Announcing the surprise release of Metroid Prime Remastered during Wednesday’s Nintendo Direct, Nintendo mentioned that the new version of the classic 2002 first-person adventure supports modern twin-stick controls as well as a classic scheme based on the controls of the GameCube original. What it didn’t mention was that the game also has a “pointer” control scheme enabling motion controls for camera movement and aiming, “similar to Metroid Prime Trilogy for Wii.”
In fact, Remastered boasts four control schemes. “Dual Stick” is the default control scheme and handles as you would expect any contemporary first-person game to, with fire on the right trigger. “Pointer,” based on the Wii release, works similarly to the dual-stick mode but uses gyro controls on the right Joy-con for aiming, with fire on the A button (the right trigger is used for gyro recalibration). “Classic” emulates the original game’s controls, where aiming and is done by holding down the right trigger or bumper, locking Samus in place, and then using the left stick to aim. “Hybrid” works like the classic controls but enables the pointer-style gyro controls for aiming.
The classic scheme is good to have for purists, and thanks to Metroid Prime’s target lock function, plays much more smoothly than the recent and rather raw re-release of GoldenEye 007 on Switch. It will doubtless be nostalgic fun if you happen to own a GameCube controller and the adapter that was released alongside Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. But it still feels cumbersome by modern standards, and most players will probably find the dual-stick scheme the most effortless — particularly for portable play or when using a Pro Controller.
The revelation for me — as someone whose copy of Metroid Prime Trilogy is, for some inexplicable reason, still in its shrink wrap — is how good the pointer control scheme is. The gyro controls are very responsive and accurate, and map perfectly to the movements of Samus’ right arm. Part of the joy of Metroid Prime has always been its strong physicality: the sense that you are really looking through the visor of Samus’ suit at an alien landscape, and feeling her heavy, armored tread make contact with the floor. The pointer controls enhance that for me, and I reckon this will be my default way of playing the game when my Switch is docked.
I would love to credit the developer of Metroid Prime Remastered with this thoughtful and well implemented option — but at time of writing, it’s not clear where this new version of the game was made. The opening credits only mention Nintendo and original developer Retro Studios. It’s possible the remaster was done in-house at Retro, although the team there is presumably busy working on Metroid Prime 4. Polygon has contacted Nintendo for clarification.
Metroid Prime Remastered is out now on the Nintendo eShop, while a physical edition will be released on Feb. 22.