assist
The gamecube versions of prime 1 and 2 have full-on auto aim where the game automatically shoots at enemies for you, you just have to lock to the target and fire.

With the prime trilogy however you still aim freely when you are locked on but usually you just have to shoot at the spot you are locked onto, you do not have to move the crosshair to target the enemy typically, especially not for prime 1 and 2 which were made for the terrible gamecube controller.

Interestingly even prime 2 (the most difficult of the 3) mostly play just fine without the lock-on feature, you can still aim just fine with a wii remote


Unfortunately the game is kinda build around you locking onto enemies, you need to lock on to use the dodge move. If you want to play completely without aim-assist you will have to abstain from shooting while locked on to dodge.

Ciombat can be very drawn out where you have to spend a lot of time shooting before the enemy dies. The hypermode introduced in prime 3 did shorten that but that mode ended up being too overpowered.

A better combat system would be you having to be stealth and snipe enemies to survive. Something more like far cry 2 in terms of combat would have been much better.
 

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#3
Linear gameplay and limited exploration
For better or worse the metroid prime games are all fairly linear, they have an intended sequence to get the items and it's not easy circumventing that, especially not in metroid prime 3.

To be fair the games end with less linear fetch quests for items but that was mostly about just going to the right places and finding them (it was especially easy in prime 3 and there you didn't even need all).

There are some really nice places you can visit in the metroid prime games but these are fairly small in size. It's like the game teases you with these seemingly amazing planets only to restrict you to a very small area of said planet, this was especially the case for metroid prime 3 (best looking of the 3):
Bryyo_Cavern_Entry.png




So while the game has many of these beautiful areas they are all very limited in terms of exploration, especially the area for the first image, it's just a corridor you pass through.

This is likely in large part due to technical limitations forcing this design, they were able to make the trilogy (especially prime 3) nice in terms of visuals but your actual freedom of movement was very limited. It's mostly passing through corridors.

Elysia were open in terms of levels but it was largely empty.



While this is actually a really beautiful place i found myself largely avoiding it because of how empty it was.

Metroid prime 3 was the worst in terms of not having a well-connected single game world, instead you were expected to use your ship to travel between planets (which took time).

I would have loved to be able to explore more of bryyo instead.
 

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#4
Intrusive HUD
You can disable HUD but that will also remove the ammo counter and health-bar, you cannot do a partial removal.

1650584683220.png

The blue bars you see here is not health, it will remain the same even right before your last health runs out.
 

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#5
Games that offer similar experiences
I have not been able to find any particularly close match but in terms of experience i got similar enjoyment out of "firewatch" and "lifeless planet".

There are also various first person space-games out there that does offer some planet exploration but these planets seem nothing like the metroid prime planets.

You may have noticed that it's actually pretty hard to come across these good adventure games.

https://gamerant.com/best-first-person-adventure-games/
 

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#6
Optional upgrades
The metroid prime games tends to either try to make an upgrade very much optional or design the game where you are not supposed to beat it unless you get it.

The only significant exception here is the energy tanks where a skilled player will be able to beat the game with less of these (or none if you are really skilled). The issue here is that there is that generally it's not much in terms of effort to get these, they are not hidden behind a boss or requirering you to explore some large area to solve a lot of puzzles.

Metroid prime 1 and 2 does have 3 optional weapons each but these are not particularly useful in practice unfortunatily. It would be better if they constructed these to be more helpful for actually beating the game (so it's much harder without them), if that were the case players could challange themselves to beat the game faster by skipping these upgrades.

Speedrunners were able to circumvent the requirement to have certain items to reach certain areas of course but that was not intended by the game developers.

 

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#7
Health rubberbanding
The game makes it very obvious that you get more health from stuff that drop that if your health is low. This different is very large and obvious so you kinda get messed with by the game developers when you do too well.

The difference in terms of how much health you get seem to be around 5x which is way too big of a difference, why then put effort into doing well in the boss fight if you can just waste your health and then get a hefty refill? (for fights where refills are available).
 

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#8
Super metroid comparison
In super metroid the game does have an intended path but you can deviate from that a lot, nintendo did not really force the players to get certain upgrades to continue. For example you could in super-metroid just skip the suit that gives protection against harch environment and instead have your health drained over time when you are there, if you are fast enough you make it through these areas alive to continue without that suit.

Super metroid also had fully manual aiming, it was very limited however since it was a 2D game made for a rather limited controller but at least it was fully player controlled.
 

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#9
Stengths with each game
All 3 games excelled at different stuff.

Best graphics: metroid prime 3 corruption

Best raw gameplay: metroid prime 2 echos

Best game world and exploration: metroid prime 1

But the thing with graphics is that when you play prime 1 and 2 you never actually want anything better besides the higher resolution you can already get from the dolphin emulator.

The wii was only around 50% more powerful than the gamecube to the significant upgrade in graphics in prime 3 was impressive in terms of optimization for the system but it was arguably very much the wrong thing to focus on. Sure prime 3 looks great but there are thousands of games that look pretty.
 

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#10
What about a graphics upgrade?
While i never really felt a desire for that when i played it i have to admit that raytracing made prime 3 look nices, the change was subtie so it was still very similar to the original, just better.



This however did not really look particularly appealing:

 

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#11
About the metroid prime 3 energy cells
This is a great example of wasted potential.

There is am amazing puzzle for unlocking one of these but unfortunatily 2 of the energy cells merely unlock a useless ship missile expansion.

It would have been better if you instead got something awesome like super-missiles from that (both in hypermode and regular mode). As compensation the difficulty of the game should increase so it's harder to beat without the super-missile expansion (but still possible).
 

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#12
Bad framerate
Unfortunately even with emulation you are still pretty much stuck at just 60fps. Of course a stable 60fps was good for it's time (30fps or worse was very common prior to PS5/XSX) but today we have affordable screens reaching above 120hz at 1440p.

This is actually part of the reason why i do not use primehack, fast camera movement would create unbearable lag. Having the camera decoubled from the aim is advantagous when the framerate is bad.
 
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