T (Teen) Release Date:
March 20, 2006 Written By:
Those of us that purchased one of the first DSs were treated to a taste of the future with Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt. Now...the future is the past, and the present reigns supreme...or something like that; for Metroid Prime Hunters has finally been released and cheers of joy rang throughout the streets. Is it everything we've been waiting for? Let's take a look and see.
It seems that the developers are focusing more on the multiplayer aspect than single player for this game, as the multiplayer is very well developed, with loads of options and stats, with the single player seemingly appearing as an after-thought.
The single player takes Samus to many different planets and space stations in the Tetra Galaxy, in search of the truth behind the Alimbic race and their mysterious message about gaining the "ultimate power". Of course, this message was not only received by the Galactic Federation. It was heard throughout the universe, intriguing many of the top, most vicious bounty hunters. So, Samus must find the secret behind the message, gain the power, and protect it against the other hunters.
Basically, you will go from planet to planet, exploring the area, and seeking out these so called Octoliths, while coming into contact with these Hunters. If you lose to a Hunter, then you may lose an Octolith and have to battle him again to reclaim it. These Hunters will try to impede on your progress, as you try to reach the end of the level to fight the boss to get the Octolith, and then as you attempt to get back to your ship to escape the planet before time expires, which seems to always be the case. After you get the Octolith, a time limit will start.
All the bosses, and of course Hunters are all cool. The bosses though are nice and varied, and very detailed. Beating them isn't simply a matter of shooting. You have to find their weak point and do this and that in order to attack it.
Single player works like its GCN-counterpart, with you exploring areas, solving little puzzles, and so forth. You even have your trusty scan visor which tells you valuable information on nearly everything.
The controls are slightly limited from that of the demo, as I recall. There are only two choices, Stylus Mode and Dual Mode, with both right and left options. In both of these modes, the action occurs on the top screen while the radar is on the bottom. I find that the Stylus Mode is the only viable option, as you still have to control many things via the touch screen.
In Dual Mode, you use the D-pad to move forwards and backwards and strafe, while you use the A,B,X, and Y buttons to look around. You use the R shoulder button to jump, and the L should button to shoot. But then your hands will be all over the DS itself, and you still have to use the touch screen to change weapons and change into your morph ball, so I don't feel that this control scheme is the best.
The Stylus Mode is a little different. Here, you use the D-pad to move the same as aforementioned, but you use the stylus and touch screen to look around, which creates pinpoint accuracy. You double tap on the touch screen to jump, and press the L shoulder button to shoot.
Some other things about the controls are that you hold down the fire button to charge a shot. You also use the touch screen, like I said, to change weapons and go into your alternate form, with Samus, being the morph ball. You also change to the Scan Visor using a little button on the touch screen, which you must hold down for a second. On the touch screen, there are three main buttons, to switch from your standard blaster, to your missiles, and then to your sub-weapon. There is also another button that brings up a little menu to switch your sub-weapon.
The graphics are about the same as those found in First Hunt. I would say they are N64-like. They are nice, for the DS and a 3D game, although when you get close to a character, they appear jagged and un-smooth, although you can't complain. The graphics are perfectly fine.
The cinematics are phenomenal. The opening sequence with the title screen is amazing, as well as the other cinemas that are thrown in during gameplay every now and again during important events.
Like I previously stated, Hunters seems to be centered around multiplayer. There are four multiplayer options. There is single-card multiplayer, multi-card multiplayer, and two WiFi choices. With WiFi, you can randomly match up with up to three other gamers in a standard battle match, or you can create a match versus Rivals and Friends in one of many modes.
With the single-card multiplayer, you can only play standard battle matches. The person with the card chooses what level to play on, and can choose which hunter he would like to be. The other players must play as Samus.
In multi-card multiplayer, each player can choose his or her hunter they would like to be, and you can play in any mode that there is, which I will explain later. Also, you can add bots if you do not have enough players to fill the four slots. Here's the awesome part, you can even play by yourself and add in three bots if you don't have anyone else to play with. So you can get all the practice you need before stepping into WiFi.
WiFi is set up fairly ingeniously. Like I said, there are two different options here. The first one is set up almost exactly like Mario Kart's WiFi. First, you choose if you want to search in your region or worldwide, and if you want to play anybody or people in your skill level. Then you connect and the server automatically sets you up with a couple of available players. From there, you choose a hunter out of seven possible options, if you have unlocked them all, and then select an arena to play in. This system also works the same as Mario Kart, as each person selects an arena and then the computer chooses one at random, or the one that is chosen most. With this WiFi choice, you play a standard battle, which ends after seven minutes or once a player gains seven points. When the round finishes, the winner is announced and you are placed. Your stats for that round are shown, of which are pretty in-depth. Then you have a few options. Like Mario Kart, you can choose to quit or play with whoever else stays. Also, you can choose to add one or more of those players as Rivals. In order to successfully do this, they must also select you as a Rival.
Adding Rivals is very important, and is similar to Friends. You want to add Rivals and Friends in order to have a better chance at playing in better modes in WiFi. You see, there is a completely different system with the Friends and Rivals WiFi mode. This mode plays as a lobby system. You can choose to create a game or enter in one that someone else created. However, you are not limited to just standard battles; you can play in any of the modes and create your own settings, such as time limit, points needed to win, etc. Also, if you have Friends in the room, you can chat with them, either by text chat or voice chat.
So, you say, "But Zach, what are all these options you've been talking about? All these modes and characters and weapons?" Well, I'm glad you've asked, because I'm about to tell you. First, I'll talk about the characters and then weapons. There are seven total different hunters you can choose to play as, however, you must unlock them, which you can do from playing over WiFi. These different Hunters have unique HUDs which are all pretty cool. They each have standard blasters and missiles, however, each has a special weapon, as well as unique Alt-forms, such as Samus' morph ball. This is were strategy and personal preference and gaming styles comes into play. The special weapons are more powerful forms of Sub-Weapons, which I will talk about shortly. Anyways, these special weapons can lay out some heavy damage; for instance, Noxus' charged special weapon will freeze an opponent for a short period of time, while Sylux's special weapon absorbs energy from opponents, making him one tough adversary and powerful hunter to have. Then each character has a different alternate form. Kanden turns into a slug-type creature who shoots out little spikes that attack nearby enemies, while Weavel can split into two parts, with his lower-half turning into a stationary turret.
There are then six different sub-weapons that each Hunter can gather during any one match. Not all of these weapons are in each level though. Anyways, you must find each weapon in order to use it; it being displayed as a little floating orb, with a particular, noticeable color and symbol. When you acquire a sub-weapon, you can use it, obviously, until you run out of ammo that is, in which case you will have to gather the weapon again. You can get extra ammo from these little green diamonds though. These weapons range from an electrical one that "attaches" to an enemy, repeatedly dealing out damage as long as you are directed towards the enemy and holding down the fire button of course. Another weapon is actually a sniper rifle so to speak, with a zoom, where you can instantly kill an enemy if you get a head shot. Yes, the game takes into account head shots and the like, even showing text saying "Head Shot", as well as who you killed, who kills you, etc. You can have all of these weapons at once, but you have to change which one you are using by way of that menu I previously talked about, which once you learn how to use efficiently, can be used to quickly change sub-weapons.
Then you have your modes. There are seven modes that you can choose from, if you are playing multi-card multiplayer or WiFi with Rivals and Friends. These modes include: *Whips out the HTML knowledge*
- Battle: This mode is your basic deathmatch, where you try to get to the set amount of points needed to win first.
- Survival: In this mode, you set the number of lives each player starts with, and the last man standing wins.
- Bounty: This is kind of like free-for-all capture-the-flag, where an Octolith, a.k.a. the flag, appears somewhere on the map and your goal is to collect it and bring it to the designated area.
- Defender: This is your basic King-of-the-Hill, where you go to a place on the map and defend it for as long as you can, gaining points for the time you spend in the area.
- Prime Hunter: Prime Hunter is like tag mode, where one player is the Prime Hunter and the others try to kill this player in order to become the Prime Hunter. Your goal is to be the Prime Hunter for the longest period of time.
- Capture: This is capture-the-flag, or Octolith rather. Your goal is to storm the enemy's "base" and take their Octolith and bring it to yours. NOTE: Your Octolith must be at your base in order to score a point.
- Nodes: Here, there are many different nodes scattered throughout an arena, and your goal is to capture and retain as many as possible, gaining points for each one you have in your possession as time goes by.
Have fun, I know you will. All of these modes even allow you to set teams. It's just pure gaming enjoyment.
Then there are the numerous arenas to choose from. You start off with about 10 arenas to play in, but as you continually play, you unlock more and more, with a total of 30 I believe. All of these arenas are very diverse and unique, with their own pitfalls and features. They are really good actually, I must say, and all different sizes and all kinds of stuff. So basically, there are just a ton of arenas to play in, and you will no doubt find a few that you really, really enjoy.
A really great thing about MPH, is its fine detail in stats. They are very thorough and comprehensive. At the end of each match, a chart will come up showing you how many kills each player got, how many times they died, how many times they killed themselves, and what kind of kills they got, like head-shot kills, biped kills, and alt-form kills. It also displays each players' rank, which it doesn't show when they are selected at the beginning, like Mario Kart DS does.
Each player also has a Hunter License, which displays all of their stats. This License keeps record of *takes deep breath*, your WiFi win record, Wireless win record, connection history, win ration, win streak, lucky arena, favorite weapon, headshot kills, favorite mode, biped kills, alt-form kills, kill streak, wifi play time, wireless play time, total game time, and your rank. I have reason to believe that there are only three ranks, but that wouldn't make sense, so we can assume there are more if you like. Anyways, ranks are displayed by stars. Also, in your License, it says how many points you have and how many you need in order to rank up.
*Cracks knuckles* Yeah...I think that's it; that's Metroid Prime Hunters; an amazing game, especially, especially when it comes to multiplayer goodness. There are just so many options and modes to choose from, as well as sweet characters and weapons to play with. I might add, that the whole layout of the WiFi is set up very nice and neatly in a very aesthetically pleasing way. It is very nice. Everything just comes together almost perfectly, and if you are a FPS fan such as myself, and love multiplayer, well then you will be in heaven. Not only can you take this puppy onto WiFi when you don't have people around to play with, but you can also play with bots in any mode at any time. The only downside is the weak single player/ story mode, but I personally can overlook that, as well as the Stylus control scheme will end up hurting your and cramping your hands, which isn't good...So, unfortunately, you will have to take breaks every now and again, if you can somehow pull yourself away. Happy Hunting.9.5/
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