Review by edward18
"Good Game, But Not a Spectacular Finish to a Metroid Trilogy"
Metroid is a series that started out in the 1980s as an arcade/nintendo entertainment system video game where the player took control of the futuristic bounty hunter, Samus Aran, on her mission to head to the planet Zebes and eradicate the threat of Metroids which an intergalactic group known as the Space Pirates were attempting to use to take over the universe. A game ahead of its time and aged moreso than many games, two more games were created: Metroid 2: The Return of Samus, and Metroid 3: Super Metroid. These two titles (though only one really is widely known) were praised for their exploration, slight backtracking, atmosphere, and overall enjoyment. It wasn't until years later that two more Metroid games would finally be produced: Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion.
While Metroid Fusion was the fourth installment in the main series and was (and still is so far) the last installment of the series chronologically to date, Metroid Prime took an odd direction becoming a midquel so to speak. It was a sequel to the original Metroid (which would eventually be remade as Zero Mission) and occurred before Samus's Return in Metroid 2. At first fans of the series were um...skeptical...to say the VERY least. Upon seeing video previews for its Nintendo 64 version the fanbase was thrown into chaos with the name Metroid Prime (as many saw it at the time) being a death wish pretty much. Being made by a (at the time) basically unknown third party Texas based company seemed bad enough but then they had to go and turn the precious franchise into a First Person Shooter? The fiends! It didn't help that the video game Halo: Combat Evolved was being produced at roughly the same time by Bungie causing a war between the two franchises' fanbases to break out adding to the already strained tensions.
But what was produced as the final product was something practically no one was expecting. While the game did play from a first person perspective it was nothing like any other first person shooting video game and not at all meant to compete with Halo (though the fans still were in uproar for years to come and even, to this day, compare them at times). Instead of focusing on shooting and combat, Metroid Prime focused on exploration, backtracking, atmosphere, and mystery. But wait...weren't the old games about backtracking, atmosphere, and exploration? Contrary to what many Metroid fans saw as the apocalypse pretty much, veterans of the series and newcomers alike relished the game (though some remained with their old beliefs convincing themself it could not be a good Metroid video game. Their loss). The game basically had the player venturing across a planet with many different environments to explore all alone as they killed wildlife that got in their way (or space pirates if you stumbled into one of their bases) while looking for upgrades for their suit to unlock new areas to explore in already previously visited areas. The fans were eager for the next installment.
Not too soon after another Metroid Prime game was produced (after Pinball and Hunters were experimented with): Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (Dark Echoes in Japan). The story continued where the first game left off. After having helped fulfill the prophecy of the Chozo on Tallon IV disposing of Metroid Prime (which dwelled in the crater of a smashed meteorite) which was excreting a deadly substance known as Phazon by the Space Pirates, the bounty hunter recieved a transmission from the Galactic Federation to help rescue a team that had been dispatched and followed a group of Pirates to the planet Aether. Immediately Samus took chase and entered Aether's atmosphere causing her ship to get blasted by a devastating blow of lightning causing her to land. While on the planet she discovered it had split into two dimensions from a meteorite of Phazon and sought to fix the planet with help from the Luminoth (friends of the Chozo who raised Samus) while having to deal with a dark version of herself that apparently appeared out of nowhere, Dark Samus.
The game was oddly recieved. While it still did retain elements that made Metroid Metroid the newly added ammo system for the new beams introduced in the games and having to go between the dark and light dimensions of Aether to fully explore (with the dark version being basically a copy of the light version with not much new except different bosses and obstacles) offset many players causing the game to go more unnoticed than its predecessor. While it was still a good game it did not feel as much of Metroid as Metroid Prime 1 did to the fans and as such they began expectantly waiting for the final installment for the trilogy figuring that Retro (the creators of the Prime miniseries) would have all the flaws of the previous games worked out making a perfect Metroid game.
The final installment of the Prime minseries begins a while after the Aether incident in Metroid Prime 2. The Space Pirates have begun an all out war using Phazon-based weaponry with the Galactic Federation as they continue to attempt to take over the universe. Now lead by Dark Samus, the Space Pirates pose great threats and as such the Galactic Federation has begun to rely on bounty hunters with equipment and natural skills far beyond that of simple Federation troopers. Samus is called in along with three other hunters to help in the war against the space pirates and are assigned to help defend the planet near where they meet, Norion, from getting hit by a meteorite of Phazon known as a Leviathan which the Pirates intend to use to spread the deadly astral substance across from an unknown location. Upon reaching the weapon that can destroy the Leviathan the hunters meet Dark Samus in person before being infected themselves by Dark Samus directly. Samus activates the weapon before passing out destroying the Leviathan and wakes up a few months later now able to use Phazon based abilities due to Galactic Federation enhancements on her suit.
Due to the change of consoles and drastic change of how the controls changed between the Gamecube and the Wii the gameplay of this title obviously changed from its previous installments. Having taken a turn for the better some might say, the controls in Metroid Prime 3 are much more fluid than in the previous titles. As the player controls the arm cannon of Samus with the Wii-mote they will also be using the Nunchuck to control her other arm which has her grappling beam (grapple lasso in this game) allowing the player to be more in the place of Samus than ever before virtually. With the turning and aiming now completely seperate much more freedom is allowed in the firing process making for perhaps the best first person shooting controls I have ever witnessed and is sure to set a bar on how good shooting games on the Wii should control.
Being done in the same format as the previous Metroid Prime video games, Metroid Prime 3 is perhaps more different than one might think upon just looking at it at face value. In each main game before this the player was always just one human in a super suit alone on an alien planet as they traversed it looking for upgrades for their suit while putting the story together through scans and backtracking killing simply wildlife that gets in their way. While the game retains all the core mechanics of the past Prime titles the elements are unbelievably toned down. Trading for more story through cut scenes and action the game doesn't focus as much on exploration, backtracking, and mystery making for a more linear game. Another setback I saw was the Aurora Unit computer hologram guiding Samus where to go in any form imaginable creating for an experience I found almost as annoying as Navi in Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. Sure you can turn off hints but that doesn't stop the freaking thing from telling you everywhere to go and still being Samus's boss basically. While the exploration, backtracking, and mystery are still there they're seriously toned down.
Another thing that has changed is that it's not just one big planet this time. Instead of merely exploring everywhere across a world the player now can make use of one of Samus's many space vessels and travel across the galaxy to other planets where the Leviathans hit. This is a potentially revolutionary idea. The only set back is, however, they made the planets remarkably microscopic compared to either Aether or TallonIV. The linearity definately does not help in that department either. If they had worked more on putting more areas into the planets and less on emphasis on an active story as you're playing the game could have potentially been three times larger than either game before it and more interesting. It being a long game doesn't account for how large the game is.
Another very nerving concept were the Leviathans and the bosses themselves, the things you are to beat in a video game. Each planet basically followed the same redundant pattern with no mystery or discovering at all of what to do. They just hand the missions to you right out in front basically and you go do them. You basically go across a planet, maybe fix a few things here and there, and go to the Leviathan to destroy it. Not only that but the boss battles themselves are basically just repeats of each other other than the commanders of the Space Pirates trying to kill Samus. It's basically a shockwave attack, jump attack, projectile attack, and that's about it, for almost every boss in the game. The player also always knows when a boss battle is about to happen whereas in the past games they just come out of nowhere sometimes like Thardus or Ridley from Metroid Prime 1. In this game though, the player can almost every time guess when a boss fight will happen due to the elaborate introductions, no really shocking moments.
One thing that is new and interesting though is the inability to switch between beams you can fire in the game. Instead of having to switch between two beams (though it was cool) the beams you collect simply stack on top of each other creating a more and more powerful beam making you nearly a walking war machine by the end of the game. It's more like the sidescrolling games of Metroid in some senses it seems, but only some.
While some parts of this game are lacking graphics is not one of the parts. Arguably the best graphics on the Wii, Metroid Prime 3 goes up and beyond in the department delivering not only good looks but also a unique art style that plagues the series like locust across a loaf of bread. The vibrant colors and no blood and gore might make some think of the game as too kiddy in nature but no, it's not at all. It's just a different art style and way of playing that allow gamers of all ages to enjoy simply looking at the piece. The creatures seem to fit in perfctly with their environments and the environments themselves make the player seem as though they are actually on the planets. Like all the previouss games the graphics and visual continually present remarkable products.
As with all Prime games and Metroid games in general before it, Metroid Prime 3 is astounding in the instrumental department. With tracks continually rivaling even the best of movie soundtracks, Metroid Prime 3's music sets the atmosphere for wherever the player has traveled creating for a more immersive experience than other first person point of view video games. Never needing words or blaring inappropriating pieces, the music (or lack there-of at times) definately sets an atmoshpere unique in the gaming world. The sounds as well are quite believable and dynamically set with each creature having a pitch all their own in the universe. The game though, doesn't seem to have any extremely memorably tracks as the other games did.
Replay Value: 6/10
Being more linear and not as exploration based this game is not nearly as replayable enjoyably as the past games were. Once the player has beaten the game they truly have basically beaten the game. While there is indeed a hard mode that the player can do afterwards (which I would highly recommend as the game itself is pretty darn easy on any other mode) there isn't much else at all really and due to the less nostalgicity I haven't really gone back all that much to it and played the previous games quite a bit more afterwards for memories and a good time.
While this game was indeed a good game it just did not seem suiting as an end for the Metroid Prime series. Nor did it seem as much like a Metroid game as past games have. Dumbing down the key elements with more action really made it seem more like a shooter moreso than it was a Metroid game. Still though, it is definately worth a buy if only to add an actual video game to your Wii library and to see the end of this great miniseries.
Rent or Buy?: Buy
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 06/17/08
Game Release: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (US, 08/27/07)
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