Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Review (Wii)

Nintendo’s armor clad cover girl Samus is all “growns up” now, and Wii owners are the beneficiaries of her transformation into a sophisticated motion-controlled cutting edge killing machine in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.

Corruption marks the series’ first excursion onto Nintendo Wii and supposedly final installation of a trilogy. For her curtain call, Samus must investigate a mysterious virus that has infected the Galactic Federation’s computer network 6 months after the events of Metroid Prime 2. She soon discovers Dark Samus, her persistent and thought-dead nemesis, is infecting entire planets, leaving her no choice but to save each planet individually before it falls to utter corruption with the infrequent aid of a trio of new bounty hunters.

Developer Retro Studios has embraced Wii’s motion controls and applied it to Corruption in a manner inviting for hardcore and casual gamers alike. The Wii Remote acts as an aiming and firing device for Samus’ behemoth arm cannon, while the Nunchuk’s analog stick naturally steers Samus’ movements. The combination offers extremely smooth combat controls allowing for precise lock-on aiming with the Z-button working in perfect unison with maneuvering Samus’ line of sight. Lock-on aim is entirely optional for more seasoned players looking to master the Wii Remote’s pinpoint aiming system. Only when swift lateral movements are applied from the horizontal edge of Samus’ vision do the controls suffer in any way with a split second of lag.

Motion controls have been integrated beyond combat and into secondary gameplay mechanics, furthering immersion into Samus’ mission. Some latches and devices can only be opened by thrusting the nunchuk forward, turning it to unlock the device, and then pulling it back. Keypad codes are physically punched in. Samus has a grappling device that can be literally “thrown” into a specially marked locked door and then “yanked” back to rip open whatever it latched onto. These motion controls are relatively simple to execute and offer a welcome change from blasting aliens, though they never really evolve in complexity from mission to mission and grow stale into the latter stages of the game.

Samus’ crutch in sticky situations is an all-new Hypermode brought forth by her first unsuccessful confrontation with Dark Samus. This defeat infects Samus with Phazon, which has been harnessed by a Phazon Enhancement Device allowing a brief moment where Samus’ weapons effectiveness is amplified so she can go berserk on her enemies. The downside to this is the Phazon is slowly corrupting Samus, but that’s an acceptable trade-off for a “get out of jail free” card whenever the going gets tough.

Veteran Metroid gamers should embrace the new, more accessible Wii-ified controls and feel comfortable using them in visually superior and more diverse environments than found in the previous games. Back-tracking is still a nuisance from time to time, though not as much as in Metroid 2. There are still plenty of morph-ball required components to every mission for players who love to roll and fantastic boss battles, though new ship piloting sequences between planet landing zones and planets themselves are an unnecessarily lengthy break in the action.

Although Metroid Prime 3: Corruption offers straightforward missions requiring clearing an area, picking up a new upgrade and then moving to the next area, the delightfully smooth Wii motion controls offer some of the tightest aiming and most evolutionary first-person controls seen in any console game to-date. Samus has certainly come a long way since her 2D debut, so let’s hope this trilogy-concluding chapter isn’t the last we’ll see of Nintendo’s leading lady.

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