Review by Banjo_2553

"A very solid Metroid title, with enjoyable controls."

Ever since Super Metroid, we've waited years and years for the next Metroid title. Some of us thought that Metroid was done. Until, in 2002, Retro Studios revived the Metroid series with Metroid Prime. It was a great game, many thought it rivaled Super Metroid in terms of quality, others thought it was the best Metroid ever. Along with Metroid Fusion released, the fans were happy. Since then, we've had numerous Metroid games released, mostly installments to the Prime series, whether it be the main storyline or just spinoffs. After Prime 2 was released, and the news of another, final, Metroid Prime on the new system, Revolution, fans were thrilled. Expectations were high, hype was off the hook, the game's release was surely a thing looked forward to.

So here we are in 2007, and Prime 3 is released on the Revolution. Or should I call it, the 'Wii.' So is the wait worth it? Is this truly an epic end to a great Metroid subseries? Is the gameplay enjoyable? All these questions will be answered in this review.

Story - To get things out of the way, you don't need to play the other Metroid Primes to get the story in this. It is, for the most part, independent from the others. You can start the Prime series in this game and not feel lost in the story whatsoever.

The story starts out that the Federation have been using Aurora Units, biomechanical organisms (oddly shaped as brains) which regulate their systems and provide communications among their bases. Some of the units have become infected with the virulent Phazon, a radioactive substance that can either enhance a creature's physical properties, animate lifeless objects, or, even worse, kill the victim. The Space Pirates, sworn enemies of the Federation, have been using this Phazon to power their armies for months ever since they found it on Tallon IV. The Federation decided to retaliate and use the Phazon as well to enhance their troopers, as they couldn't take on the Phazon-enhanced pirates unaided. Samus, among other hunters hired by the Federation, are recruited to find the infected Aurora Units and clear them of the Phazon. That's basically how it starts out as.

The presentation in this game is a lot more cinematic than other Primes. There's a lot more cutscenes to follow the story along, as well as full voice acting, which is actually quite well done and not that bothersome. Samus still doesn't talk, she's the silent hero everyone knows, so you don't have to worry about that. However, Samus does show her emotions a lot in this game. Overall, the game certainly looks epic.

Gameplay - The gameplay is pretty much flawless. Use the Wii Remote to aim, and fire. It's pretty accurate and I guarantee you'll have no hitches. The game has three aiming styles. The first, and default, is Basic. This lets you aim around without having the screen turn around, unless the cursor is at the edge of the screen. The second is Standard, which allows you to turn when the cursor is close to the edge of the screen. The third, and my favorite, is Advanced, which allows you to turn when the cursor is not at the center of the screen, pretty much. The only downside is that even in Advanced, you still don't turn as fast as in most other FPS's, but considering the nature of Metroid, I think it's fine. You can also lock on to enemies, which lets you focus yourself on one enemy and strafe around it. You can also aim freely while locked on, but you can turn off free aim so that your aim is locked onto the enemy.

Another thing is the intuitive use of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to perform various actions. Stuff like twisting handles, pumping pistons, and unlocking doors with unique locks are all very fun and implemented well. A new feature, which is gladly introduced, is the new uses of the Grapple Beam. Among swinging, you can also lock on to something, cast the Nunchuk forward, which lets the Grapple Beam lock on to that thing, and then yank back the Nunchuk, which does the same thing in the game. It is truly revolutionary.

As a downside, compared to other Metroids, this game has been dumbed down a bit for the general audience. This game is very linear, and your hand is held for most of the time. Even still, that sense that you're alone on a desolate planet (well,multiple ones in this case, but I'll get to that later) is still implemented well. Due to a new bookmarking system for your map (pick a room then click the checkmark to bookmark it) and the item location upgrades later in the game, the item collection is dumbed down. You can easily get all items on your first try with no FAQ or anything to help you.

Among the new features is Hyper mode, which is gotten a little later in the game, and the Command Visor. I'll cover Hyper mode right now. Once you get the PED (Phazon Enhancement Device) Suit (which, aside from the Varia Suit that you start with in the game, is sadly the only suit in the game) you can enter Hyper mode by holding the + Button for one second. In this mode, you have 25 seconds of invulnerability and super-powered weapons. It seems like it may be broken, but this takes out 100 energy units, and the max you can have in this game is 1400 units. (Gotten through Energy Tanks, which are worth 100 units each.) When in this mode, you'll see an energy bar at the top. This is the energy tank you used to activate the mode. When you use any of your attacks, it'll deplete the energy bar a bit. When the bar is empty, that whole Energy Tank is expended and must be refilled. You can also end Hyper mode prematurely by holding the same + button for a second, and you will have the energy you didn't use returned to you. After a certain point in the game, if Hyper mode is left on for more than 10 seconds, the Phazon energy you injected will start to corrupt you and that aforementioned energy bar will turn red and start to rise. Just attack to keep the corruption down, but remember that you can't manually exit Hyper mode while you're being corrupted. The only way to exit is to let 25 seconds pass while keeping Phazon levels low, or deplete the energy bar. If the bar reaches full, it's Game Over.

The Command Visor is another new feature. You can switch between various visors by holding the - Button and bringing up a visor menu. The center is the Combat Visor, which is the default visor, up portion is the Scan Visor, which lets you scan various things (I'll get into that soon) the left portion for X-Ray Visor, which is gotten late in the game, and the right portion is the Command Visor. With the Command Visor, you can...well, command your ship. You can have it do various tasks, such as land at certain points, do bombing runs, or carry cargo. Just find a Command Icon while the visor is selected and hold Z to command your ship to do the action that the icon shows. (Ship icons are for letting the ship land, Missile icons are for bombing runs, etc.) This really adds some depth to the game, and you feel more connected to your ship this way. Speaking of, your ship also allows you to warp to multiple planets or locations in the galaxy through a new view in the cockpit. You can look around almost freely while sitting in the cockpit and can do various things, such as activate thrusters, bring up detailed data on the game that's been played so far, and even bring up shields or missile systems (which sadly, aren't really used in the game).

The Scan Visor, as I mentioned earlier, lets you scan numerous objects and learn about that object. Sometimes, scanning things are essential to progress in the game. It's vital to use the Scan Visor whenever you can. If you can't pass something, try the Scan Visor to see if something can be scanned! Objects are color-coded while in this visor. Green means the object or type of object has already been scanned. Blue means the object hasn't been scanned. Red means an item that hasn't been scanned and is critical to mission completion.

One last thing for the gameplay part. The game is easy. Easy and short. It can easily last 10 hours on the first run, at least. The Hyper mode gimmick makes certain things easier, the fact that your hand is held most of the time on what to do and where to go, and the overall difficulty is much easier than other Primes. Of course, if you unlock Hyper difficulty, it will sure to please hardcore gamers, as it is one of the hardest Metroid difficulties around so far.
The game seems to be based a lot around combat this time around, probably due to controls. You'll find yourself battling hordes of enemies a lot more, but not to fret, Metroid fans. There's still a fair bit of exploration and puzzles to solve.

Sound - I have to say, the sound is quite top-notch and very realistic. Well, as realistic as a game based on the future can sound. :P The music however, is not the absolute best of the series. That would go to Prime 1, IMO. However, there are a number of really good tracks that are worth listening to, like in most Metroid games. Overall, sound is great, music is also great overall, but nothing outstanding.

Replayability - Ah yes...that ever-so elusive replayability factor. Well, what can I say? A Metroid fan would definitely find replayability in just playing the game over and over again, and I understand that. For the casual, there may not be much incentive to play again. Although, for the hardcore unlockers who want to get every secret in the game, there is a new Credit system. There are four types of credits. Gold Credits are boss credits usually, which you get for defeating a boss in the game. You can get one in Normal/Veteran difficulties (it's shared) and one in Hyper difficulty for the same boss, so there's some incentive in playing on Hyper difficulty. Blue Credits are gotten through scanning informational data to your Logbook, where critical scans taken with the Scan Visor are stored. Red Credits are gotten through scanning various creatures in the game, and Green Credits are gotten through trading special Friend Vouchers to your Wii Friends in your Wii's Address Book. Friend Vouchers are gotten through "achievements" in the game, such as passing a certain area without taking damage, finding a certain optional item, bombing a large structure, stuff like that. Thus, your Wii needs access to the internet if you wish to unlock everything. This is an all single-player game, so you won't find replayability in multiplayer.

So all the factors have been covered about the game. Here is a recap.

Story: 6/10, not outstanding, but it is great for a Metroid title, which usually has relatively little story involved.
Gameplay: 10/10, the gameplay is very enjoyable. All the little movements you can do with the controller is implemented very well, I find no flaws with it.
Sound: 8/10, standard quality for Metroid titles. Excellent sound, great soundtrack.
Replayability: 7/10, not that great for a casual player, but of course Metroid fans find replayability in just replaying the main game.

So overall, an 9 out of 10. The game is very enjoyable, would be perfect if there weren't for the slightest flaws, but it is a very solid Metroid title indeed. Now for the moment of truth. Is it...

Buy or Rent?

It's a definite buy. For the Metroid fans it's pretty much what they wished for in the game, and is worth owning to their collection. For casuals, I'd recommend it simply because of the controls. They're very solid and provide for an enjoyable and immersive gaming experience.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/08/07

Game Release: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (US, 08/27/07)

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