by JSnake, reviewed on
Metroid Prime 3 was released just a few days ago. It was highly anticipated due to the series' pedigree. I'm glad to say that Prime 3 is the best in the Prime trilogy and it more than lives up to the massive hype. Let's begin.
Deep within the reaches of space, the GFS Valhalla is being used for a training mission. Space Pirates raid the vessel and steal the main computer – the Aurora Unit. The Space Pirates then start corrupting planets with a dangerous mutagen called 'Phazon'. They plan to turn these planets into living Phazon itself in order to destroy the Galactic Federation and rule the galaxy.
Retro Studios hasn't spun a particularly deep and enthralling yarn, but the presentation is remarkable. Extremely cinematic scenes delivered with impressively well-acted voice acting give way to a much more accessible plot. While the entire plot of the previous Prime games were told through scanning your surroundings, Prime 3 makes sure you don't skip out on important details
The major change in Prime 3 that differentiates it from its predecessors is its use of the Wii Remote. Controls are incredibly simple – simply point and shoot and move with the analog stick. Not only are they easy to learn, but they are incredibly responsive and intuitive. There are three types of sensitivity settings (each decreases the size of the bounding box for faster turning), but 'advanced' is definitely the best. Within minutes, the controls are mastered and you are able to circle-strafe and shoot in midair and barely miss a shot. Prime 3 has the best first-person controls in any console game to date.
Other motion controls are also implemented. There are quite a few contextual events in the game where players use the Wii Remote to do different things like raise or lower a lever, pump, twist, and pull switches. Most of the time, these events work incredibly smoothly and go right along with your movements. Sometimes, they can be a bit buggy and won't work the way you'd expect them to.
You can also flick the remote up to jump in morph-ball form. This is much faster and easier than the old-fashioned way of using bombs, but this mechanic sometimes doesn't respond to your movements. It can be quite aggravating, especially when you're in a tight passage with robot enemies firing at you.
Gameplay itself is really standard Metroid fare. Samus still has her wide arsenal of different abilities that are used to explore. Speaking of exploring, players can expect to do a lot of it as in any Metroid game. For those not familiar, Metroid games typically focus more on exploration, puzzle-solving and atmosphere than shooting everything that moves. Although the new aiming controls do up the ante a bit in terms of action, Prime 3 still has those Metroid moments where you'll be exploring caves, mountains and technologically advanced Space Pirates labs.
Players will usually run into dead ends if they follow a linear path. As the game progresses, players will find new upgrades that open new paths. It's never truly obvious where you must go next. For example, players will find a great chasm in one room that can only be crossed with the Screw Attack, an item the player will not have yet. After gaining this item, the player must back track to that chasm and cross it. Prime 3 is filled with these types of examples (not always using the same item), but the game usually provides small short cuts and vague hints. So you're never truly lost but you will never have your hand held, either. There's no tedium to the reward you know you're going to get.
No Pros and Cons at this time