Review

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

Reviewed by Kyle Bell, Posted on 2007-09-02

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Developer: Retro Studios Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: August 28, 2007 Also On: None

In 2002, there was one game that changed everything. It shattered the conception of what was possible with Nintendo's little purple box and set in motion a trilogy of first-person shooters featuring one of the company's oldest stars. Metroid Prime was a game that achieved greatness, helped GameCube gain status amongst hardcore gamers and delivered content to a mature audience. Nintendo's previous success with first-person shooters on the Nintendo 64 with GoldenEye and Perfect Dark was brought to the next-generation in the form of Metroid Prime.

A lot has changed since 2002. For one, Nintendo is no longer the third place player that it was in the industry. They have gone from the worst-selling Nintendo console ever with the GameCube to the fastest selling video game system of all-time with the Wii in the matter of a few short years. The landscape has changed, the genre has changed and our expectations for games have changed. We expect bigger worlds, better graphics and improved gameplay. Luckily for us, Retro Studios delivered on them all to create the fullest Metroid experience that we have ever seen.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is one of the first games to be built from the ground up specifically for Wii. It is also arguably the best Wii game to date. As I said earlier, gamers expect bigger, better graphics and improved gameplay. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has massive worlds without any load times. You won't see a single load screen during gameplay from start to finish. The graphics make the Wii shine, standing up well to the best looking Xbox 360 and PS3 games. They prove that Wii is a next-gen system. Furthermore, Retro Studios improved the gameplay in a number of ways that I will now write about.

The biggest and most obvious change, as with most Wii games, are the controls, which work really well. This is how first-person shooters should be played on a home console. The cursor (reticule) is steady, you have dual analog control with the use of the Wiimote's motion sensing for moving the camera and the analog stick on the nunchuk to move Samus. The A button fires your cannon, while B acts as the jump button (you can switch between A and B for shooting and jumping in the options). The down button on the control pad fires missiles, C morphs Samus into her ball and Z locks on. Z is also used with Samus' new grapple, which can be used to grab enemy shields (using a thrust forward/backward gesture), swinging from hooks and grabbing objects.

Another change from past Metroid Prime games, other than controls, are the voice-acting and backtracking. The game starts off with the cinematic flair and polish of Halo 1 & 2. There is actually voice-acting in this game, something Nintendo does not use very often in their games. The first level actually starts off on the Federation battleship Olympus. This first level reminds me a lot of the original Halo where you get acclimated with the controls in a ship and have to fight back an attack. I would accuse Retro of being a copycat, but after this first level, the two games are strikingly different shooters.

That fact, never bothered me, either. I always preferred Halo over Metroid Prime. I hated having to constantly backtrack and deal with respawned enemies in lands where half the time I did not know where to travel next. I wanted to love the first Metroid Prime, and although the first level is one of the best I have ever played in a shooter, the game failed to live up to my inflated expectations. Many people loved it, but I walked away from it too often lost and confused about what to do next.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, once again, changes what the past two Prime games had done. The gameplay elements of those two are still firmly in place, but the annoyances that prevented me, and I am sure many others, from fully enjoying the experience have been corrected. Retro Studios adopted the strategy used in Metroid Prime: Hunters for the DS. They made Metroid Prime 3: Corruption straight-forward enough to where it is hard to become disillusioned, while at the same time retaining a certain degree of exploration.

The biggest difference here is an ingenious decision to include landing areas for Samus' ship throughout a world. You may have as many as three or four landing areas within a world for Samus to land her ship, save her game and restore her health/ammunition. This makes Metroid Prime 3 infinitely less annoying than previous versions that had you running from one area to a far off other area, encountering everything and every enemy in-between. Being able to save and take off from these different landing areas to any other landing area that has been discovered makes things far more convenient. Scattered save points throughout the worlds add to Retro's attempt at easing gamers' pain.

After the Olympus level, Samus makes her way to a planet with a distress signal where you meet up with three other bounty hunters. Unlike previous games, you actually have these guys to help you - at least for a while. More or less the first two levels have a whole lot of shooting of Space Pirates. The violent native organic life forms of planets won't come into play until the next level. Within the first forty-five minutes you will fight two bosses: one at the end of the Olympus level and Ridley at the end of the second level. Between these boss fights are a myriad of morphball puzzles, gun battles, scanning for objects and life forms, and some exploration, although not much. You will encounter new types of enemies, including ships that you will have to destroy.

By the end of the second level, you learn exactly why Metroid Prime 3 is called Corruption. Simply put, Samus becomes “corrupted” by Phazon. The Phazon Suit that accompanies her will allow you to enter Hyper Mode, a super-powerful shot that will quickly take care of enemies, while being the only way to damage some enemies. The downside to Hyper Mode is that, while powerful, it uses energy in the form of your health. The longer you stay in Hyper Mode, the longer a bar depletes, which in-turn depletes your health. Further, if you stay in Hyper Mode for too long, Samus becomes “utterly corrupted”. Game over.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is the game that I would have liked to have played in 2002. Retro Studios was not content with leaving the formula unchanged. Retro reworked the controls for Wii, upgraded the graphics engine substantially, expanded the worlds beyond what we saw on GameCube, used landing points to both save and enter/exit different areas of a world without having to start at the beginning, gave Samus allies, added voice-acting, and kept the trademarks of the franchise in place. If a sequel is to do anything, it should improve on its predecessors. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption does that and more. This is both a game that can justify a Wii purchase and is a requisite for any current system owner.

Graphics: 10
Sound: 9.5
Gameplay: 10
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 9.7
Written by Kyle Review Guide

Reviewed by Kyle Bell

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