Review by JukeDay
"A review by someone with no prior Metroid experiences"
The tagline for my review is right, I've never played a Metroid Prime game, nor a Metroid game for that matter. My closest interaction with Samus is playing her on Super Smash Brothers 64, other than that, I knew her as nothing more than a name. However, after getting my Wii for Christmas, I undoubtedly heard about the 3 games you have to have for the Wii: Super Mario Galaxy, Zelda: Twilight Princess, and Metroid Prime 3.
So, as I picked up MP3, and prepared to delve into the game, I was under the impression I would be lost at first. Fortunately, that turned out not to be the case. I'm sure the story connects to the first two somehow, but from what I could tell its pretty much a separate story that I could pick up too, but I'll get into that later. Watching reviews on IGN and Gamespot and whatnot, I was prepared to be bedazzled by the tight controls, the beautiful graphics, and the immersive gameplay. Were they as good as advertised? Read below.
Now, I know I may be sent to the stake for posting this score, and for the Wii these graphics are great. My first next-gen console was a 360 however, and those graphics are just amazing. Obviously the Wii's selling point is not its graphics, so I did not dock the score too much.
For the Wii, however, it visually does look great. The particle effects are there, there's a great amount of detail involved in every environment. There does seem to be an underlying pattern between all the levels, despite the environment being different (Sky level, Snow level, Fire level, etc.) but its not enough to really detract from the creativity. Samus looks great. Being in first-person you don't see her aside from a few cut scenes, and when she's in morph ball mode. The other Hunters (you learn about them within the first 3 minutes, Ghor, Rundas, and Gandrayda) are kind of disappointing visually I thought. Ghor is a robot in a huge battle suit, but he looks like a standard robot, and his battle suit looks like a large standard robot. Gandrayda is a shape shifter, but by herself she just looks like a plain purple woman. Rundas, some sort of ice robot, looks the best of the 3, but he still looks very standard. His ice skateboarding thing he does looks cool though.
However, the bosses do look great. Whether it is some 40-foot golem or some huge battle drone you're facing, they all have great detail within them. And you could especially tell the creators spent some time making even the little things have something stand out about them. You've got something as simple as a fuel pump, and it could easily be just a black handle you pump. But no, its neon-green colored, and has these fuel cells that pop up as you pump. Just little added things like that show substantial amounts of time were given.
A negative however, is the loading times. The game had a creative way of masking the loading times, one that I'm sure you've heard on other reviews. Every level has doors in it. To open the door, you shoot it, and it opens. Trick is, it doesn't open until the area behind it has loaded. So there's no loading screens, you're free to do whatever you want while you wait for that door to open. But sometimes, it can take a good 5-10 seconds for that door to pop up. A 5-10 second loading time is not bad, but when you're running from flying, missile-shooting robots, you got better things to do than twiddle your thumbs waiting for a door to open. When you're flying from dock to dock, the loading time is masked by a shot of your airship flying. These don't take long, and the cinematic is done well.
Pretty run of the mill affair here. I've realized that there are some parts of the story that I would better understand had I played the previous two titles, but like I said before, easy to pick up. Basically, you are Samus Aran, a female bounty hunter in a space society. You and some other hunters are told to go investigate what these "space pirates" are up to at their headquarters. As you had out OH NO! the ship you're on gets attacked. You go down to this planet to put a stop to these heinous activities, and suddenly some huge asteroid thing that looks like a living squid is coming to nail the planet. Dark Samus tries to prevent you from destroying it, but you succeed, and faint. You wake up 3 months later, and you're other hunters have been sent off to find out stuff about these Squid asteroids that landed on other planets, but they've lost contact with the hunters. Its up to you Samus, to save the world!
Pretty run-of-the-mill stuff. It does have some obvious twists, some I'm sure you'll be able to figure out based on what I've told you, none of that is really a spoiler however. I only said what I said because the real story begins after the first level. But yeah, its easy to grasp onto, you're never really wondering "What's going on?" There are some tedious parts, two parts where you're required to pick up a set amount of things in order to do something, and those can be annoying because you're traversing the same terrain over and over back and forth, and the enemies regenerate, and you really want to just find this last item.
It's really hard to give a review of the story without giving anything away, but basically you know how this will end, based on what your arch-nemesis has been at the beginning of the story. The ending has a "Oh great you've won, oh wait no you haven't yet" kind of thing going on, but its not too bad. Had worse endings, had better.
This is the most important section to most, probably to me too. As Samus, you're basically going through these levels, using your Wiimote to aim your cannon, using your nunchuk to move around, and blowing away any alien creatures that get in your way. There's more too it than that though, you have upgrades for your suit and your cannon, you can transform into a ball and use it to get into places you could not otherwise reach. You can grapple, you have too in many parts. You can get upgrades to your balls, your ship, your missile capacity, and you're energy tanks (your health bars basically). A new feature apparently is "Hypermode." You enter this mode for a maximum of 10 seconds and you can absolutely go to town on anyone, but every shot you take depletes some health. It gets more complicated than just that early on in the story but I won't ruin any thing. Oh, and the health you're looking for comes in these brightly shaped small glowing balls. Different colors restore different amounts, I didn't figure this out until the second level, and it would've helped. The glowing, floating missiles are extra missiles obviously, more of the same. Most of the functionality of the Wiimote is basically just using it to aim, but in morph ball form you can flip it up to make your ball jump. Also, there are times where you can "react with your environment" meaning your press A, a screen or pad or something will show up, and you use your Wiimote to twist something, or crank something, or press a button, or something like that. Some of these are unnecessary. I'd much rather just hit a button on my Wiimote to go to a different destination than have to enter "Environment interacting mode" to take control of Samus' hand and make her press a button, but it adds a sort of realism. There are secrets to be found too, most of them just upgrades.
My favorite part are the boss fights. My first single-player Wii game, Super Mario Galaxy, had bosses that pretty much were just "spin here, jump here" to beat them. Metroid Prime 3 has a different "formula" for each boss. Some might be "Shoot these things that fall on him to stun him, rip off his armor, yank his head, THEN shoot his weak spot" or something like that. They're innovative, and it never gets repetitive, because there is always something to do. And like all great games, if you've just gotten a major upgrade, you'll use it in the next boss fight.
I'll give a quick basic layout of controls. A is shoot, B is jump (you can reverse these if you want. I did because I felt better using B to shoot. Its more trigger-like) Z is for targeting, C is to change to morph ball. Control pad down shoots missiles, holding down + enters Hypermode, hitting - puts on your visor, and 1 takes you to your map. Throwing the nunchuk controls your grapple.
When I first read these controls, I was thinking "How am I gonna remember all those buttons? Will I be able to hit them without having to look at my Wiimote?" The answers are A) It's easy, and B) Yes. After getting use to them (which the game allows you plenty of time to do) they become second nature. The controls are real responsive too. I've never had delays curling into morph ball form or targeting something.
The few gripes are those involving interaction. You can grapple things and rip them off. Sometimes I'd gave to use a yanking motion multiples time to pull stuff off, other times I'd throw my nunchuk forward to cast the grapple, and it wouldn't register. The puzzles with the Wiimote sometimes were "Twist the remote counterclockwise" and I'd be doing it, and for a second it wouldn't know. Overall, those are minute flaws that are more than made up for by everything else, the control scheme is perfect.
I did not know anything about the Metroid Prime series before I bought this game. And I've taken some time to get a little caught up, but I never really needed to know anything. It's that easy to pick up. The controls are perfect, the visuals (for the Wii) are great, and the gameplay is genuinely fun. Sometimes you're terribly lonely though. Aside from the first level, and a level later on, you're entirely on your own. These huge levels have nothing except enemies every few rooms. There's no one on your side really left. There's this one level you're up on this huge complex in the sky, and you're travelling through it all alone. But that's the way Metroid Prime works I guess, so I didn't penalize the score because of it. Do I agree with IGN, calling it "The Best Wii game"? (Before they gave that to SMG) Frankly, I don't know if I do or not, cuz I've only played SMG and this. Compared to the Xbox 360 games it matches up well it terms of gameplay however. It's a good, beyond solid game that any Wii owner should have in their library. It's imaginative, its innovative, and it makes great use of the Wiimote without having to resort to gimmicks. Buy this game, it's worth it.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/16/08
Game Release: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (US, 08/27/07)
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