This game surprised the hell out of me. I had been waiting for a new Metroid game since 1994, after the release of Super Metroid. When they showed footage of this game at E3, I shed tears. I'm not kidding. And then I found out it was an FPS. I was horrified.
Of course I bought it on release day. And it blew my mind. Metroid in 3D, from a first-person perspective no less, worked!
At times, the game feels arbitrarily slowed down by the need to scan everything if you want that perfect 100% rate at the end (which I got). Also, the hint system, while appropriate for the changing times (where gamers no longer have attention spans and don't like to think), ushered me along with a bit too heavy of a hand. Luckily, you can turn it off.
Metroid Prime did some things with the franchise that were familiar (bringing back the Spider Ball!) and that were new (scanning, etc). There was more story in this game, but they managed to keep it sublime and quiet. I'm glad that Samus remained the silent protagonist that we've grown to love. There's a reason why bounty hunters like Samus and Boba Fett are so damned cool, and that's because they're shrouded in mystery! They don't say much. You can then insinuate your own agenda onto them, and that's nice.
One of my main concerns with Prime was that you wouldn't get to see Samus enough. Her character design is so amazing and iconic, you really want to see this heroine as much as possible. Retro satisfied this requirement by adding interstitial cutscenes every time you saved, encountered something new, rolled into a ball, took damage (visor reflections!), etc.
It's amazing that they did it, but this is a Metroid game that feels like a Metroid game even though it's totally different from all those before it. Oh, and the console FPS barrier isn't so bad with this game. I think it's because while it is a first-person game, it's more exploratory than actiony, and the FPS precision that you lose on the console isn't so bad because of that.
Game Title: Metroid Prime
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Retro Studios
Release Date: 17th Nov 2002