Review by CrimsonGear80
"Corrupt your Wii with awesomeness!"
Metroid Prime for the Gamecube was my favorite game last generation. Everything about it, from gameplay to graphics to music, was perfect. Metroid Prime 2, although also an excellent game, had some annoyances that just didn't sit well with me (The ammo system, constant traveling between both worlds, steep difficulty). Which now brings us to the Wii, and the release of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. One of Nintendo's big releases of 2007 (the others being Super Smash Brothers Brawl and Super Mario Galaxy), MP3 promises revolutionary gameplay and graphics that build on the first two games. So, did Retro Studios and Nintendo deliver?
PRIMED FOR STORY
Space pirates recently attacked the galactic federation starship Valhalla. The pirates uploaded a virus into the ships aurora unit, one of many organic supercomputers connected to the galactic federation network. The virus quickly spreads to other aurora units throughout the network until it was finally contained. The federation calls upon the help of four bounty hunters, including series heroine Samus Aran, to help eradicate this virus.
During the course of these events, Samus will travel to different planets and locations doing battle with space pirates, indigenous life forms, and the returning Dark Samus. She will even do battle with her own growing phazon corruption, caused by Dark Samus herself. It's a good story, but nothing groundbreaking. Groundbreaking would be saved for ..
PRIMED FOR GAMEPLAY
Nintendo promised a revolutionary first-person control scheme for MP3, and mostly kept their word. You move Samus around by using the nunchuck's analogue stick, while pointing with the Wii-mote to turn and aim. Now then, you may ask yourself: well, that's just like Red Steel's or Medal Of Honor's slow-moving, screen-dragging style! Well, you would be right, that is if you kept the sensitivity at the default setting. So I highly, highly highly recommend going to the options screen and choosing the advanced sensitivity option. It will make controlling Samus much more precise and responsive, and blows pretty much any other First-person console control scheme out of the water. Seriously, do this and the game is a dream to play.
Now, shooting Samus's beam weapon is as easy as pointing at what you want dead and pressing A. Jumping is as easy as pressing the B trigger on the Wii-mote. Metroid Prime's excellent lock-on system is also present, activated by pointing at an enemy and holding the Z button on the nunchuck. During lock-on, you can still free aim with the Wii-mote, while strafing and jumping to dodge attacks. This actually makes MP3 a lot easier than the previous two games. Enemies will take more shots to die, but besides bosses not many dished out tons of damage. I didn't die once from the beginning to the end of the game, and while some may be thankful of this after playing MP2, I was a little disappointed in the lack of challenge in combat. The aforementioned bosses in the game provide the only real challenges you'll probably face in MP3. Luckily, they are all fantastic and are a blast to play. I still find Meta-Ridley from MP1 as my favorite Prime boss fight, but a lot of these come awfully close to dethroning him.
Samus also has her missiles, which are activated by pressing down on the Wii-motes d-pad. It's a little awkward at first, but you get used to it pretty easily. One thing I should mention is that unlike the previous games, once you upgrade one of Samus's weapons, that is how they will stay. So no choosing between the power and plasma beams, you will just have to use the plasma beam from now on. It's not a huge deal and it was obviously done to get around the Wii-motes limited buttons, but I personally liked using Samus's different weapons. I also would have liked some Metroid Prime weapons to make a return, such as the wave beam, the super missile, and the ice beam. Unfortunately, they are nowhere to be found. Once again, not a huge deal, but a little disappointing.
The morph ball also makes its triumphant return. Activate it by pressing the C button on the nunchuck, and then move around by using the analogue stick. Morph ball bombs are dropped by pressing the A button, and you can still do classic morph ball bomb jumps. The classic boost ball, screw attack, and spider-ball upgrades are also present and accounted for. Thanks to the Wii's motion sensing, you can also hop in morph ball mode by flicking the Wii-mote up. While this worked well staying still, sometimes the motion didn't register when I was rolling at full speed. However, that's just one drop in the MP3 motion control pond, which I will get to later.
Samus also has three different visors she can use. Changing visors is as easy as holding the minus button on the Wii-mote and pointing at whichever visor you need. There's the scan visor, which analyzes enemies, environments, lore entries, and the like. Just like in the previous games, the scan visor will give you information on these things and store them in your logbook. Then you get a new addition to the visor family: the command visor. This allows Samus to call in her gunship at certain areas to dock, pick up items, or initiate a missile attack. The last visor is the X-ray visor, which is used to find hidden switches or enemies. It can even point out certain enemy's weak points and allows you to zoom in on them for easy kills. Very cool.
Next is the grapple lasso, which is handled very nicely with Wii motion sensing. Hold Z to lock on to a grapple point, then flick the nunchuck forward to latch on. You can also use the lasso to rip off panels, turn switches, and liberate enemies of their shields by locking on, flicking the nunchuck forward, then pulling the nunchuck backwards. It's really cool to do and immerses you into the action considerably. The rest of the motion controls in MP3 consist of turning switches and inserting keys. Just like the grapple lasso, very responsive and cool to perform. A game has to be good if it makes inserting keys and turning things on this much fun :)
The last new feature introduced in MP3 is hypermode. Shortly after Samus is corrupted, she gains this ability by holding the plus button on the Wii-mote to inject one of her energy tanks inter herself. The energy bar in then replaced by a single blue bar and Samus is able to shoot super powered phazon beams and missiles at her opponents. However, if you stay in hypermode too long, the blue bar will turn red and begin to rise. If it fills up, Samus becomes fully corrupt and dies. If this happens, fire the phazon beam as fast as you can to drain the bar and return to normal mode. Thankfully, you can press the plus button during hypermode to back out of it before this happens.
MP3 is more action packed than the previous games thanks to these controls and additions. You'll find yourself fending off more space pirates than ever before. However, that doesn't mean that the MP traditions of fantastic environmental puzzles have been sacrificed. Half the fun of a MP game is figuring out how to pass a certain area or beat a boss. Some may require the spider ball or screw attack. Some may require you to enter hypermode, use a certain visor, or use your grapple lasso in some way to reach a hidden pick-up or door. The great and easy to use MP map system is still here and ready to help you solve these as well. Just hit that 1 button on the Wii-mote.
PRIMED FOR GRAPHICS
I may be spoiled on hi-def graphics, but Metroid Prime 3 is still a visual delight. While not a HUGE leap over MP2, it's a certainly is a big one. Environments are highly detailed, textures are crisper, and there is more attention to detail than ever before. The artistry in MP3 is second to none. Every planet you explore just comes to life with lava, machinery, snow, trees, buildings, statues, all looking great. Just try to step out onto an open platform in Skytown, look around, and not be impressed. I especially liked the Hall Of Remembrance on planet Bryyo. Weapon and lighting effects as always are also impressive. Sometimes you just want to shoot off Samus's arsenal in an empty room just to look at them. Various cut-scenes in the game are also very cinematic and well done.
The best part of Metroid Prime graphics though is the little details. The way steam fogs up Samus's visors. The way raindrops make little splashes on Samus's weapon. The way you can see Samus's face reflected in the scan visor or when an explosion goes off in her face. I can go on and on about these very impressive things that make Retro Studios truly one of the best. All this runs smoothly at 60fps in 480p and 16:9 widescreen.
(By the way, who else noticed Samus's face becoming more corrupted as the game progressed, or the four lights above Samus's energy bar that represents your Wii-mote's battery life?)
PRIMED FOR SOUND
Metroid Prime 3 for the most part still retains the same great music and sound effects it's predecessors had. The sound effects are as good as ever, with Samus's beam weapons, explosions, spaceships, enemies, and the like sounding exactly like you expect them to. The music in the game, once again composed by Kenji Yamamoto, is good overall but not as good as the previous games. There are mostly excellent tracks (MP3 theme, Skytown, the boss battle themes) and there are some that just didn't sit well with me (Bryyo thorn jungle, which basically sounds like horns blaring on and off). The good still outweighs the bad, though.
In another first for the series, MP3 has full voice acting, just not from Samus herself. Galactic federation troops, the three other bounty hunters, and the aurora units get the bulk of the lines, and are well done for the most part. I would have liked to hear Samus's thoughts on different situations and people. Well, maybe in Metroid Prime 4 (crosses fingers). All this runs in Dolby pro logic II.
PRIMED FOR GREATNESS
Using your scan visor during the game to scan enemies, lore entries (backstory on the different planets you will go to) and other things will earn you credits. Defeating bosses and certain enemies will also give you these credits. You can also earn friend vouchers by accomplishing certain tasks in the game (getting 100 kills, performing a stylish kill, finding a new are). You can then sent these friend vouchers to someone on your Wii friend list who has Metroid Prime 3, and hope they will sent you some back in return. These vouchers, when received from friends, also become credits, and are needed in conjunction with the regular credits to unlock various goodies like galleries and music. Also, collecting all 100 pickups in the game, including expansions and energy tanks, will unlock bonus endings, so those who missed out the first time have something to come back to. You also unlock harder difficulties after game completion, which should take the average gamer between 15-20 hours. Plus, you'll just want to replay it because it's so damn fun.
Metroid Prime 3 lives up to its hype and is one of the best games on the Nintendo Wii. Besides minor annoyances, the major fault in MP3 lies in it not adding much to the Prime formula and basically lacking that wow feeling that MP1 had. That shouldn't stop Metroid fans and Wii owners from one of the best game experiences this year or any other.
+Best first-person control scheme on any console
+Great boss battles
+Decent story and voice acting
+Great music for the most part
+Most motion controls are greatly implemented and add to the game
+It's just damn fun
-Nothing really new added to the Prime formula
-Lacks that wow feeling that Metroid Prime had
-Easier than it's predecessors
-Morph ball motion control jumps sometimes didn't register
-A couple of music tracks gave me a headache
-Giving Samus a voice would have been nice
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 09/11/07
Game Release: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (US, 08/27/07)
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