Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Distributed by: Nintendo
Reviewed by Frank L. Ocasio
If you own a Wii at all or pay any degree of attention to Nintendo's dealings in the gaming world, you know that for the past few months, there has been no game of greater hype than Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. For a while, it's been pretty much everywhere, and either long-time fans have known exactly why it's been plastered all over life, or 360 fanboys have resolutely ignored it as a ridiculous attempt on the Master Chief’s life. Or, Wii owners who had absolutely no clue were wondering if the Metroid Prime series series was really good enough to warrant making the purchase.
Well whoever's reading, all I can say is that Corruption is a pretty rare thing: a sequel to a celebrated game franchise that comes along and slaps you square in the face with its majesty. A sequel that takes the original franchise and transforms it into something completely new that's the same in all the right ways while still being jam-packed with brand-new glory.
Yes, rare is the sequel that's an overall well-rounded, tear-jerkingly awesome game.
And if you consider all of that, then Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is the rarest Chozo artifact you'll find in this star system.
Seriously, this game is a masterpiece--I'll say it again, a masterpiece--that delivers all of the great things we've come to expect from Metroid games and a whole lot more we never imagined were possible with the series.
For example, there's the awesome story. It's not just the traditional Metroid storyline though. It's easily the most intriguing and incredibly interactive plot any Metroid game has ever seen. You arrive on a Galactic Federation Space Station to discuss a new mission: to help a group of bounty hunters investigate the recent Space Pirate attacks and ensuing Phazon infestation that have taken place on the planets Bryyo and Elysia. Complicating things: The fact that you'll be taking orders from an Aurora Unit--a gigantic brain that resembles Mother Brain (the boss of the original, NES Metroid) a little too much for comfort.
Also complicating things: during your briefing, the space station is suddenly attacked by Space Pirates and you have to go down to the planet Norion. Why? Well, just to help them activate a laser cannon that can destroy the living, Phazon meteor that's on a collision course with the planet... Yeah. In case you haven't gotten it, the action in this game can be ridiculous and involving; via multiple plot events throughout the game, the sense that you're part of a giant, intergalactic war will never leave your mind.
But complicating things in the kinda way that's going to lead to your slow death: after the hectic, blaster-on-Space Pirate action on Norion, you're put out of commission for a month. How did the Galactic Federation save you? By infusing your Power Suit (and your body) with Phazon, the very same parasitic energy source the Space Pirates (yeah, those guys who just tried to kill you) have been harvesting for years. The very same parasitic energy source you've been trying to erase from the galaxy for years... Yeah, I know it's the thought that counts, but seriously guys. Seriously.
Anyway, you can already tell that this game has an awesome, complex plot rife with things fans have never seen from this series, like interaction with lots of living creatures you're not supposed to just kill--a Metroid first.
This game doesn't stop delivering firsts there though--it continues dishing them out in many aspects. For example: gameplay. Also a Metroid first: Being inside of Samus' ship and getting to interact with its controls first hand. Also a Metroid first: Meeting Galactic Federation Troops and Fighting Space Pirates alongside them.
Also a first on a home console, mainstream Metroid game: After waking up with your new PED Suit, you're sent to Bryyo and Elysia to carry out your mission. That's two different planets that you can travel between. Maybe this is only particularly awesome for long-time Metroid fans (and fans who completely missed the not-so-hot Hunters for the DS), but the point is that the amount of interaction in this game is incredible. If Metroid Prime made you really feel like you were a galactic bounty hunter exploring a large world, then this game really makes you feel like you're a galactic bounty hunter exploring a huge, living galaxy.
A galaxy that, although not on par with the graphics of PS3 or 360 games, will still make you cry with its beauty. Like the Prime titles before it, Corruption has absolutely stunning setting designs and concepts. Playing it is like walking through an awesome sci-fi art exhibition, a fact that should overshadow its inability to match Gears of War or Halo 3 in terms of realistic details. At least it should unless you can't appreciate art.
The level design, puzzles, and upgrades in this game are more original as well. I'm not saying you won't be a little disappointed by some of your new PED Suit's upgrades (especially the notable lack of blaster upgrades), but you'll definitely appreciate the awesome, new gameplay opportunities some upgrades bring, like the Grapple Beam, which allows you to grab some enemies, their shields, or parts of the terrain and rip them away with a flick of your Nunchuk. Or the always possibly-fatal Phazon Mode, in which you're ridiculously powerful but always running the risk of overloading your suit with energy that can quickly leech the life right out of you.
But hey, in the end, not everything about this game is perfect. You will have minor lock-on and aiming issues that, although helped by the implementation of the Wii Remote as your Free Look, will still sometimes make you sigh with frustration. Also, Samus, despite her incredible speed in 2D Metroid titles, still moves more or less like a tank in this game (which is really unfortunate, because a system that would allow you to Speed Boost strafe around/through enemies would be ridiculously awesome). Also, the music isn't exactly as fabulous as it has been in previous Metroid Prime titles.
Still though, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption does an awesome job of balancing exactly everything you want out of a game. It hits a sweet spot somewhere in the middle of its complex storyline and plot, awesome gameplay elements, incredible world details delivered by your Scan Visor, artistic direction, action packed events, intriguing mission objectives, intuitive puzzle design, one-of-a-kind suit upgrades, and imaginative enemies, bosses, and boss battles. Yes, it may have its quirks--its tiny, tiny, overshadowed-in-three-seconds-by-other-gameplay-elements-that-have-been-improved quirks--but if you're looking for a Wii game that's going to be one of your favorite games in recent years when you finally put it down, you need look no further than Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
One more thing before I quit: This has nothing at all to do with Metroid Prime, but I figured I'd spread the word. Prime creators, Retro Studios, were actually working on another title for the Gamecube that was canceled so that their creative focus could be spent exclusively on the first Metroid Prime. What was this game, you ask? Raven Blade, an RPG that never came to be. I've heard there are pictures and videos of it on the internet if you look hard enough. Considering that this is seemingly the final installment in the Metroid Prime series though, one can only hope that Retro Studios decides to make Raven Blade an awesome Wii exclusive in the coming years.
Grading: On a Scale From 1-10, 10 Being the Best
Overall Gameplay: 10