Nintendo Consoles

Nintendo Consoles

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Introducing: What's Good With That Game?

So first, a little prologue: I was getting a little bored with the Playground Series, so I decided to start a second series called What's Good With That Game. Allow me to state that the Playground Series, my series of reviews of games that meet certain qualifications, WILL continue, but will coexist with What's Good With That Game. WGWTG was conceptualized so that I could continue writing while I play new games. In the past, I've had to take breaks from writing in order to play new games to write about, but that sucks and WGWTG should create more opportunities for me to write without increasing the amount of time between each post.
What's Good With That Game will be an archetype of posts where I will describe a game that I have started playing only recently, and haven't finished yet. In each post, I will describe my initial feelings about the game, progress so far, what I am expecting, and what I didn't expect. Inspired by my friends all asking me "so what do you think of this game so far?" I imagine that this series is going to be a lot of fun, so I am more than excited to launch my first post right now. So get ready, because this next series is going to be so prime.

What's Good With That Game: Metroid Prime

Metroid Prime. This game's legacy extends beyond that of Halo, Gears of War, and Call of Duty, as it's debut from 2D to 3D made the jaws of players not only drop to the floor, but break through to the earth and pop out the other side of the planet. Much like how The Legend of Zelda switched from 2D to 3D on the Nintendo 64, the Metroid Series transcended dimensions on the Nintendo Gamecube. Frightened fans awaited the release of that tiny little disc and when they finally summoned the courage to start up their Gamecube's with the new game inside, they were spellbound. Samus Aran in 3D. It was amazing. Graphics, gameplay, story, depth, length, feel, controls. It's no wonder why I saw it's name make on of the top 3 spots on each and every list of Best Gamecube Games I came across. So why am I playing it for the first time at age 19, and not 10? Well, the reasons are as good as they are bad.

The game is deep. REALLY deep. The game is all story mode, much like Legend of Zelda, but the story is never explained to you. In fact, learning the story is almost optional. Keeping in mind that I am only about 20 percent through the game, it seems that the actual story behind Metroid Prime is contained in text scattered throughout the world Samus is exploring. In addition to each of Samus' weapons one may observe by playing Super Smash Bros, she has a myriad of abilities more geared towards exploration. One of these abilities is a scanner. Entering Scanner Vision will enable you, as the player, to scan different objects, enemies, and terrains in order to learn more about them. Often, the information gained by scanning is obvious, for example, when it comes to enemies, but other times, sections of terrain, buildings, and walls can be scanned. The information pulled from these locations sometimes is ancient Chozo writing translated by Samus. Reading this deciphered text is key to understanding the story, but is easy to miss. If you do miss these opportunities, then gameplay will still be fun, but you will lose a dimension of depth. After about a half hour of playing, I started asking myself "You know, running around shooting things is fun as fuck, but what the hell am I here for?" It wasn't until I started to make a habit of scanning my surroundings was I able to begin to understand the small puzzle pieces of the story. Once I realized that THAT is how the story was being told, I fell in love. 20% in, and I am in love with this game. It would appear that instead of spoon-feeding you the story via cutscenes, this game is making the player seek the story out. Every time I enter a new room, I become ecstatic at the possibility of learning more about the story. So basically, to answer my question asked about half-a-rant ago, this game didn't appeal to me as a child because there was a lot of reading, a lot of uncertainty of where to go next, and I didn't quite see the game for what it was.

So I am 20% into the game, and I am only putting it down to go to class or wipe my ass. I LOVE it. Next is a bit about what I didn't expect, and what I am expecting from now on.

I did not expect to like this game so much. I thought it was going to be too difficult for me, too boring, too dragged out. AND I thought I would hate it because it is in 1st person. I do NOT like first person games. In my most recent years, I have learned to appreciate 1st person cameras very occasionally (Mirror's Edge), but generally, they are not my cup of tea. Now that I am playing a 1st person Metroid game, I cannot see it working any other way. The whole idea of Metroid Prime (as far as I can foresee) is to keep the player guessing what is going to come next. It is not supposed to be mysterious in a creepy way, rather it is supposed to be mysterious in a magical way - in a way akin to the feeling you got when you were a little kid reading a Disney book. You would fall in love with all of the pictures and words on one page, then when you turn that page to see more, you are even more awestruck then you were on the previous page. That's how Metroid Prime is so far. By the way, ten years old and the graphics are only slightly worse than anything I've ever seen in a Halo game. For that reason, I have come to the conclusion that this game ages marvelously. Anyway, I didn't expect the game to be so multidimensional. There are so many layers to it, as I touched upon while describing the method by which you gathered the story. The controls are tight, the graphics are beautiful, and the depth is so appropriate.

20% into the game, I understand that even though this game is supposed to be amazing, maybe even the best on the Gamecube, games have flaws- even the best ones. I anticipate that the game might eventually feel a little dragged out, predictable, formulaic, and perhaps some longer sections may start to blend together. It would appear, so far, that the formula for this game is similar to that of Legend of Zelda, but without the dungeons. What I mean is that you seem to guide Samus through a medium-length section of the world, she'll find a new power-up which will allow you to progress further into the world, and occasionally, you'll fight a boss. It is not boring yet, but it may become, as I already stated, formulaic and predictable. I hope that I am wrong about my anticipation, but these kinds of issues are found all over the gaming world, especially with really good games. Legend of Zelda is the best example.

I have found 1 Chozo artifact. I wonder what they do and how they will work into the story. There's no questioning how they influence the gameplay - you will have to find all of them without the game just handing them to you periodically throughout the game, but their influence on the story is something that I am very excited to witness. Sections of the game require something called a Spider Ball. I can't wait to get that because it sounds so cool.

My incompletion of this game is essentially why I decided to terminate my Top Ten Favorite Gamecube Games series- because I understand that no list is complete without it, so once I finish this game, be on the lookout for a full review. Until then, Ill keep you updated with posts regarding my progress. Wish me luck!

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