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...Your reaction might depend on your tastes.
Between this and Majora's Mask, I think I shouldn't just jump into acclaimed games and always expect things to go swimmingly. As a newb to both Metroid and Metroidvanias, and to appreciate "classics," I bought the original GameCube version, and had a mixed experience. The graphics and presentation are certainly brilliant. The controls, while a bit clunky at first, I eventually managed to grasp, and combat and gameplay turned out to be smooth and engaging enough.
Where the game gripped me less successfully was the narrative. After investigating the Orpheon and chasing Ridley to Tallon IV, you're left to your own devices. There are no friendly NPCs at all, and you have to explore for... whatever reasons. I can't say I'm fond of this incommunicado approach. To learn more about the world and what you have to do, you must use a scanning mechanic. But there were so many things to scan. I was overwhelmed by information overload from walls and walls of text, but I scanned everything anyway for fear I'd miss something important. There was some absorbing info (like tidbits of "Chozo" and "Phazon"), but reading scan after scan just wasn't as captivating as, say, talking to an actual character (at least when scanning's the only method available). So while it was occasionally engaging, it was also very tedious.
The biggest hurdle was, of course, the backtracking. It's only exacerbated by Tallon IV literally being a maze. All too often, I'd find myself lost or taking a pointlessly long route to get from A to B, only to discover B didn't have what I wanted in the first place. Fun that was not. I suppose some might enjoy this exploration and realism, but a combination of differing tastes and bad luck(/skill?) prevented me.
After winning, I contemplated 100% completion, but upon learning of scanning missables and the five octillion scattered upgrades I had yet to grab (and flashbacks of backtracking), I quickly forgot that. Overall, Metroid Prime was fine, but not my cup of tea. If you wanna try it, expect a dark, lonesome atmosphere, extensive backtracking, and don't get lost. Hopefully, you'll enjoy it more than I did.
It is true that Prime 1 has the most minimalist plot of all the Prime games. The following ones escalate it a bit more, with Prime 2 having (one!) NPC and a recurring villain, and Prime 3 having a more fleshed out cast and involved story.
No supporting characters, no dialog. Remove the cut scenes and Metroid Prime would have been a pure video game, though I suppose not having at least an intro and ending would be unacceptable in its era and I do like the game for what it is.
That's the point, it was a deliberate design choice by Nintendo. Back when Metroid Prime was in development, it was being marketed as a solo journey, one without NPCs to guide you along. Instead, you were left to forge your own path and gleen the secrets of the Space Pirates plot by scanning their terminals and learn about the evil lying in wait beneath the planet's surface.
They wanted the player to feel what it was like to be Samus, who routinely works alone.
Oh, no question there. That's why I wrote this review; I want curious folks to have an idea of what they're getting into.
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