Metroid Prime 3 Review

Posted: October 4, 2007 in Video Games

Well I finally beat Metroid Prime 3 about a week or so ago.  Before I had children I would have beaten this game within 2 or 3 days max.  Anyways I digress….ok here we go.I debated how to grade this game.  I’ll admit right off the bat the reason I bought Metroid Prime 3 is because I’ve been a Metroid fan for 20 years, not because of a “revolutionary” control scheme.  I’ve decided I’ll list the good and the bad about the game and then give it a final score.  This game though which is easily the best in the Metroid Prime trilogy was a mixed bag of goods for me at times throughout the adventure.  Let’s go!

The Good

Well first off it’s a Metroid game.  I’ve played them all (except Hunters) and so I wasn’t expecting any surprises or huge changes to this game.  I expected more of the same but when you’re talking about Metroid that’s not a bad thing.  To my surprise there were a few new things in the game that made the old tried and true Metroid formula feel a bit more original.

Graphics

First off let me reiterate what many others have said about this game.  Running in 480p and widescreen MP3 is indeed the best looking game on the Wii thus far.  Matt over at IGN Wii praised the games art and design.  I couldn’t agree with his praise more as the environments are the best I’ve seen in any Metroid since Super Metroid (Metroid 3) way back in 1994.  There are a variety of different locals in this game ranging from high tech environments to deserts and to icy worlds.  The environments along with the soundtrack (more on that later), really immersed me and drew me into the game.  The moods and places Samus treads in this game range from creepy and moody to frantic and mysterious.  Graphically and through it’s artwork Metroid Prime 3 really shines.

Sound

Samus’ current outing boasts the best soundtrack I’ve heard in a Metroid game since Super Metroid.  Even though I still wish “Hip” Tanaka would still come back around to score new Metroid games, Prime 3’s soundtrack captures the mood of each environment (something I felt didn’t always happen with Prime 1 and 2).  Again this helped draw me in and made the game even more enjoyable.  Music ranges from creepy and a haunted type of feeling to suspenseful and edgy.  The music here really matches each area and captures the moment very well.  Of course there are a few throw backs though they’ve been remixed nicely.  The Phazon Mines track plays in several spots and though that wasn’t one of my Metroid favorites it plays out well when it’s used.  One interesting note on a personal opinion.  I’ve been waiting for the Kraid’s Lair theme to make a return to Metroid but you won’t find it in Prime 3 as there’s no Kraid encounter..  Metroid Prime 3’s soundtrack should satisfy and impress most Metroid fans.  Good, solid and better than Prime 1 and 2.

Controls

This is a tough subject for me to review.  I didn’t buy my Wii because of its “revolutionary” controller.  I bought the Wii for games like Metroid, basically the big Nintendo franchise games.  The control scheme for Metroid Prime 3 works out pretty well.  The only shooters I’ve ever really enjoyed are the Halo games and the Metroid Prime series so to say I’m not a fan of keyboard and mouse setups would be an understatement.  It took me about 3 or 4 hours of gameplay before I got comfortable with with Metroid’s controls.  I followed the advice of shooter fans and used the advanced control setting (which is the best) for the entire game.  At times the controls were cumbersome and I found myself wanting to play this game on a standard controller instead of the Wii-mote.  The parts of the controls I did enjoy was pushing buttons and twisting and turning door controls.  If you are a shooter fan and like the mouse and keyboard set up you’ll love the control Metroid Prime 3’s control scheme but if you’re new to it or where never a big fan of the classic PC shooter setup then you might find yourself frustrated.  Things did get better for me though when I turned OFF free aiming.  I like lock on and once I enabled that the game was much more enjoyable.  The final judgement here?  Good solid controls for fans of first person gaming but you might have a hard time if you’re used to a more traditional video game controller. Gameplay

The gameplay in Metroid Prime 3 is much better than it’s predecessors.  Voice acting is perhaps the best addition to Metroid Prime 3, though I still would prefer to hear Samus talk.  I think Link makes a fine silent hereo but Samus should speak and sound like a man.  That would really be cool.  Things tend to move faster and flow better in this game than it did in other games especially Prime 2.  One of the questions I always raised was “why doesn’t Samus keep her weapons between adventures”.  Prime 3 really doesn’t answer that question but it does allow Samus start the game with the Space Jump, Charge Beam, Morph Ball, and Varia Suit.  Contrary to past outings she doesn’t lose anything this time around.  She keeps what she starts with and though it was a double edged sword for me it was a nice change of pace.  You don’t have to wait long either before Samus gets her first upgrade which is the Missle Launcher which was also a nice change of pace.  Outside of how you will begin the adventure there are a whole host of things that add to the Metroid experience.  First off all you can traverse several planets and a few other “hidden” locations whenever you want which is really nice.  To go along with that you get the opportunity to control Samus’ ship, though in a somewhat limited capacity.  You are act as the ships navigator telling it where to fly to next, and in some cases you can call on Samus’ ship to lift heavy objects and to drop some bombs on immovable objects.  I found these aspects of the game to be very fun and it really brought something new to the table.  Metroid has also been traditionally known as a game of upgrades.  In Prime 3, there seem to be more upgrades or rather they come at a quicker pace which is kind of nice as well.  You won’t spend a lot of time looking for items other than a few very well hidden missile expansions.  One very nice addition to the gameplay is the ability to use Samu’s left had for things like turning knobs and pulling levers and the grapple lasso was quite fun. Very solid and enjoyable gameplay here but don’t expect any huge surprises…it’s Metroid!

Extras

Metroid Prime 3 introduces some really cool extras….that is if you have Wii friends.  Wii friend codes are another blog for another day but they ruin what could make Prime 3’s extras really fly.  The game rewards you with vouchers, kind of like Mortal Kombat’s “Koins” when you kills certain enemies, scan certain objects or perform special feats.  They are really easy to amass, that is until you try and collect friend vouchers.  Friend vouchers can only be had when one of your Wii friend sends them to you.  Now as I’ve said before I have one Wii friend and yes he has Prime 3 but I’ve only received one friend Voucher from him as he likely send his others to other Wii friends.  Why are friend vouchers important?  Well because the vouchers you earn and collect from friends allow you to buy things like selections from the games soundtrack, cool artwork, and things like Mii bobble-heads and bumper stickers for Samus’ ship, however I will never know what these look like because of the Wii’s extremly limited online connectivity.  It kind of feels like Nintendo is encouraging us to go online with the Wii with Prime 3’s extra’s but they really should have made friend vouchers available through another medium in the game for those of us who are severely hindered by the inability to make online friends through our Wii’s.  I purchased everything I could without friend vouchers which sadly is not much.  If you have Wii friends then you’ll really enjoy the extras the game offers, if not you’ll likely feel ostracized and let down.

The Bad
———————————————————————————————————————————————–

Graphics

Like I stated earlier the designs and artwork of the game are awesome but from start to finish I couldn’t keep myself from thinking “man this would be kick ass in High Defintion.”  I understand that the Wii isn’t about graphical horsepower but I kept feeling like Samus got the shaft and was left behind some other cool video game heroes when she was relegated to 480p.  You won’t be disappointed by the graphics in Metroid Prime 3 but many of you may wish this game was at least in 720p.  It could have been breath taking.

Sound

There’s not to many negative things I can say about the sound effects and music in this game.  They are Metroid to the bone which is a good thing.  If anything, like the other two games in the Prime saga (at times), the music just really reaches out and grabs you.  The best tunes are still the “Hip” Tanaka remixes.  Although I dont think the song should appear until we see Kraid again (hopefully), the Kraid’s Lair theme has been MIA since the original Metroid and I just happen to think that’s the greatest piece of video game music ever and it hasn’t been remixed once.  Who knows maybe that’s a good thing.

Controls

I kind of covered my disatisfaction with the controls in this game.  I know that I’m in a very infinetly small minority when I say I didn’t really enjoy the Wii-mote’s set up so I know I’ll catch a huge amount of flack, but I did get used to it after a while.  I just happen to prefer old fashioned controllers.  Using the controller to jump while you’re in morph ball mode is nice but that’s it.  The rest of you will probably love the controlls.

Gameplay

While the gameplay is much better than the other two Prime titles I really fealt like Nintendo dummied the game down a bit for it’s casual based audience in hopes that the game would reach and please this crowd.  Now mind you I wasn’t turned off by any aspect of the gameplay however some things were to fast or to easy which is never how Metroid should be.  First off Samus gets a lot of upgrades this round but a few of them are for her ship which is ok, but Metroid is always about cool new beams and inovative suit upgrades.  I felt as though the suit upgrades in this game where weak and unimaginative.  The PED upgrade to the Varia suit is cool but I didn’t like the “shield” upgrade that Samus picks up as her final suit late in the game.  Part of Metroid for me has always been seeing Samus and her changing appearance.  You don’t really get to see the shield suit because it only glows yellow when you step out into acid rain or into feul gel and since this is a first person game, you won’t really see a good shot of the suit since it doesnt activate while you’re on elevators etc.  The suits in Prime 2 were really unique and Samus’ appearance was dramatically changed when you picked up the suits.  My other gripe with the gameplay is item pickup.  In the past you could find missle upgrades, and bomb expansions all over the place and that’s true in Prime 3 too but you used to have to either beat the crap out of difficult boss or go way out of your way and find some super hidden area to pick up the meaningful or unique upgrades.  In Prime 3 it feels like item pick up is just way to linear.  Beam and suit pick ups are placed in your path and there are only a few instances where you have to think about how to get an item. Beam upgrades work like they did (sort of) in Super Metroid where they stack to form one “mega” beam.  I thought the beams in this game were sorry and sad.  None of them were really unique or made me go “oooo cool weapon”, it was more like “ah man, that’s it?  Honestly the Nova Beam is just a green version of Prime 1’s Plasma beam with greater range.  Basically the game was way to easy compared to past Metroid games.  The boss fights, with the exception of one were pieces of cake.  I didn’t die one single time in MP3 and I ususally die several times when I play past titles.  Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the game was that the final boss was a walk in the park.  Yes I definitly do feel as though it was dummied down in some areas to make it easier for people who may not have ever played a Metroid game.

I have to gripe about Metroid endings too.  In this day and age, don’t we deserve longer more detailed endings with some story to back it up?  Don’t get me wrong I like the ending in Prime 3 and have enjoyed all Metroid endings but I’d really like to see an ending Final Fantasy style that takes 30 minutes to complete.  I know all Metroid endings are kind of ambigous and short but I’d like to see that change.  After kicking some ass for 23 hours I’d like to get a bigger reward when I’m done.

My last gripe about this game is the run time.  Yes, yes, yes, Metroid games are about speed and pick up percentage but 20 hours of gameplay?  I’ll say this.  For as beautiful as I found the environments and loved traveling to other parts of the galaxy, the areas where all small and easy to navigate.  The game took me 23 hours to compelte at 100%.  Now since I have two small children and many other things going on it took me over a month to beat the game but had this been 4 years ago minus the kids I’d been done in 2 1/2 to 4 days.  Waiting 2 to 3 years (sometimes more with Metroid) is tough and I kind of feel cheated when Ninendo only delivers 20 hours of gameplay.  Some games should be short and sweet and some should be extremly long.  I believe Metroid should be somewhere in the middle with a lean to the lengthy side.  I would have so much fun with a 50 or 60 hour Metroid adventure!  So many places and upgrades to be found!  I can dream can’t I? Maybe its because I’m 34 years old that I expect a more mature and in depth expirence with my games but then again I’ve always felt this way about Metroid…it should be longer!

Final Word

The majority of people who play this game will be Metroid fans and Nintendo faithfuls.  Those same people (I’m both) will thoroughly enjoy this game.  Even with the gripes I have about the game I loved Prime 3 as it’s hands down the best in the Prime Trilogy and I’d rate it fourth best in the entire saga just behind Metroid Fusion.  This is one of those games that justifies the purchase of a Wii and one of the reasons I bought mine last year.

I hope that we don’t have to wait another 5-10 years for another Metroid adventure on a home console.  I don’t like portables so I’m hoping that Metroid keeps rolling on the Wii and its successor.  I do think it’s time for Samus to move on though and find a new bounty leaving the Space Pirates and Metroids behind.  Samus has been at war with them for 20 year!  I also hope to see the next game be Metroid 5 or Metroid Dread which Prime 3 indicates that it’s near completetion when you scan something near the end of the game.  It might just be a red herring but who knows. 

Final Grade: A-

Comments
  1. Dark Sylux says:

    I beat It On HyperMode It is very easy I Also Want a cheat to be able to switch weapens Because you can’t 😦 😦

  2. Barry says:

    Voice acting was the BEST addition to Metroid?! You are a clown. The voice “acting” is fecking terrible…I turned that shit off as soon as found the option to do so. The acting is TERRIBLE. It ruined it for me… Metroid is supposed to be about isolation and solitude; not some cheesy ship commander barking out orders to Samus. You can tell what characters were designed by the Americans….The “Hunters” are the cheesiest…Especially the shape-shifting girl…Voice acting sucked. So did the “Hunters”. So does your opinion….

  3. tomu says:

    The soundtrack better than 1 and 2? Personally I found MP3 the WEAKEST soundtrack of any metroid game. There are horrible any “thematic” tracks, they’re all just some podgy choirs and mashed technology synth. Compared any track in MP3 to such brilliants as “Sanctuary Fortress,” “Hall of the Elders,” “Artefact Shrine,” “Phendrana Drifts,” or Magmoor Caverns. omg, i really cant beleive the soundtrack is getting such good reviews everywhere, has no one played any of the previous games!?

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