The Curse of the Triple Dip: Metroid Prime Trilogy


This article originally appeared on my personal website,
It was later posted on as a Journal

Hello everyone. My name is Claire, and I’m a gameaholic. I’m one week sober. My backlog is over eight-hundred and fifty now, while the number of games I actually play is in the dozens. I play the same ones over and over again. The number of games I’ve actually beaten is even lower. As per the Gameaholics Anonymous counselor’s recommendation, I’ve kept track of all the games I’ve actually beaten in 2014. There are 21 games on that list, many of which are repeat offenses. Few games were actually completed. At least that’s an improvement over 2013, which was around 10 titles beaten. If that. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, and I have a problem. And today I’m tempted once again by an enticing triple-dip.

Today, the Nintendo eShop gains one of the most coveted collections in gaming: the Metroid Prime Trilogy. A collection of three games on one disk. A disk which I already own, on the Wii, yet this new release is digital and on the Wii U. The only difference is that it’s been upscaled from the perfectly adequate 480p of the original titles. Titles I also own on GameCube.

I have owned two copies of Metroid Prime over the years, two copies of Echoes, one copy of Corruption that I pre-ordered in 2007, and finally, the Metroid Prime Trilogy disk itself. The only individual game of which I haven’t finished being Echoes. Logic tells me to save my money and play the copies I already have on GameCube and Wii, but another itch bites at me. The ever-pressing quest to play games in the best visual quality possible. The same quest that tempts me to drop $250 on a cable for the GameCube that would give me the exact same picture quality I receive on the Wii. A foolish quest that defies all logic and wallets.

But for only $10 as a limited-time entry fee to once again play Retro’s epic trifecta; $10 for a set that regularly costs $80 used from various retailers, online and out in the wild, how can I say no? With such a deal running out the clock, should I make the drop? Should I wait until the eleventh hour to drop in like a mad man into an indoor pool, splashing about with his fresh set of legs and long mussy hair… Sorry, bit of a tangent there. Where was I? Oh yes, Metroid.

To play the games I already own several times over, or pay the price to add a piece of history to my already history-packed backlog? Why do any of us double or even triple-dip? Why are we pressured in such a way to always buy the slightest upgrade to a product we already own and fully enjoy? Sense can be made in the move to HD for classic titles such as these or the always-beautiful REmake, but with so little changed, if anything at all, are these ‘upgrades’ truly worth the asking price?

Sure, one could argue, that in the case of the Metroid Prime Trilogy, the cost of the physical disk is so high in the after-market that, if you’ve never played the games before, this is the best chance you’ve ever had to see what the hype is about. But what about for the rest of us, who played the first two on GameCube a decade ago? Those of us who still have their GameCube copies lying around? Again, I would argue that it’s worth the upgrade– the controls from Prime 3 that were mapped to the first two games are very intuitive and add an extra layer of immersion that you may not get with your traditional sticks. The widescreen presentation itself is a lovely addition that truly makes the Trilogy worth the purchase.

But what about those of us who still have a copy of Trilogy on Wii? The Wii U’s upscaling is the only benefit on offer. That and achievements. The audio may even be downgraded due to the Wii U not having a licensing agreement for Doly Prologic like the ‘Cube and Wii did. We won’t know that until later today. The jump from 480i to 480p is quite a phenomenal leap despite the actual resolution not changing at all. It provides a nice, clear image of the games. Every low resolution texture and relatively low polygonal model is present and crisp. Upscaling further, to 720p or 1080p, is not as huge a leap as one might think. The textures are the same. The models are the same. Only now you don’t see the jaggies on straight lines. It’s clearer than ever, but is that necessarily a good thing?

Take Ocarina of Time’s 480p releases, for example. Clearer picture doesn’t always mean a better looking game. Some games are better for their lower visuals, especially on the Nintendo front where many titles take advantage of the lower resolutions to hide blemishes and otherwise make the fantasy worlds more ‘believable’. When making the jump from 480p to the higher tiers, for games that were designed at 480p as their original max setting, the results aren’t exactly phenomenal. In titles like REmake, the fresh lens serves to highlight the beauty and care put into creating the original product, but in others, it only serves to make the game world look more sterile in comparison to its original offering.

So once again, if you already own the games either on the Trilogy disk or the originals, and you have the ability to play them in 480p through a backwards-compatible Wii or a fat wallet-compatible GameCube, you may want to pass on this release. However, if you’ve only played the GameCube versions, regardless of picture quality, the Trilogy drop today will be worth the cost, even at full price once the discount period is over. As for the rest of us, mentally debating the dreaded triple-dip? Well, my name’s Claire, and I’m a gameaholic.