Released without fanfare or warning, the Metroid Prime Remaster has quickly become one of the standout hits of early 2023. Coming to the Nintendo Switch from the original GameCube, this remaster went above and beyond simple higher resolutions and better performance.
Along the lines of the Final Fantasy 7 Crisis Core Remake, this new project raises the bar, hopefully creating a new standard that other remasters will follow. Just as importantly, it also raises some important points about the longevity of classic gaming.
The Remaster Release
Originally hitting shelves in 2002, Metroid Prime brought classic Metroid exploration and adventure into the third person for the series’ first time. As a partial namesake of the Metroidvania genre, expectations and doubts were high about a shift in perspective, but Prime pulled it off.
The release of Metroid Prime Remastered was a surprise drop at Nintendo’s Direct conference. Though rumored, the public didn’t know for sure that this game was being worked on, or that it would see an official release. Just as shocking was the revelation that the game was releasing alongside the trailer.
Though the original game already had a slightly improved re-release on the Wii, this new entry on the much more powerful Switch was next level. Alongside the requisite performance and resolution boosts were improved antialiasing, lighting effects, environmental design, and an improved control scheme. Metroid Prime Remastered isn’t a low-effort cash-grab, it’s a passion project. It’s arguably the superior way to play, and most importantly, it still holds up perfectly.
Classics are Classics for a Reason
As much as some players might lament the arrival of remakes and remasters over new entries and IPs, these types of games exist for good reason, and they stay fun for good reason. As a basis, the new generation of consoles offers considerable potential, but fulfilling this potential is not an easy task. Modern AAA development is expensive, and even though millions of new consoles like the PS5 have shipped, getting a return on a costly investment can be difficult.
Instead, it can be much easier to rebuild a game from existing data. If a game was already well received, and if it holds a place in the gaming zeitgeist years later, then it’s a likely success. This is what led to Metroid Prime Remastered, it’s what made the Dead Space remake such a hit, and it’s why more games like Silent Hill 2 and Resident Evil 4 will soon be receiving similar treatment.
While still somewhat novel in the video gaming space, this same concept is hundreds of years old in other forms of interactive entertainment. Card games like poker, or games of skill like chess date back hundreds of years, and despite being given all sorts of fancy dress-up over the generations, remain fun for their base systems. Chess is still an international phenomenon, poker is bigger than ever, and as long the spirit of the originals is respected, they’ll stay in the public eye.
Developments in technology have transformed how we spend our time, bringing gamification far beyond video games. From social networks changing how we interact and communicate, to the best online casinos breathing new life into the classic casino experience. Featuring a huge range of classic table and slot games, from faithful adaptions of originals to more artistic deviations from the norm.
Backed by special features like welcome bonuses and a wide range of banking options, the availability and possibilities of these modern services on mobiles and desktops similarly raise the bar. All of this, while still remaining consistent with what made the games successful in the first place.
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Though some early remakes and remasters in the gaming space fell short, the modern environment understands how important revisiting the classics can be. It’s not just about reaching new audiences, a good remake or remaster is about delivering players the same feeling they experienced with the original, even decades later.
Metroid Prime Remastered achieves this feat, and in doing so, serves as another example of reverence done right. Following the success of Metroid Dread, it looks like the series could be seeing a resurgence, and for new and returning Metroidvania enthusiasts, we can’t wait to see what comes next.
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