Reviews March 17, 2010

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

Kenneth Seward Jr

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Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Reviewed by: Jonny Lupsha
System: Nintendo Wii
Genre: FPS/Adventure
Rated: T
Players: One
Cost: $49.99
Release Date: 08/28/07
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Retro Studios

Snakes on a Plane, peanut butter and Ruffles potato chip sandwiches, and Ludacris’s guest spots. Some combinations in life are just great despite what logic and reason try to tell you, and occasionally, the third installment in a video game series is one such thing. I am happy to report that Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is all this and more. This installment grabbed my attention from the second its window pops up in the Wii menu, continuing through to its microscope-view menu and finally segues seamlessly into 20 of my favorite Wii gameplay hours yet!

After two successful ventures into the Metroid series on the Gamecube, Retro Studios returns to finish the job and the trilogy on the Wii. Once more, you are Samus Aran, lady bounty hunter extraordinaire and all-around femme fatale. A computer virus, somehow involving those ugly mantis-like Space Pirates, has infected the AI in your local star system and with the help of her fellow bounty hunters, Samus needs to set things right. You’ll do battle with enormous hideous baddies, an evil version of yourself and many Metroid oldie-but-goodie villains. All this, while battling a chemical energy substance (Phozon) that has infected your body suit. As the game progresses, Samus picks up new power-ups and the Phozon corruption enhances to frightening levels that distance her from any conceivable redemption or cure.

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The most immediately noticeable difference in Corruption is its control scheme. Of course I wouldn’t recommend a sequel that’s simply a re-hash of a previous title if its controls were the only thing it had to offer, so luckily Corruption offers much more. Players use the nunchucks analog stick to move Samus and the Wii-mote to aim/look around. After nearly a year of games suffering from binding box issues and turning bugs in such shooters as Red Steel and Call of Duty 3, Samus’s latest adventure both expands upon and refines the first-person experience on the Wii. Looking, aiming and moving have never felt more natural than in this title and players will immediately notice the intuiting controlling Nintendo’s bounty hunter mascot. You can still lock onto enemies, holding them in the center of the screen, but now it’s up to your Wii-mote aiming skills to actually target and shoot the enemy. This adds a level of interactivity missing from previous titles and raises the player’s sense of responsibility over Samus.
She interacts with objects like never before. Samus controls her spaceship from inside and out. From inside she uses the ships controls to check her Phozon corruption level, open and close the ships shields and more. From outside, Samus can use a new visor to command her ship to land and attack vulnerable enemy structures like shield generators. Samus can also use her grapple beam to lasso and wrench shields away from enemies, which is controlled by flicking the nunchuck forward and pulling it back.


New Wii-enhanced controls may have you using and interacting with various handles and gate controls in the game. However, I cant do this game justice without mentioning its familiarity to previous titles yet ability to pull players into Metroid’s world with the Wii’s controller. The gap between player and hero is minimized with every second of this epic finale to Retro’s Metroid trilogy. Scanning items and fighting those dastardly villains feels familiar enough to the previous Prime titles to immerse the player in the game and yet are mechanically new so they never get boring. As always, there’s a healthy mix of morphball Samus and first-person Samus with action, platforming and puzzle-solving. The tried-and-true Metroid formula of venturing into a gorgeous alien landscape to unlock doors, introduce new evil minions and fight a huge scary boss whos using a power-up you later obtain from him may date back to the 90s but it still works. Retro addressed the jabs taken at them for having Samus start each game with great weapons and gadgets only to be taken away from her. It had gone so far as reviews for God of War II mentioning you get Metroided out of your power-ups at the beginning of the game. This time, Samus starts with the morph ball, scan visor and ship visor, missiles and charge beam. Some of the annoying backtracking from Echoes has been removed, allowing the game to flow and feel necessary throughout. There’s also a neat little awards system that works with WiiConnect24 when you accomplish certain goals.

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Corruption is a big step above its Gamecube predecessors. Not only does it offer 60 frames-per-second, 16:9 wide-screen gameplay in 480p resolution, but the textures, shading, character modeling and level design pop out of the screen with stunning realism and fascination. The look of the enemies and environments will have you making excuses just to revisit them. I found myself, on more than one occasion, saying I know I got everything in this area already but maybe if I went back and explored with this new beam Ill be able to blow something new up. Besides, it was so cool-looking As Samus flies in her ship from area to area, planet to planet; the backgrounds rival some of the best scenes in the 1998 film Contact. Enemies spring to life and attack fluidly, environments pulse and drips, cutscenes suck players into the action. As much guff as the Wii takes for not having the graphical prowess of the Xbox 360 and the PS3, you’d never imagine it based on Corruption or Super Mario Galaxy, but that’s a story for another day.
 
Hey, people are talking! In Metroid! And I can hear them! B+ to A- grade voice acting has been implemented in Corruption and everyone sounds really good. While no one character stands out and steals the show (Dennis Cole, where are you?), characters are pretty convincing throughout the entirety of the game. Samus… let’s say her voice work is as good as Gordon Freemans. Get it? I made a funny. Seriously though, sound effects are eerie and biomechanical as always. Nothing too groundbreaking (if it isn’t broken…). The music score falls on similar lines; it’s not vastly different but it manages to expand a bit upon previous sound work (you will hear tunes from every previous game given new life, sprinkled throughout the adventure) adding some new pieces and elements as well.
 
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption rounds out the trilogy with audible success. If you dont believe me, check its review scores. New and intuitive Wii controls, immersive gameplay flaunting familiarity and treading new ground, some of the Wii’s best graphics to date (who doesn’t love a living environment?) and highly-emotive sound make for another must-own Wii title. At my day job we talk a lot about video games and the most common comments I heard in late August were as follows:

With games like Corruption, Twilight Princess, Resident Evil 4 and Rayman, do you really wonder why no stores can keep Wii’s in stock?

See, where a game like Lair is a great game marred by awful controls, Corruption is a great game enhanced by near-perfect controls.

If Zelda, Leon Kennedy and Rayman didn’t sell everyone on the Wii already, Samus ought a just about do it herself.

Gameplay: 10
One of the best FPS (if not the best) on the Wii

Graphics: 10
This has got to be the best looking Wii game to date.

Sound: 9
FINALLY, we get a Nintendo game that has voice acting included.

What’s New: 7
It’s not groundbreaking, but is still a big step over its predecessors.

Replay Value: 9
You never really want to leave Metroid’s world.

Final Score:

9