Review by SuperAgentSmith
With Big Shoes to Fill, Corruption Does Nicely
The Metroid Prime series, has always been one of the best, if not THE best FPS around. Metroid Prime, released in 2002 dazzled us with insanely detailed graphics, incredibly diverse and interesting enviroments that make it very easy to just get lost in the beautiful scenery, with a perfect music score set to each specific are to draw you in even further, the kind of story that just draws you right in with the right combination of elements, and an incredibly well thought out gameplay system, truly broke the mold of traditional FPS's. Where most FPS's are pretty straight forward, and have clear objectives, that require little to no thought on what to do next, Metroid Prime actually made exploring a KEY element to the FPS genre.
Then, 2 years later, along cam Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. This game improved upon many aspects of Metroid Prime. The graphics were even more detailed, pushing the Gamecube to it's limits. MP2 continued the story of Prime 1 and brought you even closer to understanding the true purpose of what Phazon is. Along with the graphical upgrades, it also received an upgrade in the level of difficulty, which from my understanding, is loved by some, not so much by others.
Being a big fan of the Prime series, I was both excited and sad in a way, when I heard that Metroid Prime 3 Corruption was going to be released for the then called "Revolution". Excited because there was finally going to be another chapter added to this great series, sad because I knew it would be a longer wait for the game. And sure enough, instead of the 2 year wait we had between Primes 1&2, we had a 3 year wait. So the question truly is.....was it worth it all? To be blunt..yes, yes it was! Considering the vast leaps that Metroid Prime, and Metroid Prime 2 made, expectations of this game were extremely high, and the fact that it was to be released on a next-gen console raised the bar even higher. And while Metroid Prime 3 Corruption doesn't completely fill the shoes that it's predecessors, it does an extremely nice job in the attempt!
The Story - One of the elements in this game that out performs it predecessors, the story in this game is much more in depth, with the addition of cutscenes, and being able to interact with other characters, not seen in any other Metroid game except MP2, in which you were able to converse with U-Mos...however in Prime 3, there are tons of plot develpoments going on all the time. This, in my opinion is both a blessing, and a curse. The blessing is that you get and incredible storyline, and yes the characters DO talk in this game...but Samus stays as silent as ever. The curse would be that, in no point during the game, did I ever have that Metroid feeling of, "being alone". However the increased story more than makes up for this minor inconvenience. While I won't go into the critical parts of the story and spoil it for you, all I will say is this. Metroid Prime 3 connects all 3 games superbly, and closes the series very nicely, while still setting up for a possible future game. But make no mistake by that last comment, if there is another Metroid game, it will NOT be in the Prime series, as this one closes it...and makes it very clear it does so as well!
The Gameplay - The gameplay for MP3:C sets a fine example of what all FPS's for the Wii should be like. The controls are extremely simple, and very quick to master. The basic rundown of the controls are this, aim and turn by moving the Wii Remote, press (A) to fire, (B) to jump, press (V) on the D-Pad to fire missiles, hold the (-) button to bring up the Visor select, hold the (+) to go into hypermode (more on this later), press (1) to go to your map screen, which unlike in previous games, the map screen is no longer seperate from the logbook and options screen. Use the control stick on the nunchuck to move, press (Z) on the nunchuck to use your grapple beam (more on this later), (C) on the nunchuck to morph into, and out of morphball mode. So I'll say it once more....extremely easy, once you get the remote in your hands and use it, it becomes like riding a bike. While in morph ball mode, control your movement with the joystick, drop bombs with (A), use the spiderball with (Z).
Now, there are 3 sensitivity settings for the Wii Remote itself, Basic, Standard, and Advanced. The Basic setting makes it to where you can aim without having the screen move unless you place the cursor on the the far edge of the screen. Standard, allows you to turn more quickly, i.e. you don't have to have the cursor on the far edge of the screen, and Advanced (my favy) makes it to where you turn if the cursor moves slightly off center. Even with the Advanced setting you won't turn SUPER fast, but this game was designed for it, so it's fast enough! The lock on feature is still here, however slightly altered to conform to the Wii. By this I mean, while you can lock on to enemies, there is an option called Lock On Free Aim, which allows you to lock onto an enemy, which will keep that enemy at the center of your screen, however you can still aim at other enemies on the screen! Turning this option off, makes it just like the old Prime games, your aim is locked onto 1 enemy.
This game makes good use of the Wii Remote and Nunchuck to do simple tasks, such as placing and removing energy cells. You actually have to walk up to the energy cell, press the (A) button to grab the handle, twist the Remote to unlock it, and pull the Remote towards you to pull the cell out of it's container. Simple things like that, however they are a nice feature. One of the coolest things about this is the grapple lasso. Certain enemies will have shields, and you can rip their shield off with your grapple, and how you do this is when your in range (you'll know this by the familiar little *orange hook* is over the shield), you fling the nunchuck towards the screen to latch onto it with your grapple, and pull it back to pull away the shield! Like I said before there are other uses for the grapple other than just pulling shileds off enemies, and as small as these additions may seem, they really do change the gameplay from the previous titles!
Hypermode is a new element which adds different aspects to the gameplay. A basic rundown of this is , at the cost of 1 energy tank, you can access hypermode, granting you incredible power, however there is a cost to this, your health meter is replaced by a white bar representing the amount of phazon energy you have left. Now if you stay in hypermode long enough of recieve to much damage, the bar will turn red and start steadily increasing, now at first glance you'd think "oh good, my energy is replenishing itself", however, while it is doing this, if the meter becomes full, and you are unable to exple the excess Phazon, you die...no if's ands or buts. So you have to be careful while using it, however it is a very muchly required tool in the game, as enemies can also go into hypermode, thus basically increasing their strength by 3 fold.
The difficulty of this game has been reduced from Prime 2, and I would say is on par, if not a little easier than Prime 1. Thats not a terribly bad thing, since from what I hear most gamers prefer it that way, however I myself loved Hard mode of Prime 2, anything less than that is to easy. But for people like me, there is a difficulty mode in MP3 called "Hypermode", yes after the ability in the game, and rightly so. You do have to beat the game once on either Normal or Veteran, and those basically measure up like this, Normal=Easy mode, Veteran=Normal mode suggested for the first playthrough, as "Normal", is downright pathetic in terms of difficulty. However once you unlock Hypermode, then the game becomes very fun and difficult at the same time, your enemies do way more damage, you do way less damage, some enemies are quicker (same goes for some bosses), and plus to make matters even worse (or better in my opinion), enemies enter hyper mode around 3 times more often than Veteran Mode, making this one tough cookie to crack! However, the sense of exploration and that aformentioned "feeling of being all alone" are now gone. As this game is quite linear with it's constantly updating mission objectives, (with no way to turn them off like the hint systems in Primes 1&2!), which are conveyed through constant contact with an AU, (Basically, the Federation's talking computer.) This also takes away that alone feeling. And while unlike Metroid Fusion, where that game will confine you to an area until you complete the objective, it IS like that game in the way that you are constantly being hounded to move to another area to collect something, then once you do that your hounded to go search another area...basically your a 2 yar old kid in the grocery store and your mom and dad are holding your hands, walking you through it. There is no sense of figuring out for yourself where to go and how to use certain items, which as we all know is a major point in any Metroid Game!!!
Now for the visors, Combat Visor, Scan Visor, Command Visor, and X-Ray Visor. If you've played any of the previous Primes, you know that the Combat visor is your standard visor that you perform most actions with. With the Scan visor selected, you are unable to attack or grapple, however you are able to gather valuable data on enemies and the enviroment.
The Command Visor is a brand new Visor to the Prime series, which allows you to perform various functions with Samus' ship. such as calling in bombing runs, calling the ship to different landing pads, and picking up and hauling various objects. Now while this sounds cool, and the times you get to use it to call in the bombing runs and haul objects are very cool, the main use for this visor is to save you from having to walk all the way back to where you landed your ship, hence when you find another landing pad, (yes you have to find pre-set landing pads, you can't just call your ship to pick you up anywhere, which each world has on the average of 3 pads), you call your ship and it will land there. Now The bombing runs are cool..however, just as with the landing pads, you can't just call in a strike anywhere you want...there are only around 5, give or take, places you actually bomb something in the game. Hauling objects is kinda nifty, however once again, you can't haul objects to different planets, and as with the bombing runs, there are only a select number of objects and times this function can be performed. The idea behind this visor is incredible, and could have been an interesting function, however the way it is set, most times you actually use this visor, I found to be a nuisance than a pleasure.
The X-Ray visor returns from Prime 1 with a few new uses for it. 1 being there are certain locks on doors, that can only be seen and interacted with, with the X-Ray visor, it sounds the same as the echo visor from Prime 2, but this is different, and in a good way!. Another use for it is enemies, and no, not just seeing invisible enemies, once you find this Visor and the beam that is meant to be used with it, you can OHK a lot of the tougher enemies.
The Scan Visor. Now this is basically the same as it is in the previous titles, as in, the scans are colored blue, red, and green, same as in Prime 2. Red Scans are your log book scans that have not been previously scanned, Blue scans are not logbook scans, however they deal with gathering information about the enviroment your in and give you clues as to what basically can be destroyed or bypassed. And if the object is green, that means you've already scanned it, reguardless of whether it was Red or Blue! The only difference with this visor is that you use the Wii Remote to aim a cursor of the the target you want scanned..allowing you to pinpoint much easier what you want to scan.
The beams have been changed once again in this game..now implementing some sort of "beam stacking" system. Now you might be thinking, like me "oh cool, custumizable beams like in Super Metroid!"..wrong...there are only 3 beams in this game (not counting the Hyper beam, which no matter what beam you have you switch to it when your in hypermode) Power, Plasma, Nova. Once you collect your second beam, the power beam is lost forever, and once you collect the third beam, the second one is gone for good!, No going into a menu and switching beams, nothing like that......this, I feel, is much like the Command Visor, a great idea, with incredible possiblities, it just kinda fails to deliver. But thats not to say the beams aren't cool, oh no no! They're fantastic...I'm simply stating that there could have been a lot more done with the Beam Stacking system!
The Graphics- While there is definately an improvement in the graphics department of the Gamecube, and the particle effects in this game (i.e. smoke, sparks etc.) are outstanding, the general level of detail of the main graphics, while improved, are not improved as much as I would have hoped for a leap from Gamecube to Next-Gen console. Don't get me wrong, the graphics are outstanding, but a next-gen consol should be capable of a little more. That's not so much a gripe, as it is just a puzzling question. But believe me, the graphics are still very very VERY good.
The Sound- Ahh yes, after the superb soundtrack of Prime 1, and the great soundtrack of Prime 2, Prime 3 should outdo them all right?...Wrong. Not saying the sounds and music is bad..quite the opposite, it's very good. There are some truly beautiful pieces of music here such as the Skytown piece. The sounds are nice, but not much of an improvement of the GC. In terms of the soundtrack, MP3 has high moments, and low spots.....but the high points outweigh the bad. In terms of a comparison with Primes 1&2, I would rate them like this. Sounds=MP3>-MP2>-MP1..yes this has improved in the sound quality part, however for the actual music score....Prime1>>Prime2=Prime3.....yeah, pretty much on par with Echoes in the music department, both games have some really great pieces, but some that are not so great.
Replayability- Pretty decent. For the average gamer just looking for a good game. I would say that Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has a little replayability. Your first playthrough of course, then your trip through hypermode dificulty, and then a final quest to collect every item, if not done so on the previous playthroughs. But this game doesn't have a lot hidden behind the curtain so-to-speak, as in, once you collect 100%, and beat the game on hypermode difficulty, you've seen all this game has to offer. Sure there are some unlockables, such as design art, and some select music tracks from the game, but these are unlocked by credits earned during the game by defeating bosses, scanning lore and enemies. Not something just the average gamer would enjoy replaying a couple times to collect absolutely everything...it just wouldn't be worth it to most of them. Now for the Metroid fans such as myself. It has a high replayability, the story doesn't get old easy, as I said before, there are plenty of unlockable extras, and all sorts of goodness. But I believe for any Metroid fan, the story and gameplay are reasons enough to replay this game!
So with all of that out of the way, here is just a quick summary of that long review!
The Story- 9/10, A vast improvement on the story-telling aspect of the Metroid games, and it really closes the series well!
The Gameplay- 10/10, Superb handling of the controls. A very solid game, with very solid controls!
The Graphics- 8/10, Wasn't what I was expecting from a Next-Gen console, however they were still an improvement from the Gamecube!
The Sound- 8/10, Good sound quality, Good overall music score!
Replayability- 8/10, For Metroid fans....replayability is a 9, for the average gamer, it's a 7.
So that comes out to around an 8.5...but this game is worth a round up to a full 9! A solid story line, perfection in the controls and gameplay, great graphics and sound, and decent replayability!
A lot of these reviews have a recommendation for whether to buy or rent the game. Well, unless you have one of those GameFly accounts or it's equivalent, or your just a very rich guy that can rent games from the local blockbuster for unheard of amounts of time, then reguardless of whether or not your a fan or just an average gamer, I would suggest you buy this one. Metroid fans w ill not be disappointed, and the average gamer won't be either to have this as part of his/her collection! That and the game is rather long, for instance my first playthrough, it took me aroune 14 hours to complete, granted I collected every item, but still...thats a long time for a rental.....unless you don't have to work, then rent it for the weekend, pull a couple of all nighters, and your good!...But really, this truly is a great game, and well with the price tag!
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (US, 08/27/07)
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