Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Nintendo/Retro Studios, 2007/2009, Nintendo Wii)
The third game in Retro Studios’s Metroid Prime Trilogy continues the Metroid Series’s stellar action-exploration gameplay. Continuing where Echoes left off, Corruption concludes Samus Aran’s battle against her evil counterpart, Dark Samus. Now in control of the Space Pirates and armed with planet corrupting superweapons called Leviathan Seeds, Dark Samus goes to war with the Galactic Federation, leading to them hiring Samus to save the galaxy from destruction.
One of this game’s primary differences from the previous Metroid Prime games is the increased focus on narrative and characters; Metroid Prime 3 features voice-acted cutscenes and a more direct story in addition to retaining the lore recovery storytelling aspect of the previous two entries. Early on in Metroid Prime 3, the player is introduced to a trio of bounty hunters hired to assist Samus in her battles. These bounty hunters are quickly defeated and possessed by Dark Samus, becoming bosses for the player to overcome. It would be inaccurate to describe Metroid Prime 3’s story as being particularly complex, but the addition of cutscenes and more developed characters help it gain an extra emotional oomph that helps it stand out among its trilogy.
The more in-depth story does come at a cost, though. Metroid Prime 3 is the most linear and least exploration focussed game in the Trilogy. For fans of the series’s exploration-heavy roots, this may be a turn-off. Still, although the areas are completed in a set order, they still retain the intricately designed, crisscrossing layouts Retro Studios created fantastically in previous entries, and were enough to satisfy this reviewer’s itch for exploration.
The best aspect of Metroid Prime 3, of course, is the impeccable designed alien worlds, filled with creative puzzles and exciting boss battles. Players traverse the ruined factories of Bryyo, the floating city of SkyTown, and the cyberpunk-esque Spece Pirate Homeworld, collecting various upgrades to help discover new areas and collectibles. Notably, Metroid Prime 3 features a higher focus on spectacle than its predecessors, including memorable segments like dueling Ridley while falling down an elevator shaft, assembling a nuclear missile and defending it as it falls to an enemy base, escaping a space station as it is destroyed, and exploring an alien world made of pure phazon.
One thing that should be noted before playing this game is its control scheme. Metroid Prime 3 was originally released on the Wii. As such, it features heavy implementation of motion controls, most notably as its method of aiming. Normally, I am not fond of motion controls. And, admittedly, aiming with the Wii-Mote took some getting used to. That said, the controls are completely functional and surprisingly intuitive; after a few hours, it was second nature to me. For gamers playing this game via the Trilogy rerelease, which adding the same motion controls to the previous two games, the motion controls should not be a problem by the time you reach the third game.
Early on in Metroid Prime 3, Samus gains an upgraded suit that allows her to enter a super-state called hyper-mode. While in hyper-mode, Samus hits harder and takes no damage; however, entering hyper-mode drains an entire energy tank. Hyper-mode adds another layer of complexity, to the game’s combat, forcing players to decide when entering hyper-mode is worth it and making the most of it while it lasts. That said, some of the game’s later enemies are tough enough than anything but hyper-mode is useless, something that lessens the form’s appeal.
Interestingly, Metroid Prime 3 gives the player the ability to control Samus’s Gunship at several points. However, these points are few and far between, and controlling the ship is done via a menu rather than actual gameplay. A bit of a missed opportunity.
A minor detail that completely changes Metroid Prime 3 is access to an area called the Chozo Observatory, which gives map data showing the locations of missing items. This makes tracking down extra missiles and energy tanks much easier, especially since it doubles as a way to keep track of which ones you’ve already collected. The puzzles to find the various upgrades remain, of course, but the map data tells you where to look. I was able to get only sixty-odd percent completion without a guide in the first Metroid Prime game, and seventy-something for the second. To contrast, I was able to 100% complete Metroid Prime 3 in less time than it took to play through the previous entries casually. Is this a good thing? That really depends on the player.
Metroid Prime 3 does alleviate some of the tedium and fake difficulty of the second game, adding in ample save stations and auto-saving before each boss. The end of game scavenger hunt, a chore in the previous two games, was a cakewalk in Metroid Prime 3, both because of the Chozo Observatory and by making most of the final area keys optional. These quality of life changes help Metroid Prime 3 from falling into a late-game dip like its predecessors.
Metroid Prime 3 feels different from the first two Metroid Prime games, which felt extremely similar to one another. It’s more linear, it’s more action focused, and it’s more forgiving. These changes do not make it a worse game, just a different one. Few players will dislike this game. I certainly enjoyed it, and am more than excited for Metroid Prime 4.
Final Score: 9/10