Review - Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
I know it's been a while since the game was released, but I had to write something after reading too many of the reader-submitted reviews at GameFAQs, and getting the feeling that I really don't belong. I could only read enough reviews rated 8, 9, or 10 before I started to lament the backsliding of the Metroid franchise as well as the passing of time.
If the latest offering by Retro Studios has done nothing else of historical significance, it's drawn a very sharp line between gamers, old and new. Sadly, just as it happens with college and professional sports, I'm reminded of my own age once again.
Metroid Prime 3 Sucks
Someone needs to say it. I have been a Metroid fan since I played the first game on the NES. The seemingly flawless formula from the first game was further perfected in the SNES Super Metroid game, and was beautifully translated to 3D in the first Metroid Prime game on the Gamecube. Unfortunately, this was the last of the good Metroid games to date.
I was looking forward to Corruption because it (I hoped) wouldn't be another cheap rehash of the first Prime game, as Echoes was. I couldn't wait to see how the interface with the Wii Remote would work, and what new play mechanics would be developed even apart from the new control scheme offered by the Wii.
After playing Corruption, I can honestly say they've destroyed the Metroid franchise. It would have been better for them to offer us yet another rehash of Metroid Prime. Instead, Retro and (by proxy) Nintendo have succeeded in turning one of the most brilliant and original concepts into some unrecognizable Halo-like hybrid.
I mean, honestly... If I wanted to receive orders from someone, I would have purchased Halo or Half-Life. If I wanted to be sent on a linear mission to perform some menial task, I would have bought Zelda. If I wanted to be placed alongside a team of other mercenaries, only to witness each one die on their own or fight them after they turn against me, I would have bought Metal Gear. If I wanted to play mini-games, I'd play Final Fantasy. And if I wanted to spend my time accumulating achievement points, I would have bought a 360 by now.
I didn't buy Halo or any of these other games, I bought Metroid. In the Metroid I know, you start out alone. You have no map, no friends, and no sunlight. You have a gimped weapon, no bombs, and no guide to get you acclimated to the environment. The satisfaction in playing Metroid doesn't come from finishing the game. It comes from exploring it and surviving it, and occasionally finding an item to help you along.
It's a dark game with eerie music. It's a simple, paranoia-inducing game where if something moves, or is even facing you, you shoot it (because it sure as hell isn't going to say "Hi Samus!" and give you a briefing). It's a non-linear game where the replayability comes not from finishing quests in less time, but from attempting to explore further with fewer items.
I'm pretty sure I know what they had in mind when they created Corruption, and it wasn't Metroid. It plays like Halo, sets out with the same goals as Halo (redefining the FPS control scheme), and tries to be Halo. Retro Studios didn't see how much better and deeper a franchise Metroid has been than Halo ever will be, and as a result we get another cookie-cutter game in the genre. If the outstanding sales numbers and high reviews are any indication, we may have just witnessed the end of a great franchise.
Now if you'll excuse me while I grow older...