Not only the Zelda series is currently celebrating 30 years of existence, but also Metroid. And as with Zelda I also want to revisit most of the Metroid games for the 30th Anniversary, some of them even for the first time. And Metroid Prime Hunters is one of these titles, which I haven't touched since my original playthrough. In this case I had never even gotten the 100% rating, because I had been missing some of the scans.
But playing the multiplayer was always a lot more fun, so I never really bothered with the singleplayer mode again until last weekend. As a huge fan of the Unreal Tournament series and Unreal Championship 2, I really like what Nintendo has done with the multiplayer part of Metroid Prime Hunters, where you get a nice First Person Arena Shooter with unique characters. If you can get used to the rather exotic controls of this game, there are seven different game modes and many different arenas to enjoy. And the character design of the individual hunters is absolutely outstanding, they've done in amazing job of making every single hunter unique in both design and abilities. It's all really great.
The singleplayer, however... not so much. It's really just the multiplayer arenas connected to each other with corridors on a series of four different planets / stations. In some cases it's hard to say, what came first: the arena or the singleplayer environment? It's probably a mix of both, but sometimes it can be tough to orientate, because some of the places are entirely symmetrical or just hard to overlook. And this gets really annoying in the escape sequences, which you have to do a total of eight times for no good reason. You can't use any portals in them, so you have to run through the entire place again and you often get involved in fights with either Guardians or other Hunters. There it's easy to lose your orientation and then you might run back, from where you came from. This happened to me in Celestial Archives multiple times and to make things worse, the enemies will just reappear and you have to fight them again... ugh!
There are also lots of cheap deaths. Abysses are an instant kill and while there aren't many in the game, the moving platforms above them can be a deathtrap, if you accidentally jump, which might happen, if you look around with the Stylus (double tapping the touchscreens makes you jump). Or if you get squeezed in Morphball Mode, it's Game Over as well. In the Metroid Prime Trilogy you would only get hurt, but here it's an instant death and there's an entire sequence of blocks that want to squash you... I rarely ever died to actual enemies, it was usually either pitfalls, squashing or timers running out. Sadly, the game does have a Death Counter at the end to taunt you, but I'll settle for the 100% rating and leave it be. No way that I'm going through this mess again.
It's not all bad, though. I do like the focus on collecting the various beam weapons from the other Hunters instead of the usual Metroid power-ups and using them to explore new areas in places that you've already visited. The weapons could have been made a little bit more interesting, because for the most part they just disable force fields of the same color and help you with certain enemies and Hunters, e.g. Spire is weak against the Judicator. I also like, how in the 2nd half of the game the hunters are all free roaming and you can meet them anywhere, which makes the game world feel a little bit more alive and threatening. You're not alone in this Metroid game...
The Hunters are really the star of the game, which isn't saying much, because there is nothing else really. It's the only Metroid game without any actual Metroids (funny enough, the demo Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt did have them, as well as an alternate controls scheme) and besides the final boss there are only two different bosses that get repeated four times in total, where each time they evolve somewhat and become more difficult. But you still keep fighting a pillar and a giant eye ball again and again. The game is quite stale and repetitive.
From what we know Metroid Prime 4 will focus on Sylux and his hatred for both the Galactic Federation and Samus. Federation Force even supports this idea. But I really hope that the other Hunters will return as well and we will get another excellent Metroid arena shooter on the NX. I would love to play a game like this with better controls and HD graphics.