Metroid Prime III: Corruption
When I bought my Wii a couple weeks ago, I also picked up a copy of Metroid Prime III: Corruption. I’ve been playing it on and off for a couple weeks now, and, like all Metroid games, it’s pretty goddamned big, so only now do I feel qualified to make a comment about it.
I want to say first off that I love the game. The controls are excellent and responsive, and super-clever in the way you interact with the world (e.g., you actually “pull” with the nunchuck when you hit things with the grapple gun to make them fly off, or rotate the wiimotes to turn knobs and levers and crap).
I’m going to talk about this game in relation to the other Prime games for the most part, as they are completely different than the 2d side scrollers of yore.
I guess I’m perhaps 2/3rds to 3/4ths through it, and I base this on the number of boss fights I’ve had (you get introduced to 3 other “hunters” in scene one, and you know you’re going to fight them spaced throughout the story, and I’ve killed all three, plus one version of Ridley and completed destroying 2 out of 3 “super phazon seeds”).
This installment introduces a several new elements and brings back some “old school” ones. For example, holy crap, the screw attack is back (how awesome is that!).
Your space ship also has a big role in this game: aside from using it as transportation, you can command it to pick your ass up, lift huge heavy things with a grapple device, or even bomb the fuck out of some bad guys or big-ass doors. It becomes another (complicated) tool.
There is actual voice acting in this game, too. This changes the mood of the game a great deal, and I’m not entirely sure I like the change. All of the previous games produced this feeling of extreme isolation and loneliness as you go about exploring dead cities and/or annihilated space ships. The only people who ever “talked” to you were long dead, speaking from hundreds of years ago through abandoned computer terminals or decaying rune structures.
Only this time, you get orders from giant organic neuro-computers, talk to hoo-man soldiers, and you have other “Hunters” that you interact with. So you’re not isolated anymore – and it seriously changes the tone.
I personally liked the feelings of isolation.
I will again comment about how awesome the control system is. It is extremely usable and clever – from the simple act of how combat works to selecting which “visor” to use (scanner, x-ray, or ship-command), to interacting with various control terminals, to the map (which, as is standard with Prime games, is still the best goddamned mapping system I’ve ever seen).
I was worried, after having played Red Steel, that using the wiimote as a targeting reticule would be slow and suck. But it doesn’t. It’s super-fast – no lag. And what’s cool is that I can “lock on” to one creature and shoot a different one with my laser (and then fire off a homing missile, which will hit the target I’m locked on to).
Visually, there isn’t any leap over the original Metroid Prime from 2002. However, there is a visual style in the Prime series that makes the idea of photo-realism irrelevant. There are lots of great particle effects that look better than those used in “modern” visual engines. It just looks great.
Getting on with the complaining:
While I understand that the game takes its name from a specific signature monster, these guys are nonetheless becoming Goddamned Bats. We do not, in fact, even see real “metroids” – we start with special “Phaazite” metroids.
Now the original Metroids in the first Prime were irritating: Hit them with a freeze weapon to turn them into solid ice (which magically stayed afloat in the air) and then shoot them again with a missile or some other big gun. If they grabbed onto you, they sucked energy and you couldn’t do crap except turn into the Morph Ball and then bomb them off. Later in the game they got harder: depending on the color of the Metroid, you had to shoot it with a specific gun, etc.
In Prime III, though, they start out just as tough as the original metroids but, you know, more difficult, since they’re immune to about half of your weaponry and they can shift in and out of space time, making every shot miss.
(I’m not entirely sure what sort of hostile environment they naturally existed in to produce this particular evolutionary trait.)
So I hate the signature monster, but none of the others.
I hate the doors. Holy fuck, there is some super-duper irritating bug that causes doors to sometimes “activate but not open” when you shoot them (which is how you open doors in Metroid). Easily 50% of the time it takes a maddening 30 seconds before the door actually opens after the “energy shield” drops. This isn’t a “game play issue”; it’s a fucking “bug”, and an egregious one, and the product shouldn’t have shipped with it.
Overall, I think that the original Prime game is still superior (tough for it not to, as it has a hallowed place in my “Top Games of All Time” list). In fact, I’d probably butcher a sizable percentage of the people I know to have a remake of the original Prime with the new control system. However, this game is light years more enjoyable than the second (Metroid Prime II: Echoes), which I put down after an hour or so.
Joe-Bob says check it out.