MDb Review: Metroid Prime 3: by Infinity's End

Metroid Prime 3 has been on everyone's minds since the Wii was announced. Originally a launch title, MP3 suffered numerous delays and has since been surrounded by secrecy up until its release day. Nintendo gave us very small tidbits of what to expect gameplay-wise, along by trying to add to the hype with its own Prime 3 Preview Channel, courtesy of a free download through Wii Ware. However in all this time, no one really "knew" what MP3 was about, other than the fact that it was the third (and supposedly last) game in the Prime series of Metroid games. I am here to tell you that after all this time, the game is WELL worth the wait.

The game takes a cue from Halo and starts you off on the G.F.S. Olympus, where you go through the tutorial mission and get debriefed on what's going on. This part of the game introduces the main characters and the setting. It accomplishes quite a bit, as MP3 is definitely the most cinematic of all the Prime games. Although the game's cutscenes are gorgeous, there were times where I found myself thinking "just let me play already." So if you're wondering whether MP3 has at all "gone back to its roots," it's only strayed further away from them.

The game certainly does not fail to impress aesthetically. I can safely say MP3 touts the best graphics seen (so far) on the Wii. You can tell the polycount has been upped a bit on many things and the particle engine in the game has also been improved. The delicate rain drizzle and soft snow flurries from Prime 1 make their return, and the visor effects like steam or fog are there as well. Now when you turn on your Scan Visor, you can see the reflection of Samus's eyes and nose, which I felt was a very nice visual cue that directly helps gameplay efficiency. To top it all off, the game runs in silky-smooth 60fps. Not too shabby!

I feel that the game's score is the most thorough and orchestral of the Primes. I think Mr. Yamamoto et. al. definitely took their time and made a great soundtrack to go along with the game, even though it does tend to be a bit amelodic and minimal at times. Unlike Echoes' score, there wasn't a time where I felt annoyed or turned down the volume due to the music playing. The soundtrack accomplishes what it needs to do: provide a mood and a setting for the player to become immersed in the game. He's also been kind enough to throw a few remixes in there for good measure.

As every other site will tell you, Prime 3 has the smoothest, most immersive, and user-friendly control scheme ever created on the Wii. To any avid FPS player, you should be used to Prime 3's controls in about 5-10 minutes. For everyone else, I'd say 15-20. Yes, it's that good. Sometimes I would just stand there and move my Wiimote back and forth and watch how responsive her arm cannon flows with my movements. Not only limited to aiming controls, the game makes other fun uses of the Wiimote, such as turning the Plasma Beam into a welding gun and closing up circuits by "drawing" from point A to B. Another welcome addition comes in the form of the "jump ball" which can be accomplished by flicking the Wiimote up.

Corruption takes a cue from love-it-or-hate-it Hunters, where instead of traversing a single world, we have to fly our ship from place to place, with all the load times in between. Since your ship acts as moveable save point, there are landing pads throughout the game that allow you to call your ship from afar. This was useful at times, but other times I wish that Retro had put a few more save points in there. I found myself having to retread my steps back to my ship because I wanted to stop playing, and sometimes that's your only option.

There is also a new weapon called Hypermode. After you are given the Phazon Enhancement Device (or PED), you can go into Hypermode whenever you please. Hypermode takes an energy tank to use it, so you can't overuse this powerful beam. Also, if you stay in Hypermode too long, you become "corrupted" and it eventually kills you. I found Hypermode to be lots of fun, and it's balanced enough to where you can't just plow through the game without care.

It definitely shows that all that hard work they spent tweaking the controls paid off in spades. Unfortunately, it is not the sole saving grace of the game. The new Grapple Lasso, in which you flick the nuchuck forward and backward, wasn't as responsive as I would have liked, nor were any the "left hand" interaction sequences. Moving your right hand to move Samus's left hand feels just as awkward as it sounds. Other general annoyances include long opening (read: loading) time for doors, bottomless pits, and a still confusing map screen. The game also fails to deliver any kind of balance with everything in your inventory, which is something very few games can accomplish anyway. Missiles still shoot slow as molasses while Super Missiles and Powerbombs are sorely absent, but they do have similar counterparts.

Ah, here's what we've been waiting for, right? Given the new DVD format, you'd expect Metroid Prime 3 to be twice, maybe even three times longer than the other two Prime games, right? RIGHT? Sadly, no that is not the case. Prime 3 is a short, but oh-so-sugary-sweet experience that hardened Prime vets will be able to plow through in about 15-20 hours, depending on if you cared to get all the pickups. Second playthroughs will probably be half that time, but that should not at all stop you from going through the game multiple times. Thankfully, the game is equipped with three modes of challenge: Normal, Veteran, and Hypermode. The latter becomes unlocked after the game is beaten. It also has a new system in which you earn and collect tokens that allow you to purchase extra content such as art galleries and music. The Screenshot Tool is by far one of the greatest add-ons ever featured in a game. Not only can you capture a moment from any part of the game, but you can then send it to anyone in your Wii's address book.

The actual adventure that you traverse in Prime 3 is much more fun than Prime 2, but it is similarly akin to what we've already experienced in Prime 1. This time, however, the game has an overabundance of morph ball puzzles. Stuck in Prime 3? Just morph and off you go. The bosses are also a tad bland, (how many more times are we going to have to fight Ridley?) but they never take away from being fun. A word of warning: the last locale in the game is the closest experience to old-school Metroid in 3D we're going to get, so try to make it last while you can.

The overall experience that Corruption gives is well worth the $50. That said, the game is far from perfect, and in some ways, like all games, is disappointing at times. For instance, the Friend Voucher system is completely undocumented but easy enough to figure out. The Wiimote speaker was completely ignored. The game's ending is atrocious, and even more plotholes have been opened for us. But in all honesty, could Retro have made a satisfying ending that was 5 years in the making? I guess we'll never know. It doesn't ruin the entire game, but it does put a damper on a legendary series. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is an excellent example of how to make a AAA Wii title and I would wholeheartedly recommend the game to anyone who is looking for a fresh experience on the Wii.

Final Score: 8.5/10