Review by LinkIII_IsBack
"The best game on the Wii, but at the cost of some traditional Metroid elements."
Five years ago, Metroid Prime was released to critical acclaim. The game was a success sales-wise, and Nintendo licensed a trilogy to be made. This trilogy deals with Phazon: a radioactive, mutagenic substance with mysterious origins, along with Metroid Prime itself, which was, presumably, a Metroid mutated beyond belief by Phazon.
3 years ago, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes was released, although it was not as well-received as its predecessor, both critically and sales-wise. The game continued the storyline, putting Samus on a world split in two dimensions. Metroid Prime, now reincarnated as Dark Samus, reappeared, as well.
And now, the trilogy has come to a close.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is the best one of the three, without a doubt...but at the same time, it doesn't really feel entirely like a Metroid game.
In terms of visuals, at least, the game is absolutely fantastic. There are absolutely no jaggies, textures look amazing even when close up, and the art direction is stunning. The draw distance is increased as well, allowing for many wide-open environments, something which, before this game, I felt the series had lacked. All this, and the game still runs smoothly, at 60 frames per second. The game is truly a piece of eye candy.
And as if the visuals weren't enough, the game also has the best musical score of the three. While some of the melodies in the previous games felt sort of corny, this game remedies that. From the tribal beats of Bryyo to the peaceful sounding melody of Elysia, the game's music is awe-inspiring.
Adding to the atmosphere even more are the sound effects. As you explore the ruins of the derelict Galactic Federation Ship Valhalla, for example, you can hear the creaking and groaning of the ship. The graphics, music, and sound effects come together for a truly unforgettable atmosphere.
And speaking of sound effects, the game also has voice acting.
Yes, the game that's known for its solitude was chosen for voice acting over the Zelda series, a series in which fans have been practically begging for voice acting. That's logic right there.
Either way, the voice acting is extremely well-done, with the exception of a few lines toward the end.
The voice acting, however, was necessary to tell the game's story. Without spoiling too much, Dark Samus corrupts Samus and three other hunters (Rundas, Ghor, and Gandrayda) with Phazon. In addition, she launches Phazon Seeds known as Leviathans at several planets, corrupting them, as well. The four hunters must struggle to control their own corruption while at the same time liberating the planets that have been corrupted. The story is told through a mixture of cutscenes and scan logs...but mostly the scan logs.
While the story is done extremely well, there are a few issues with it. First off, the hunters. There was so much potential to flesh them all out, yet the only information about them that you ever gain are a single lore entry for each one. Gandrayda, in particular, had quite literally no backstory at all.
In addition to this, the ending feels like a cop-out, and won't make any sense unless you pay close attention to the final boss's scan. Plus, certain plot points in Prime 1 aren't even mentioned, let alone expanded on.
The Metroid Prime series places you behind the visor of Samus Aran, and never before has it felt as believable as this. The Wii Remote proves its potential for first person gameplay here. There is an invisible box in your field of view; move outside this box, and Aran will begin to turn. Depending on your control setting, the box will be smaller and turning will be faster. I recommend the Advanced option, personally.
In addition to this, there are several Wii-specific gestures that you will have to use. Ironically enough, the one involving the nunchuck is the most reliable. By casting the Nunchuck forward at certain points, you will launch your Grapple Beam. Pulling it back will rip away an obstruction, or even pull a piece of an enemy off. It feels great when you use it, and continues feeling great for the entire game. The others don't fair quite as well. For example, there are some switches that you must pull, twist, then push back in, using the Wii Remote. Pushes and pulls don't always work correctly, so you sometimes may need to try multiple times before it works correctly. In addition, jumping with the Morph Ball - executed by flicking the Wii Remote upwards - doesn't always work, even with exaggerated movements.
Visor switching is accomplished by holding down the - button and pointing to an area on the screen. While at first it feels awkward, you get used to it after a short amount of time. However, once you receive a certain visor that still allows you to shoot, switching back to the combat visor can be a pain, as its part of the screen is just a small circle in the center.
The gameplay is a mixture of shooting, puzzle-solving, and exploration. The previous Prime games didn't have a big focus on shooting, but this game is much heavier on it. Luckily, thanks to the controls, these segments are fun.
Throughout the game, you'll find many power-ups that give you access to new places, and new ways to fight. For example, the Screw Attack lets you do five leaps through the air, in addition to the initial two, but, if you can aim correctly, can completely decimate any enemy if you hit them with it. In addition to these standalone items, there are four categories of items: beams, missiles, grapple beams, and ship commands. These items stack; for example, you start off with just the Power Beam. Later on, you obtain the Plasma Beam, and it replaces your Power Beam by allowing you to set things on fire. Later still, you get the Nova Beam, which allows you to shoot through certain walls. Because you already have the Plasma Beam, however, it inherits the Plasma Beam's effects. There are additions like this for all of them.
The ship is a unique part of the game; you can call in bombing runs, pick up items, and land it in certain areas. Inside the ship, there are all sorts of little options; however, with the exception of the opening, none of these serve any function but the map command, located in the center. However, there is a secret message from Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo himself, hidden somewhere in the ship...see if you can find it!
Corruption is not only part of the story, but a gameplay element. After you obtain the Phazon Enhancement Device, you can enter Hypermode at any time by holding down the + button for a second, as long as you have a spare energy tank. Once you've gone into Hypermode, your strength increased dramatically, allowing you to decimate most enemies in just a few hits, if not only one. Balance is the key here; you have a limited bar of Phazon to use. If you remain in Hypermode for too long without expelling the Phazon, you will be unable to exit it. Once this happens, your Phazon bar will quickly begin to rise. If it becomes full, you get a game over. You will have to either quickly expel all of the Phazon, or maintain a balance. If you keep the bar in the middle, you will be able to remain in Hypermode until your suit automatically vents the Phazon. Over the course of the game, you'll get more Phazon abilities in addition to the beam.
The difficulty level (on Veteran Mode, anyway) is very nice. You will most likely die several times, but instead of having to start all over again from the last save point, you can just start again from the last significant thing you did. Since I died twice on the last boss, and there aren't any save points in the moderately lengthy final area, this is a welcome addition.
A downside - and a very noticeable one, at that - are the load times. You'll often find yourself standing in front of a door, waiting for it to open, for an upwards of ten seconds. This can be a huge issue, especially when you have to deal with hordes of Space Pirates or Metroids at the same time.
Unlockables are cleverly implemented; instead of simply having to scan a certain amount of objects, you get tokens by doing certain things. These tokens, which come in four colors, can be used to unlock things such as concept art, soundtracks, dioramas, a screenshot tool, bumper stickers, and bobbleheads. The game makes use of WiiConnect24, as well; you'll have to exchange Friend Vouchers, which are one of the token colors, with friends to change them into green tokens and unlock everything.
Perhaps the most disappointing thing is the loss of nonlinearity and isolation. In previous Prime games, you were given the option to turn the hint system off, but this is no longer the case. Plus, you never feel entirely alone, like you did in Prime 1, and, to a lesser extent, in Prime 2. Despite this, the game still plays great, and is the best game on the Wii.
Final Score: 97/100 (A)
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 09/04/07
Game Release: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (US, 08/27/07)
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