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Metroid Scans

Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2007-09-03 05:05:22

Happy Labor Day!

I got home at 5am and will be spending Labor Day with my family, so I'll have my real post up tomorrow, which will consist primarily of my Metroid Prime 3 review.

Until then, I can sum it up as a good game ruined by "Corrupting" me with obsessive compulsive disorder. It makes you feel like you have to use the scan visor to identify and catalog every last thing in the game, which utterly disrupts and bogs down the actual gameplay. Anyone who's played any of the Metroid Prime titles can empathize, I'm sure.

Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2007-09-04 04:34:24

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Nintendo Wii)

Aside from the (optional) hassle of using your scanning visor to catalog all of the instrument panels, crates, power-ups, allies, enemies, flora, fauna and so on ad nauseum, Metroid Prime 3 is uniformly good.

The original Metroid Prime on the GameCube was a landmark achievement - a stunning revelation that successfully injected first-person perspective into the platforming/exploration genre. Metroid Prime 3 is even slightly better, but retreads old ground. Familiarity does breed contempt, and in between the (truly excellent) boss fights, I found myself slightly wearied by extended stretches of deja vu. However, if you never played its predecessors or couldn't get enough of Metroid Prime, this third installment is the best in the trilogy.

Metroid Prime 3 has the distinction of having been designed for the Wii from the get go. The visuals are artistically gorgeous and technically excellent. They are easily the finest on the Wii, and even surpass some 360 and PS3 titles.

Pick-up-and-play intuitive controls are supposed to be the Wii's forte, but I'm torn about the control scheme. It has a much steeper learning curve than I had anticipated. Aiming is a breeze; I think the Wiimote is a match for the PC's mouse in this respect. Moving and strafing, however, continues to feel alien and awkward even after hours of gameplay. Ultimately, it's neither worse nor better than the Halo dual-stick control scheme that games have universally adopted. It's just different. Also, there are some inane contextual motion controls sprinkled throughout the game. These are clumsy and don't make much sense if you're right handed (Samus' suit only has a hand on her left.) The Wiimote is an excellent pointer, but my doubts on motion control continue to grow with every new Wii release.

Note: The first thing you should do when you begin the game, is to set 'sensitivity' to the 'advanced' setting. You'll thank me.

Along with the new controls is a stronger emphasis on shooting. For me, Metroid has always been about the exploration and environmental problem solving. There are certainly better straight shooters than Metroid. I was further disappointed that the exploration didn't wow me. Don't get me wrong; it was very well executed, but as mentioned before, I couldn't shake the feeling that I had played this game before. The "Metroidvania" conventions of acquiring new equipment and backtracking to reach previously inaccessible areas is starting to show its age. There's nothing wrong with this design philosophy, but we need to see new and more imaginative ways of presenting it.

I do need to mention one aggravatingly annoying aspect about Metroid Prime 3. I love games that employ streaming to load zones; nobody enjoys loading screens. However, Metroid Prime 3 doesn't do it very well. You shoot doors to open them, but they often won't open for several seconds while the upcoming area is being loaded. This is actually worse than brief load time pauses, as the game continues in real time while loading the next section. It's not cool to wait for the door to open while in the process of getting shot.

I've done a lot of nit-picking in this review, but Corruption is the best of the Metroid Primes, which is lavish praise. Aside from Twilight Princess and Resident Evil 4, it's the best game currently available for the system. If you own multiple consoles, and have played one of the Primes before, it's a superb candidate for rental. But if the Nintendo Wii is your system of choice, this is a no-brainer purchase.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - Rank A (barely)

Now Playing - Panzer Dragoon Orta (Xbox)

David Vargas David Vargas: (dave-deleteme[at]-deleteme-squishycomics [dot] com) 2007-09-04 16:11:21

A few things on two games.

Dee had me sit with Metroid for a few minutes for this strip's visuals. I won't comment on the controls since I did not have any real play time with it, but I can agree with Dee that it is visually very pleasing.

BioShock continues to entertain me. I'm delving further and further into Rapture, finding every last bit of sweet, juicy story from tape-recorded diaries. What I hear has me emotionally fired up and I find myself caring about what I'm doing, how I'm doing, and who or what I'm doing it to. I can't remember the last time a game got me to be so emotionally invested.

And yes, you can play this as just any other shooter, but I would say you're purposely missing out on a great deal of the game at that point.

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