Damn, Aonuma! You really suck! I mean holy shit! You really REALLY suck! When Zelda fans are literally demanding that Retro Studios make a Zelda game, you have failed. When people want Retro Studios to touch anything you’ve made, you have failed. It is a sign that you are washed up. Infallible. Having no business as a game designer. You need to find a new career. You know why?

Because Retro Studios is puke.

There. I said it. Retro Studios is puke.

Retro Studios is quite a popular developer. Second party to Nintendo, they made a name for themselves by making one of the few Gamecube games worth buying the lunchbox for.  What many people believed to be a disaster became an instant hit. And it’s something that Nintendo desperately needed as the Gamecube would be doomed to fail against the ahem… “might” of the PS2.

That said…. I would not want them to continue making more Nintendo games.

That shit about DKCR reminded me exactly what I don’t like about the current state of Retro Studios. What I once thought as a company that just wanted to make awesome Nintendo games…. is nothing more than yet another Nintendo development team obsessed with their own goals of making their marks on the world. Through the power of production values, they have allowed their development capabilities to stagnate to Kojima levels. Their games don’t even feel like games anymore. They feel like cheap experiences that will only get loved because of some strange notion that “pointer controls, nostalgic throwbacks, or art assets” easily make them game of the year. Of course, I underestimate the ease of  pleasing the common hardcore gamer is about as simple as taking a piss. You require nothing but “art assets” to please even a smidgen of these people.

Retro Studios wouldn’t be anything without Metroid. And even as I go back to play Metroid Prime, I feel nothing but pure disappointment. In fact, the entire series feels old, rusted, and repackaged into a nice DVD trilogy, preserved in all it’s vainglorious triteness. People praise the art direction of the Metroid Prime series when all I see are a bunch of hideous looking aliens and architecture that hardly fit the bill of looking cool, and looking more like generic knockoffs of extremely common and mediocre productions of the latest space marine FPS.

I play Metroid Prime today and I can’t believe how much I detest the game. The pacing, forever slow. Bosses, forever scripted (aside from the Alpha pirates), and a game that marvels at it’s own beauty in which we are all expected to admire and envy. “I wish I could create something as vibrant as Phendrana Drifts”. And then we come to the realization that the majority of the snowy plains are spent in the dark corridors of a hidden space pirate base. If I wanted to spend that kind of trip justifying the use of the Thermal Visor, I would play Splinter Cell with it’s needlessly complicated controls. The marvelous wonder of this entire field only lasts for the main hub, and nowhere else.

The reason I liked Metroid Prime was because it still felt like a Metroid game while giving it’s own unique flare to the whole package (which was minimal). Magmoor Caverns was obviously Norfair, the Space Frigate Crash Site was more likely the inspiration of the abandoned federation ship from Super Metroid (without Phantoon) and the Tallon Overworld feeling like the Vegetated Brinstar Area. But alas, these feel like nothing more than nods rather than staying pure to the source material as most of your time will be spent in areas of Retro’s own design. The areas that feel like Metroid are used as transitional points and nothing more. And not to mention the entire experience is ruined by being told where to go next.

Any Metroid fan will say this. And I mean it. No one likes being told where the fuck to go. The beauty of Metroid was the feeling that the game world was yours. You could go anywhere, even at your weakest, and not feel held back by scripted piss such as needing a certain “weapon key” to progress, unlike Super Metroid which made finding random crap a requirement for progress. There was no story, no clear objective, it was just you and your arm cannon and the world. And it was yours to explore, yours to control, yours to conquer. You didn’t know what was around the corner, but the more you went into the game, the more you wanted to explore.

You wanted to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Today, this game is now revered as “shit” by everyone except pure Metroid fans. That which I am not. But if this game received a proper remake (not that awful, boring speed run fest called Zero Mission), it would be a glorious game to marvel at. The Prime series, for all it’s praise, cannot compare to that game on any front.

The Prime series earns my scorn mostly for it’s over reliance on a foolish notion of a “format”. Metroid had no format. You could kill Ridley before Kraid, never get the Ice Beam back before going to Tourian, etc. It was the essence of giving the gamer true power to determine their own fates. The Prime series requires the player to look for silly “keys” to open the boss domains. What’s with this shit!? Have you any idea what Metroid is about after the first game? It seemed as though the team was given the freedom to ignore everything that made Metroid… Metroid, and instead incorporated elements seen in games Bungie could make with insufficient funds. In Echoes, we see that the music has become more…. how do you say…”theatrical”? It sounds like something out of feature film like Avatar. Drums are emphasized more to give off that feeling of being epicness and immersion, but comes off as bland and desperate. There’s nothing epic about a Light world, Dark world theme, so don’t try to psych me out with your cinematic music  or your obnoxious writing. Do you even pay attention to what this “luminoth” sentinal says? He tries so hard to talk like a philosophical elderly bastard while coming off as a pretentious alien who sits around and barks orders. And nothing ruins the Metroid experience like being tied down to limited ammunition. I suppose in this case, since they’ve more than likely been hypnotized by the hype train of “Metroid vs Halo”, they tried to appeal to the FPS crowd with this bullshit. It was ever more present with the introduction of a Multiplayer aspect which just… didn’t… work. And what’s worse is that they’ve decided the best way to increase difficulty is to turn the boss fights… into puzzles themselves! Just one second of the Spider Guardian battle is enough to drive one clinically mad. It almost felt as if these boss fights depended more on luck than actual skill. Going toe to toe with the boost guardian shows that even though you know what to do, being consistent in pulling off a win with all the moves you do to avoid taking damage becomes an endurance test and nothing more. And that’s what many of these boss battles amount to. How long you can doing the same things over and over while dying slowly. It’s like the game was designed so that you cannot avoid taking damage. What with being forced to fight in an arena that continually saps your health.

But of course, hearing the complaints of artificial difficulty, Retro decided to make the next game for pussies. Corruption (a fitting name) does nothing to alleviate the main problems of the entire series and instead makes them WORSE in that boss fights continue to take forever, visors are used more for puzzle solving than anything useful (besides making Hyper mode worthless), the game’s overall weapons and abilities are still complete rehashes (to date, no Metroid game has actually evolved any weapons besides maybe Metroid Fusion), and worse yet, the game doesn’t even feel like a proper Metroid title. You get fully voiced cutscenes, the feeling of being some new recruit with more space marines assisting you against space pirates who are randomly attacking the human race, some faux-epic and cinematic boss fight against Ridley….. ugh. It feels like it’s trying to BE Halo and/or some other space marine game like Mass Effect or any other bullshit that takes place in space where humans are at war with aliens. It’s generic and reeks of a developer that is less concerned with keeping in touch with what makes Metroid… Metroid and instead turns around and tries to be like generic space FPS #365 while adding (lol) unique touches to beautify the Metroid universe. What the hell do “Steampunk” themes have to do with fucking Metroid!? It just doesn’t fit or even make sense! Not to mention the piddly attempts to create unique enemies is a complete failure. Not one enemy (except those tired ass steampunk robots) feel as though Retro even bothered to try to come up with anything new or fresh. Hell, the Shegoth ripoffs in Torvus bog has more originality than the latest flavor of phazon orbs.

And it wouldn’t be so bad if Retro didn’t think that having your energy sapped while having to fight… would increase difficulty. It seemed something had to be killing you if you wanted to have a challenge. In Echoes, it’s the Dark World. In Corruption, it’s Hyper Mode. Hyper Mode is this game’s gimmick in that it gives you increased fire power that rapes everything to crumbs. But later on, you figure out this mode actually is harmful to you that if you leave it on too long, it will kill you and you have to constantly shoot just to stay alive, but you burn through your health. This was done to bring out some pretentious philosophical bullshit about “being corrupted by your own power”. Hey, next time you want to use gameplay to express your philosophical expertise, make sure you don’t hand me a shit load of Energy Tanks so I don’t have to worry about my own health! And don’t give me so much First Aid when I don’t even need it!

And all of these games present something that just… doesn’t… belong in Metroid. Puzzles. Loads… and loads… of puzzles. The morphball… shouldn’t be used as a tool to express your love… for puzzles. I forgot how much the Western world thinks puzzles are some form of great gameplay that every game that has loads of them always seem to win a shitload of rewards. Why do you think everyone keeps giving Zelda games a pass? It’s the whole “gaming is art” horse piss all over again.

I think I’ve already covered DKCR (I had to laugh at the level with the drums and the color-coded switch puzzles), but in all regards, when the absolute worst Metroid game ever made feels more like a Metroid game than the holier than though Prime series, somethings wrong. Something is deeply wrong. All Nintendo can seem to do with Retro now is use them as art assets for Mario Kart 7 it seems, and that didn’t do jack shit for the game.

It seems more and more apparent that people like Retro Studios for the same reason they like Heavy Rain. They have this obnoxious appreciation “for art” which supercedes anything that is important to gameplay. And it’s evident seeing as the main thing everyone praises about Retro Studios is their fucking art! Nothing in the Prime Series stands out as a fantastic work of art. Half the shit in the series happens to be some of the ugliest and most uninspired loads of tripe I’ve ever seen in a video game. All that shows is we have really low standards for “art”.  And apparently, that goes for gameplay too if we give Corruption a pass because of it’s “AMAZING CONTRAWLS!“. Woopty fucking doo, you can point at something you want dead and press B, HURRAY!  Mission accomplished! How about we have a few sections where we show off completely useless controls where you have to pull and push the wiimote away just to feel like you’re interacting with crap all over the place… 3 times! (OoO).

I swear, if it’s this easy to amuse people, why are so many developers falling on hard times? Is the human race finally evolving into the next stage of consciousness and realizing that all developers seem to make nowadays is shit?

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