Jaadus's Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii)
| [January 13, 2008 01:06:53 AM]
| GAMELOG #2
The morph ball returns to Metroid Prime 3. The morph ball ability tucks your character into a sphere, pushing the camera out to third person and adding a new puzzle/platform element. While in this mode, you can roll around and leave up to three small bombs at a time in your path. Stopping on top of one of these bombs allows you to hop while still in the ball form, and certain switches are activated by rolling into a receptacle and planting one of these charges. They managed to do at least one really cool, new thing with it this time around, which was forcing the character to fight while rolling around in a pipeline, foreshadowing the following boss fight. However, they also failed to realize that some players may not be familiar with the series. A handful of times I found myself thinking that someone who has not played any Metroid games before might not recognize that a round switch, or a crack at the base of a wall, are asking to be detonated. The only explanation I recall with regards to the morph ball told me that it can fit in small places and hit certain, ambiguous switches.
The grappling hook also returns, after being added only recently. It's more of a beam than a hook, allowing adhesion to a larger variety of surfaces without the audience jeering about physics. The nunchuck attachment is cast forward to deploy the beam, and jerked back to withdraw it. This beam adds a platforming element, swinging between ledges, as well as combat and exploration features. It is capable of yanking enemy shields away, and pulling statues and blocks from walls. It opens a creative and curious thought process in me, because now I know it is good for more than swinging, and I wonder what else they may have me use it for. Combined with the smooth, interactive feel of actually throwing and retracting it, the grappling beam makes a nice addition to your arsenal.
A new feature is Hypermode. It takes some of your life and adds a temporary boost of firepower. This is needed to destroy certain resilient obstacles, but can be used any time. At the moment, it seems like no big deal, but certain things have hinted that later, you may be able to go beyond the "safe" time limit, but put yourself at risk of corrupting your body with the substance that fuels this added power. This clearly connects to the title of the game, and makes me very curious about its potential later on.
Falling is a big issue when platforming. The common result is death or major setback, and this is something that tends to frustrate me when platforming from a first person view. The player can never actually see their feet, and shouldn't be looking down anyway. In Metroid Prime 3, I fell, and I was devastated until I saw that it took me right back up to the platform I fell from, without freezing time, sending me to the entrance of the area, or killing me entirely. At that point I was thrilled. This feature is something you can't exploit, as you don't recover any health or ammunition from it, nor do the enemies that may have been near you disappear. Also, it does not force you to repeat content. I think this was a very smart decision.
Primarily, I would like to vent about save points. They are few and far between. Even though they make sure to put one before boss battles and at the start of each zone, so much time is spent in each area, that you could potentially play for an hour without seeing one. If worst comes to worst, the player can usually run back to their ship and save there, keeping the puzzles and upgrades they have finished and found, but spending some time running through empty, pre-cleared areas. I was unfortunate enough to find one spot where this was not possible, right as I wanted to shut off the game and have dinner. It was impossible to go any direction but forward, as I could not yet swing across large gaps, while behind me was a gap, and in front of me I was lost. I eventually figured out how to proceed, but it took me an extra ten or fifteen minutes while others waited for me to finish. After playing games with Quicksave features I see no reason for this to happen. Quicksave is something implemented in Fire Emblem and lots of RPGs, which allows you to quit at any point, and resume at that point, but once the game is resumed, it behaves as though you have not saved since the last "official" save point. I think something like this would have helped me enjoy this game at least a little more.
A major element of the game is finding new upgrades and weapons that allow you to open doors that you previously could not. Going through the first couple planets I see doors in passing that I currently cannot open. However, there are probably fewer of these doors than save points, so I'm doubting that I will ever return to these places to seek out these doors for the single health or ammo boost that most likely lies behind it. There is certainly a spirit of exploration in this game, and I love discovering new things, but the environment is so vast that I would have to lean from explorer to completionist if I were to ever return to places I had already seen and explored for a small and unnecessary boost.
Doors and hallways are key limitations in this game. They separate areas, giving each one an isolated feeling, and allowing them to take on a theme. I find they usually feel like either a puzzle (if there are switches, morphball paths, and blocks), a platforming trial (given lots of ledges and things to swing from), or an arena (with open space, some plateaus, and nowhere to fall to your death). This distinction is usually helpful getting the player thinking in the right direction about how to proceed. Hallways are the relief gaps, sometimes with small enemies but usually containing a room with a health or ammo boost, or a save point.
The environment is an interesting combination of technology and ancient civilization. Despite the colonization of other planets, humans seem to be absent from most of the places the player is sent. Instead of a bunch of cities and modern influence, the player sees the ruins of ancient cultures, and wild creatures all over be them hostile or ambivalent. With the feature of the scan visor (and an interest in the background of the game) the player has the option of finding out a lot about what happened on each planet that left it the way it is. The scan visor is a feature that lets you scan objects for a description of what it is, and its function, but can also be used on artifacts to find some story about the culture.
This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 13th, 2008 at 01:32:25.
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| [January 13, 2008 12:12:38 AM]
| GAMELOG #1
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, is a first person shooter, in which the player controls Samus Aran, a bounty hunter hired by the government to help defeat space pirates and repair the humans' information network. It takes place on a variety of planets that the player can travel among, while acquiring upgrades to your suit, giving you new abilities such as firing missiles and using a grappling hook. The main experience of the game is engaging in arena-style combat with enemies and bosses, while exploring and gaining access to new areas by finding suit upgrades.
The game itself begins a little slow, but as someone who has not played the game before I appreciated the time it allowed to experiment with the controls and get a feel for movement and navigation. A briefing with a military officer delivers the backstory , introduces the supporting characters (other bounty hunters with a mission similar to yours), and sets the plot in motion. Despite this scene being a cinematic, the rest of the game does a great job of keeping the control in your hands as much as possible. I particularly enjoyed the continuity I felt while watching spaceships off in the background plummet toward ours, breaking through the walls and hatching enemies, while I remained engaged in combat with others.
While fighting, the player aims entirely with the wiimote. Previous Metroid Prime games have used a lock-on targeting control which shifted the focus of combat on dodging and mashing the trigger. Metroid Prime 3 keeps the locking function, but it is used only to keep the enemy in the center of the camera and allow for the player to strafe around it. This way, the player may still miss while firing, and it puts the emphasis back on being accurate and aggressive. It also makes the combat significantly more challenging than its predecessors.
The camera is something I was skeptical about walking into the game, and while I don't believe it's been perfected, it is far better than I expected. Moving the target reticle also moves the camera, though unlike first person shooters on the PC the reticle is not locked in the center of your view. This allows the analogue motion, with less of the dizzying effect that could make one temporarily lose their bearings in a game as open as this. It also allows the non-restricting targeting feature I mentioned. It is easy to get accustomed to, and no longer poses issue to me as the player.
The story is unique, to my knowledge, though it uses themes familiar to the Metroid series. There is a virus that must be purged. The main enemies are space pirates. Samus must explore wreckage on planets with ancient culture and technology. They even brought back famous bosses such as Ridley, a partially cybernetic creature resembling a large pterodactyl, who has been with the series since it's debut on the NES. To me, the story of a Metroid game has never been more than an excuse to go fight and explore. The gameplay itself is the element I enjoy, so the lack of originality has not been detrimental to my opinion of the game.
My roommate sat at his computer with a view of the TV as I was playing, and having watch certain parts, as well as being able to tell him about something he just missed, certainly enhanced the experience. I say it enhanced the experience, not the game, because it is always fun to have an audience when you do something awesome, but I still would have felt like a hero if nobody else were in the room. This is mostly praise to the developers for making moments worthy of telling friends about.
This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 13th, 2008 at 00:15:58.
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Jaadus's Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii)
Current Status: Playing
GameLog started on: Saturday 12 January, 2008