Corruption is one prime Metroid game.
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Metroid is one of the best shooters in the Nintendo history and dates back to the early days of the NES. It's spanned across systems, handheld and console, and almost guaranteed that each installment is a great hit. This is no truer than in Samus Aran's latest Metroid adventure, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
The story begins with Dark Samus, who just doesn't want to die, launching the Leviathan, a satelite/bomb that scatters seeds to spread the poisonous element Phazon throughout the galaxy. The Galactic Federation counters this threat by calling in four bounty hunters to clean the mess up: Rundas, Ghor, Gandrayda and Samus Aran. Before the group can actually get on with their mission, a nearby planet is attacked, and the group is called into action to save it. During the rescue, Dark Samus arrives and strikes each of the hunters with a Phazon blast. Once the group recovers, it is revealed that they are are now capable of handling Phazon, which allows Samus to enter Hypermode, and deal lots of damage. However, if she stays in Hypermode too long, she becomes corrupted, and will then become another Dark Samus herself. This is only the tip of the story's iceberg, and telling any more would be cruel.
The previous Prime titles featured a great First-Person Shooter system that rivaled a lot of other games. With the Wii's Wiimote, Corruption revolutionizes the FPS style, and plays fluidly, and amazingly. I don't mean Red Steel gun play, this is the real deal. Once the motion sensory setting are set to 'Advanced', the cursor settings are going to be next to perfect. Shooting, turning and everything else in the game performs incredibly. This is the best use of the Wiimote to date. With a handy Lock-on option, locking to enemies makes the firing of your arm cannon easier, but no-less fun; it only enhances the experience.
There are lots of little tidbit puzzles and such involving the Wiimote that only increase the joy. Said puzzles equal moments in past Prime games where you might have to just scan something to activate it, whereas in Corruption, a fun little puzzle makes it really involving, putting you in right in the game. Just play through the first five minutes of the game, and you'll see what I mean.
Samus' cache of weapons is a little altered this time around. Where in the previous Prime titles Samus was given various beams to attack with (Ice Beam, Plasma Beam, Dark Beam, Light Beam, etc) and choose whichever beam to attack with, only one beam is used in Corruption, but is powered up with more properties along the way. For example, Samus starts out with the traditional Power Beam, but it eventually becomes replaced by the Plasma Beam, and that is replaced by the Nova Beam, though it still contains the abilities of the previous beams along with its own. This system makes for a simpler weapon selection, but it's a little too simple and less interesting than the nifty choice of beams to combat strengths and weaknesses of opponents in the previous Prime titles. Other traditional weapons and enhancements like the Morph Ball, Grapple Beam, and choice of visors return with few changes in mind, so the feeling with them remains mostly the same.
An interesting addition is the ability to command Samus' ship. The Command Visor allows Samus to send her ship commands of where to land, what to launch a missile at, or what to carry. This makes for a nifty addition as it allows for better backtracking and more useful save points in her ship. Not to mention the cool little gizmos in her cockpit.
Entering the immensely powerful Hypermode requires you sacrifice your own health to power it, but it is well worth it. Hypermode blows away even the toughest of enemies with just a few shots, and is an intense blast to enter. Whereas Prime 2: Echoes' Dark World was a bit of a pain to enter, even if it did show the world in a different light, Hypermode is an utter joy to enter when you risk it. However, remain in it for too long and you risk Corruption, where you become overloaded with Phazon; if you don't release it by shooting a lot, you become terminally corrupted and you die, so it's best exercised with caution in mind.
The graphics in Corruption done by Retros Studios are by far the best to date in the Wii lineup. Complicated and intricate setups of the world Samus visits are stunning to look at, with lots of attention to detail giving an amazing immersing experience. More bloom effects have been included and more polygons to make stuff just look plain cool. The killer graphics come at a price, as load times between rooms are too lengthy. When you shoot at a door and just wait and wait for it to open (this happens quite frequently), it can get on your nerves like crazy. It's annoying, but once it's out of your way and you enter the room, you won't really remember why you were temporarily angered as you realize you have some more aliens/puzzles to solve in the next room.
Story progression is done well in Corruption. The Galactic Federation troops each give their own voices, adding to the realism of the story. Voice acting is competent, which puts you right in the middle of the experience. Sound quality is good too, so you'll feel right there.
The musical score in the game is not to be known for its memorable notes and chords, but for it's perfect way of setting the mood. The tunes of a fire jungle, sky city, and pirate home world fit perfectly, the spookier moments will suck you in. Try playing with the lights out and the sound at a good volume when you investigate an abandoned ship; you just might jump from small fear. That's when you know it's a good musical score.
Like all Metroid games, there are lots of small power-ups like missiles and energy tanks to be found here and there. 100 in all, they're scattered around everywhere and require the right power-up to successfully be acquired. If you feel up to it, you'll definitely kill time looking for every last one.
Extras in the game are pretty neat too. By accomplishing certain skills throughout the game, you can acquire tokens to purchase things like soundtracks, production art or even a bobble-head to go on your cockpit dashboard. It's a fun addition and though it might not exactly keep you hooked, you'll have fun browsing through Samus' suit designs.
As with the previous Prime titles, there is still a fetch quest to go through if you want to complete the game, but I found it to be a little easier than in the previous games. This is most likely due to the fact that backtracking (a Metroid favorite) is much easier here, given that you no longer crawl around forever on one planet but use your ship to travel from one to another. This makes backtracking much quicker and painless.
The game's longevity depends on the player. The game can take up to 20 hours to get all the small power-ups and creature/lore scans, but if you just want to blow through it, it can be done in about 12 or so hours. This is a little disappointing, as I had hoped for the core of the game to last a bit longer, but the experience is still a good one.
When it comes down to it, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is obviously a must-own. With a stupendous FPS system, great graphics and score, plus a good amount of extras to keep you going, this is definitely the best Wii game next to Twilight Princess. Get your arm cannon ready, you're going to need it.
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