Game of the year? More like game of the decade!
Very seldom can you trust superlatives in a game review. Surely, you can't believe that Metroid Prime is so incredibly good that it's possibly the finest game ever made for any system. I was skeptical, too. Well, believe it, because Metroid Prime is quite simply a modern-day masterpiece. The graphics are astounding, and the level design is pure genius. There are a great deal of clever tricks to be performed, and a nice array of secret areas. And for those (like me) who were skeptical of the transition to 3D, be assured that the game doesn't lose any of that classic Metroid gameplay, and in fact gains something in the addition of the third dimension. After playing Prime, you'll swear the series was born to be in 3D. Topping off all the goodness is the polish of the game. Retro Studios went the extra mile to add a bunch of subtle effects that add to the atmosphere, making this one of the most immersive games ever.
There's not much to dislike, but if I had to really stretch, I'd say two things are kind of downers: 1) it's sometimes difficult to aim at enemies way above or below you, and 2) there is a lot of backtracking. These complaints are minor as 1) the battles are easy and 2) there is so much eye candy and new areas to explore that backtracking hardly seems like a chore.
The Bottom Line
This is classic 2D Metroid brought into the third dimension. It's amazing, it's detailed, it's exciting, and it's a very lengthy adventure. This is an absolute must-have.