Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Impressions

mp3screen1.jpgLet's face it - if you loved Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, odds are you're going to be buying Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for the Wii no matter what I say here. I could spend several paragraphs detailing how badly the game controls, how shoddy the graphics are, or how boring the gameplay is and you'd still be on your way to the store with a pocketful of cash and a gleam in your eye. Luckily for you, all of those statements would be lies. Personally I didn't find the first two Metroid Prime games to be all that much fun, which is why I am utterly surprised to admit that Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is one of the best games I have played on a Nintendo console in ages. Mind you my time with the title has been brief, and my four hours of playing is only 20% of the overall game, but the important thing here is that I really want to experience the other 80%. While the first two titles were technically proficient and well-crafted examples of Metroid goodness, after a while I just didn't want to continue. I just didn't feel as if I was having very much fun. The Wii controls have changed all of that for me.

After the abysmal Red Steel I was truly worried about MP3. Hell, I was worried about any FPS game on the Wii for that matter. Everything was far too loose, and I never felt as if I were truly in control. I don't know what they did wrong in that game, but developer Retro Studios not only got things exactly right, I'd say they've defined what FPS controls on the Wii should be. After minutes of flailing around and making myself incredibly dizzy the Wii controls felt natural and fluid in my hands. The control stick movement combined with the Wiimote camera controls have been done before, but never quite this good.

The only real complaint I have is that during some of the morph ball sequences it was a bit hard to bomb jump correctly. One moment I'd be fine and the next I am banging myself against the wall over and over again like some sort of developmentally disadvantaged child. No wonder Samus always wears that helmet.

mp3screen2.jpgBy far my favourite game mechanic thus far is the grapple lasso, which grafts onto your hand at an early point in the game. How it works is you lock on to debris, objects, or enemies with the Z button and then move the nunchuk like you're casting a fishing line...because that's pretty much what you are doing. Yank it back and the debris goes flying out of the way in a very satisfying manner. You can easily imagine you are Samus casting out the beam of energy to snag your target. It made me feel pretty.

Speaking of pretty, the game is the best looking thing on the Wii by far. While by no means comparable to the level of graphics you'll find on the 360 or PS3, MP3 completely trumps the first two games in both beauty and scale, giving the game an epic feel while not sparing the small touches, like Samus's eyes reflected in the visor when you are in scan mode.

While the enemies I have faced so far have been pretty standard Metroid fare, the boss fights have been particularly impressive. One fight specifically had my jaw dropping at the sheer cinematic coolness of it all. I won't spoil anything, but if you don't think Balrog during the fight then you obviously aren't up to date with modern day Hobbit cinema.

mp3screen3.jpgAnd voices! I know that many Nintendo purists would argue that voices are unnecessary for a truly great gaming experience, but the addition of speaking characters just adds so much to the series for me. I particularly like the three helper bounty hunters that aid you in your mission, whose personalities go a long way towards appeasing those who feel Samus is lacking in that department.

I'd go into the music here, which is a truly competent score for a sci-fi adventure game, but as far as I am concerned there are only five musical notes that truly matter in a Metroid title. You know the ones. The rest could be bubbly j-pop for all I care.

I'm enjoying the hell out of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption so far, and that is saying a lot considering my general apathy towards its predecessors. It joins Twilight Princess and Resident Evil 4 as one of the few truly epic games on the Wii to date.


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