A Fantastic, yet familiar, Metroid game
Metroid Prime 3 is very similar to the previous two entries by Retro Studios, but it feels like the final product of many adjustments and tweaks to the Metroid Prime formula. Overall, this is perhaps the most well-designed and finely polished Metroid Prime game.
Once again the art direction remains in the top of it's class, with Prime 3 having some of the most fantastic alien environments the series has ever seen. You really get a sense that there is a history and culture from every stone in every location. Impressive, to say the least.
The sound design works well too, with some great music for each different location. This is some of the best music the series has heard so far. Also new to the series is the addition of voice acting, which is handled well, but not to any impressive extent. The game has a stronger focus on story and cinematics than before, a change I don't find particularly significant or interesting to be frank.
Gameplay is very much the same as before. You travel the planet in search of upgrades and clues to the finale, all the while encountering various puzzles to solve and baddies to shoot. This is the most action-packed of all the Prime games, thanks to the awesome new controls that make this game more like a FPS. The controls work smoothly and flawlessly, showing the obvious potential for future FPS's on the Wii. The Wiimote is not only used for aiming but for other gestural inputs that just look sweet on-screen. I am especially a fan of the grappling beam.
Boss battles are fantastic as well, each one challenging and complex. Defeating them often requires combining many different strategies at once, making them a thrill to fight. I felt the bosses were easier than the bosses in the past games, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. The difficulty seems tuned to perfection, where defeating them is not impossible as long you stay focused and ready every second.
Overall, the game is well-paced, moreso than the previous installments. Whereas in the last two games you often found yourself wandering about not knowing what to do, here there is often no question on what you should be doing, so you're constantly moving forward. I finished the game in about 15 hours, compared to the 20 hours in Prime 1 and 19 hours in Prime 2.
I think I have established that this game is extremely well-designed in nearly all aspects. It's another excellent Metroid game. But it's biggest problem is simply that. It's "ANOTHER" Metroid game, and nothing more, really. The controls are an amazing accomplishment, but the game designed around those controls is not as innovative.
Metroid Prime 3 is a fantastic game and one that shows how talented the folks at Retro really are. So just buy this game already.