Review: Metroid Prime: Corruption
3D Platformer/First Person Shooter/Adventure
Samus it ever was.
Meet the new 2007 model Samus complete with phazon-powered weaponry, a host of new suit powers and abilities but the same old problems with backtracking and problematic controls. With Metroid Prime being Nintendo’s premier FPS franchise and the Wii having what many consider the best console set up for FPS it should be a no-brainer but can Retro Studios deliver another Prime entry or just another echo of a once great series fallen afoul of the 3D HD arms race.
When writing this review it quickly becomes clear to me just how much of a sequel this is to Metroid Prime and Echoes. Aside from the obvious stuff like the ongoing story taking up from Prime 2 and you controlling the bounty hunter come xenonbiologist Samus Aran.
If you want to know how the game works you can read my Perfekt Past feature on the first Metroid Prime. For the rest of you I am going to go into some more detail about Samus’ third 3D outing.
Like with all things the problems start at the beginning with what is compared to many other games in the action oriented FPS genre a very slow opening. Not just in terms of pacing and exposition but having to talk to non-player characters to advance along with Metroid’s own ‘scan anything that looks interesting’ game mechanic.
Introducing RPG elements into action games is nothing new but here it only slows down what little pace there is and takes two hours to find its legs again. By which time many will have become disinterested or just plain bored by the goings on.
One of the many rules of games sequels is that often the protagonist will somehow lose all the benefits and abilities they acquired in the previous game only to slowly rediscover them adding to the life span of the game while gaining a few more for the sake of progress. In what was the biggest surprise of the game you do not lose, any abilities save for a few miscellaneous ones that you will not miss. Sure, your stock of missiles and your life tank is reset in minimum but rather than lose everything its nice to have Metroid staples like the morph ball or space jump from the very start.
It’s not just additional suit abilities that are brought to the mix as Samus gains a nice line in additional ordinance including three types of new missile and extra uses or Samus’ grapple beam that can be latched onto enemies shields and then torn away with a flick of the Wiimote.
In my counterpoint review of the first Skate game, I said â€œRoll on Skate 2 which will hopefully remedy some of the problems with the game and add more variety to the moves.â€ Well in the sequel they’ve done exactly that, as well as added things that I didn’t particularly want to see.
The first thing that’s immediately different is that you can now get off the board and walk around. Whilst off the board you can manipulate certain parts of the environment, this means moving ramps, rails and other objects that litter the environment. Unfortunately the walking is very clunky and awkward, but it does help immensely when you need to get up a flight of stairs to get back to a spot.
Once you get into the meat of the game you’ll notice a larger list of moves available to you, mostly by way of pressing A or X whilst grabbing the board in the air. Another of the new moves are hand plants, whilst approaching the lip of a ramp hold down RB to grab hold of it and do a quick handstand. There’s also hippy jumps, which are done by holding down A & X simultaneously and releasing them to jump up, leaving the board on the ground.
Using all of these moves in you arsenal opens up massive amounts of possibilities, when it comes to getting a high scoring combo and makes the game more enjoyable because of it. The game does seem slightly easier than the previous instalment, but it still isn’t easy and some challenges can take an almost infuriating amount of time to complete.
Secondary Score: 8/10
The biggest addition weapon wise is the Phazon powered PED module that when activated takes Samus into hypermode increasing her weapon damage at the expense of her health and increasing how corrupted she becomes. You use to much Phazon or fail to vent excess amounts quick enough the Dark Samus creature takes over ending the game.
Samus’ ship has also received a makeover with a Wiimote operated controls and the new command visor that lets Samus call in an air strike or land it for use as a mobile save station come ammo dump. Neither of these plays a huge role in changing the game but helps break up the usual routine of scan-shoot-jump then backtracking to the start to the map to use you new item to open a new area.
As I have mentioned in a few places already the controls for Metroid Prime 3 are all covered by the Wiimote with the logical set-up of the nunchuck to move and Wiimote to aim/scan and jump. A few motion-controlled sections have to be preformed such as twisting to open a lock or thrusting to pump a valve but thankfully the majority of the game is run and gun action rather than yet another selection of Wario Ware style mini-games strung together as many have been.
I may have been spoiled by years of using the twin stick FPS controls as the lock-on function is a bit lose and the Wiimote controls scheme forces you to always have your wrist pointed at the motion sensors unless you want to run around looking at the floor. Over an hour or so of this and you either cramp up or have to remain rooted to the spot like a Buddhist monk.
Once you get used to the controls and get through the ponderous opening there is a lot of fun to be had here. The graphics whilst not a quantum leap forward from the previous games look good and have enough variety and originality to hold your interest. The music is a good mix of sci-fi themes and classical bombast with the expectation of the Bryyo theme that quickly becomes a dirge upon multiple hearings. You can use friend vouchers to unlock new (pointless) features along with the usual mix of concept artwork and design sketches.
Much like other Wii franchise games like Zelda or Super Mario, Metroid Prime 3 it is far from perfect but if you are a Wii owner looking for some solid action you could do a lot worse then getting this.