E3 2006 Hands-On | Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

By Jorge Ba-oh 13.05.2006 21

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Hands On)
Nicholas Kleczewski :: 13th May 2006 :: Reporting from LA


All eyes are on Retro to finish out this trilogy with a knockout and from the looks of things, Samus may just be priming us for an explosive finale.

The opening title screen incorporates the "Nintendo Presents, Retro Studios, Metroid Prime 3" titles in the coolest way yet. Right away it appears there will be some sort of viral theme to the game (hence the Corruption subtitle). The title itself gets over taken by a cloud of blackness that looks as though it's eating away the light from the screen. Other than that, you're given about zilch for story in the demo.


However, you are treated to what will obviously be a MUCH heavier focus on combat this time around. You're thrust right into battle as soon as the real time intro cinema ends with Samus' new and much improved ship lands at its docking station. I might be on crack, disorientation at E3 is a constant given, but Samus' suit looked quite different to me as well. A bit more of a Juggernaut-ish wider helmet sticks out in memory. An even further departure this time out; there are NPC friendlys that you actually talk too, who reveal what's happening via voiced communication. No more learning about a civilization's history through scanning its remains (but with the scope of battling going on, it may just happen yet). The little bit of voice acting is top notch, as you would expect from a western developer. It's the standard, "Samus, we're under attack. We need your help. If you can just activate the thingy-doo, we can overtake the enemy and there will be nothing left to do but roll the end credits. Will you help us?" Samus, obviously tired of these unfair responsibilities, no doubt wants to nip this thing in the bud before it gets out of hand. There's no choice but to venture out into the battlefield, in search of the thingy-doo.

You might guess that the obvious Wii'd up gimmick this time out is going to be the free hand, mouse-like control over your cross hair. You'd be right. You might also guess that because of this much tighter control scheme, the need for a lock-on system would be tossed. You'd be wrong, and for good reason. The Nintendo rep at the booth, not a Retro rep, didn't mention it, but as soon as I had my first space pirate in my sights, I instinctively hit the Z button. (the bigger of the two on the Nunchaku) Lock-on targeting fully engaged just as in the past. I was a little startled that this had just happened. It was completely a subconscious move on my part, and I had actually concluded in my head prior to the show that this feature would probably be axed. But those Retro guys, gotta hand it to 'em, they saw the obvious coming and said, "Screw that, it's staying in there."

It's a better choice for a few reasons. One, it helps Metroid retain that Metroidian feel without slipping itself into the bland, boring, and blander still, world of FPS shooters. There's an invisible nod that says, "Yeah, shooting is more important this time, but still not the MOST important." Thank god, who needs it?

And while we're at it, screw un-biased opinions. Say what you feel man. Put a little passion into your life for crying out loud. Anyway, back on track. The other important reason is that it allows for crazier battling with four, five, and six bad guys on screen at once without feeling ridiculously unfair and consequently boring. The bad guys are definitely more relentless and crafty this time too. Right from the beginning you've got troops intelligently rallying behind crates and others trying to outflank you at the same time, so the locking on bit is good.

Tough bad guys make a good segway (not a word, I know, don't even bother posting about it) to another major control mechanic in the game. Again, right from the beginning of the game, there are enemies that are not only tough but also completely shielded from your bullets. What's a girl to do? Rip the shield off! This is accomplished with the grapple beam and the Nunchaku. Any bad guys that have this sort of protection will have a grapple beam icon show up when you get within range. To launch the grapple beam, you sort of toss the Nunchaku out in a forward motion. It's a testament to how amazing these sensors are in both controllers. Never once did my grapple beam shoot when I didn't want it too, and never once did it not when I did. Once the grapple beam has connected, you simply push down on the analog stick as if to grab the line and pull. Shield pops off; time to die. A couple of guys like this on screen coupled with a few rocket-powered pirates shooting at you from above gets pretty friggin fun. You'll also use this same grapple beam mechanic to clear debris and other obstacles out of your way.

One other simple but effective use of the Wiimote is with opening doors. In the demo, you actually grab a lock, pull it towards you to expose it, twist it counter clock-wise and push it back in to release. The whole process is simulated exactly with the controller. It compares to something like Retro including the skeletal layer to Samus' arm when you get a attacked with the X-Ray visor on, or when a large blast happens in front of you and you can see her eyes off the visor's reflection; just a little touch that brings on a little smile. I wouldn't doubt if Retro has some more complicated maneuvers in store as well.

The demo ends on an epic note. Just as Samus is about the to engage the thingy-doo that will end this whole catastrophe, who should appear and ruin the whole plan? Ridley, you magnificent bastard! It's getting to the point where if Ridley didn't enter the scene at the last possible moment, it'd be a stretch to even call the game Metroid. It's actually funny how marginalized the metroids themselves have become as of late. Also, why is Kraig always treated like chopped liver? I'd like to kick some Meta-Kraig ass sometime before it's all over. Ridley ends up knocking you down an elevator chute in which he follows so the battle takes place suspended in a free fall. Ridley's in your face trying to eat you, you have to shoot him in the mouth at the right moments, he's grabbing onto the walls trying to slow his fall, sparks are flying everywhere; its awesome.

I have but one small control gripe. Your missiles and visor are mapped to the D-pad, and normal fire is mapped to the A button. It's not completely easy to hold the controller in a manner that allows rapid access to both the D-pad and A button at the same time. You're gripping the controller in a position that is convenient for one or the other. Again, with more practice this might work itself out but I almost feel like it would be better to map the fire button to the underbelly B button and make A your jump. Then you could ride both with ease. Not a biggie, but I had to say something right?

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption will undoubtedly find its place in the trilogy met with open arms. Aesthetically, not much is new other than some light blooming and shinier textures. But the extra horsepower is being put to use with more enemies, smarter A.I. and much bigger and expansive environments. The new Wii specific mechanics promise a unique experience that's going to be a blast and another great showpiece for the Wii's capabilities. Just the fact alone that Nintendo has the hardcore fan base completely covered right from launch day with a new Metroid and Zelda, is definitely enough to get excited about a "best launch line-up ever" scenario.

Nicholas Kleczewski

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Comments

Superb write up again Nick! :d

The game sounds phenomenal, and even though the graphics haven't been upgraded that much (yet) it still looks ace, I mean MP1/2 were gorgeous enough already!

Hopefully those control niggles can be worked out before launch, or at least some customisable control options would do the job nicely methinks.


Cubed3 Staff [ Retro Editor :: Previews Editor ]

YES I LOVE YOU!!! It's everything I wanted!
-The control system
-The NPC interaction (thank god for good-voice acting). Don't say that's not metroid because NPC interaction made Fusion one of the most enjoyable and the Echoes in the beggening where there was some.
-THANK GOD. A better AI, a brilliant AI! The standard bad guys in prime games had a very bad AI, this is great news.
-Expansive Levels (yes no more claustaphobia).
-More impact on action (puzzles are good, but action is the meat of the game).
-A fight with Ridley in Free Fall? I've always wanted a battle like that (maybe not with Ridley in mind, but he'll do nicely). Please link me to a picture!!!!

Excellent write-up Nick, an awesome, awesome read and start to the weekend!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

What Z said.Smilie

It's going to be shit and you jolly well know it.

The fight with Ridley looks AWESOME. Have you seen a video of it? Truly excellent stuff.

Nice write up Nick, you need to watch a longer video to appreciate the title (and I assume get your hands on it), it's shaping up really well.

Tough bad guys make a good segway (not a word, I know, don't even bother posting about it)

It is actually, you've just misspelled it. Segue is what you are going for.

Anyways, greta write up. It feels like MP3 has been overshadowed a bit in favour of Mario Galaxy, SSBB, Red Steel, LoZ:TP but it still looks utterly phenomenal.

An even further departure this time out; there are NPC friendlys that you actually talk too, who reveal what's happening via voiced communication

Smilie Somthing sorly missed from prime2. Yay theres space federation guys in the game! Oh wait there all dead...


Ridley ends up knocking you down an elevator chute in which he follows so the battle takes place suspended in a free fall

Thats sound friggen coolSmilie

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

Blade2t3 said:
An even further departure this time out; there are NPC friendlys that you actually talk too, who reveal what's happening via voiced communication
Smilie Somthing sorly missed from prime2. Yay theres space federation guys in the game! Oh wait there all dead...
Ridley ends up knocking you down an elevator chute in which he follows so the battle takes place suspended in a free fall
Thats sound friggen coolSmilie

That does sound cool. Shades of Gandalf fighting the Balrog in LOTR.

That does sound cool. Shades of Gandalf fighting the Balrog in LOTR

DAMM! thats right! You just multiplied it's coolness X 10 for me!

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

Z said:
-A fight with Ridley in Free Fall? Ive always wanted a battle like that (maybe not with Ridley in mind, but hell do nicely). Please link me to a picture!!!!
You can see it in the video from the conference. I swear no-one else payed attention to that video >_> I've had to point out Ridley so many times...

Anyway the game looks awesome. From the gameplay videos I've seen things like smoke effects that look absolutely brilliant, and the AI really is incredibly improved. More large areas = T3h 53X!!111 since the only thing I didn't like about the first two were the bits where you felt really confined. Graphically... Hmm... Well everything definately looks smoother, but I'm not sure the surroundings look all that improved in general... Then again it still has months to go, and I'm sure they're not gonna let it get anywhere near any shelving until it's perfect

P.S Ooooh *shudders* That Metroid logo feels all Retro Smilie

( Edited on 13.05.2006 13:30 by Megadanxzero )

Still a proud member of the 'omfg amazing water in games' society

Another brilliant read Nick. I'm sure there'll be a button configuration option to fix up the little control situation. The way you described it , the atmosphere sounds incredibly intense, even moreso than MP 1 and 2.

Mason! Think carefully, where did you see the video?

( Edited on 13.05.2006 13:31 by Kangaroo_Kiid )

Blade2t3 said:
That does sound cool. Shades of Gandalf fighting the Balrog in LOTR
DAMM! thats right! You just multiplied its coolness X 10 for me!

I have that effect on people Smilie

I have that effect on people

What, making other things seem cooler? It is all relative I suppose, you and other things, makes them seem cooler...

Ooh. Smilie


Cubed3 Staff [ Retro Editor :: Previews Editor ]

spydarlee said:
I have that effect on people
What, making other things seem cooler? It is all relative I suppose, you and other things, makes them seem cooler...Ooh. Smilie

Ahhh, mortally wounded by crafty word play. *collapses*

I am hoping for greater maneouvrability in this sequel. I kind of missed how you jump around dodging in the 2D metroids. That would be great if they did that.

LoL, who's Kraig Smilie Doesn't he mean Kraid? Well, I'm glad to hear the lock-on is still included, but I'll prolly use it less and less later on to give myself an extra challenge. This is definitely on my launch-games-to-get-list! Smilie

~Getting on C3's massive tits since 2K5.~

Retro Studios also confirmed that Metroid Prime 3 will depart from the light and dark world setup introduced in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and instead feature large areas to explore on multiple worlds. Though Samus will use her new gunship to travel between planets, players hoping to pilot Samus Aran's new gunship may be disappointed to hear that they will not be able to pilot the ship themselves. Travel between areas likely occurs only in cutscene form. That's not to say that the ship doesn't feature a large role in the game, however. Retro hinted at a new visor mode that lets Samus command her ship from the ground. For example, she can use the gunship uplink to blow up obstacles in her way and gain access to new areas.

Smilie

I dont want multiple worlds like Hunters =/

It would be cool if they included space ship travel. But that would mean waiting Smilie I dont mind i think the game looks the shizzle. The smoke coming from the missles in one of the videos on ign looks so cool and so does the charge beam. I cant wait for this, but i do hope they iron out the controls a bit, It seems a bit slow with turning. Nintendo better increase the speed which the sensor can pick up from the wiimote.

What Z said too

great read thanks!

Awesome! great read.

Working like a fiend isn't very fun... and surprisingly isn't very fiendish either.

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