The strength of the DS
The game structure of Metroid Prime Hunters is therefore divided into two distinct parts. As for the single player mode, the developers of NST did not want to change the excellent work done by Retro Studios by faithfully tracing practically all the features of the chapters for Gamecube. And so also in Metroid Prime Hunters you find yourself crossing vast levels populated by hostile creatures to be eliminated with a good variety of different weapons. The view is obviously in first person from the eyes of Samus, also in this case the absolute protagonist. By pressing a button located on the touch screen it is possible to switch to scan mode, to examine most of the objects and artifacts scattered in the environments; in addition to a didactic and didactic function, the scan is also linked to the resolution of the puzzles present in the game. Obviously, as per tradition, Samus can transform into a sphere, so as to be able to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. The plot sees the heroine engaged in the search for eight objects, called octoliths, linked to a mysterious and ancient alien civilization; being able to bring them all together means having the keys to obtain the supreme power. This is a goal that appealed to the most daring and cruel bounty hunters in the galaxy, ready to do anything to achieve the result; Samus's job is to stop these bad guys, gather the Otholites and, if this is not possible, destroy them. Compared to the episodes for GC, in Hunters the protagonist does not have to regain her faculties or get new suits, having all the skills she needs from the beginning; on DS, in fact, the upgrades are linked to new weapons, gradually available during the adventure, and with which it is possible to open otherwise closed doors. The levels, divided into planets, are a handful and require several visits before being fully explored; there is also a lot of backtracking so, just so as not to betray the origins. From the graphic point of view, the work done by the programmers is excellent, at times incredible considering the potential of the DS in the field of 3D; certainly the definition is linked to the small size of the screen, and in the distance objects and enemies appear a bit mixed, but the richness of detail and the amount of polygons on the screen can only surprise. We are definitely a step above Nintendo 64, especially for the high frame rate which has some uncertainty only in the heaviest situations. The art direction is very good, in line with the series and with settings that touch space stations, ancient ruins, frozen planets or covered with incandescent lava. Is everything perfect then? Almost, because unfortunately the level design is not exactly at the top, excessively linear and sometimes characterized by uninspired passages, between sequences of corridors and rooms similar to each other and not particularly intriguing to visit.
The second, important section of Metroid Prime Hunters is that related to multiplayer, especially in an online key through the proven Wi-Fi Connection. In reality, the richness and the attention paid to this mode clearly make it the main one, as well as the one on which programmers have spent the most time. Up to 4 players can challenge each other, using not only Samus but also being able to take control of any of the hunters defeated in the adventure mode; each of them has different characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, thus increasing the depth of the experience exponentially. With a rather questionable choice, Nintendo has decided to make available only the deathmatch mode (called total battle) as regards the challenges against "unknown" players. To access all the others it is in fact mandatory to have to deal with users present in one's friends or rivals list and then (in most cases) enter the long numeric codes associated with them. Once this obstacle has been overcome, however, we are faced with seven variations on the theme, which touch practically all the classic game modes of online shooters such as the equivalents of king of the hill, capture the flag, last man standing and so on. It is also possible to add bots in case there are not enough human opponents, and to send voice messages to the other participants in the session while staying in the lobby. The fluidity of the action is excellent, absolutely free of lag and which confirms the goodness of the infrastructure on which the Wi-Fi Connection rests. The overall picture of Metroid Prime Hunters would therefore be, summing up up to this point, extremely positive. Unfortunately there is a factor that we have not yet dealt with, deliberately leaving it at the end of this article, namely the control system. Let's face it right away: getting familiar with your digital alter ego takes a lot of time and just as much patience. The two different schemes that can be used both suffer from notable defects; one, which links all the movements to the keys and the control pad (like Goldeneye) is far too slow and imprecise to make sense, especially in multiplayer. The second, which uses the stylus to control the gaze, is potentially very effective but far from immediate; as if that weren't enough, the position he forces to take quickly leads to severe cramps in his hands, which force him to stop playing often and willingly. The decision to abandon the lock-on, linked to the additional complexity that this would have brought to the interface level, however, turns out to be a double-edged sword, requiring precision and coordination often hampered by the control system itself.
The wait was long, but Metroid Prime Hunters finally hit store shelves. A masterpiece? No. The effort of NST is instead an excellent game, technically capable of making the DS reach hitherto unexplored heights, with an adventure mode that is only discreet and an excellent multiplayer section instead. But the lack of immediacy of the control system represents a limit that only the most tenacious will be able to successfully overcome, paying for this goal with a series of hard-to-forget hand cramps. The fact is that Metroid Prime Hunters is a game that is really hard to talk badly about, but that finds all its flaws and limitations in the interface of the hardware it runs on. Maybe the DS just isn't exactly made for this genre of games ...
- technically excellent
- rich multiplayer like no other on DS
- extremely rewarding
- control system difficult to digest
- improved adventure mode
- some limitations in online matches
The leap from two to three dimensions has put in crisis many established series in the 2D world, which have struggled to find each other and to restore the original feeling with the advent of the polygon. In the short list of names that have survived brilliantly without making us regret the good old days, there is undoubtedly the Metroid franchise. In fact, despite the great hesitation in the face of the first chapter entrusted to an external and most American team, Metroid Prime for Gamecube finally proved to be one of the best games available for the Nintendo home console, also giving life to a sequel that confirmed the talent by Retro Studios. Understandable then was the enthusiasm for the announcement of a whole new episode for DS, entitled Metroid Prime: Hunters and entrusted to NST, all the more so after its online multiplayer features had been confirmed. After a long wait, the game is now finally in European stores. The result? Find out with us ...