Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Nintendo Wii Review

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Nintendo Wii Review

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12/27/2007 5:35:04 PM
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Nintendo Wii Review

By Rich Dixon

Nintendo knows best. If you thought that releasing a gaming handheld with two screens and stylus input was a bad idea, Nintendo knew better. If you thought that releasing an underpowered console with motion-control input was a weak response to Sony and Microsoft's next-gen efforts, Nintendo knew better. If you thought those motion-sensitive controllers would have weak and shaky input that would make games unplayable if they depended on fine control, Nintendo knew better. And if you thought the Wii's graphic system would ensure that every game on the system would look weak and fuzzy, Nintendo knows better. From "Wii Sports" to "Paper Mario" to "Super Mario Galaxy" to "Metroid Prime 3," Nintendo takes a system that gives every other developer fits and somehow develops first-rate entertainment for it. If Nintendo could bottle that magic and sell it to other game developers, the Wii's market share would soon be so dominant that we'd be using Xbox 360's to prop open doorways.

But I digress. The subject of the day is "Metroid Prime 3," and it is about as professional an effort as you're likely to see. If you're not a Nintendo fanboy of long standing, you may never have played a "Metroid Prime" game before, so here's some background: you play as Samus Aran, a female bounty hunter who dresses up in a big set of armor and does battle with various space antagonists in a first-person shooter environment. Like most futuristic sets of armor, you get some special powers, most prominent of which is the ability to morph into a ball that can roll around and navigate past obstacles that would block you in your full form. "Metroid Prime 3" plays like your standard shooter on rails: you get an objective and have a set of corridors or passageways to navigate in order to complete your mission, with a predictable array of baddies that will fight you along the way, and a boss battle at the end of the level to punctuate your progress.

It's not just a shooter, though. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's not even primarily a shooter. "Metroid Prime 3" is full of puzzles: how do you open that door, how do you get the power supply back online, how do deal with obstacles that slow you down when there's a time limit, and so on. You spend far more time thinking your way past the puzzles than you do shooting stuff (and, in fact, most of the actual gun battles pose no more than a moderate challenge). So you can think of it this way: "Metroid Prime 3" is a puzzle game, and your gun is a puzzle solver.

The game design is excellent throughout. The graphical look and polish is quite good -- not next-gen good, in the sense of the visual splendor you can get on the 360 or PS3, but more than good enough for gamers today. I particularly liked the way you could see Samus' eyes faintly reflected in the visor in front of your face; that's the sort of immersive detail that just makes a game more fun. The controls are rock-solid, with none of the drunken weaving you tend to experience on other shooters that use the Wiimote for aiming. The levels are designed carefully and well, and the puzzles are just tricky enough to slow you down without making it impossible to get by without cheating or getting lucky. In short, this is the sort of quality title that makes you wonder why other developers don't make better games for the Wii. Clearly the system has everything it needs for a true AAA-quality release. Sooner or later, you have to assume that developers like EA and Ubisoft will crack the Wii code and start releasing first-rate games, and then the sky's the limit.

So remember, folks: Nintendo knows best. "Metroid Prime 3" is just the latest example of that fact.

Ratings (1-10):

Graphics: 8. Not flashy, but still quite good.

Sound: 8. Voice work is solid and professional.

Gameplay: 9. What was that again, kids? That's right -- Nintendo knows best.

Story: 8. Something about space pirates. I honestly didn't care that much, but your mileage may vary.

Replayability: NA. There's enough depth here that I honestly think replayability is a non-issue.

Overall: 8.5. "Metroid Prime 3" is another excellent Nintendo game for a Nintendo system. When are the other developers going to join the party?

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Nintendo Wii Review

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