A Worthy Conclusion to a Great Series
I'm not sure whether it was the bad taste left in my mouth from Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, or my growing realization that buying a Wii was a huge waste of money, but when Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was released, I let the moment pass me by. It was only after enduring the shit show that is Metroid: Other M, that I remembered that the Wii is home to another Metroid game that's potentially not terrible.
One of the reasons that I didn't quickly pick up Corruption was the new control scheme. It always frustrates me when Nintendo forces one of their wonky control changes on us, the most annoying example being the touch screen controls in the DS Zelda games. Fortunately, the controls in Corruption are probably some of the best on the system. That's not to say that I wouldn't have preferred to play with a dual joystick setup. I would have. But the controls are still a big improvement over the single stick scheme in the Gamecube games that preceded it.
One of the problems with other shooters on the Wii is that strafing and quick turns just aren't possible when you have to push the reticule all the way to the extremes of the screen. Since Samus retains her lock on move from previous games, this becomes a non-issue, making combat feel very fluid and natural. By default, the lock on lets you strafe around targets while still requiring you to manually aim Duck Hunt style. I pretty much immediately switched to the auto-targeting system from the original two games, which may have made the experience much easier, but also made me hate my Wii slightly less so I think it all shakes out.
The game opens with Samus again responding to a Galactic Federation distress call. A bunch of giant phazon meteors (the same kind that infected Tallon IV in the original game) have landed on various planets in Federation space and need to be taken out. Samus quickly encounters her evil doppelganger but gets knocked out by a near fatal dose of phazon, permanently infecting her with the stuff. After waking up several months later it's revealed that the Federation has outfitted Samus with a new unfortunately named “PED Suit” that will control her infection until she has a chance to locate a permanent cure.
After a bit of talky-talk, Samus jets off to rid the galaxy (and herself) of the phazon menace. If you've played any of the previous Prime games, or really any other Metroid games in general, you will have a good idea of how the rest of the game progresses. Samus continuously acquires new upgrades to her suit which let her solve new puzzles, which in turn let her access new zones and new suit upgrades and the cycle continues.
Getting infected with phazon apparently isn't all bad. With the PED Suit, Samus can go into an overdrive state where her shots become much more powerful, but also consume health with each use. What this means in practical terms is that the combat is extremely easy. Samus's overdrive move is very powerful in comparison to the small amount of energy it consumes, making it an easy get out of jail free card in many tough battles. On the normal difficulty, I only died twice, and never on a boss battle. The difficulty in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes became ridiculously frustrating at times so I understand why Retro may have wanted to tone it down a bit. That said, they probably went a little bit too far in the other direction with this one.
Besides the new controls, the biggest change in Corruption is that the game takes place over several planets instead of a single hive of interconnected tunnels systems and elevators. You travel between the areas using Samus's ship which can now be controlled directly using the new command visor. The fact that each zone no longer needs to be connected to the others really freed Retro up to do some fun and interesting things with the different areas, all of which are unique and beautifully rendered.
If Corruption has any glaring flaw, it would be its ridiculous load times. This can be extra frustrating considering how often you're expected to travel between the different planets later on in the game. I also regularly encountered instances where I had to wait upwards of 15 seconds for doors to open. I played through Corruption on the Metroid Prime Trilogy pack, so I suppose this problem might not exist on the regular retail release. That said, I didn't have any of the same problems when playing Prime 1 or 2 on the same disc.
Retro clearly learned from the mistakes in Echoes and set out from the get go to make a game that was a worthy successor to the original. The result is a game with all the action, exploration and puzzle solving that makes the series great. All in all, if you're a fan of the series, you owe it to yourself to give Corruption a shot.