Metroid Prime Remastered is excellent, timely and way too expensive

metroid prime remastered
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Metroid Prime Remastered is a perfect example of how Nintendo eventually gives fans what they want — just not in the way they might have expected. For years, fans have been clamoring for a Switch port of the Metroid Prime Trilogy. And, for years, Nintendo has repeatedly quashed their hopes, despite the rumors that this time, this year, in this Nintendo Direct, the company would finally make their dreams a reality.

In its Nintendo Direct livestream on Feb. 8, the company finally resolved the situation — or, more accurately, resolved 1/3 of it. Nintendo announced Metroid Prime Remastered, and released it later the same day, giving fans instant access to a game that many of them probably haven’t played since 2002. However, the company also saw fit to charge $40 for the experience. That’s probably a bit more than fans were looking to spend, especially considering that it’s only one game out of the three they’d been asking for.

Nintendo provided Tom’s Guide with a review code for Metroid Prime Remastered, and I’ve had a few days to sink into the game. The experience has left me with mixed feelings. Metroid Prime holds up just as well as I’d hoped, and playing it on a portable screen is just as convenient as it sounds. But I don’t know if the game is worth its high asking price, especially if Nintendo is planning two more $40 remasters in the near future.

Metroid Prime still holds up 

metroid prime remastered

(Image credit: Nintendo)

If you’ve never played Metroid Prime, now might be the perfect time to rectify that. Briefly, Metroid Prime is a spinoff from the main Metroid franchise. Like the mainline games, you’ll take control of bounty hunter Samus Aran and explore a huge, open-ended Metroidvania world, unlocking new areas as you gather equipment and upgrades. Unlike the mainline games, however, Metroid Prime and its sequels are first-person shooters rather than side-scrollers. The simple shift in perspective makes a huge difference.

Metroid Prime Remastered is about as straightforward as remasters get. The game is basically a straight port of Metroid Prime, which came out in 2002 for the GameCube. While the remaster features higher resolution, better frame rates and the Switch’s inherent portability, there’s no new content and barely any gameplay differences. I’ll grant that the dual-stick movement and aiming controls do make a substantial difference, but Metroid Prime Remastered, for the most part, just upgrades the visuals and sound.

The good news is that not much about Metroid Prime really needed changing. Between its varied level design, intuitive navigation, interesting upgrades, challenging combat and killer soundtrack, Metroid Prime is still a substantial and worthwhile game, which should last between 15 and 20 hours depending on how dedicated you are to hunting down every last doodad. The nitpicks are all still present — the save system is a bit punishing, platforming is not as precise as it could be, some bosses represent huge difficulty spikes — but after a few hours with Metroid Prime Remastered, you’ll remember why so many people are waiting with bated breath for Metroid Prime 4.

Is Metroid Prime Remastered really worth $40? 

metroid prime remastered

(Image credit: Nintendo)

In fact, the only questionable part of the whole Metroid Prime Remastered endeavor is the price attached to it. At $40, Metroid Prime Remastered is only $10 cheaper than the original GameCube title. That’s an awful lot to ask for a 21-year-old game with minimal upgrades, particularly when you consider that newer Nintendo titles, such as The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, are about to get a $10 price hike.

(Adjusted for inflation, Metroid Prime Remastered is actually about $40 cheaper than the original title. But games haven’t really kept pace with inflation anyway, and that’s a much more complicated topic.)

It’s always difficult to discuss what constitutes “fair” video game pricing, since value is relative, and that’s doubly true when it comes to entertainment. If “Metroid Prime, but on the Switch” is exactly what you wanted, and you get 15 hours of pure enjoyment out of it, then $40 hardly seems unreasonable for the experience. But when brand-new games cost between $60 and $70, a light remaster of a game from two decades ago at $40 seems pretty steep.

We also have an absolute point of comparison, at least for the next few months: Metroid Prime Trilogy on the Wii U. Metroid Prime Trilogy is exactly what it sounds like: a compilation of the first three Metroid Prime games, which came out for the Wii in 2009. At launch, it cost $50. However, you can currently download it for $20 on the Wii U — at least until the Wii U shop shuts down in March.

Weighing Metroid Prime Remastered vs. the Metroid Prime Trilogy isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, since Metroid Prime Remastered has both graphical and gameplay enhancements that the trilogy does not, and it’s not as though every Switch owner has a Wii U and an original Wii remote handy.

Still, the raw numbers are striking: $20 for three full games, or $40 for a single game from that package. Effectively, the first Metroid Prime game costs $7 on the Wii U, versus $40 on the Switch. That’s nearly six times as much money.

Bottom line 

metroid prime remastered

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Again, none of this can predict whether $40 for Metroid Prime Remastered is a good deal for any given reader. But compared to how Nintendo sold the game before, it’s a big price increase. Furthermore, if Nintendo plans to remaster both Metroid Prime 2 and Metroid Prime 3 — and it very well may, especially if Metroid Prime 4 is still a long way off — gamers may have to shell out $120 for the whole trilogy. That’s an awful lot more than $20 on a last-gen system.

Still, the target audience for the game doesn’t seem too bothered, if Reddit responses are anything to go by. Most commenters praised the remaster costing only $40 rather than $60 — and perhaps they’re right to do so. When shot-for-shot remakes, such as Dead Space and The Last of Us Part I, sport $70 price tags, $40 suddenly doesn’t seem so bad, especially since Metroid Prime is much harder to play on modern systems than either Dead Space or The Last of Us.

Metroid Prime Remastered is simultaneously a step in both the right and wrong directions. It’s one-third of what Nintendo fans have been asking for, but at a much higher price than they may have anticipated. But if fans pay up now, then Nintendo will probably put out future installments at similar prices. That’s supply and demand for you, and it’s as true in Metroid as it is in Animal Crossing.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi. 

  • Rhumple
    "the save system is a bit punishing"
    How? Because you have to go to a save point to save?

    "platforming is not as precise as it could be"
    Again, how? What is your expectation?

    "Some bosses represent huge difficulty spikes"
    If you don't scan them and read the details.

    Nothing in your article expanded on these items. You simply toss them into one sentence and then go back to complaining about the price. Can you give several examples of remastered games that sport a price tag less than 40 because all you did at the end was justify that people purchasing it are getting a better deal then getting a port of The Last of Us.