Rewind Review - Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

If you want an action-FPS Metroid title, look no further than Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

We have now arrived at Day 10 of the Metroid series Rewind Review. At this point we have traveled with Samus Aran through everything from her origins as a 2D adventure platformer, to her 3D action-adventures on the Gamecube and Nintendo DS. Today we will revisit Metroid Prime for the last time with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.

Metroid Prime 3 shares the burden Prime 2: Echoes received as the Prime series became more and more of an action game instead of a Metroid game. Players have often been cited as complaining that the game "lacks the adventure aspects that made the series strong" or that "firing the same weapon all game is lame and repetitive". Oddly enough, many of these complaints echo my praises of Metroid Prime: Hunters, and so as I enter Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for the second time ever the question in my head is: "Is Metroid Prime 3: Corruption a good Metroid game or action-FPS?"

As with all Rewind Reviews, Metroid Prime: Corruption will undergo a review process through the eyes of a modern critic. No nostalgia glasses, no excuses, no rationalizing hardware limitations, and no sparing myself from angry fans and readers. Nothing will excuse the game from anything that we - as modern gamers - would expect to see in the genre today. With that said, let's get our Phazon Enhancement Device Suits on and go into Hypermode as we hunt Dark Samus in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption on the Nintendo Wii.

The Plot

It just wouldn't be a Retro Studios Prime game without a plot, would it? As expected, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption takes place after the previous title Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. Six months after saving the world of Aether from obliteration by the hands of the vile parasitic Ing, Samus Aran arrives upon the G.F.S. Olympus and meets with fellow bounty hunters (who are allies this time): Ghor, Rundas, and Gandrayda.


From left to right: Gandrayda, Rundas, Samus, and Ghor

While the bounty hunters were originally hired to cure a Federation Aurora Unit (think Mother Brain, but a good guy) from a Space Pirate virus, an attack by the latter group commences, forcing the Federation to dispatch their newly contracted hunters to Norion. There, Samus encounters a number of Phazon Enhancement Device Troopers (PED Trooper for short) fighting against the Space Pirates. Samus also encounters a resurrected Ridley and the two plummet down an energy shaft - locked in combat - until Samus is saved by Rundas who rides in on this totally awesome ice-wave-thing that I really wish I could get in the game! *cough* Sorry about that, almost lost myself there.

Once the three energy generators are online, Samus travels to the canon in an attempt to activate the planet's laser cannon to destroy an incoming Leviathan, the likes of which brings Dark Samus to the planet. All four of the bounty hunters are shot by the phazon clone, rendering them all unconscious. Samus recovers briefly to activate the cannon, and after that falls into a month-long comatose.

Samus's PED suit allows her to activate "Hypermode", a state that renders her invincible to most attacks, and simultaneously amplifies all damage output

When Samus awakens she finds out that she has been fitted with a new PED Suit to channel a source of phazon parasite that is growing inside her (sound like Fusion anyone?). The other hunters have been fitted with similar suits as well, however, it does not take long before we find out that the PED suits are flawed, and that our ally Rudas has been corrupted by the essence of Dark Samus.

The story continues as all Metroid Prime games tend to with the plot "thickening" with each new detail you find out about not only the phazon corruption in the bounty hunters, but also on the planets themselves. This - being the final Prime game in the trilogy - ends on the note of traveling to the origin of both the phazon and the Leviathan seeds, and you can all imagine what happens.

While I stated in my previous console Prime review that I would not praise Retro Studios any further than I already have, I have to do it once more with Prime 3: Corruption. The reason is simple: just about everything in this game is scannable. I'm not exaggerating. The only way that more objects could be scanned in this game is if Retro decided to make the floor and walls scannable - and some are! I haven't mentioned this before but I think that the versatility of the Scan Visor not only speaks a lot about the game's world, it also speaks volumes about the character of Samus in the sense that a 100% run shows how much information Samus tends to take in about her surroundings. It's an interesting feature, and the plot of the Prime trilogy measures up well to the stories presented in the 2D games.

The Gameplay

The Beautiful:
Pressing buttons can be somewhat annoying to press at times due to the Wii's sensitive infrared sensors

I said this multiple times for the Wii versions of the other two Prime titles: Metroid Prime shows that the Wii was designed for first-person shooters. The game feels just as great as the earlier Prime titles that were remade using Wii controls, and there is absolutely nothing I would do to change that. The only changes I could imagine this game benefiting from is the use of the Wii MotionPlus remotes that came out several years after this game's release. This would have helped with some of the sensitivity issues that this game seems to have over the other Prime ports on the Nintendo Wii, especially during scenes that require players to fidget with buttons or such.

Another praise is that the game - like Metroid Prime 2: Echoes - does not increase your damage resistance with each suit upgrade. Since enemies only become more powerful - and varied - as the game progresses it can lead to some very challenging battles down the road. As a result, playing the game on the readily available "Veteran" mode will make sure that players take a steady amount of damage from enemies. While it is often not enough to ensure players will die, it is certainly enough that it makes you feel as though death is a possibility.

Some players may feel cheated at times and blame the deaths or damage on the Wii Remote's controls, however, the controls are simply something to get adjusted to. As mentioned in earlier Prime reviews, they are a straight improvement over the Gamecube controls, and once a player becomes accustomed to them there is almost no reason to go back other than for nostalgia's sake.

Sorry Ridley, maybe you should try knocking Samus into a wall next time?

All features of Metroid Prime are present in Metroid Prime 3. However, an interesting feature of this game in particular is the fact that Samus does not lose any of her items in the game at any point in time. As a result, Samus retains her Space Jump ability, her charge beam, and her morph ball and bombs. While in any other Metroid title - including the Prime games - this would be considered a heinous perversion, Metroid Prime 3 benefits greatly from this as it now feels like a fully fledged action-FPS. Many fans of the series were quick to give negative scores due to the game's focus on action and not exploration, I think that this only improves the game's score as the exploration becomes more of an "experience" as opposed to a side-chore. The reason that I say this is that the Prime series has never been about the exploration. While Metroid Prime featured a decent amount of exploration while we walked about Talon IV, it pales in comparison to the exploration options available in the 2D games since a 3D environment limits how much you can actually "hide" from players without cheating them out of areas with unnoticeable walls or holes. 2D games on the other hand have the benefit of "hiding" pathways behind foreground objects, something that has yet to be replicated successfully in a 3D environment. Simply put: Corruption stops pretending to be what it isn't by focusing on what FPS games are good at - shooting things to bits.

If this image doesn't spell "action" then I don't know what will for Metroid fans...

This point is only further proven by the inclusion of the game's central feature: Hypermode. While in Hypermode, Samus is near invincible. All of her attacks are similarly pushed to their limits with the Hyper Beam returning as the most powerful weapon in Samus's disposal for many early portions of the game. Other weapons such as the grapple lasso keep enemy fights diverse and fast-paced, with the AI sporting some of the strongest reactions in the series. The bounty hunters also give players an interesting challenge as they are the only enemies in the entire Prime series to make use of a humanoid model that reacts to players.

Oh yeah, they fixed the logbook too... just saying...

Everything in Corruption points toward Retro Studios nailing the concept of an action-based Metroid title, without completely forgetting about its roots with some minor exploration that most players won't find while running through the game without searching for them. With just about nothing slowing the game's progress this is perhaps the greatest Prime title you can play in terms of gameplay if you consider the Prime series to be about the action aspect. If you considered the Prime series to about the exploration... well... play a 2D Metroid after finishing a Prime Trilogy run and see what you think afterward. It just does not compare.

The Bad:

There are some minor flaws with Corruption's formula.


The first one that comes to mind is the Command Visor. While it is an interesting concept, and it certainly makes the game feel more interesting, it ultimately does nothing but break up the pacing of the game. Most of the uses for this visor include placing your ship for a place to save and heal, travel to other planets, or use your ship in puzzles that could ultimately be substituted with an environmental prop or set-piece. What would have been better is if the ship could be used to do bombing runs or maybe have space battles. Anything would have been better than this little tease at what could have honestly been a promising new toy in Samus's arsenal.

Hypermode pretty much vaporizes the bulk of common enemies

The other issue is that the Hypermode can be "broken" at times. While it always ends within 25 seconds, 25 seconds is a very long time in an action game to be both invincible and overpowered. Most enemies die from the Hyper Beam in one hit, and health pickups are not so rare that the energy tank consumed feels like a heavy sacrifice - especially since the game puts two energy tanks in your path at the very start of the game. This is typically remedied by the boss battles where not only is Hypermode required and health is limited, but in the open areas it makes fighting a breeze as even the late-game "Nova Beam" is nothing compared to a single shot of phazon goodness.

Also, the corruption death sequence is silly. "Look at me, I'm Dark Samus now! Hurr-durr~ I has blue blood..."

The Presentation

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption returns to the gorgeous world design that we came to expect from the first Prime title. The game is no longer a purple mess, and instead each planet feels like a unique and beautiful place to explore. The fact that this is an action game instead of an exploration game ironically helps as it lets you quickly dispatch foes before returning you to a free area to look around and take in the sights. While the game does suffer from the Wii's inability to properly render models without aliasing (thanks 480p!) it is perfectly capable of rendering some beautiful settings with higher detail and shaders than the previous Prime titles.

I would also argue that the game has the most beautiful settings in all of the Metroid series thus far. While Metroid Prime had some wonderfully designed areas, they were all very bland. Most of them were very generic in design, and while they were well polished they were equally boring. Corruption provides us with some much more captivating sights. Bryyo feels like a living and breathing tropical-volcanic world, and the Valhalla similarly feels like an actual ship drifting in space after being raided. Beyond all, Skytown, Elysia is the most beautiful sight in the game as it feels like you are actually among the heavens.

While enemies and environments look great, human characters - particularly their faces - look dated and resemble something out of the Half-Life 2 era. While it is by no means terrible for a game made in 2007, it does show its age. The HUD on the other hand is perhaps one of the best designed in the series. With the removal of the beam and visor icons it feels sleek, and the "-" button's dedication to swapping visors feels natural. The UI is similarly beautiful as it is designed to better match Samus's HUD instead of the strange orange theme of Prime or the ill-conceived nucleus ball of uselessness from Echoes.

The texture used whenever a flash causes Samus's face to appear on the screen in the later parts of the game

On the topic of in-game HUDs, Samus's face is actually more visible than in earlier Prime titles, and for good reason. As Samus continues through the game she becomes increasingly intoxicated by the phazon corruption. As such, her body actually becomes more visibly infected - both inside the suit and out. While the blue lines on her suit are most noticeable each time the player saves or exists the ship, the detail on her face is much more effective in terms of truly hitting the player with how much her corruption is eating away at her body. It is an effective piece of storytelling that many games don't go out of the way to do, especially since the face-on-the-visor detail that - while more common in Corruption than in previous titles - is still a very rare sight to see. Also, it's the first time I've seen glowing blue extra-terrestrial vomitus as an actual plot point (which actually harkens back to the side-effects of phazon poisoning in the original Metroid Prime).

Music is almost always amazing in Metroid titles, and Corruption returns to that tradition. I almost never get tired of stepping out of Samus's ship and hearing the "Samus Fanfare" jingle, even though space travel is pretty common in the game. Background music is diverse, ranging from the volcanic-jungle themes of Bryyo, to the blissful floaty melodies of Skytown. Most memorable is the Space Pirate theme that takes on a much more urgent tempo than previous iterations, matching the game's shift to an action-platformer genre.

The Verdict

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is not a Metroid game, it is a Prime series game. Retro Studios has perfected the formula for a Metroid action-platformer with this title, and as such I must stand firmly on the grounds that this is perhaps the best Prime game as a result. If players wanted Scan Visor goodness, Corruption is the place to go. If players wanted interesting first-person boss battles, there's nothing like Prime 3. If players wanted a first-person platformer with tight controls, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is your game. If you wanted true Metroid exploration... play a 2D Metroid you loony, you're embarrassing both of us up here.

I recommend Metroid Prime 3: Corruption to just about anyone, and I mean that. The harder difficulties offer a decent challenge to players, and the easier difficulties provide controls that are simple enough for casual players to get by.

As such, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption gets a 9/10 for executing the concept of a 3D Metroid-themed action-platformer-FPS in the best way possible. The only thing preventing it from receiving a 10/10 is the somewhat unbalanced Hypermode that - in reality - does not ruin the experience enough to call for an 8/10.

What are your opinions on Metroid Prime 3: Corruption? Do you think that it's a good idea that the Prime series finally became an action-platformer instead of a half-in-the-bag exploration game? Do you think I'm completely wrong for giving Corruption a better score than the original Prime on the Gamecube? Voice your opinions in the comments section below!

Be sure to check back on this article, or the GameSkinny front page One last Metroid series Rewind Review! Next time we will be tackling the oft-cited "Worst Metroid Game" in the series Other M, and what I have planned to discuss just might surprise you! Until then, see you next mission!

Reviews in this Series:

Our Rating
If you want an action-FPS Metroid title, look no further than Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Reviewed On: Wii U
Published Jul. 21st 2015
View Comments
  • Elijah Beahm
    Featured Columnist
    Honestly? As someone who is rarely a fan of Nintendo properties, but is a huge fan of shooters, I was extremely underwhelmed. Part of me wants to finish it and review it, but the other part of me would soon prefer playing something that doesn't feel more like a chore than a thrill ride.

    I found several of the ideas to be antiquated (We're -still- shooting doors? Seriously?), the combat felt pretty average, and the lack of voice over by Samus just felt stupid at several points. Before you bring up Other M on me -- they hired JENNIFER "Commander Shepard" HALE to do the "grunts" for Metroid Prime 1-3. The least they could do is give her some badass one liners.

    I don't have an issue with the game being linear, per-say, but it just felt like an attempt by Retro to emulate other action games on the market, rather than really hone it. That boss fight with Ripley felt out of place and really confusing given that Ripley is supposedly Samus' being big nemesis, yet we beat him before we're three hours into the game?

    And really, I could care less about the scanning. I'm fine with interesting flavor text and backstory in games -- I loved the audio logs in Bioshock 1-2 and the item descriptions in Far Cry 4 and Deathspank are hilarious. The problem with Prime's focus on it is... there's just a lot of boring text. I pretty much did it for the upgrade points and started skipping reading the logs altogether. Contrary to Samus' apparent obsession with scanning every crate, soldier, and thumbtack, I signed up to shoot aliens not stare randomly at things. It makes perfect sense to scan an enemy, or some critical item, but it gets so excessive that it is borderline as annoying as the MAVI in Hydrophobia.

    Maybe I'm just not the target audience, or maybe I got off on a wrong foot with the game, but it was just genuinely unpleasant to play, as an outsider to the franchise. I felt my brain shutting off and I was just going through the motions, then stopped and I haven't picked it up since.

    I'm not saying this to take a snipe at your review, which is fantastically done (as always), but you asked at the end of your review whether or not your audience is in agreement and well... this member of it isn't. I wish it weren't the case, but Prime 3 does nothing for me.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    On the topic of voice actors, only two people have voiced sentences for Samus: Jessica Martin in Other M, and Alesia Glidewell in Super Smash Brothers. I actually like Glidewell's voice a lot more than Martin's in terms of Samus just because she has that real boyish "Is that all?" that I don't think Martin can pull off as well. But that's just me...

    I must say that I agree with many of your points since the review itself was done in a sort of secular way in that I did not put much of myself into it, instead I focused on the "right" and "wrong" parts.

    For example, while I appreciated that Retro Studios went out of the way to produce all the scans in my review, they are also so plentiful in Prime 3 that it feels almost claustrophobic every time I turn on the scan visor on a personal level. I think that you should revisit the game as purely a platforming shooter though. While it might not be your cup of tea in the end, I do believe you may have got off on the wrong foot - if only because from the sound of it you didn't much further than the fight with Ridley. I agree though, the Ridley fight - while somewhat setting the tone for how the rest of the game plays out - was far too sudden for it to strike the majority of players the right way. When you think of how hard he was to defeat in MP1 - even with the upgrades - this feels like a bit of a cop out. But hey, Omega Ridley sort of makes up for it by the late game.

    While I find that this is the most "mechanically sound" Prime game, I personally do not enjoy the Prime series at all as Metroid games. In fact, my brother who loves the Prime series once asked me if I "hate Metroid games" when I talked to him about my grievances with the Prime series since I just don't think they compare in the slightest to the 2D titles since something feels like it's missing. Once I do my Metroid: Other M review, I think I'll stumble upon what that "something" is. I know that it was there, even with Other M, so I guess we'll find out when I get there.

    There's no reason to excuse your opinion though! I love conflicting opinions. In a society where conformity to political correctness and avoiding stepping on anyone's toes in an attempt to avoid hurting their feelings is insufferable to an almost fascistic level, it's a breath of fresh air. I've traveled all around the world, and never have I found anywhere more stressful to live in than North America for this reason alone! Ahahaha!
  • Elijah Beahm
    Featured Columnist
    Why leave that part out of it though? You saying that would be a lot more informative to me as a reader than just going by, as you say it, a more secular description. I understand the more objective focus, and really appreciate the lack of nostalgia goggles, but it's lines like that that tell me a lot more about a game. Is there any chance you might add at least a small blurb at the end with some more personal feelings on the matter? That way you could balance it out a bit more while keeping the core of your reviews from being too subjective.

    It's not so much that I can't look at the game from an FPS/platforming hybrid perspective, in as much as that it still doesn't really hook me. Dying Light, Mirror's Edge -- these are platforming FPS games I can really dig into. The time I spent in Prime 3 felt more like "baby's first Halo", especially when I originally tried it years back. The combat doesn't have a dynamic hook that can get me to look past a simplified execution system like Batman: Arkham Asylum does. It feels more like I'm just spraying and praying wave after wave while the game acts as if it is throwing colossal challenges at me.

    I'll have to look up Samus' lines in Smash Bros. Is it a specific entry? And yeah... yeah no that voice over in Other M is frigging terrible. I don't know if it's the actress herself or just the voice direction she was given, but there's a reason my only experience with Other M is watching the Unskippable and Extra Credits episodes on it.

    Honestly, other than my mentor in game journalism, you are the only other person to really say that to me. In my experience, I've sincerely pissed some people off for liking/not liking certain games or franchises, so I try to do that a bit less these days. I can certainly agree though that we've reached a climate of a bit too much PC without much reason behind it. It feels like we've gone from people saying lots of inconsiderate things of one type to being afraid to say anything out of bounds at all... but that's a topic for another day. XD
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    If you're looking for subjective blurbs and so on, I think that my Other M review will be more to your taste. I'm planning on having a good rant on both the bad and the (surprisingly) good points of the game once I get there. I've been playing through the games as my girlfriend watched, and she's a big anime fan. Her opinions on Other M were actually quite interesting, especially since she (as a Tumblr lover) has heard many grievances over the plot in particular. But we'll see what you think when we get there. I'll definitely consider adding more subjective arguments in future Rewind Reviews since I think the only MP1 has a "subjective" argument box so far.

    Zero Suit Samus has lines in Smash Bros for her taunts, as well as her victory phrases. In Smash Wii U her voice lines are (in sound test): 12, 22, 23, 24, and 25. While they're barely anything more than 3 words, it does give an impression of what the actress was going for.

    As for Other M... we'll get there soon enough. :)
  • Elijah Beahm
    Featured Columnist
    Not necessarily, my feelings on current reviews these days are becoming a bit more specific.

    I want to actually get an idea what a game is like, but also understand what that reviewer personally felt about it. If it's just not their cup of tea, that's fine, but having to filter through overt personal bias can be just as annoying as dealing with dry, PR-like reviews that you can predict down to the decimal point in their score.

    It's one thing to give a review and have an opinion on a game, but back when I first started more actively reading game journalism, reviews just seemed so inconsistent. I started out reading Game Informer, and the reviews seemed to either be "here's a summary of what this game is" or "I personally love/hate this game so it gets an inflated/deflated score simply because of my personal bias that we won't ever actually address!"

    There was no middle ground most of the time, and I had to learn to read between the lines to really get anything from their reviews. In retrospect, I guess that's why reviews matter as much to me as they do. I wanted to see opinions given that were balanced by the genuine quality and aspects of the game.

    That's why I don't want to say you should force the more objective parts of your review have to have those elements, just that offering both halves is helpful. Even without a bonus blurb, you give a way clearer idea of what to expect than most. I just think it would help. Not trying to be PC, I just want to actually give clear and hopefully useful feedback.

    And -yes-. I am VERY curious after having heard from some friends who dared play it.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    Out of curiousity, what would you like to see in my Metroid: Other M review? I'm currently writing it as I write this comment, and so if there is anything about the plot or the gameplay that you would like to make sure is in the review I'd love to know right now.
  • Elijah Beahm
    Featured Columnist
    Gameplay-wise, I really wonder about the whole "you only use the Wiimote" design decision. It sounds like such a terrible way to go about it, but there's a small bunch of people I've heard of who preferred it.

    Plot-wise, I'd simply wonder if it ever becomes even remotely interesting or pleasant.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    Alright, cool. I've already got the gameplay part covered, and the plot points... hmm... We'll see.

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