Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Hands On) (Wii) Preview

By jason 13.05.2006 2

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."

Screenshot for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Hands On) on Wii

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.

Screenshot for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Hands On) on Wii

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.

Screenshot for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Hands On) on Wii

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?

Screenshot for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Hands On) on Wii

Final Thoughts

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.

Developer

Retro

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (201 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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