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Critical Reception: Nintendo/Retro's Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

This week's edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, a significant Nintendo Wii release that critics say is "one of the best titles available for the Wii, and a worthy pickup."
This week's edition of the regular Critical Reception column examines online reaction to Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, a significant Nintendo Wii release that critics say is "one of the best titles available for the Wii, and a worthy pickup." Following two well-received prequels in Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption also faced the lofty expectations of Wii owners eager for a high-profile title aimed at the hardcore market. The release is especially important for Nintendo, considering that the Wii has recently drawn criticism over a software lineup that largely consists of ports, minigame collections, and titles aimed at the casual crowd. Though pressure ran high, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is thus far a hit with critics, achieving an exceptional review score average of 91 out of 100 at Metacritic. "DaveMayCry" at GamePro.com finds that a retooled control scheme works heavily in Corruption's favor, and merits a score of 4.25 out of 5 in Fun Factor. "Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is, for the most part, Nintendo's first established franchise to really utilize the Wii's motion-sensing strengths," he begins. "Playing through Corruption, you get the sense that this game was developed with the Wii in mind, a feeling that precious few titles have thus far evoked." "The driving force behind many of the game's changes is the new control scheme, which works quite well, due in no small part to Retro's decision to offer a high level of customization," GamePro's reviewer continues. "Unlike previous Primes, which had set schemes that flew against FPS genre conventions, Corruption allows you to tweak the Wii remote's aim sensitivity, engage or disengage the lock-on shooting that turned a few folks off the GameCube titles, and switch around a few of the button-based commands." The result? "When put into practice, the Wii's control scheme has its benefits and drawbacks," DaveMayCry admits. "While the aiming takes awhile to get used to, once you find your desired level of sensitivity, you'll find that it almost matches the buttery-smooth movement of the GameCube games. Note that I said almost, as it doesn't quite live up to the past installments' standard; still, it's a vast improvement over past Wii FPS games that have vastly underperformed." DaveMayCry notes some disappointment in regard to its heavy amounts of action and voice acting, but otherwise the experience remains solid. "The extremely high pedigree of the Metroid series is difficult to live up to, and the game falters slightly when put up against some of the greatest games in Nintendo history," he concludes. However: "Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is by no means a bad game. Truth be told, it's probably one of the best titles available for the Wii, and a worthy pickup." GameSpy's Bryn Williams shares similar praise in his 4.5-out-of-5 review. "The two best qualities that Corruption brings to the table are its amazing visuals and its brand-new twitch-based control scheme," he asserts. "The graphics, lighting and other visual stimuli are on a par with some of the better games seen running on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The fact that Wii is vastly underpowered compared to these other two systems is a resounding testament to Retro's graphics and art design team that have certainly milked the Wii hardware for all it's worth." "The controls are the other part of the winning formula," Williams continues, "and thanks to the nunchuck and Wii remote combo, first-person-style shooting has never been more accurate on Nintendo's new hardware." Williams emphasizes that Corruption is not perfect, however, and contains its share of gameplay quirks. "The biggest offender is the way the game streams new levels," he claims. "Normally, if the section of the level you are playing in has fully streamed into memory, you need to simply shoot a door for it to open. The problem arises when you're moving fast through an area and you have to wait for the game to catch up. You'll shoot a door and nothing will happen. Sometimes nothing happens for 6-8 seconds which clearly interrupts the flow of the game." Other issues cited include problematic button placement and an unwieldy 3D mapping system. Despite these concerns, though, Williams remains confident that Corruption is "a rock-solid end to the Metroid Prime series, and one that deserves to be played by fans and Wii owners alike." Giles Bird at Yahoo! Games rates Corruption slightly lower at 4 out of 5 stars. "The good news and the bad news is that Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is very much a Metroid game," he says, "fitting perfectly and perhaps a little unimaginatively at the end of its trilogy." Bird claims that Corruption's control scheme is effective, though it seems unnecessarily convoluted at times. "It's a bit silly and contrived the way you have to twist and push and wave your Wiimote to operate Samus' spaceship, put energy cells into sockets, touch a hand sensor, or pull an enemy shield out of his hands," he critiques. "But it's a nice bit of Wii flavoring." "As a shooter, the controls are precise and fluid," Bird continues. "This is a Metroid with a minimum of fumbling around, built for quick and easy action." "If you consider the competition games like BioShock and Gears of War, Metroid is going to feel stilted and oddly paced," Bird warns in conclusion. "But if you're a fan of the long-running series, you'll probably be pleased how well this game fits into the canon, both in terms of gameplay and story. This is a classic Metroid game, made easy enough that it's also an ideal introduction for new players." Though Metroid Prime 3: Corruption scores high with critics, many note that the game contains numerous small annoyances that drag the experience down. It's also emphasized that fans of the series will likely be able to ignore these problems, however, and gamers looking for a fun and fitting end to the Metroid Prime trilogy have little to risk in checking out Corruption.

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