Review by Raptor_XS
If this is corruption, then CORRUPT me to purgatory!!!
As an old-school, typically anti-FPS (and previously anti-3D) gamer, I was helplessly drawn into the world of Metroid Prime back in 2003. For many years after 3D became standard, I held fast to my old-school upbringing. Full-3D games simply lacked the feeling of 2D side-scrollers. I was probably one of the few that was relieved to have no Metroid entry on the Nintendo 64. Super Metroid held the throne of my favorite game of all time, which I was confident would never face much scrutiny. Then Metroid Prime came along in 2003, a revelation to me and to gaming alike, and totally broke me on my feelings of 2D supremacy. Prime took FPS games and injected the elements of adventure and exploration perfectly. That game set the standard for what an all-around great game should be, becoming the next successor to the throne. Episode 2: Echoes, though still a really good game, didn't really grasp me as well, as many of the elements seemed recycled, relying primarily on storyline to carry the game. Consequentially, I wasn't sure how Corruption would deliver. However, all of these fears were quickly lain to rest after I became accustomed to the control scheme. The ambience captured me early on, reminding me of the opening of Halo 2 in a sense. As the plot thickened, I found myself unable to quit playing, helplessly hooked. Corruption delivers a gaming experience unlike any I've seen as it draws the Prime trilogy to a close.
The graphics show mild to moderate improvement over the GameCube installments, but with the overall engine remaining the same as in previous installments. The level of detail on enemies and boss characters is where the improvements are most noticeable. One of my first observations of Samus herself is that she almost appeared cel-shaded when viewed close-up. Playing the game in 16:9 on a 37-inch LCD monitor in 480p undoubtedly enhanced this experience, as I played the first two installments on a standard definition monitor. Overall, the game looks as if it would be right at home on the PS3 or Xbox 360.
One of the major improvements over previous installments is the inclusion of voice-overs. Though Samus herself is essentially a silent protagonist, more life is added by hearing spoken dialogue throughout the game. The soundtrack is hit-or-miss, with some of the music fading into the background as unmemorable. However, some of the music, particularly on planet Elysia, establishes a soothing melody as you explore the area. Make no mistake though, as the soundtrack is Metroid Prime all the way.
Perhaps the piece I most feared about Corruption was wondering how well the Wii controls would adapt to the series. However, I was pleased to find that the controls, though requiring initial orientation, are extremely tight and well-suited to the game. After playing through the first few areas, I quickly learned to appreciate the amount of control over aiming and movement. Who needs a mouse when the Wiimote allows for comparable precision in blaster control. The few drawbacks seem to be the use of the 1 and 2 buttons. Though infrequently used, there are points in the game in which advancing dialogue is accomplished by pressing the 1 button. These often occur in the midst of combat, which makes it awkward to move from the A (fire) button to the bottom of the Wiimote. Thankfully, this does not occur very often. Finally, the use of the D-pad for missle launches feels a tad awkward as well. Overall, Nintendo's second best effort today (Zelda: Twilight Princess being the best). However, Nintendo makes a solid demonstration of the Wii controls with Corruption.
I don't rate this on a numerical scale due to multiple factors. First off, veteran mode offers more of a challenge but may not appeal to casual gamers. Secondly, completing the logbook and locating 100% of the inventory items offers an additional challenge but once again may not be for everyone. Finally, more avid players will undoubtedly seek to beat their best times, adding replay value for hardcore gamers. Altogether, the replay value is there, depending on how hardcore a player you are.
Corruption is a more than worthy successor to the Metroid lineage. The game offers not only new puzzles and maps but a tight control scheme, improved audiovisuals, and a new level of interaction (as with calling upon your ship to aid you in battle and solving puzzles). The third installment offers a fresh experience that fans of the first two entries will certainly enjoy. Watch out Halo 3, you've got quite a contender here :-)
Buy or rent? Fans should undoubtedly buy this game, a classic in the making. Players new to the series might consider renting it, but you'll probably buy it after you've rented it.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (US, 08/27/07)
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