Metroid Prime: HuntersTHE GOOD: + Some of the best visual and audio detail available on the DS.
+ Authentic Metroid Prime feel.
+ Cool dual screen videos.
THE BAD: - Now I know what carpal tunnel syndrome feels like.
- Environments are bland and linear.
- The controls just don't work. At all.
- Graphical slowdown becomes problematic all too often.
- The story is derivative and uninteresting.
- The online play still suffers from downfalls from the other online DS games.
SUMMARY: After being teased by the MPH demo way back when I first got my DS, I was eagerly waiting for this unique shooter to hit my palms.
Then it got delayed. And again. And then again. And now that the game is finally out, it's absolutely mind boggling why it took them so long to fart out this half-assed, underwhelming, linear, and literally PAINFUL crapfest.
First of all, let me say that if you have averagely sized hands, this game will be absolutely unplayable. Holding the DS in one hand while operating both the D-Pad and the L-trigger at the same time and using the stylus with your other hand will leave you with bad hand cramps. In addition, the bottom left corner of your DS will dig deep into your left palm, making your fingers writhe with displeasure.
In addition to the mind-numbing pain you'll be dealing with just trying to play the game, you might notice that aiming with the stylus is ridiculously difficult. Since the game has its fair share of action, you'll be needing to move and shoot at the same time. How unfortunate that doing so is next to impossible. Enemies that require precise aiming will elude you even when moving slowly in plain sight. And unless you want to receive a face full of alien spew, you'll need to be moving constantly while struggling to move your stylus in the right direction. Just trying to stop yourself from digging the little pen into your poor touchscreen during the tense action and wrist-destroying pain is a feat within itself.
And as if hitting anything wasn't difficult enough, try differentiating the blob of brown pixels (the enemy) from the blob of surrounding blue pixels (scenery) when shooting at enemies at any sort of distance. Sure, character models look pretty good up close, but at 10 feet away your eyes will be asking what exactly you're making them look at. You'd think that it would be easier to tell what's an enemy and what's not considering that all of the environments are blocky and lacking of any real detail, but alas.
Speaking of the environments, I hope you won't get bored of them after passing through them over and over again. Yes, MPH does in fact follow the Metroid stigma of repeated backtracking. See that nondescript hallway over there that you ran through 20 minutes ago? Welcome back.
Maybe this would be forgivable if the game boasted some kickass weapons of mass destruction, but even there the game manages to disappoint. You start out with Samus' generic blaster and missiles but as you progress you'll be able to get new weapons. Anyone that's ever played a Metroid game before would expect each new weapon to have its own strengths and weaknesses. MPH doesn't do this. The only weakness of these weapons is universal (they have limited ammo).
Okay, so MPH fails to deliver great environments, tight controls, progressively better weapons, and any sort of innovation in the Metroid universe. So what, if anything, does the game do well? Well, the sound is pretty nice. The game makes full use of the DS's simulated surround sound abilities, and sounds emanating from the environment are great. Yeah, that's about it.
So what else went wrong with this disaster? I'll speed things up and just make a list:
- The backstory is dumb. Ooh, alien warriors once lived in this part of the universe but mysteriously disappeared despite being super advanced. Interesting. Really.
- What are these stupid crystal things I'm collecting and what do they do? (turns out, nothing).
- Rival bounty hunters show up without any warning whatsoever and just start shooting at you. Apparently bounty hunters aren't very chatty.
- The online play suffers from the same loooong "finding other players" screens as other online DS games.
- AGGHH MY HANDS.
Alright then, here's the breakdown.
Gameplay: 3. Not anywhere near as functional, fun, or interesting as its older brothers on the GC.
Control: 1. There are two control options but neither work well. The game would have actually worked if it just adopted the lock-on control mechanics from the console games.
Story: 1. Apparently shrinking the game equates to shrinking the story. The MP series has never really been big on central plot development, but backstory on the environments and fully detailed analyses on enemies created an interesting immersion into the universe. MPH fails at this by throwing you into generic worlds with generic backstories and generic enemies to fight over and over again.
Graphics: 3. Occasionally the game has the ability to impress with some detailed models and textures, but the majority of the game has a general blahness that's really boring to look at.
Sound: 4. Some good use of the DS's surround sound speakers, but when action gets loud, you'll hear an undesirable muffling effect.
Lifespan: 3. If you can actually make it through the boring single player game, congratulations on being easily entertained (there are some squirrels waiting for you outside). The online play fares much better than the dull single player campaign. The arenas are crafted for intense action when 4 players man their battle stations all at once but the Nintendo WFC service is in serious need of an overhaul for future titles.
FunFactor: 3. The initial "I'm finally playing this game!" feeling wears off quickly and is replaced with boring, repetitive gameplay.
Lasting Impression (Independent Score): 2. A poor title coming from Nintendo is a rare thing indeed. This fact alone enhances the disappointment the game causes. Can you hear your 35 dollars being wasted?
It just doesn't seem like they tried with this one. It might be possible for a good 3D shooter to exist on the DS platform, but MPH isn't that game. The multiplayer might burn up a few minutes of your time but it's nothing to devote your life to. Pass it up.
2.6 out of 5.
Final score is an average of the seven above factors (excluding Lasting Impression).