Review by HighOnPhazon

"Doesn't live up to its predecessors, but remains a fun adventure."

I'll start right off by saying that Corruption could have, and should have been a lot better than it turned out. I bought the Wii for this game, and being a huge fan of the first two Prime games, and the Metroid Series itself, it was a no-brainer to go ahead and pick this up. Finding a Wii was tough at first, but once I got one, I found numerous stores that had this in stock. Didn't seem to be a hot seller at the time of its release (I still see tons of copies in stores…but I saw the same thing with Echoes), but the Prime games, besides the first one, really were a niche series that some loved and others hated. I can see why some would be turned off by this game, especially vets of Super Metroid. You either get the first person adventuring/platforming, or you don't and skip it over. Hearing about this sequel's new motion controls is what originally got me excited, but also the thought of new worlds to explore, new enemies to destroy, and new power-ups to collect filled my mind with nostalgia. After getting home and playing for a few hours, I realized that I might not be in for the definitive Prime experience after all.

Right off the bat you will notice very little difference graphically between this and the previous Prime offerings. I know a lot of people are going to read that line and scoff, but really, if you boil it down and play them back to back, I don't see much difference in their looks. The Wii really isn't this hidden powerhouse some Nintendo fans seem to think it is, and I believe that this is about all it can muster (This and Galaxy of course). This didn't deter me however, I knew going into the game that it wouldn't be a huge leap. Some effects though, were improved, like particles, lighting and smoke, but it's still the same Prime mold, with a few added touch ups. I got this “washed out” feeling while playing this game. The colors weren't as vivid, vibrant or…alien as they were in the first and even second Prime game. I actually felt less variety in this game, visually, than Echoes. Echoes had some serious problems in environment and graphical variety, but this one never wowed me once. I've seen the abandoned civilization wasteland already (Chozo Ruins/Agon) the fire blasted furnace pit (Magmoor) and the technological utopia (Sanctuary Fortress). There is one world in Corruption, fairly late in the game, that was actually very unique, but it's so short and contrived that it almost doesn't count at all.

The control is perhaps the best part about this game that sets it apart from Prime 1 and 2. The Wiimote is a fine addition to the series, and aiming, jumping and running around has never been more fluid or accurate. I prefer this control set up to the previous games, hands down, but I wish that the previous games had these controls, because I would find those games to benefit much more, and become even better than they were previously.

The formula continues in Corruption. Samus will hunt down Space Pirates, lose her power ups, gain them again, and lay waste to tons of alien bugs while she defeats larger than life bosses to recover artifacts and complete missions. The biggest departure from the previous games comes from Samus' ability to utilize her ship, and the fact that the adventure does not take place on one single planet, but a couple different ones. This is a cool idea; however, it really took a lot away from the worlds themselves. I'll explain in detail. Basically, Samus now can enter her ship; she even begins the game in her ship. You can manipulate certain parts of her cockpit HUD, but most of the time its just there for effect and does not contribute one bit to the story at all. One time in the beginning of the game (literally) will you utilize a function of her ship to open a communication line. I realize doing that for every world would have been ridiculously repetitive, but they could have factored in a few other things where controlling the ship would come into play.

While exploring, Samus will find a handful of “docking” bays on each planet, where she can land and move her ship, letting her jump around the world and get to various points in the map. This eliminates a bit of back tracking, and also the trademark Metroid Elevators. Now, I liked the idea of multiple planets at first, but as I played a bit into the game I started to not like it. I would of killed for one big planet again, with tons more to see and do. Each planet is pretty short, straightforward and less complex than any previous Prime environment to date. There are very few times where you will get lost (Something I missed really, if you are a Metroid fan, this is expected) because you actually have your hand held through a majority of the game. Reminiscent of Fusion, you now have an AI telling you where your next objective lies. Much like the hint system before it, but you cannot turn this off. This really bugged me, and it killed the exploration a ton. Not only were the worlds a lot shorter and had a lot less to find and see, but now I have this thing telling me where to go next. Wow, thanks.

Let's get a bit more into the exploration and power up section of this review. As a fan of the treasure hunting aspect of almost all of the old Metroid games, this one really gets streamlined and downright sloppy in its execution. Most of the expansions and E-tanks are very easy to find in this game, more so than any other title in the series. Beyond Missile upgrades and Health, there are a Ship Missiles. Ship Missiles are the most useless and complete waste of a power up in the universe of video games. See, Samus has a Command visor that allows her to call in an air strike in certain, open areas in various places on the different planets. This also comes into play for a few puzzle related tasks. You have one point in the game where it is required to blow something up with its weaponry, but after that, you can use it against groups of enemies. Sounds awesome right? It isn't. It's completely pointless, and 99% of the time, you will forget that you have the ability to call your ship to aid you. Not only that, you don't NEED to do it at all, ever. The enemies in this game are all fairly easy and predictable. The point of getting these expansions to your ship missiles? Getting 100%, and that is all. I would have liked to see a useful power up be brought into play in this game, something that I actually cared to get, but instead I'm collecting useless junk. You have to get all of these to get a complete game, but doing so really makes you feel cheated.

Samus' arsenal this game is pretty limited as well, but a lot better than its prequel, Echoes. Scrapping the beam ammo idea, now we have our basic Power Beam back, Missiles, and a couple of different upgrades for it that stack, ala Super Metroid. Before you get all excited, let me just tell you that you've seen them both before (albeit in different applications) and there is nothing really neat about them. I won't spoil these weapons, or some of the puzzles that they are utilized in, but they are fun at first. There is one weapon that you will use in certain parts of the game that I felt got overused to the point where I didn't want to do it anymore. Some may disagree.

The newest thing about Samus this game is what physical change she has gone through. Samus is now, in a lack for better words, Corrupted with Phazon. Phazon, the enigmatic, otherworldly substance, makes its final return in this game, and Samus takes full advantage of its side effects. Samus can now enter Hyper Mode, where she becomes basically invulnerable and lethal. Hyper Mode is where the game becomes more of an action/shooter than the other Prime games. Hyper Mode requires one full energy tank to activate. Upon entering Hyper Mode, you suck 99 units of energy into your suit and become a walking fire mission. Your arm cannon fires pure Phazon energy, which literally disintegrates everything in its path. Most normal enemies will die to a couple Hyper Blasts. The flip side to Hyper Mode is where and when to use it. Certain enemies will also go into Hyper Mode, and cannot be dispatched by any other means effectively, but by going into the mode yourself. It's possible to kill hyper enemies using your standard load out, but they will deplete far more energy from you than one single tank by going into Hyper.

Bosses in this game require that you take advantage, and precaution of Hyper Mode. In order to inflict damage on almost all the bosses in this game, you need to weed out their weak spot, and go Hyper. Sometimes using Hyper Mode will actually get you killed. If you do not dissipate enough Phazon while Hyper, you will actually start to build up a toxin level that will overpower your systems and kill you outright. Going Hyper too often and not strategically will destroy you. E-Tanks are far more valuable in this game than they ever were before, which makes me think they were easy to find for a reason.

The Bosses in Corruption are hit and miss. Previous games had epic boss encounters, and a few of them were challenging and full of tension. In Corruption, there are three bosses that stand out as being possibly the best in the series, but then there are the rest, which I consider probably the weakest of all the games. Its funny how this game can have the best and worst of both worlds. Without spoiling much, one of the earlier boss battles features not only kick ass music, but an epic fight that will probably be the highlight of the game until the end. There are a couple more awesome fights, one being just a bit better than the one I mentioned here, but other than that, the bosses suffer from extreme repetitive move sets. Almost all “main” bosses emit the same type of attacks, and they all have similar weak points.

The story behind Corruption is actually the most fleshed out narrative in the Prime series, if that says anything. There is voice-work but it's not going to change your life. Basically, Samus has enlisted the help of the Federation against its war with the Pirate Horde, and it's now Phazon enhanced armies. Dark Samus returns from Echoes, pulling the strings behind the scenes, and causing havoc throughout the Galaxy until the final showdown. It's better than previous titles, but like I said, it's nothing special. Nobody plays the Metroid games for story.

One thing I almost forgot to touch on was the Music. I've been a fan of the music of all the Metroid games, but this one has some of the best tracks in the series. There are a couple clunkers, but some boss fights and one particular remix on a later planet really elevated this sound wise above Echoes. It's still not as good as Prime musically, but not much is.

After it's all said and done and I've critiqued the hell out of this title, I have to say that I had fun. It's not the best game in the series, but it's not the worst either. Being a fan of this series, I cannot easily dislike this game. I do however; dislike more things about this game than the other two. The lack of unique power ups, the streamlined exploration and length, and some of the main boss repetitiveness really toned this title down a notch. However, some of the music, the few awesome boss encounters and the motion controls keep it afloat. If this was released on the game cube (I'm sure it could have been, minus the controls) it would probably not live up to my expectations at all, but certain things keep this title fresh, and enough to warrant a play through. Do yourself a favor, if you're a fan, just rent this one, start on Veteran difficulty and go from there. Come to your own conclusions.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 02/04/08

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

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