For better or worse, Samus Aran has made me her b****.
I mean, I've never been fond of an FPS game, for reasons you might have read about.
I've certainly never completed one without cheating. Come to think of it, I've simply never completed one. But this was to change when Samus took charge in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
I mean, for one thing, she is one of the very few who can really carry out the "silent hero" theme that Nintendo is so fond of with their brand characters. You see her walking around, and you know that she's just too tough for your average soldier to get an aknowledge from in form of words. Not arrogant, just too tough. And when getting a mission briefing, she's far too professional to crack a stupid one-liner about it. Leave that to the amateurs.
Then there is the most active use of the Wiimote I've played so far (though my experience is limited). The first two days I played the game, the constant aiming at the screen really took its toll on my wrist. I'm talking pain as if I'd been playing Guitar Hero's "I wanna be sedated" on Expert 30 times in a row. With down-strumming only. And this is someone who can use the mouse all day long and never even notice it. But apart from taking time for my wrist to get used to it, I found that the controls are tight and that Samus executes my commands - wait, better call that suggestions, wouldn't want her to think someone's commanding her - almost perfectly, although I could have wished for a quick-turn every now and then. It's fairly intuitive, and you should easily move along to the adventure.
Said adventure is told partially through cutscenes and rather boring mission briefing transmissions, and if that's enough for you, go ahead. But although it's a good (though not particularly original) story, it's very sparingly told if you just run through the game. The nuances and details that flesh it out are to be found in the computer logs on each planet, giving you quite a lot of background that shows how it all makes more sense. Personally, I enjoyed being made to fill out the story this way, but not everybody will be as happy as I was with it. But hey, nobody's forcing you to read this.
However, the main plot loses some momentum after the first planet. Because during those parts, you'll often see the Galactic Federation as well as fellow bounty hunters pass by while you're still fighting your own enemies, and occassionally you'll meet up with them. It makes for a very intense and dynamic progression, and it's a bit of a downer that you'll then be pretty much on your own for the rest of the game, with only the transmissions to keep you company.
Of course, if anyone can handle being alone, it's Samus. With her trusty and never-emptying beam gun, her missiles, her grapple beam, her morphing ball bombs, and occassionally even her ship, she is well equipped to deal with the enemies in her path. And thanks to the well-known Metroid-style exploration of the worlds, you will end up with plenty of upgrades that makes you one hell of a fighting force. Most of the main upgrades are primarily designed to take care of the enemies, but some are mainly for the many puzzles. And of course, there are the Energy Tanks and Missily Upgrades scattered all over. And Samus likes those very much, so do not disappoint her by leaving them alone if and when you can get to them.
And here's what really separates Metroid Prime from the average FPS. You will spend at least as much time with the many puzzles in the game as you will fighting enemies. Of course, thanks to her scanning visor, you will always be able to figure out these puzzles fairly easily, but they are still very cool to go through, as you'll have quite a few ways to use your Wii-mote to execute them. As for the missile and health upgrades, you will often need to revisit a planet later on after gaining new abilities, but I recommend you don't make a complete re-sweep after every single main upgrade. The neat exploration will eventually get boring if you to do it that way. (Me, I'm excused. Samus made me do it. I told you she likes having more missiles.)
Speaking of the scanning visor, it also helps Samus simply gain info about a lot of things that aren't puzzle-related, but the second major feature is that it helps her figuring out the weaknesses of her enemies, and damn if that's not just useful but necessary. Because this game's not going to be a cakewalk for the casual gamer, and the boss battles in particular are -intense-. For someone used to the rather big "windows of opportunity" found in f.ex. the Zelda games, I needed to mentally re-adjust to hitting hard, fast and especially precise. The second "planet boss" battle took me half an hour to get through (with a break in between because of the wrist) without even dying, and I was giving out a primal scream at the point of success, before shuddering for a good while afterwards. Being somewhat semi-hardcore, I've managed to beat Normal Mode with only roughly ten deaths, but I doubt I'll ever even try taking on Veteran Mode, no matter how much Samus commands me.
Technically, the graphics won't wow you. However, the designs (which I find more important) of the planets and space pirates more than likely will. The enormous buildings, balls almost as large as small moons held down with gargantuan chains, bio-mechanical structures, etc. makes for a stunning outdoor scenery. Tight corridors may not be as impressive, but since they will always feel a part of the overall structure, it doesn't matter. The soundtrack ranges from "good background scores" to "fricking incredible background scores" (Especially the Skytown score); but at the same time, it never presumes too much, and won't try to steal the spotlight from Samus. I know I wouldn't. The voice acting is not exactly a highlight, but since there's so little of it, that too doesn't distract you too much.
The fans of this series probably already know what they're getting, so this review isn't really for those people. It's rather for the many of you who's not ordinarily into First Person Shooters, and for the many of you who never played through the first two MP games (understandable, considering how few people owned a GC). And there is a lot to recommend for either group, because in short, Metroid Prime 3 is really an action-adventure game that happens to be played from a first-person perspective. The scanning visor is probably the best ingame helper ever (maybe almost too useful at times?), it is intense as three levels of hell even when you're not fighting any enemy, and the fact that it managed to make an anti-FPS gamer like me go through it all the way is a testament to to its appeal. Also, Samus forced me to tell you to buy it.