Review by Unbridled9
"A sadly corrupted finale for an epic trilogy."
Back when I started gaming, Metroid Prime was, quite literally, the first game I ever owned. I remember buying the Metroid Prime Gamecube bundle as a teen and, upon arriving home, popped it in to play. Over time I became amazing at the game, managing to net every single ending before Metroid Prime 2 came out. When Metroid Prime 2 came out I outright devoured the game before getting stuck (I later found out what I had done wrong and realized how stupid I had been) and returning a few years later to beat it. I was happy. Then Metroid Prime 3 came out
And I didn't play it. I didn't own a Wii. I didn't own a Wii for several years. Then I got a Wii and didn't get Metroid Prime 3. Every time I looked at the game box on store shelves I got a weird sense of foreboding from it and went for games like Mario Kart Wii instead. When one of my friends stopped gaming he gave his collection to me, including Metroid Prime 3, and I didn't play it. Every single time I looked at it, I felt
scared. I had hopes and expectations for what Metroid Prime 3 would be and I was happier with those hopes and expectations than I was with any game that actually got produced. I don't think I was alone in that sentiment either.
But I had to face it at last. I had played every other Metroid Game in some form or at some point and beaten any that could be found on the portable consoles or on the Gamecube. The only one I had avoided was Other M due to all the poor press it had gotten, but it was time for me to face my hopes, and fears, that Metroid Prime 3 was good.
And both proved to be true.
Allow me to elaborate. Metroid Prime 3 is, certainly, an amazing game with a solid story, great visuals, delightful combat, and is set in an interesting world that is enjoyable to explore. It is also far worse than its two predecessors, suffering from a handful of obvious flaws that can't be overlooked. Things like the lack of flexibility in either storyline or combat, or the overly-focused Hypermode. Is the game an amazing step forwards in Metroid games? Or a giant step backwards due to it's many flaws? Sadly, I can't say. The answer is best left to the individual. Personally, I felt the game was an end that, while solid and enjoyable, did not fit in as well with its two prior entries as it should have.
Metroid Prime has always been an interesting title. It is a shooter, most certainly first person to such a degree that you're even behind the helmet of Samus, but it's also focused on exploring, seeing the vast world and all of its intricacies and piecing together just what had happened in your own mind, as well as making Samus more powerful, but not by simply glomping on stats, but by increasing her options in combat. A movement upgrade, despite dealing no damage, is infinitely more welcome than a simple missile expansion simply because of how it allows Samus to deal with foes, and that missile expansion doesn't increase how strong her missiles are, but how many she can fire and thusly her options.
Metroid Prime 3 tries to follow in suit with this, but it falls apart horribly. But despite that, it still manages to be enjoyable. Unlike most Metroid games you will actually start with a solid portion of your powers intact and most of the upgrades found throughout the game will merely be additions to Samus's already potent power. This sounds good in theory, the problem is that it doesn't work in practice.
For example, let's take a look at the ice missiles. Acquired fairly early-on in the game, they allow Samus to fire missiles that can freeze targets and terrain upon impact. Sound amazingly useful? Aside from opening white (ice) doors and freezing fuel gel in one area of one planet, they aren't. Few enemies worth freezing can actually be frozen and no utility beyond freezing fuel-gel or breaking apart specific items revealed to be vulnerable to extreme cold upon scanning resulting in an underwhelming power-up that doesn't really make Samus stronger' or increase her options in combat. This holds true for almost every power-up. Few truly increase her ability to explore, her options in combat, or even her general power'. BUT... THERE IS GOOD NEWS!
The combat is actually amazingly well done, even with Samus's limitations! Utilizing the Wii-mote for aiming and the nunchuck for both movement and her grappling hook aiming has become an important part of combat instead of simply locking on' to a target and having the majority of your shots automatically hit. The controls are amazingly precise and work without any problems what-so ever. In fact, fighting in this game is, by far, the *most* fun I've had in a shooting game in a LONG time! Carefully weaving in and out between shots while making sure your own stay on target, putting in precise long-range shots, dealing with multiple foes by bouncing between them with shots while locked onto a different foe entirely, all amazingly well done. While it doesn't make up for the lack-luster power-ups, it DOES make getting them a lot more enjoyable!
Sadly, the other part of getting them is a lot LESS enjoyable. I've seen some people complain that a certain optional thing in the late-game which reveals the majority of the power-up locations ruins the fun of finding them. I disagree. Not only is it completely optional in every sense of the word, but it only tells you the location of some power-ups, not all, and certainly not how to get them. Rather, the problem is that getting them is simply far too easy. Assuming you have the required items it's typically just a short and easy puzzle, if that, away. Only a few are any real challenge to locate, which is the ultimate problem. Not finding them.
The story is a mixed bag as well that leans heavily towards the positive end of the spectrum. While I know some Metroid fans will be irritated at having a distinct plot and cutscenes (of which none are bad and all are actually quite-well done), the bigger problem comes from the simple lack of worldly involvement. Where-as, in the prior games, the worlds outright REEKED of their past lore and history with the majority of places clearly having been of some importance and all of them clearly of some faded past glory of a world once alive with Chozo-people, the worlds in this are distinctly deader-feeling. The first world is, literally, just a base set up by the Federation and is nothing more. The second world, Bryyo, is amazing and is the closest to the Metroid Prime original while the third world often seems more like just a gimmicky machine world, and the fourth world is little more than a depressing and boring-looking place The last world is interesting, but you don't get the time or chance to really explore it either. When the game DOES stick to it's cutscenes and the like, though, it's a very solid story. The problem is that the worlds, with one exception, simply don't back that story up anywhere near as well as they should with most simply feeling bland.
And now, let me get to the big one. Hypermode. Hypermode gets introduced early in the game. By holding down the + button Samus can enter into Hypermode and, while in hypermode, all her attacks deal more damage, but at the cost of her energy/health with each shot. Additionally, if she stays in hyper-mode too long she runs the risk of getting corrupted' and having to fire a LOT in order to overcome it (it makes sense in-story) or else risk suffering a non-standard game-over. This is an interesting mechanic and, had it been left at that, it would have been fairly interesting. A risk (going hyper and expending energy per-shot) vs. reward (increased damage/damage protection) scenario done well. The problem is that most of the upgrades acquired from the bosses power up Samus's Hypermode, often with abilities that ONLY have one or two POSSIBLE uses, like Hyper-grapple, instead of other, legit, upgrades. This is especially aggravating when one looks at the game and realizes that one of the games shortcomings is its lack of upgrades to increase Samus's options. Instead of giving her upgrades like that, they gave her Hypermode upgrades. It would have been far more interesting to see Phazon-tanks to give Samus hyper-mode reserves and the ability to enter/leave it without fear of corruption or taking more damage from firing than she would have gotten from fighting normally than to get some of these upgrades. While Hypermode is interesting, it got focused on far too much for either the health of the mode, or game, in the common eye.
So, how is the game on the whole? It is a horrible game, or an amazing one? Honestly, I can't say. A lot of the games quality will come from how people feel about the various flaws weighed against how they feel about its superior combat and more focused, if less-involved, story. Personally, I feel that MP3 is a very solid game that, while a bit gimmicky at times, and very lacking in how it handled power-growth over the game, is still a solid entry. Was this a fitting climax to a series that has been on two consoles now and is part of one of the most iconic series of gaming? No. Was it an acceptable entry in said series? Yes. If this had not been the end, I think this game would have been seen as more of a springboard from which an amazing ending could be fashioned instead of having to live up to all the expectations of wrapping up one of the most beloved entries in one of the most beloved series in gaming.
On the whole, I give it an 8/10. The feel and splendor of a Metroid Prime game is there, if muted by the stupid power-growth and over-focused hypermode, and aided by the wonderful combat. If there was a Metroid Prime 4 that combined the open-world feel and mechanics of the first Metroid Prime with the combat system of this, I would consider it the best entry in the series most likely.
Recommended price: $20.00. I'd love to kick it up to 30, but I don't feel right doing so with the hit-and-miss stuff mentioned. If it DOES hit for you though, 30. Otherwise, try and play it safe and shoot for 10, especially if you haven't played a Metroid Prime game before and are looking to get involved in the series.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/10/13
Game Release: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (US, 08/27/07)
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