"Metroid Prime concludes with Wii's first Metroid outing and what a way to end"

Come feel the corruption...

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption marks the final chapter in the beloved Prime games and introduces plenty of new concepts that take the game several leaps and bounds beyond its predecessors. Unfortunately in doing so it reduces its overall value in an all too obvious attempt by Nintendo to lure the casual gamer into its phazon filled belly. Corruption is the climax of the Prime story arc; bringing to close the mystery of the organic substance known as phazon and the galactic struggle against Dark Samus. Retro has spent a good three years on development, with the game having once been slated as a launch title for Nintendo's Wii before it was pushed back way into this year for some extra polish. While this polish shines through every nook and cranny of the game, the core experience of titles past that centred around exploring wild and vast landscapes is somewhat neglected.

Several months have passed since Samus saved Aether from the phazon plague in Metroid Prime 2. She has been called forth by the Galactic Federation along with several other Bounty Hunters to restore biological supercomputers called AU units, which fans will quickly recognise as Mother Brain look-a-likes. The AUs have been infected with a virus so it is up to the Hunters to cleanse this sickness. Mayhem soon ensues as the Federation ship is attacked by Space Pirates and Samus is sent to Norion, a Trade Federation controlled planet to stop the descent of a space vessel called a Leviathan. After a brief battle against the revived again Ridley the hunters are ambushed by Dark Samus and corrupted by the deathly phazon. With the tutorial out of the way, Samus commences the bulk of the game, which will have her exploring several worlds to investigate and discover the source of the phazon.

In previous Metroid games phazon was your enemy; touch it and it would hurt. In corruption though the phazon has been unintentionally embedded into Samus' DNA and will now be at the disposable of the player. Throughout the entire game you will juggle between using the corruption, or as it is known from previous outings, Hyper Mode, as it uses your life energy and can cause a quick and painful death if not carefully managed. Use of the Hyper Mode is mandatory as several of your enemies can only be damaged by a forceful faceful of phazon and it is cleverly combined with a slew of upgrades. I'll let you discover them for yourself but each is very exciting to discover, even if their practical uses are few and far between.

Dear Diary, today I saw Samus, she killed my papa...

As far as gameplay is concerned you can expect near normality when compared to previous Prime titles. Exploration is still a key aspect of the game with plenty of areas to discover and a plentiful supply of puzzles. For gamers not familiar with Metroid's gameplay do not expect a run and gun Halo experience, athough there is plenty of action in Corruption. Instead the game focuses on dropping the player in isolated alien worlds as you try to find your way to your goal. Unfortunately the core gameplay leaves a lacklustre taste in your mouth, as neither the exploration nor the puzzles are as expansive as the original Metroid. The action has received a much-deserved boost begging the question that perhaps Retro chose to adapt Corruption to other First Person Shooters on the market, rather than depending on the player's wit as had been the case previously. It is hard to say this without sounding negative because the experience is hardly disappointing but as the closing credits fall after less than 15 hours of playtime there felt like so much was missing as far as exploration and puzzle solving goes.

Scanning is still an important aspect and the game features a new visor that is available from the get go. Samus' ship also plays a huge role as Samus is required to travel to several different planets throughout the duration of the adventure. While you cannot fly from world to world you are rewarded with several beautiful cut scenes as you traverse to determined locations. The new visor in question allows the player to secure landing pads, do missile runs on enemies as well as breaking through previously indestructible barriers. Managing the four usable visors is as easy as pointing the Wiimote at the screen and selecting the required visor all after the touch of a single button.

Red Steel, eat your heart out, then swallow it...

Speaking of controls, Corruption features without doubt the most definitive and exact controls on any console platform to date despite the few annoyances that come with fewer buttons. There are three settings for aiming of which Advanced is highly recommended. Trumping all over Red Steel, this setting allows you to make lightning quick movements and perform pinpoint accuracy shots once only possible on a home PC. The Wiimote controls Samus' weapon and for the input of data into terminals. B and A are set to jumping and firing respectively, both of which are highly recommended to be swapped around. The minus button allows you to switch visors as mentioned previously and the plus button switches Samus into Hyper Mode. C will spin Samus into a little morph ball and the 1 button will open the menu where you can view the map, game lore and much more. The most definitive aspect of the controls that truly defines their perfection is the Z button, which locks onto enemies or allows you to strafe. Now while this seems stock standard for Prime enthusiasts with advanced mode switched on the player can have more control than ever before. Locking onto an enemy will not centre to aiming rectile, instead giving you the ability to shoot anywhere you see fit, even if it's the Space Pirate behind the one you are currently locked on to. All praise aside, the missile button is uncomfortably mapped to the D-pad and for short-fingered gamers using missiles can become quite tiresome after extended sessions of play. Corruption has set the benchmark for all future Wii First Person Shooters as it does truly define the accuracy that was previously derived of on home consoles.

The first Metroid Prime blew fans away with its beautiful art design and stunning visuals, far outweighing the competition for months and even years after. The Wii's graphics have been downplayed compared to its competitors but it only took a game like Corruption to bring out its magnificence while still functioning at a steady pace and perfect frame rate. Particle effects have received a boost and at one point I couldn't help but ogle at the stream emitting from Samus' power beam after all the little touches Retro had added. The environments, which range from industrial, jungle and even a city in the clouds (not Cloud City from Star Wars) are breathtaking with fine detail smeared across every corner of every room. It's disappointing then that the environments lack in expansion and the perfect atmosphere is reduced heavily. While it would not possibly stand up to the likes of Bioshock or Call of Duty 4 on a visual standpoint, Corruption does more to appease the senses with its rich art direction and breathtaking landscapes. You'll be pleased to hear that the audio, most notably the soundtrack is as immaculate as ever. The game opens with a catchy theme song and continues this promise throughout the entire game, making you feel compliant to stop and just take in the music around you at times. Corruption also features a first for the Metroid series and that is fully voiced NPC's that never fail at executing a sentence or two. Samus remains mute, persisting with Nintendo's age-old legacy of making us the hero, even if Samus is female.

Achievement unlocked: Dropped a bomb, 10 points...

Aside from the single player adventure Retro Studios have including an achievements system that rewards you with tokens that are used to unlock bonus content. The achievements are received by scanning lore, killing a certain number of enemies and defeating bosses among others. Also enabled is Nintendo's WiFi Connection if only to allow friends to trade Friend Vouchers, which in turn open up more unlockables. It was a clever idea, but aside from a select few unlockable items there isn't much in this sub option to redeem itself after the novelty of using it once. No multiplayer is featured in Corruption, despite its 7 months delay. There are three difficulty modes in Single Player and two are available from the beginning. Normal is a mode dedicated to the casual gamer whereas Veteran begs for Metroid fans to select it. Regardless of the one you choose the game is leaps and bounds easier than its predecessors, as was apparent by my 12-hour completion time. That's not to say I didn't thoroughly enjoy those all so glorious 12 hours. Deep down inside I just wished there was 12 more like Metroid Prime and Prime 2 delivered. Playing for a 100%, boosting the total playtime immensely will be worth it as it features the better ending of two.

The action is intense and the exploration is as vast as it ever was though it never quite excels past the excellence of the original. Corruption marks the beginning of an eruption of expansive titles catered for the hardcore scene while allowing itself to be picked up and played by the casual scene. To cater for the casual audience the length of the campaign is split in half and the complexity reduced, leaving fans of the series a little disappointed as the final credits roll.

Pros +
+ Stunning Conclusion
+ Impressive Visuals
+ Plentiful Boss Fights
+ Definitive Controls
+ SkyTown

Cons –
- Shortest Prime
- Repetitive Boss Fights
- Small environments

Graphics 10
Best Wii game visually. Retains the artistic edge than puts it nose to nose with next gen titles Bioshock and Call of Duty.

Gameplay 8
Your typical Metroid fare with some new additions. Smaller enviroments and easier gameplay make the game feel neglected.

Sound 10
Nintendo should release a Metroid Prime soundtrack. This stuff is epic. NPC's have voices now. Samus remains a mute.

Value 7
The game is enjoyable from A to B, but is over in the blink of an eye. Ease of game may turn off long time fans.

Tilt 10
As the conclusion to the Prime series the game closes on a happy note and retains the style that has made Metroid one of the best games to date.

Overall Score: 9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/06/07

Game Release: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (US, 08/27/07)


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