Samus is finally unleashed on Wii. Originally a title pegged for launch, Metroid fans have been drooling almost a year longer than expected. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is billed as the final part of the Metroid Prime trilogy and somewhat carries on from the previous two games, but don't worry if you haven't played these, it shouldn't put you off.
Phazon has suddenly corrupted the entire federation's network of AU computers and it's up to you to travel the galaxy, freeing each system from the virus and locating the identity of the enemy, but there's a catch: Samus' suit has also been corrupted by Phazon. The Federation tries to control this by installing a Phazon Enhancement Device, which allows Samus to enter the powerful Hypermode.
Much like other FPS games including the previous two titles, you're eased into the game by completing the first "training" area. This section of the game is primarily designed to introduce you to all the controls, characters and the story. Corruption does this beautifully and you're soon comfortable with the controls and surroundings.
It's no myth that this game was the whole reason the Nunchuck was added to the Wii control system. So, does it work as well as expected? Yes, it does. The control system in Corruption is the best console control system for FPS games. For those unfamiliar, you use the Wii Remote to aim/look and the analogue stick on your Nunchuck to move forward/back/left/right.
This system has already been employed by games such as Red Steel and Far Cry: Vengeance but none of them come close to the perfection of Prime 3. The key to its success is the target/view locking. Holding down the Z button allows you to lock your view or, if aimed correctly, allows you to lock onto a target. For those that aren't well versed, it's very similar to Zelda's Z-Targeting system. One key difference over the previous games is that when locked onto a target you are still required to aim with the Wii Remote — it's not auto-aim, it simply locks your view on that target.
The targeting/aiming system works brilliantly, raising the difficulty level over the originals. Retro Studios has proven that FPS games can work, and work well, on the Wii. Hopefully other developers will take note of this control system. There's a range of control options, such as flipping the jump/shoot controls and aiming sensitivity. "Standard" mode will have a dead zone on-screen that helps keep your view centred, while "Advanced" mode gets rid of that dead zone and offers even more precise movement for hardcore gamers.
The control system is not the only area of the game that's been refined and changed since the previous two titles. Corruption only has three visors to choose from; Scanner, X-Ray and Ship. Samus' ship plays a much larger role in this final game. Gone is the beam selector, replaced by upgrading your standard beam as you progress through the game. The new PED suit allows you to enter "Hypermode", activated by inserting one of your energy tanks into Phazon, allowing you to become ultra powerful for a brief period at the cost of energy.
It wouldn't be a Wii game without some kind of gesture system, and Corruption employs a handful of different interaction elements when accessing doors and control panels. These usually involve pulling, pushing or twisting the Wii Remote as if you were opening locks. Morph ball is back with features new and old, including the "Screw Attack" which allows you to jump up two vertical walls. Samus' grapple beam has also been upgraded, and can now be used to wrench panels off walls, connect to sky rails and rip shields off enemies.
The game unfolds over numerous planets and space crafts, leaving you to use your ship to fly around the entire galaxy. The mapping system is excellent, always showing you where you need to be and what areas you need to check. The difficultly level is perfect; you never feel too "lost" and always have a good idea of what you should be doing next. Later in the game you can get access to detailed maps showing you where all the possible upgrades are, very useful for the hardcore Metroid fans.
Not only have Retro Studios excelled with the control system, the level design and attention to detail is simply amazing. It really has to be experienced first-hand to experience the level of care and effort that has gone into creating this game. The first couple of planets are lush, with wild vegetation coupled with fiery and ice areas. This is followed by the metallic and robotic floating sky town of Elysia: the sky rails are great fun! After that comes the jaw-droppingly provocative red glow of the Pirate Homeworld, and finally you find yourself on the incredibly bizarre Phazon source planet simply named Phazee.
Whilst of course we would have loved to see this game in glorious 720p, it still looks pretty smart in the fluid 480p. Wii fans will certainly be impressed by this effort; a souped-up Gamecube game perhaps, but boy it looks pretty. It's proof that artist concept always outweighs the resolution of your screen.
There are very few flaws in the game; it's something Retro have been refining for almost seven years now. The story flows nicely and never overloads you with information, with a good balance of action, adventure and cut scenes. The only thing that annoys is the somewhat tedious energy cell hunting later on in the game, which requires a lot of backtracking over previous worlds in order to reach the final stage. Prime veterans will be familiar with this tactic of course, but it still dampens the game slightly.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is an excellent game in all departments. It reigns supreme at the top of the adventure/FPS genre its predecessor started with Metroid Prime. Blending classic FPS action on beautifully visualised foreign worlds with innovative controls, Retro Studios has done Nintendo and Samus proud. There aren't any reasons why this game shouldn't make it into your Wii collection.