Hey folks, thought I'd give another go at writing some more blogs on my non-Internet life. That sounds like I'm about to tell you about where my life's been in the past 6+ months, but that's a long story for another day and another time. To be honest, I was rereading my review on Super Mario Galaxy 2, and was inspired to write again on more vidya. I feel like I wrote a decent review and (some) of you enjoyed it, so here goes.
As I mentioned in the "What Game Are You Playing Currently?" thread, I just purchased the Metroid Prime Trilogy from my local GameStop the other day. Considering it's three full-length games, I wasn't too worried about the price tag of $50. Additionally, because I am planning on playing all three of them in succession while I finish up summer classes, I have deemed this the summer of Metroid.
Like I did before with SMG/SMG2, I'm gonna go into some background with my experiences with the Metroid series. Which, considering my fondness for the character of Samus Aran, is surprisingly little. I think I'll also go into some gender stuff too - what it means for me, personally, to be a female playing a kickass female character - but not overly so. But, I think you guys will find it interesting at least.
My first Metroid game was on the GameBoy Color, Metroid Fusion. I've actually never completed this game, though I do remember enjoying it when I was younger. It is a sidescroller, as all classic Metroid games are, and I remember not really understanding how to use the map to my advantage to beat the game. Obviously, this is an obstacle that one overcomes with maturity, and I'm sure I'd have no problem going back now and finishing it. However, I remember loving the different suits that Samus would upgrade to, and this is something I'm even fangirling about in Prime. Why? Because I like the swag. It means I'm a badass. You don't want to know how much time I've spent changing different skins in Borderlands 2.
Before I even played Fusion, though, I had my experience with Super Smash Bros, where of course, Samus was one of the original 8 smashers. Yes, this is where I'm gonna get into the whole girl thing. Because I didn't know, when I was a kid, that Samus was a gal. So you can imagine my surprise when I was going through that random character bio portion of SSB one day, and I see that the game refers to her as a "she." And that was it. This character, although her jump kind of sucks and she's sluggish as hell, is super cool. Don't get me wrong, though. Kirby was my main in SSB and will forever be.
So let's talk about the girl gamer thing, because it's inevitable at this point and I've already talked about with some of you guys at different points, on IRC, skype, whatever. I'll go ahead and put out the idea that if you'd ever met me in real life, after talking to me for a few minutes, you might get that I'm a bit of a geek but not a gamer, per se. We all know the girl gamer stereotype. I do not match this description physically, whether you're thinking about girls who dress in nerdy t-shirts or the gamer grills on Twitch. I used to be subscribed to the r/girlgamers subreddit, but those girls are so entitled while being simultaneously offended that I seriously could not handle it. Like, games are not worth getting so caught up over, unless it's a huge freakin' deal to your identity. You guys know me, and you know that I am a generally positive, chill person. I could be one of those gamer grrrls and I could embrace that stereotype, with all its prejudice and negative connotations, but I really don't want to because I have more interests than that. The problem is, with the stereotype, is that female gamers are polarized. They're either extremely into it and viewed as, I don't know, unlikeable? Unattractive? Awkward? Or they're airheads "pretending" to fit in. So when it comes down to me, someone who's kind of in the middle, I don't get the credit for being genuinely knowledgeable and skilled, while being treated like an airhead (even if jokingly). I don't think I can ever play online with a headset, or even broadcast my playing out of ridicule. To be honest, it sucks sometimes, because even after four years at college, I have yet to meet someone else that is like me. This is how I feel, and I'm not looking to argue with anyone on the point. It's just how it is for me.
Back to Metroid, you can see why I think Samus is a pretty cool chick. She was a badass before she was ever put in a categorical gender, which is something that nobody gets, ever. For the record, that one Metroid game that didn't come out in 2010 doesn't exist. But other than just being female, this is why she's top ten in my book.
I'm a person that appreciates and admires physical prowess. Samus wear this Power Suit, right, in all its varieties. Has anyone else ever actually looked at this thing? Because I gloss over it all the time. This thing is a work of art. It makes her look athletic (Those shoulders?!) strong, not to be puppyed with. As well as her helmet, which stares into your soul. Again, I'm fangirling, if it's not obvious.
She's a bounty hunter. Please, insert "independent female character" trope here. While I (admittedly) buy into the whole "puppy yeah, independent women!" thing, that's not really the reason why the bounty hunter thing is likable. Being a bounty hunter allows Samus to be a silent protagonist (2010 Samus doesn't exist, remember). She's the Link of the Metroid world. Silent, deadly, and curious. And that's something I'm coming to terms with in Prime.
Prime...is a difficult game, but a beautiful one. I am often surprised that it is a 12 year old game, because it works so fluidly (though I guess perhaps the port to the Wii in 2009 helped a bit). The Tallon IV world is haunting and silent, for the most part. Though the game does offer music, it is merely repetitive and ambient, which is appropriate for an exploration game. I wouldn't want something like music to overpower the experience. The game is also strangely lonely; I forget that as a bounty hunter, Samus rarely has allies. Another thing that adds to the solitude is the storytelling device, which is mainly scanning and very short cutscenes with no dialogue. The scanning tells of the Chozo who once lived in Tallon IV, and the logs of the Space Pirates. While I admire the effort that the writers put into both types of dialogue, the Space Pirate logs tend to be very technically termed, with a lot of jargon that I tend to glaze over. But it's always fun to see the Pirates refer to Samus as "the Hunter" and acknowledge their inferior technology to hers. Gosh, I love space stuff. Sci fi is so great.
I honestly was not expecting so much backtracking and lack of direction in a game. I mentioned this is in the thread, but I suppose I've been playing linear games for so long, that finding my way around this mammoth of an overworld is confusing and time consuming. I don't want to know how many times I've made unnecessary loops in the Magmoor Caverns to the Phendrana Drifts. But the exploring is enjoyable for me, as are the puzzles. One thing I don't like, however, is how easily the enemies respawn. Like, holy shit. Can we please just chill out a bit. Though I am getting closer to the end of the game, I'm pretty sick of fighting Space Pirates, with the puppying thermal visor on. That shit is cray.
I am enjoying it so far, and I'm glad it's a lot different than I was expecting it to be. I have played a bit of Corruption (Prime 3) back in the dat, but I know virtually nothing of Prime 2: Echoes, so I'm excited to see where the trilogy is going. But first, gotta finish the rest of this game and get good at the wonky controls.
Might come back and edit this later to add more thoughts, like when I'm at the end of the game. Or even when I've played some of the other two. But, this is it for now. Hope you enjoyed the read.