Having played through Metroid Prime 3: Corruption three times now, it is safe to say I really like this game. But that's mainly because I really like the Metroid Prime series. The original Metroid Prime
was a game revolution
(pardon the pun, gracious hosts) which took an old game series and flawlessly translated it into a 3d adventure world. But its first sequel, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
, was really nothing more than a rehash of MP1. MP2 was an excellent game in and of itself, but it was nothing new or revolutionary.
Now we have the second sequel. And when it comes to MP3:C, Retro Studios
tried to mix things up a bit. What we got is another game that, while excellent in and of itself, is still nothing revolutionary. It is more evolutionary
. In yet another 3d Metroid adventure, you are the bounty hunter Samus Aran, facing off against both the Space Pirates and the mutagen Phazon, both controlled by your evil shadow, Dark Samus. But it's on a grander scale now. It's not just single planets being corrupted by Phazon, but now an entire solar system and soon the whole galaxy. You must stop the spread of Phazon corruption, all the while fighting the Phazon slowly corrupting you.
The new control scheme is almost perfect, once you've climbed up the rather steep learning curve. The nunchuck-and-remote are just so perfectly implemented, with the remote playing the part of the arm canon. Swinging the remote about aims, while at the same time swinging left or right turns Samus left or right. The control stick, on the other hand, is for moving ahead and back, and strafing left and right. Yes, unlike the previous games, you can turn and strafe at the same time, which allows for more acrobatic movement and fighting than the prequels.
Then there is the lock-on/free-aim system. This time, locking on to an enemy does not aim your shots at it. You still must aim the remote manually, and you can aim at anything on-screen. You do not have to shoot at the enemy you've locked on to. I love this freedom. The sheer versatility of this combat style really does make the previous games' control scheme seem clumsy. Of course, this means you need good aim. If you can't swing it, or don't like it, you can switch an option in the game settings to go back to the old lock-on system. This is great for newbies or people who can't get the new scheme to work.
The one real complaint I've seen about the controls is from southpaws
. Left-handed people report they have difficulty aiming the remote with their right hands. Unfortunately, Retro didn't think to include an option to switch things for left handed users. To you lefties, I recommend just holding the remote in your left and the nunchuck in your right and seeing if that helps.
The graphics are also great, noticeably better than Gamecube quality. There are some jaggies and aliasing, but only what you would expect from a Wii title. This console isn't the powerhouse the PS3 and 360 are supposed to be. But there are still a lot of polygons, great textures, atmospheric and particle effects, and so much more. MP3's graphics are among the best the Wii has shown us so far, much better than many other flagship titles. (Yes, I'm looking at you
, Twilight Princess
The sound is more of a mixed bag. There's nothing memorably bad, and quite a few things memorably good. There's also a lot that's unmemorably mediocre. The title music is wonderful, evoking a feeling that is both mournful and sinister. There is also an area with the most beautifully ethereal background music, full of harps, bells, and flutes. It's wonderful. But then there is music that is just so average, some of which sounds like it was lifted directly out of MP2.
On the other hand, the sound effects are generally quite good. For example, there are occasional spots of rain, and the drops splashing against your visor and bouncing off your arm cannon actually make a noticeable sound. It can be marvelously atmospheric. And then there's the voice acting. Yes, there is voice acting. And it actually doesn't suck
! In fact, it's really good.
Mentioning the voice acting brings me to the story line, which is far more developed than most other Metroid games, and certainly more so than the other Prime games. But it is kind of loose, and there are spots of near-incoherence. Then, too, it means there are other developed characters, which tends to take the spotlight off our main heroine.
Also, thanks to the developed story line, the game is extremely linear. All the Metroid games have a series of goals you need to meet in a particular order. But unlike most of the others, MP3:C quite blatantly handholds you to all of the goals. There is very little freedom to explore, because exploration isn't necessary. It's all just too easy.
Not even the other Metroid Prime games, with their hint systems, were so straightforward and linear. But in this game, one of the characters (a highly advanced Artificial Intelligence) regularly chimes in with its two cents worth and tells you where to go and what to do in great detail. It's like Metroid Fusion all over again, another Metroid game that many complained was made too linear and straightforward thanks to its storyline and intelligent computer character
Thanks to the ease, on my first play through I got 100% completion without any trouble at all. It shouldn't have been that easy. It was, though, because the percentage complete is based on how many of the pickups you find, and about two-thirds of the way through the game, Samus can actually download all the locations of the pickups to her map. The game actually tells you where they all are! Once you have that information, getting them is extremely simple.
Despite the very low difficulty and sometimes-frustrating linearity, though, the game has a fair amount of replay value. While you can't make it less linear, you can increase the challenge of the enemies you fight. The game has three difficulty levels: Normal, Veteran, and Hyper, and the enemies get progressively tougher on each difficulty. That makes up somewhat for how easy the rest of the game is. And also, the bonuses in the Extras menu are not unlocked by your achievements in the game. Instead, your achievements earn you special colored Credits, and you spend these credits to unlock the bonuses. The credits come from your logbook scans, boss fights, and special accomplishments. It is a good system that encourages the player to really dig into the game and root out all its secrets.
And learning those secrets can really be satisfying, because some of these bonuses really are buried deep. And it leads to a great many satisfying fights and chances to give the wonderful control scheme a good workout. This really is a fine game. While it just is not the game revolution
(heh!) that the original Metroid Prime
was, it is well-designed, sounds good, looks even better, and plays flawlessly. This is definitely a must-have title for any Wii owner.
+ Amazing control scheme
+ Great action
+ Fabulous graphics
+ Wonderful atmosphere
+ Lots of replay value
+ Music/Sound mostly good
- Extremely linear to the point of hand-holding
- Story deprives Samus of the spotlight
- Some music kind of mediocre (not much, though)