It's been 21 years since I played the original Metroid Prime, released on the purple-clad Gamecube back when I was, what, a junior in high school?
When Nintendo dropped a remastered version of it for Switch this past month (unexpectedly, I hear?), it wasn't an instant purchase. I had fond memories of the original (its SNES predecessor, Super Metroid, is my definitive favorite game experience), and the Gamecube version built an exceptional three-dimensional vision for its universe that at once respected the source material and paved a new, albeit different path, for the franchise. I remember it being fairly long (compared to speed running Super Metroid in ~two hours), and recent nostalgia trips haven't been rewarding...
- Baldur's Gate was a charming return a few years back, but not as magical or as narratively complex as I remembered the original experience
- Super Mario Sunshine re-release was better than I remembered, but also wasn't interesting enough (and dragged down in antiquity) to spend more than a few hours playing around
- Zelda: Ocarina of Time was a slog, and while an inventive experience, the mechanics felt dated and, you know, those N64 graphics just never did it for me
- System Shock 2, forever holding a place in my heart as a thrilling inventory-heavy spaceship horror show, was unfortunately a stale replay experience
Anyway, the siren song of Metroid couldn't be resisted, and I ended up getting Metroid Prime Remastered a week ago. I played the shit out of it, finishing in less than a couple days. It was as remarkable as it was during its first play through, the updated resolution and graphics seamlessly blended in -- like this was how it was meant to be seen on far less adequate hardware -- and the gameplay mechanics haven't missed a beat. Partially why this game works so well is probably the depth of music, sound design, and gameplay weave so well into the very detailed environments, that it feels forever like a perfect Nintendo package.
Of note, the environments (which I don't think were updated significantly beyond their resolution and textures) continue to look like something built in a modern game. I always remembered how different the experience felt back in 2002 -- there were massive vines cracked through walls and strewn about on the ground, pollen and moisture in the air (hitting and steaming up your helmet visor), organic and insectoid creatures moving about between environs, broken debris and spherical/non-blocky objects and walls everywhere that created a much tighter, believable vision for the world -- these all may sound obvious in 2023, but they were so far ahead of its time (especially on console hardware), that it's hard to explain how natural the game still looks and feels 21 years later.
In short: the game is incredible and stands the test of time.