Review by zeshin_reloaded

"Proof the FPS's on the Wii can be great"

I need to establish something really quickly, and that's that I didn't even know what the hell Metroid was before the Prime series came out, Retro Sudio's FPS reimagining of the classic game series. One cause of this is that I didn't grow up with a Super Nintendo back in the 90's, pledging my loyalty to the Genesis.

I know it's a widely heralded title, but I personally was not very impressed with the first Prime game. While the controls and combat were decent, I was considerably less delighted by the mandatory scavenger hunts for special tools and weapons that made progression come to a screeching halt. Corruption, however, finally sweetened my disposition to the potential of a 3D Metroid game.

Now, I love good game stories. Strong, deep narratives support immersion to the extent that not even amazing graphics are capable of. This is why games like Metroid frustrate me. While the setting is fantastic, little is actually done with it. All the narrative boils down to is Samus, a female bounty hunter, being infected with a corruptive substance known as Phazon. Phazon is spreading across the galaxy and messing up the standing government's biological computer network and Samus needs to act as proxy pest control, seeing as the Orcon man is on vacation. That's pretty much it. While this is the first Metroid game to feature voice-acting, the plot is depressingly shallow. Abnormally, this contrasts to the attention to detail that Samus' surroundings are given. There is certainly plenty of hidden lore and back-story to look into, but you could understand the main plot easily without reading any of these extra, literary tidbits.

Referring back to my original problem with the Metroid Prime series, I hate having to scour every bit of the over-world to find the one item I need in some obscure corner in order to finally advance the game. While this scavenger hunt still exists in the series third installment, the world design is crafted in such a way that makes the hunts not nearly so annoying.

This time, Corruption takes place over several different planets. This segments the maps into more manageable pieces to analyze rather than one huge map that you need to wade through both in person and in reading the cartography. It helps the player find their way around quicker and provides better context for clues on how to progress the game.

The puzzle element of the game returns here as well for the better. While they more so rely on simply using a certain piece of equipment rather than actual thinking, the puzzles are intuitive and fun. It's nothing overly complex, but puzzles aren't really a big focus of the Metroid universe. That's where the combat comes in.

Corruption's new controls are the hook that finally sunk into me. The Wii motion controls prove that a Wii FPS can actually be good. While turning Samus' whole body is just a tad slow, the actual blast works are great fun. Jumping around and constantly tapping the fire button while keep your target trained on foes just works so well. Corruption is a benchmark for Wii FPS's, one that will hopefully become the norm.

Like I mentioned before, Prime's artistic direction in its universe is delicious. It's not technologically impressive, but the inspired visual design gives each world and location varied moods and themes that convey their individual messages perfectly. One way it accomplishes this is just by all the little things it has in the barely noticed background. Take a few minutes in a single room and all the caring attention to detail is displayed so vividly. Corruption is a just a beautiful game to look at organically and architecturally.

Unfortunately, the music doesn't quite live up to the same caliber the visuals achieve. While the sonic offerings this game has aren't bad in the slightest, they still are ultimately forgettable. The techno-centric music does it's best to support an isolated environment, a constant theme in the Metroid series. A few tracks return from past entries, accompanying the few original pieces. The sound effects are at the very least decent and convincing. Sadly, it follows the same path so many games before have with their music. In the end, the soundtrack does little more than subtly foster mood and atmosphere, hardly justifying the purchase of an OST.

I'm normally wary of genre crosses, but Corruption finally made me a believer in the FPS/Adventure genre. It finally fixes problems that the last games have had while still managing to improve what was good about the older entries to begin with. It has nearly flawless controls, a stream-lined design philosophy, and varied artistic visuals. The game's sheer length makes it difficult to complete in a short rental weekend, clocking in around 25 hours. Therefore, Corruption is a worthy must-buy for any Wii owners.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 09/15/08

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

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