Twilight Princess VS. Skyward Sword: Comparison Review

Since I haven’t really written any reviews in over a year, I’ve decided to write these special kinds of reviews to help me practice. These comparison reviews are something I wanted to do years ago but felt that it was stupid and gimmicky…until now. Lots of the games I will compare to are games I’ve reviewed before, games I’ve considered but didn’t review, and games I will review in the future. Now, to make these reviews as short as possible – as I am reviewing two games simultaneously – I will avoid including any major spoilers like I did with all of my normal reviews.

Today we’re going to compare two iconic Zelda games that came out for the Nintendo Wii within its 6 year life span. While the former did have subsequent releases on the Nintendo Game-Cube and WiiU, I will only be analyzing the Wii version as that’s the one I’ve played. It would also be pretty unfair to compare the superior WiiU HD port to Skyward Sword so there’s that too. As you may or may not know, I bought both of these game at Wal-Mart back in 2011 and 2013 respectively during sales. These two games made me use my brain instead of reflexes to overcome challenges.


Motion-Controls (TP 1 – 0 SS)

Twilight Princess – One of the first games on the Wii to take advantage of the motion controls was in fact this Zelda installment. Instead of using the analog sticks to aim and the face buttons to use the sword and shield, aiming was assigned to the Wii Remote sensor and attacking was to both the Nunchuk and Wiimote’s accelerometers respectively. These two innovations allowed aiming to be much faster, sensitive, and accurate than traditional gamepad; along with adding realism to the combat system and reducing the symptoms of carpel tunnel syndrome.

So this definitley made Twilight Princess more fun and realistic than previous games in the franchise. Sadly, the aiming still pales in comparison to keyboard and mouse for PC gaming and simply shaking the Wiimote & Nunchuk were sufficient. It wasn’t realistic to the point where you actually had to swing the controllers as if you were holding actual medieval weapons. As mentioned before, the controllers only have accelerometers built in, which their motion capabilities are inferior to gyroscopes later used in Wii Motion Plus and the Wiii Remote Plus several years after.

Skyward Sword – Originally this game wasn’t supposed to use motion controls at all until Miyamoto was convinced to take advantage of the Wii Motion Plus. Unlike with Twilight Princess, you actually have to move your controllers the way you would with real weapons. This made it much more fun and realistic, although unfortunately it turned a lot of gamers off from playing Skyward Sword. In fact, it feels like I’m playing Prime 3 with all the puzzles that force you to perform motion commands. The community is mixed with this one as some hate it while others love it.

What ruined the motion controls for me and so many others was the fact that the sensitivity and calibration was so fucking horrible. After probably a few dozen minutes or so, the motion controls and sensor won’t respond which then you are forced to pause and then recalibrate the Wii Motion Plus. When you’re aiming, you literally have to point the Wiimote at the center of the screen, otherwise it won’t work properly even with recalibration! To be fair, you can just swing your Wiimote vertically a few times to instantly recalibrate it based on the advice of a NPC early on.

Ah yes, forgot to elaborate on solving the puzzles with the motion controls. In Twilight Princess, it was just like previous Zelda games where you use the control sticks and buttons to solve them. But this time around, most of them require motion controls which make it feel as gimmicky as Prime 3 but with unresponsive controls. It’s not just the puzzles, but the enemies and even bosses force you to use the motion controls whether you like it or not. If you suck at using motion controls or hate the concept, then just avoid this game and skip to Wind Waker HD or Breath of the Wild.

Verdict – Although the latter was more creative with the motion based controls by fully utilizing the Wii Motion Plus, I still have to conclude that Twilight Princess is overall superior. These controls are nothing more than a gimmick and a cool concept that Nintendo experimented with but didn’t keep as proven with BOTW. I don’t have to constantly recalibrate nor do am I constantly forced to use them to beat puzzles and bosses in Twilight Princess. In theory shaking is stupid, but in practice I never found it be lame nor gimmicky…oh, and the aiming was much better too.

Graphics (TP 2 – SS 0)

Twilight Princess – When this game was still green (pun intended), the graphics were considered to be very realistic and detailed for its generation. However, like with most older games, it sadly isn’t as aesthetically appealing as it was over a decade ago. Of course, the Wii version is what we’re reviewing and looks better than the Game-Cube port as it supports 16:9 widescreen support along with slightly better lighting and textures. I have to agree that the models, even to this day, are very accurate and look very good even after all these years…for the most part.

What sucks about Twilight Princess is that it suffers from very low resolution textures, something that past 3D Zelda games suffered except Wind Waker. They are realistic and detailed, but take a closer look, and some of them are pre-rendered images flattened on to a 2D surface rather than actual 3D polygons of in-game textures. I would also complain of it only running at 30 fps but consoles have different standards than PC gaming does. It’s consistent for the most part except when Link performs a spin attack to simultaneously defeat many enemies surrounding him.

The style of the graphics were made to resemble Ocarina of Time while also having its own twilight feeling to it. It does make the world of Hyrule look beautiful, and having different weather and times of day is an added bonus too. Unfortunately, majority of the colors are browns, greens, and grays; that is, by trying to resemble real life, the atmosphere mostly looks ugly, dull, and boring. After over a decade – yes time passes so fast – the graphics haven’t aged too well but it’s still tolerable. If you get the Wii U port or upscale to progressive scan, then it looks much much better.

Skyward Sword – Nintendo’s approach to this game’s art style was to make it look like a hybrid between the realism of Twilight Princess and cartoonish feel of Wind Waker. But had they only made it just cel-shaded, instead of trying to incorporate multiple art styles, I wouldn’t criticize the aesthetics as I do now. Sure, the polygon count, models, and lighting have improved, but the textures and resolution haven’t changed a lot. Skyward Sword still suffers from low resolution textures and for a game that came out in 2011 you’d expect it be at least 720p or as good as Brawl or Colors did.

In terms of aging, I’d have to say Skyward Sword aged a little better but only because of its cel shaded art style. In fact, I believe one of the main reasons that Nintendo made it that way was because they knew the Wii was limited with its weak hardware. The different art styles, such as background objects and landmarks looking like paintings come to life and character/weapon models that resemble the look of Twilight Princess, do look good but sadly aren’t combined well enough. Also the fact that the characters look nothing like they did in the artwork and the trailers.

Verdict – Although cel-shaded graphics do look better and were chosen in Wind Waker HD and Breath of the Wild, I still have to go with Twilight Princess. Nintendo did their best for TP to fully utilize the hardware to make the graphics look their best. TP was ahead of its time as it looked like a game from 2007, while Skyward Sword only looks slightly better with minor improvements. Since it failed to make many different styles work; only the polygon count, atmosphere, and colors improved; models, resolution, and textures look horrible, TP wins again but in terms of graphics.

Atmosphere (TP 2 – SS 1)

Twilight Princess – I kind of already covered this before, but just to recap, Nintendo made TP have a realistic atmosphere similar to Ocarina of Time. They also made it have a dark and horror based atmosphere akin to Majora’s Mask with the whole Twilight realm and introduction of Midna and Zant. It looks so cool to enter those areas as they make them lack very little color and life which the realm is supposed to do, and little effects like the black particles and NPC’s becoming spirits also makes it memorable too. And during evening time in-game, it’s when it looks the most stunning and beautiful.

People may differ and claim that the Twilight realms look ugly and lifeless, but that’s the purpose it serves and the same can be said for Skyward Sword in one aspect too. When you enter the Twilight Realm (like actually different dimension) it does turn you off with so much ugly colors and sad music. But Twilight Princess also got its cheerful and colorful moments like when travelling through Faron Woods  or Hyrule Field. Although to generalize, Twilight Princess does suffer from trying to be too realistic when Zelda games are meant to be seen as medieval fantasy genre.

Skyward Sword – Now you may think I hate the game’s art style, but actually overall I like its cartoony look and being the alter “ego” of its predecessor. There’s just so much life and colors and happiness that it can lift your mood and truly let you escape reality after a long day at work and/or school. Compared to Wind Waker (not HD remake), the cel-shaded art style is even better than it was before and makes the graphics look appealing. The lighting and effects also add to the atmosphere along with the different styles even though its highly questionable at times.

What sucks this time are no longer different times of day and weather conditions with a few exceptions. Those few being that you can only experience day and night in the sky and manually through sleeping instead of it being automatic, along with it raining/thunderstorm during a few boss fights. Characters are also more helpful and alive this time with each different species being unique with their own personalities, rather than only a few characters standing out from the rest like in TP. While the cross between WW and TP wasn’t perfect, it helped make BOTW a masterpiece.

Verdict – It’s very obvious at this point that Skyward Sword has done much better in the atmosphere department than Twilight Princess. The predecessor tried too hard to seem very realistic, and although it was praised back then, looking back it aged badly as Zelda doesn’t take place in the real world. Had they added other elements to soften the atmosphere to balance out the darkness and sadness then it would be amazing. Yes, Skyward Sword isn’t completely perfect as it lacks different weather and times of day unless in some events, but still, it pulled it off better by taking risks.

Exploration (TP 3 – SS 1)

Twilight Princess – Known for having the largest overworld of any Zelda game (until Breath of the Wild surpassed TP), there was just so much to do and so many places to explore! Unlike in OOT and MM where every area was interconnected by Hyrule Field, Twilight Princess tends to have a more non-linear and open world approach. Emulating the exploration of Wind Waker, you were able to enter new towns and regions through multiple routes with Hyrule Field itself covering the entire kingdom instead of one grassy area. This makes it memorable and innovative even to this day.

The different areas themselves tend to be bigger with more space and small tight places to explore and find hidden treasures. What is the main benefit is also its main drawback, a double edged sword, as many of these open areas are too large and empty like barren wastelands. Still, its just breathtaking to see how gorgeous, detailed, and huge the world of Hyrule is in TP. Even places that aren’t open ended try to be non-linear as possible by resembling mazes and labyrinths so it doesn’t suffer like older Zelda games. If Nintendo had added more interactions and details then it would’ve been better.

Without spoiling too much, Twilight Princess also has the largest diversity of different geographic regions in any Zelda game…again except for BOTW. In addition to the woods, field, volcano, lake, and desert, there’s also snowy arctic mountain, underground caves, abandoned ruins, and even able to visit the past, sky, and another dimension! Usually, it’s only the dungeons that are this diverse but I’m glad that Nintendo made Hyrule excel in bot quality and quantity. Despite this though, you still have to backtrack to older areas later in the game while the newer areas are only explored once which sucks.

Skyward Sword – Although Skyloft and the entire sky may seem open-ended and non-linear, it is even worse than the emptiness and size of TP’s Hyrule Field. Literally you’re just flying with your bird creature through endless clouds and maybe a few…asteroids here and there that let you increase speed momentarily. There are some other islands but mostly for playing mini-games or only visiting them once or twice for the story. You might as well just hang out in the town, which sadly, is the only place that is worth exploring besides the dungeons in this installment.

Down below the sky are three main regions that have other sub regions unlocked later on in the game. But they’re so basic and generic it’s laughable and seems like an insult to Twilight Princess and other predecessors. The three areas are (without spoilers): forest, volcano, and desert, along with river/lake, interior of volcano, dried up sea now quicksand, and some gorge/valley area. You can also visit an alternate dimension similar to the Twilight Realm except even more lame and repetitive. So no tundra mountain, no haunted settlement, no underground caves, none of those.

Now that isn’t even the worse part of Skyward Sword – it’s actually the exploration and progression parts that are. The linearity (if that’s even a word) is so high that it feels like the game assumes we’ve never played any Zelda game before. Majority of the routes you takes are small long pathways with no alternate places to explore and very few open ended areas. When they’re are open areas, it’s just like the sky, or the game doesn’t allow you to freely explore because it thinks you’re a baby. Oh, and for some reason so many dungeon-like puzzles are added outside of the dungeons themselves.

Verdict – It’s very obvious even before I compared this category between these games which one was superior to the other. I understand that with Skyward Sword, they were trying to appeal to as much people as possible since this was an exclusive Wii title and motion controls were trendy back then. However, only Zelda fans and those into adventure games were the majority of consumers that bought it, so I don’t understand what went inside Nintendo’s minds when they thought going one step backwards with the exploration was good when that’s what made Zelda iconic.

Dungeon Design (TP 3 – SS 2)

Twilight Princess – Many of the dungeons in TP take inspirations from OOT and MM by combining old concepts with slightly new ones. This gives a sense of nostalgia for older Zelda fans but doesn’t seem too repetitive as it has its own unique puzzles, enemies, items, and bosses. The first three dungeons are the easiest and probably the most lame (no offense, they’re still fun) compared to the later ones you encounter. Later on is when the dungeons become much more innovative with design and creative with puzzles and enemies. Overall they’re not very gimmicky nor are they same old boring shit.

Sadly, TP still suffers from only having items being used in their respective dungeons and never again until the last dungeon. Some puzzles and mini-bosses tend to be ripped off or inspired heavily by older Zelda entries which can turn some off. Unfortunately, I’m going to hold my promise of keeping the review as spoiler free as possible so I won’t mention specific dungeons and concepts that I enjoyed or disliked. Twilight Princess does have some of the best dungeons in any Zelda game, although it would’ve been better if the puzzles took more advantage of the Wii’s motion controls.

Skyward Sword – Unlike its predecessors, almost all the dungeons are very new and unique in its own way without ripping off from past games. Puzzles and enemies (sometimes even mini-bosses) do get repeated in future dungeons but they are slightly changed so to give extra challenge and prevent repetition. Skyward Sword makes good use of the Wii Motion Plus, so while enemies, puzzles, and bosses do seem gimmicky, it’s actually really cool once you adapt to the game’s dungeon design. Sadly, the first three dungeons range from mediocre to decent while later ones being awesome.

Taking risks paid off as the later dungeons take place in settings you’d never imagine would work, such as an abandoned pirate ship or Buddhist-style temple. Such designs make use of the new environments by making the rooms and routes different from traditional dungeons. This can make navigation more confusing and unpredictable but much more fun and interesting. There also exist what I call “mini-dungeons” or areas that resemble dungeons but don’t technically qualify as them. Those are pretty cool and better than doing stupid fetch quests as mandatory for progression.

This time around, they added lots of hidden paths and rooms that aren’t obvious even when looking at the maps. These can either lead to essential items and puzzles or can reward you with hidden goodies. Oh right, and getting to the boss requires you insert some kind of jigsaw thingie making use of the motion controls and not as boring as simply putting in a giant key to open the final door. Some dungeons lack mini-bosses or may have several of them to mix up the formula a bit which is cool too. Each dungeon also has its own “gimmick” that doesn’t always require items to use.

Verdict – At first I thought that both Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword would tie for this category but then after refreshing my memory I decided otherwise. Yes, both games have poor early dungeons with later superior dungeons, but the former simply rips off of older games (except for a few) whereas the latter is completely innovative in its own right. Also the fact that the design and progression was very predictable and linear so Skyward Sword has the much better dungeon design. I’m still not going to deny that some of Twilight Princess’ dungeons are superior to SS though.

Combat (TP 3.5 – SS 2.5)

Twilight Princess – Much like its predecessors OOT and WW, TP allows players to utilize the sword and shield as their main arsenal of weapons. Accompanied with those are bombs, arrows, hook-shots, and the like as well as newer items obtained from the dungeons. Defeating enemies is as simple as slashing your sword by repeatedly shaking the Wii Remote while using the shield as a defense. Stronger enemies and bosses require you to dodge and/or counter their attacks before being able to attack them for brief moments when there are openings (and use dungeon items too).

Later on in the game, you’ll be able to use special skills which are essentially advanced sword techniques used to easily take down hordes and bosses later on. Most of them are completely optional but you need to learn two of them to beat the entire game. You can also fight when you’re a wolf but it’s limited to just biting and clawing, although you’re able to have Midna insta-kill enemies within a short range after charging up her attack. Oh, and you can also fight on your horse which is a series first and definitely makes this feel more cinematic as there are some missions requiring Epona.

Skyward Sword – With the Wii Motion Plus as the main feature, players now have to actually swing the sword in different directions equivalent to real life sword-fighting. Enemies can no longer be easily killed by swinging your controller like a baby’s toy as that will just get you killed. Also, the shield itself can break after taking enough hits so be sure to take advantage of the shield bash, which allows you to push back enemies and their attacks to give you an opportunity to strike back. Many stronger enemies and bosses force you to strategically fight with the sword and shield.

Unfortunately, there are no advanced sword techniques and most of the dungeon items aside from bombs and arrows are used for puzzles and travelling. The stupid red bird also doesn’t allow you to fight enemies other than some weird diving attack, and it’s really hard to hit enemies unless you’re up close in the sky. Still, I’d say the combat overall is better since it’s not slash a few times or wait for opening and then attack like in past Zelda games. You can also charge up a special attack with your sword that shoots a beam of light to damage and later on kill common enemies.

Verdict – Honestly, I would have to say it’s a tie for this category since both Zelda games make up for what it lacks in the other. I do find the sword fighting in Skyward Sword vastly superior but Twilight Princess is better in every other way. However, since Twilight Princess is too easy (more on that later) I wouldn’t really declare the combat being completely superior to Skyward Sword either. I’ll decide whether to give both these games half a point each or not give them any at all later in this comparison review, but for now, both of these games tie when it comes to combat.

Story Progression (TP 4.5 – SS 2.5)

Twilight Princess – Depending on your preferences, you’ll either love the long introduction or prologue of this game or hate it completely. You have to spend at least an hour before making it to your first dungeon, and the first three dungeons are delayed by Twilight Realm, missions that feel like errands and mini-boss fights, and long cinematic cutscenes. Right about halfway, players find out who the true main villain is – Ganandorf – along with what to do for the next few dungeons. And the story takes a backseat until near the end but is replaced with sidequests locked in the beginning.

In terms of the plot itself without spoiling, I’d have to say Nintendo tried very hard to make it a story driven game and was mostly successful. I say mostly because they sort of rushed it near the end, which although was epic, had worse pacing than the prologue which was dragged on for too long. I dislike how the story virtually dies out in the later half of the game but just like Majora’s Mask, the side quests do reveal a lot about the NPC’s and makes you care about the people of Hyrule that you’re protecting. If the pacing and distribution of the story was balanced out then TP would be golden.

Skyward Sword – What the hell is wrong with Nintendo trying to emulate TP’s progression into this installment but make it worse? I have to spend at least an hour in the town before even attempting to gain access to the land below the sky. Even then, expect to spend 1-2 hours just reaching the first dungeon. Aside from the beginning, halfway point, and end, all other parts of the plot aren’t very cinematic and feel like an video game plot. Instead of going on errands, you have to do stupid missions like fetch quests or “helping” NPC’s by backtracking or travelling a lot.

Yeah, they really dragged on the story with this one as it feels like just when it’s almost about to finish, plot twist or stupidity happens and the story continues. You have to fight a certain boss multiple times which annoys lots of people, although I find it as a guilty pleasure since it doesn’t piss me off. After completing each dungeon, it’s literally the same thing where you almost meet up with Zelda only for her to leave you, or you’re able to complete your objectives with Fi dancing and singing. I would tell you about the plot but then that breaks my rule of avoiding in-game spoilers.

Verdict – Ok I don’t even have to tell you which game has better plot progression as it’s so obvious by now. Neither of them have good progression (they both have amazing plots but that’s another debate) so it’s all about which one has the lesser flaws. I hope to the three goddesses of Hyrule that when I play Breath of the Wild on the Wii U in the far future, that it better not repeat the mistakes of Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. I understand with Twilight Princess trying so hard to be Ocarina of Time 2.0, but seriously, why is Skyward Sword copying so much off of TP if it didn’t go so well?

Music & Sound (TP 4.5 – SS 3.5)

Twilight Princess – As always, Zelda never fails to deliver with its memorable and awesome soundtrack, which unsurprisingly, has many remixes of old tracks to please older Zelda fans. Despite having orchestrated music in a few trailers, the actual game itself failed to have any (but it did have some that sounded like it). This isn’t to undermine the already fantastic music, in which even newer Zelda games can’t fully surpass…unless they’re orchestrated. TP uses as much instruments and genres as possible to make the soundtrack very catchy and diverse.

Unlike with most of Nintendo’s games, the music presented in Twilight Princess tends to “atmospheric” as to not distract the player. It fits well into the background and blends in with the white noise of the environment that Link explores. Only boss fights, side quests, and specific missions have music in the traditional sense which intensifies the gameplay to make it more epic. Besides lacking orchestrated music, Twilight Princess tends to reuse a lot of sound pieces and those from older Zelda games. Sometimes it’s better to come up with new music instead of reusing it over and over again.

Skyward Sword – For the first time since the Mario Galaxy games, SS features a full on orchestrated soundtrack! Early pre-orders and editions of this game came with an album with nostalgic pieces remastered into orchestrated soundtrack to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Zelda. Not only has the music significantly improved with orchestrated music but also with innovative and “lively” music that isn’t atmospheric. On top of it, the sound quality has upgraded since it was built for the Wii instead of being a Game-Cube title ported over to the Wii with little graphical optimization.

Quality over quantity is strong with this installment because while most entries are forgotten, the few that stand out surpass Zelda games that came before it. The epic music isn’t limited just to boss fights this time – even dungeons and geographic regions also have beautiful music that is a bit distracting but well composed nonetheless. I thought the ending credits theme for Twilight Princess was awesome, but the credits for Skyward Sword blew me away and my expectations. I hope that when I come to play Breath of the Wild, the soundtrack is good in both quality and quantity.

Verdict – This is also another obvious match between these two Zelda games, as it’s clearly known that Skyward Sword is superior to Twilight Princess with music. I was going to originally also analyze and critique the voice acting, but both games don’t have any acting except for Link’s side chick (Midna and Fi) who both speak gibberish. Also the fact that TP’s sound quality was mediocre since it was a Game-Cube port. I really don’t have much else to say other than the fact that this comparison review may result in a tie so I’m gonna have to make a tiebreaker real soon if that happens.

Challenge (TP 5 – SS 4)

Twilight Princess – I don’t understand why Nintendo decided to make this Zelda game so freaking easy! Of course, being my first Zelda game that I beat (my first was Wind Waker), I did struggle a lot and often resorted to walkthrough guides but those were only limited to one or two complex puzzles per dungeon. I had no problem defeating the bosses…except that mini-boss in the mansion and Ganondorf…despite having next to no experience and skill. Never did I ever have to resort to using the stronger potions and after acquiring enough Heart Pieces, I didn’t worry about damage.

I did struggle and die a lot while playing in the Twilight Realm, but that’s to be expected for anybody since this was a first in the Zelda franchise. However, actually doing quests were pretty easy and was usually the mini-“bosses” that killed me. The side quests were also all very easy except for a few challenging ones later on in the story. Overall, I didn’t really struggle and find it to be a walk in the park, which is probably why I constantly go back to this and even attempted a few speed runs. Maybe being a title for the Wii, Nintendo decided to dumb it down for the casual audience sadly.

Skyward Sword – Much better than its predecessor, we finally get some decent and even brutal challenge not only from the puzzles but also missions and bosses. Implementing the Wii Motion Plus forces players to move the controllers as if they were actual weapons. Many of these challenges require you to use motion controls, which isn’t simply performing a few easy actions like in Prime: Corruption. Expect later bosses to be almost as hard as what you’d expect in Dark Souls (no joke). Also, instead of losing a quarter of health per average hit, you lose one whole heart!

Oh but wait, being a Wii game Nintendo decided to make this playable by idiots as well. If you’re struggling, you can visit a certain statue in Skyloft and watch very short walkthrough videos. That is probably almost like the game playing itself and defeats the purpose of solving the puzzles with your own brain. You can obviously ignore it but it’s just an insult that Nintendo would ever think of adding this to Zelda. You can also craft or buy specific items to also help you “cheat” at the game if you suck so much. Way to go Nintendo, literally playing the game for people who can’t play themselves.

Verdict – I would’ve chosen Skyward Sword as the victor in this review category, but that feature just made it even worse than Twilight Princess. Yes, you can ignore it although the fact that it’s there in the first place makes the game a joke. At least with TP I had to go online and find a walkthrough guide and read it before attempting to play again. Also, if I did allow Skyward Sword to win this round, both games would tie and I would have to make a tiebreaker anyways. The winner of this category, and this review overall, is none other than The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Nintendo Wii.


After quickly analyzing all the different categories of criticism for both Zelda games without major spoilers, Twilight Princess takes the spot of being superior. It just barely beats Skyward Sword as both games have major benefits and flaws with one another that make them so similar. Ok, this review I began writing in mid August but didn’t finish it until today because I’m lazy and was preparing for university. I’m writing these comparison reviews not only as filler for the PC reviews, but also to help me regain the writing skill and passion that was lost for over a year.

My next few comparison reviews will be Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, and also Super Smash Bros. Brawl & Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. I intended on reviewing the most recent console Metroid games (Prime 4 is being developed so sssshhhhh…) however they’re way too different and Prime 3 is clearly better.  I’m also going to edit my first three reviews by changing the formatting and pictures as they’re outdated and some images are missing. Once I begin my PC reviews, I’ll start with Portal 1, Left 4 Dead, and Counter Strike: Source and we’ll go from there.

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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Review

Foreword

I think we can finally agree that I’ve managed to live up to my promises of being consistent with the reviews, so now let’s move on with life. This particular review is special since it’s dedicated to gaining retribution on the mediocre reviews, back when I first started my career. I heard about Skyward Sword through IGN, by reading news articles and watching video trailers. I was somewhat of a casual fan back then, so I didn’t really give much thought on the quality – also, I was too hyped for the Nintendo Wii U back in 2010.

After two long years, I finally bought it along with Super Paper Mario at Wal-Mart during Boxing Day…funny how I still remember all of this. I assumed correctly that it was going to be quite similar to Twilight Princess in terms of gameplay and experience, though quite different with all else. I was very skeptical of how the game was going to be after doing some research on the validity of the perfect score it received (especially after remembering how Super Mario Galaxy 2 turned out). I also wrongly inferred that it would give me a relatively smooth experience.

According to Wikipedia, development began as early in 2008, when Nintendo wanted a more cinematic and gameplay-oriented Zelda game to succeed Twilight Princess after realizing its shortcomings. In fact, they didn’t even consider using motion controls (via the Wii Motion Plus), the cartoonish graphics, and basic plot, until the executives were convinced otherwise. This, along with the involvement of Monolith Soft (the creators of Xenoblade Chronicles) decided to co-develop it, thus resulting what was seen in 2010 during E3 and the final product in 2011.

The sad reality is that it received negative reception and little publicity when it was first revealed. We can all remember how humiliating it was for Nintendo at E3 when Miyamoto struggled with the motion controls. Along with it having cel-shaded graphics similar to Wind Waker – and Nintendo focusing more on the Wii U and Zelda HD – it became loathed by fans and widely forgotten after its quiet release in November 2011. When it came out, people suddenly became very bi-polar and soon regarded it as the best Zelda game since Ocarina of Time.

Skyward Sword’s plot combined with the aesthetics make it feel very much like Wind Waker, but the gameplay and controls molds it into Twilight Princess. This is a great strategy as Nintendo got what worked for each game, took out what didn’t; add in new innovative concepts and fuse it together to get the best of both worlds. You’ll find out later that despite its good points, there still exists many flaws that hinder the game from being considered “perfect”, as many critics would have you believe.

Gameplay: 7.0/10

Just like with the Wii port of its predecessor, you use both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to play; not just for pressing buttons, but also to use the motion controls and pointer to utilize the sword and shield, basic commands (i.e., rolling, swinging, balancing, and flying), and projectile-based weapons. New to this installment is the use of the Wii Motion Plus , which increases the accuracy and precision of the motion controls; thus, giving the illusion of more realistic controls. In fact, they put more of an emphasis on puzzle-solving than combat…sort of.

The control stick is used for moving; the Z button to reset the camera and lock-on to target enemies, people, and objects; the C button is to view in first-person mode and dowsing. This new ability is to track down certain people or objects to progress through the story or to find collectibles to replenish supplies and complete side quests. Pressing the A button allows primary actions (i.e., talking, pushing, opening); pressing the B button is for selecting and using items; the + and – buttons are for the pouch and map menus respectively; and the d-pad is for calling Fi for help and playing the harp later on.

Since the Wii Motion Plus changes everything, I’ll go out of my way and explain this new concept. You must move the Wii Remote in the desired direction to move it exactly the way you want it within the game, so it’s no longer rattling the controller like a baby’s toy. The spin attack can be achieved by shaking the Nunchuk horizontally, while the shield bash be performed vertically and with perfect timing (as the shield can break and you can now counter-attack). Many items take advantage of the new technology, so you’re going to have to twist, pull, shake, and rotate the remote.

While the controls are a big step-up over Twilight Princess, the problems come from its accuracy and usage (making it a controversial feature of the game). Games on the Wii have a bad reputation for abusing motion controls, and Skyward Sword is no exception as anything from rolling to flying and even balancing requires it and becomes gimmicky and repetitive as a result. Controls will easily not synchronize, have delayed or early responses, or do something you never expected – like why the hell does Link do a shield bash every fucking time I want to stab?!

There are of course ways to overcome these problems; you could re-calibrate the Wii Motion Plus by placing the Wii Remote upside down on a flat surface, pressing down on the d-pad, and (believe it or not) by swinging the Wii Remote vertically thrice. The last two options are the best as they instantly re-calibrate any wonky controls within mere seconds, being very helpful in the heat of battle. If you played Twilight Princess and other sword-fighting games on the Wii such as No More Heroes, it will be much easier to adapt to.

If you don’t know who Fi is, she is Link’s personal hint system who tells you things to overcome difficult situations. The sad reality is that she won’t shut up about the obvious (like low battery or health), she sounds and acts like an emotionless robot, and provide you with useless and/or irrelevant information when you need it the most (like in a dungeon). But hey, at least she tells you things like the main objective, enemy and character analysis, total play time, and environmental adaption…kind of like Navi from Ocarina of Time or Tael from Majora’s Mask.

You will use a bird called a Loftwing as a main method of travel through the sky (which serves as this game’s hubworld). It’s a much better alternative to walking and horse-riding in terms of speed and convenience, but it becomes tedious to always use motion controls, and it adds superficial value to the empty hubworld. Another mechanic is the Wii Motion Plus, in which everything from weapons, puzzles, and enemies exploiting it; while it may seem like Skyward Sword has become gimmicky, it really isn’t and works pretty well.

Nintendo heavily implemented it so you’re going to be strategic and forced to adapt. Playing Twilight Princess again makes it a breeze, except when it comes to combat and item-use. They just love to fuck with you with the rubber-band AI of the enemies by having them use mind games on you. The confusion of which direction or area to strike, topped with the imprecise controls, hinders to the experience but adds to the challenge. But, the enemies are pretty dumb and most of their attacks can easily be countered with the shield-bash.

Usually people will have their own strong opinions when it comes to the game’s overall difficulty as Skyward Sword is radically different. Many puzzles and dungeons this time require multiple strategies, items, weapons, and attempts – along with motion controls – in order to successfully solve. Bosses are a major improvement over Twilight Princess because they’re much harder with more health, strength, and intelligence. You will adapt to it but expect a few Game-Over’s occasionally (especially with Ghirahim and Demise).

Presentation: 8.0/10

Skyward Sword is a cross between Wind Waker and Twilight Princess in terms of the graphics – the art style being cartoonish, bright, and vibrant inspired by the former; the models, textures, and atmosphere based off the latter. What’s a big shame is that Nintendo still never learned its mistakes as the textures are still low-resolution and lack detail, models being jaggy, frame-rate inconsistent and low (onlt at 30 FPS), and backgrounds being blurry. Hey, at least the NPC’s are more realistic now with improved animations and facial expressions.

Models have been significantly upgraded to become more accurate to finally make Skyward Sword look like a Wii game (and not a Game-Cube game). The cel-shaded graphics along with diverse set of colors and excellent lighting makes it more appealing than its darker predecessor. For some reason though, some models have cartoonish textures while others have realistic textures (I guess to stand out in this blurry engine). Why is it that backgrounds and far away objects look like they’re in a painting – it’s just weird to have all these different art styles!

Another huge “renovation” to increase the aesthetics is the music, with orchestral and instrumental finally being implemented into Zelda as a series first. Nintendo has shown that they indeed learned from (most) of their mistakes by listening to what their fans wanted. Many compositions are memorable, diverse, catchy, and very “intense” so to speak, adding to the graphics and making dungeons and bosses all the more epic. I personally love Ghirahim’s Theme, Skyloft, Ballad of the Goddess, and the credits.

Thank the goddesses (I’m an atheist) that they’ve fixed the sound balance as music no longer drowns out the sound effects, nor does the Wiimote speaker emit loud noises like in Twilight Princess. Speaking of which – pun fully intended – Skyward Sword doesn’t use it as often as Twilight Princess as it’s now only used for when Fi has to tell you something (okay, never mind…I take this statement back). Here, they’ve tried using cartoon and comical sound effects that works perfectly for the style and setting, as opposed to its darker predecessor that tried too hard with being realistic.

Plot Analysis: 8.0/10

The plot’s structure of Skyward Sword is very much like…Twilight Princess; you start off with a long and cinematic prologue, then slowly decreasing and stopping before your first dungeon, and going back up during the middle only to be cut off with an epic climax at in the end. This strategy works somewhat as the gaps allow the player to immerse them in the gameplay, and to complete side-quests that have small stories of their own to let you relax from the plot. However, the plot heavily suffers from fillers by making the characters forgetful, picky, or just outright stupid.

I personally have little comment for the story; I mean, sure there are both good and bad things to mention, but the story overall is just…good. They did a good job explaining the origins of many characters, weapons, and events, yet there seems to be a lot of contradictions with future events. For example, how is Demise the past incarnation of Ganondorf if he was completely sealed in the Master Sword? They still did a great job with adding personality to the characters; making the once living world into now post-apocalyptic; and even had a romance between Link and Zelda.

Living up to their expectations, Nintendo did manage to present the story in a cinematic and climatic manner in the beginning, middle, and the end. The different camera angles, expressive body language, atmospheric and orchestral music, and special visual effects captivate players into the plot. Unfortunately, everything that is in between lacks most (or all) of these elements, and resort to the typical in-game dialogue cutscenes with the lame text boxes and grunting noises that characters often make (but at least they have emotions now unlike with Twilight Princess).

Again, Nintendo is still in their own little world by refusing to have voice-acting for the script. It’s quite sad how they assume the video game industry is just like it was back in the ’80s and ’90s. Why don’t they copy EA with The Sims and have all characters speak a gibberish language instead of just Fi and Midna? The way it’s written is okay without being too corny or too poetic, but come on, the lack of voice-acting just screams xenophobia! At least the simple vocabulary and use of daily language makes us relate to the characters more.

Content: 9.0/10

NPC’s are another major improvement over what was established in Twilight Princess and Wind Waker (not just the changes in emotion and personality). Many of the residents actually now give you helpful advice, react to recent events almost instantly, and/or say things that are relevant to who they are – these factors only applied to the main characters in the past (they even make funny jokes which is a guilty pleasure of sorts). Each NPC has their own unique face, name, appearance, personality, occupation, status, and role which adds more realism.

Besides playing the regular story mode, there’s also the somewhat new Hero’s Mode. This is much like the Master Quest from Ocarina of Time in which it’s playing the entire game over again but at a harder difficulty. The differences are that the game isn’t mirrored and there are no changes to the dungeons. Instead, it’s just that you take double the amount of damage as the enemies are stronger, there are no hearts laying around to replenish your health, and many items from the first file are brought over to make it a little easier.

A step down would be the overworld, but the dungeon design evens it out pretty well. Nintendo scaled down the map to roughly the total surface area of Ocarina of Time’s map. They also limited the diversity of the geographic regions to five:  sky, forest, volcano, desert, and water, as well as toning down the exploration by making the plot progression and travelling extremely linear. Skyward Sword does have great dungeons with memorable features, creative puzzles, intelligent layout, unique environments, hidden secrets, and challenging mini-bosses/bosses.

They made the overworld more dungeon-based by implementing platforming, rooms, puzzles, and even throwing in a few bosses and mini-bosses just to keep things fresh. Silent Realms, while similar to both the Twilight Realms from Twilight Princess and Dark World from A Link To The Past, have improved exponentially. They take much less time to complete; the tears of light are extremely easy to find and collect; enemy presence and threat is minimal (and manipulated to non-existant); and you can gain access to hidden or new routes impossible to access in the light world.

Some of the best and favorite dungeons among the IP and fans are from this title. I originally was going to include the story, but due to the length (and the fact that we all know the story), I decided to omit so I will state the names of the dungeons. The following dungeons are self-explanatory on what they are: Skyview Temple, Earth Temple, Lanayru Mining Facility, Ancient Cistern, Sand-Ship, Fire Sanctuary, and Sky Keep. They’re all extremely diverse unlike the overworld and show that Nintendo’s creativity still lives even after 25 years.

I didn’t really go over the items, though I’m entitled to since it’s a major component of Zelda games. It’s very innovative in the way newer items are designed, being able to do what the other could not as they’re not clones nor variations of older ones. This allows for newer puzzles, enemies, bosses, and side-quests to fully take advantage of it and increase the overall quality of the game. Plus, it exploits the usefulness of the Wii Motion Plus to add extra gimmicks and fun; even the older items got upgraded with new looks and also new control schemes.

For the old, there is the following: Sword, Wooden Shield, Tunic, Empty Bottle, Sling-Shot, Bomb, Gust-Bellows, Double Claw-Shots, Hero’s Bow, Arrow Quiver, Wallet, Hylian Shield, and the Master Sword. Then there are the newer items: Beetle, Item Pouch, Goddess Sword, Bug Net, Seed Pouch, Iron Shield, Digging Mitts, Mogma Mitts, Sacred Shield, Water Dragon’s Scale, Whip, Fireshield Earrings, Goddess Harp, Zelda’s Sail-Cloth, Time Shift Stones, Carry-On Medals, and the Triforce. This is a review and not an encyclopedia, so do your own research on what each does.

Enemies and bosses are a major improvement over what was seen in Twilight Princess as well. Not only are they much more difficult to fight, they also have more biodiversity (aren’t merely clones or palette swaps), have interesting lore that deeply explains their origins, and allows multiple strategies to defeat them. The enemies are scattered throughout and can appear in areas where you’d least expect them, and while it does suffer from different variations, it fits well with the theme or environment that they belong to.

Bosses require multiple methods and items to defeat, so you have to be strategic and be able to go past their strong defenses. Like with the enemies, you can resort to many different ways to dealing damage to the bosses, which adds even more creativity. Seriously, they’re so complex that some of them take nearly 10 minutes to beat or even a few deaths to get things right! They can range from giant monsters to humanoid beings and even a whole army of enemies; Ghirahim, Scaldera, Moldarach, The Imprisoned, Koloktos, Tentalus, Levias/Bilocyte, Bokoblin Army, and Demise.

Verdict: 7.0/10

As expected, Skyward Sword has a high level of replay value, nearly doubling the total gameplay time if one attempts to aim for 100% completion. First attempt lasts 60 hours, consecutive attempts at 30 hours, and speed runs take at most 15 hours. Old side-quests consist of heart-pieces, mini-games, and bug hunting which are the same, though it’s the newer ones that count. These make all your stress and worries of the main quest (for the most part), are fun and easy (with some exceptions), and is a great fan service since Nintendo listened to our demands.

Goddess Cubes are purple cubes scattered throughout pre-historic Hyrule that unlock collectibles in the sky when activated (to add superficial exploration of the barren hubworld). Then there’s this new and improved upgrade system, in which you have a blacksmith and a cook upgrade your weapons, pouches, and potions by giving them the natural resources or bugs they need to mix or craft to give you the finished product. About the gratitude crystals…you can find them by doing errands for the citizens of Skyloft so they show you their gratitude in the form of crystals.

The experience overall greatly depends on your gaming preferences; specifically, whether or not you’re into motion controls and a Zelda game that is a mix between Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. For me though, it was like a stock-market: there are ups and downs with no guarantee on the future outcomes. I can say though I disliked it at first for the terrible motion controls, difficult bosses, frustrating side-quests, and the constant story and gameplay fillers. But then as I gained more experience and skill later on, I began to enjoy it and realized how much I sucked in the past.

Skyward Sword has the graphics of Wind Waker, music of Ocarina of Time, controls and gameplay of Twilight Princess, and all else being a melting pot of the entire franchise. While the graphics and controls are step-down; the music, plot, content, and gameplay is a step-up for the Zelda IP. I personally love the special game mode which allows you to re-try boss battles and silents realms; I hate how Nintendo spoon-feeds the casuals by offering too much help. Though not quite from being perfect, Skyward Sword is recommended for all Wii owners and Zelda fans alike.

Final Review Score: 7.8/10

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Review

Introduction

Remember back when a few months ago when I promised to not review games of the same IP, unless it was on a different system altogether or a spin-off? Yeah…I kind of take that back to not make myself a hypocrite and to be even with some of you. When most people mention Metroid on the Nintendo Wii, they usually think of Metroid: Other M; however, Nintendo actually released a title before that back in 2007. Originally being a launch title, and later being delayed for a year to add in motion-control schemes and fix unknown bugs, it finally revealed itself as Metroid Prime 3: Corruption by none other than that of Retro Studios.

Being the sequel to Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes on the Nintendo Game-Cube, and the finale to the entire trilogy, Corruption has big shoes to fill in. It’s drastically both an improvement and innovation, or at least that’s what the critics say. If I’ve never reminded you before, I bought this with 4 other Wii games at A & C Games in Toronto during March 2014. I also originally intended this purchase at the Downsview Flea Market, but I got Other M instead. Believe it or not, I only knew about this game while playing Other M back in 2013.

Gameplay

To start off, Metroid Prime 3 is different from other Metroid titles; instead of being a 2D shooter, it’s actually a 3D first person adventure game with shooting mechanics. You take control of Samus from her own perspective through the suit’s visor, using different weapons and items at your disposal; in order to solve puzzles, explore new areas, defeat hordes of enemies and gigantic bosses. It basically uses ideas from Zelda and combines it with Metroid.

Shooting is a mechanic inspired by first-person shooters and traditional 2D shooters. It’s very simple – use the reticle to aim and shoot at enemies and targets, while being able to shoot charged shots and unlimited ammo (since Samus uses a beam that shoots energy). You can use a variety of weapons: beams, missiles, bombs, and grappling lasso. Beams can damage enemies and obstacles, as well as having different elemental or non-weapon effects such as solving puzzles. Missiles do heavy amounts of damage compared to beams but with ammo, and the grapple lasso can be used in both combat and exploration.

Suits usually have an effect on the environment and add extra durability to her health. Visors allow Samus to see her surroundings in different ways, allowing her to solve certain puzzles or kill specific bosses and enemies that she can’t without. Missiles and beams can no longer be used individually, as similar to Metroid: Fusion they are stacked upon each other, adding extra firepower and special effects –  which makes boss battles way easier than in Echoes.

Visors make a return with 2 veteran and 1 new visor that I’ll spoil later in this review. The new visor allows you to control Samus’ famous Gun-Ship for the first time in the Metroid IP (and only time…besides Smash 4 and Nintendo Land for the Wii U), to fly through strange planets and attack large armies of strong enemies. You can even go inside Samus’ ship inside the cockpit, where you can save, rest, or interact with it. There are some cool gimmicks such as an intercom system and a bio-hazard scanner which people don’t know of or never use.

For those that want a more difficult challenge (this game is very easy after all) there are 3 sets of difficulties to choose from though you only start off with the two. These consist of Normal, Veteran, and Hyper Mode with each one being harder than the previous. Normal is honestly extremely easy, and disappointing for Metroid fans/veterans and hardcore shooting gamers too. Veteran is where it’s truly at for those people, with stronger and more durable enemies with more intelligent AI making Normal look like a complete joke. Hyper Mode is the most intense and increase the enemies’ health and strength beyond Veteran, difficult even for experienced Metroid fans.

The overworld of Corruption is one of the few characteristics which makes this game shine; comprised of one galaxy, three solar systems, and also two ships and five planets. Each planet and ship is extremely rich in diversity, detail, exploration, lore, enemies, puzzles, and landmarks. While Prime 3 is less open-ended and much more linear than its prequels, the exploration is still present with the illusion of non-linearity in terms of planet and plot progression with back-tracking. At least it’s not as restrictive as Other M and Fusion LOL.

Planets consist of Norion, Bryyo, Elysia, Pirate-Homeworld, and Phazee. Norion is a moon-like terrestrial planet with rocks, trees, ships, and mountains that serves as a military stronghold of the Galactic Federation. Bryyo consists of a jungle, fiery inferno, and ruins of an ancient civilization that is now a “factory” to produce Fuel-Gel for the GF and its allies and clients. Elysia is a gaseous planet with an industrial/steam-punk inspired city called Sky-Town above the clouds, serving as a spying site for the federation. Finally, the Pirate Homeworld and Phazee are enemy territory; the former being a high tech urbanized militaresque base and the latter being of complete pure Phazon.

You start off with the Varia Suit in the prologue, an upgrade to the Power Suit that reduces enemy damage and provides extreme climate and temperature protection but is only used temporarily. Then, right after, Samus acquires the PED Suit, granting the ability to enter Hyper Mode (not the difficulty) that I’ll mention later in this review too. There aren’t any other suits, which is a letdown from the previous two Prime games as they had the Power, Gravity, Fusion, Phazon, Dark, and Light Suit too.

Beams include the Power Beam, default and weakest beam that also acts as a vacuum to suck up health/ammo; Plasma/Heat Beam, stronger than the former and granting the ability to melt and burn enemies and specific heat-based or conductive objects – as well as being a sauter to fuse broken wires to fix circuits to activate broken devices; and the Nova Beam, dealing the most damage and can pass through Phazite (an alloy composed of metals and Phazon) to hit hidden switches or kill certain enemies that have this armor.

Each of these have unlimited ammo can be, charged up for devastating effects, or be used to kill certain enemies, open certain doors – regular, heat based, heat resistant, and so on – and solve certain puzzles. Missiles consist of only the regular and ice missiles…oh, and also the seeker missiles but the Super Missiles do not return. All can be used as homing projectiles to take down flying or fast-moving enemies, and do hell of a damage. Regular missiles are self-explanatory, while the Ice Missiles can temporarily freeze enemies to slow them down and damage them (and still retain its explosive properties…somehow); create ice platforms in lava to cross over; and open heat-resistant doors.

Seeker Missiles home in on multiple targets simultaneously to deal massive damage and disable special locks; it also has the effects of the Ice Missiles but use 5 missiles per each use. Going in tight spaces or tunnels require the Morph Ball, changing Samus to go from first-person to third-person perspective. Upgrades to it include the Boost Ball allowing the use of kinetic energy to power up mechanical switches, cannons, doors, and elevators mostly in Elysia…and to go faster to kill weak enemies and use half-pipes to access high ledges; and the Spider Ball allows anti-gravity travel on certain magnetic walls and ceilings.

The Screw-Attack, Space Jump, and Acid-Shield are other items that do what they say or obvious of what they do – the screw attack has been nerfed to let Samus only jump 6 times instead of infinite, can only be used for large gaps and walls, and are ineffective in killing/damaging enemies and bosses. Last but far from being least are the visors, which are as promised: Combat Visor, Scan Visor, X-Ray Visor, and Command Visor.

Combat Visor is the default that has the HUD, health/missile count, map, and enemy radar as well as the lore, logbook, and settings. Scan Visor is a scanner that can scan anything from enemies to lore, and give background and detailed information about it (like how to defeat a difficult boss) and has different colors based on what you can scan. X-Ray Visor does what it says and can be used with the Nova Beam to kill specific enemies, see through walls and invisible objects, and find weak points of enemies and structures. Command Visor activates, flies, lands, and carries your ship…by command (pun intended…okay, not really).

Enemies are typically Space Pirates, Metroids, robots, aliens, and humanoid enemies. Many return from past Metroid titles; however, newer enemies include different variations of older enemies, stereotypical inhabitants of their environment, or just Phazon variations and enemies capable of entering Hyper Mode…kind of like Zelda and Mario. The sad part is that they’re all very weak, being able to die in a few hits with beams and missiles or with the right weapons. Only the bosses and mini-bosses pose a challenge…unlike those in Zelda and Mario.

Bosses are incredibly tough to beat and make up for the enemies since they’re durable, strong, and intelligent for a change unlike the enemies. If you played Zelda, Skyrim, Dark Souls, Monster Hunter, or pretty much any IP or game with gargantuan bosses, then you know exactly what Metroid bosses are like in terms of battles. Okay, not all are huge as some are normal-sized or numerous in quantity. Berserker Lord, Meta-Ridley, Rundas, Korakk Beast, Mogenar, Defense Drone, Ghor, Helios, Gandrayda, Metroid Hatcher, Omega Ridley, and Dark Samus are all the bosses.

Since to Prime and Echoes, the only side quests are collecting the pick-up items, going for 100% completion (by getting every pick-up items), and playing the other difficulty modes for extended game lengths. This time around though, there is the achievement system, which you earn Metroid icon-tokens called “credits” each time you unlock an achievement that can be exchanged for music, stickers, diorama, and art which is totally optional. Another is the Energy Cell Quest, a fetch quest much like finding the Chozo Artifacts in Prime and the Sky Temple Keys in Echoes in order to reach the final boss.

However, you only need 5 out of the 10 energy cells and most are obtained as you progress in the game automatically as you go in Elysia and Pirate Homeworld. This is the easiest game in the trilogy, and one of the easiest in the franchise actually, only harder than Fusion, Other M, and Zero Mission (with the last two absolute jokes). Unless you never played an adventure game before, then you’ll have some decent challenge. Enemies can be killed by button mashing and lock-on targetting; exploration is very linear and guided by NPC’s all the time; and puzzles and bosses can be overcome with common sense and the Scan Visor. Bumping up the difficulty though certainly takes these problems away.

Controls

Because this is a Wii game unlike its Game-Cube predecessors, the controls are mapped out completely different. Both the Wii Remote & Nunchuk so you have to buy it if you don’t already own one. Use the remote’s pointer to move the on-screen reticle or cursor to shoot and toggle menus. The d-pad is to fire/charge missiles; the A button is to shoot or select while the B trigger is to jump and cancel menu options; the – button brings up visor select menu and pressing the + button activates Hyper-Mode. Moving the analog stick moves Samus, whereas pressing the C button is to turn into a Morph Ball and the Z trigger to lock-on target enemies, objects, people, etc.

Motion controls and gimmicks is what separates this from other Metroid titles (except from Other M), with commands, gestures, and even puzzles utilizing such a feature. With the Wiimote’s pointer used as the reticle for aiming and shooting, the tyranny of slow, inprecise aiming has finally come to an end. No longer do you have to use only one movement mechanism and aim with a slow reticle that results in unfair difficulty – you can also shoot and move at the same time instead of just standing and shooting in the prequels.

It may seem gimmicky at first, but once you get used to it, I can assure you that you will never want to go back, even if you hate or dislike motion controls (just like using the sword and shield with the Wiimote & Nunchuk in Twilight Princess). This also comes with extra benefits – being able to lock-on target and shoot even more precision and accuracy when compared to a gamepad controller; selecting menu options, looking over one’s surroundings, and using the visors easily to save time, stress, and health/ammo.

Items such as the Grapple Beam and Spring Ball that wasn’t even possible with traditional gamepad controls can now be used thanks to motion controls. You can even adjust the sensitivity of the pointer for even more precision and responsiveness, and turn on or off lock-on free aim to move the reticle while locked-on or not. Getting back on topic, the Spring Ball allows Samus to jump upwards in Morph Ball form by shaking the Wiimote, which is the solution to jumping with bombs that caused huge anger in Echoes when fighting bosses or solving puzzles.

Grapple Beam was an item that I neglected to explain, though since it ties with the motion controls, I gladly do so now. Just like in past Metroid titles, it acts as a grappling hook to cross large gaps that can’t be crossed by jumping. This time, there are two new variations that act as upgrades: the Grapple Lasso and Energy Lasso. With the flick of the Nunchuk, Samus can activate the lasso to grab and pull away enemy shields, obstacles, debris, and even switches in order to open latches, doors, and platforms to assist in solving puzzles and fighting enemies. This multi-purpose item is something that should be a staple of Metroid but unfortunately isn’t as it get retconned in Other M.

Other than that, there’s the Energy Lasso, allowing Samus to give and receive energy from whatever she sticks the rope on to, whether it be energy-activated switches full of or lacking energy or even enemies. This turns Samus into a Metroid herself in a metaphorical sense as the player can easily replenish their health when need be, even without the Gun-Ship, save stations, Phazon, or energy orbs lying around which should have been in Other M. Both of these as well as the traditional Grapple Beam grants Samus to solve any puzzle or defeat any enemy efficiently that other items cannot.

Gimmicks used by motion controls are either awesome or atrocious based on whether you love or hate it.  They’re simply number key-pads to give access to restricted doors blocking new rooms; energy hand pumps that give itself energy through manual pumping to activate nearby devices such as Fuel Gel pipes; switches to activate doors and elevators; touch screens and hand scanners to control nearby lifts; and finally twistable knobs only twistable by Samus’ beam cannon. These serve both as innovative mechanics and puzzles that add more fun to Prime 3.

Music

Prime 3 has some of the best music in the trilogy; with compositions being diverse in many genres and instruments, as well as being atmospheric, memorable, intense, pleasing, and catchy for all that listens to it. Many songs are remixed variations of older tunes such as Super Metroid’s Prologue Theme or Meta Ridley’s Theme that adds some nostalgia for older gamers. It’s mostly the boss battle themes such as Rundas and Gandrayda  being more intense and complex while themes for planetary environments such as Elysia and Bryyo being more atmospheric – which I think was a deliberate and well made design choice.

You may not really notice it, but there’s alot of detail and care put into the quality of the sound effects to make Corruption feel more alive. Similar to other launch titles and first-party games, Corruption allows certain sound effects to be played through the Wiimote’s speaker for added realism. What most people don’t know, is that all of them are accompanied by controller vibrations. This adds more life to the game than it already does with the vast NPC interaction and first-person perspective. Such excellent examples include sounds and vibrations of and while walking, shooting, and using motion-activated devices.

Graphics

The graphics for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption are actually good looking for a change, despite it appearing to be at first a minor upgrade from the past Prime titles. It’s not just upscaling then resolution and screen output to native 480p SD with 16:9 widescreen, rendered at a smooth and consistent 60 FPS; or either just upgrading the lighting effects and engine with improved physics and bloom effects (though those do help with it alot). Retro Studios also increased the polygon count, added high-rez textures with so much realism and detail, and completely changed the art style after fans complained of the dark and ugly Aether seen in Echoes for more than half of the gameplay time.

Everything in Corruption is colorful and vibrant, yet still maintaining the serious atmosphere and realistic effects…kind of like Hyrule Warriors for the Wii U (not the leaked 3DS port). Textures and models are so detailed that it gives the illusion that it belongs on a HD-ready console, like say the PS3, Xbox 360, or even the Wii U, instead of the Wii combined with the excellent lighting and high polygons. Particles such as acid rain, lava, ashes are present and well made that increases the life and charm of Prime 3.

Another cool thing I’ve noticed is the presence of minor graphical effects on Samus’ visor like her facial reflection, water condensation, or build-up of smoke that also adds the charm. Modelling (fashion pun is not intended) is probably where the graphics fall short of being perfect. If you were to look past the polygons, resolution, frame-rate, textures, lighting effects, and art style, you’d notice the flawed character, enemy, and background models. Without the aforementioned factors enhancing the aesthetics, it looks almost exactly of past Prime games.

But don’t freak out, as I’m comparing this to the abomination of NEW! Super Mario Bros. Wii as it’s nothing close to that. The models have drastically improved from the past, but the shaping is somewhat blocky, rough, dis-proportioned, and inaccurate; also the engine derives from the Nintendo Game-Cube as the prequels are from that system.  Therefore, it sort of looks like a Game-Cube game at first glance, hence of what I said before when I first started analyzing the graphics of this game.

Plot

The plot starts off where Metroid Prime 2: Echoes left off – Dark Samus. After the dark version of Aether self-destructs from the death of Emperor Ing, Samus barely escapes and finds herself back in Light Aether, which has its planetary energy fully recovered and the Luminoth race finally at peace and alive. Unknowingly to all, Dark Samus somehow managed to survive the collapse of the dark dimension even after Samus finished her off; however, she can only materialize into Phazon particles and not her humanoid self.

Dark Samus camouflages into Phazon debris on Aether, eventually being collected by the Space Pirates for lab expirements and regenerating herself in Phazon tanks within the Pirate-Homeworld. Coincidentally, the real and good Samus Aran wakes up from a nightmare dreaming about her evil doppelganger being revived by Phazon tanks in the exact same location. Samus immediately activates her Varia Suit in the cockpit of her Gun-Ship, flying it to the atmosphere right alone Norion. Transmitting the correct radio code, the Galactic Federation grants access to Samus to the G.F.S. Olympus.

Upon landing in the ship, she quickly goes to meet up with Admiral Dane to start a new mission, solving simple puzzles and exploring the vast ship along the way. Entering the room she finds Admiral Dane, some other bounty hunters, and an exact copy of herself wearing the Varia Suit too. Dane proceeds to tell Gandrayda to stop, prompting her to morph back to her true form as a female bounty hunter with shape-shifting powers. The admiral then thanks all for coming and calls upon Aurora Unit 242, an organic super-computer in control of the GF’s network…wow, another rip-off of Mother Brain besides MB in Other M (wonder what can go wrong).

Anyways, it then explains four months ago how the Space Pirates invaded a ship called the G.F.S. Valhalla on a training mission to steal, destroy, and kill all those on board. Another super-computer, by the name of Aurora Unit 313, was stolen by the pirates in which they planted a deadly virus soon after departure in order to malfunction the entire network. The federation noticed, shut down the network preventing the virus from spreading, and created and used a vaccine to cure any infected Aurora Units which worked as hoped.

Admiral Dane then states how dangerous it is for the network to be open, and as soon as he’s done talking, Aurora Unit 313 notifies everyone of a Space Pirate invasion…knew something would go wrong. Before the bounty hunters leave, Dane also orders them to visit Norion below to help fight against the pirates and make its planetary defense system back online which also got disabled. Samus makes her way back to the ship, defending weak troopers, killing Space Pirates, retrieving a stolen Energy Cell, witnessing other bounty hunters fight, and acquiring new weapons and upgrades along the way.

Right when she wants to leave for her Gun-Ship though, a large monster crashes through a window after killing some Federation Troopers and fights her in a simple yet tedious battle after commanding her ship to escape. Once Berserker Lord dies from Samus, electrical fences, and an explosive impact with a ship, Samus heads off for Norion by calling her ship back. Flying in her newly revised ship, Samus lands as she swiftly dodges incoming lasers from both sides of the battle from both laser turrets and fighter jets alike.

As she leaves the cockpit, she is greeted by a rushing trooper tells Samus of the scenario – all 3 generators needed to power the laser satellite cannon are all offline, necessary to act as the planet’s defense against any outer space threat. Samus hastily does just that as she gets the Grapple Beam, defeat more pirates, solves more puzzles to clear away debris and unlock doors. On her way to Generator A, Samus is forced to fight a dozen pirates and a few ships when even more enemy back-up arrives.

In the nick of time, all ships and enemies get frozen into ice shattered by ice grenades by an unknown sources. Rundas appears as the bounty hunter that saved Samus, alerting her that Generator B being restored by him and word from the GF that controlling ships to fly and land ships is now authorized, unlocking the use of the Command Visor. With that, he leaves by flying on ice platforms and Samus continues to restore Generator A. Once that is taken care of, she goes to Generator C; a Berserker Lord tries to kill Samus but saved by another bounty hunter named Ghor whom uses a mech-suit and is a cyborg alien himself.

Entering Generator C, Samus accepts the duel with a small group of Space Pirates when one of them betrays and kills the other two. This “traitor” transforms back into Gandrayda, casually telling Samus to finish the job for her as she killed the pirates for her. Taking some time to solve more puzzles to reveal and take an alternate route to the generator, Samus successfully restores the generators back online and the planetary defense system too – when suddenly Meta-Ridley appears and brings her down to the long tunnel below, surviving their last encounter back on Tallon IV in Prime 1.

Easily defeating the beast, she blasts three charged shots into Ridley’s mouth and hoping to survive as they fall into the lava pit. Again, Samus is luckily saved again by Rundas who appears from an alternate tunnel route, flying both of them to safely telling her to reach the control room on time. A large meteor-like object comes out of a wormhole in outer space, heading straight for Norion within 5 minutes. Aurora Unit 242 warns Samus of this, demanding that she meet with the others after the GF’s attempts to stop the meteor failed prior when they were activating the generators.

When Samus reaches the elevator, all of the bounty hunters activate the cannon, though just as the cannon can attack, they all get ambushed and fatally wounded by…Dark Samus herself well and alive. With the last hope of stopping the meteor eliminated and the bounty hunters unconscious, all seems lost when Samus somehow manages to get back up and push the button to activate the cannon before entering a state of long coma. After a month’s time, Samus wakes up immediately in a medical lab within the G.F.S. Olympus to discover herself in a completely new suit.

This is the PED Suit, or Phazon Enhancement Device Suit, allowing the chick to enter Hyper-Mode: a state of total invincibility and use of unlimited Phazon; at the cost of one full energy tank, risk of death by corruption, and a time limit of mostly only 15 – 30 seconds. Any of you that played the prequels can already fathom at what just occured. The mose deadliest, radioactive substance capable of fatally wounding, killing, and corrupting its victims into mindless savage beasts – as well as killing Samus quickly with its high radiation – is now your new best friend.

And unlike when you could only use it once against Metroid Prime and Dark Samus back then and risked your life using it, you may now use it at your leisure, making Prime 3 even easier than it already is. Did you know that you can also standing in pools of Phazon can heal your energy? Yeah, doesn’t make sense at all. Plus, you can actually get upgrades to Hyper-Mode, which are Hyper Ball, Hyper Missile, and Hyper Lasso. Being partially corrupt (when your Phazon meter becomes red and the screen prompts you to rapidly shoot) helps you more than killing you, as it allows you to use the excess Phazon to kill even more enemies and stay in Hyper Mode even longer than usual.

Moving back to the story, Samus is also made aware that the other bounty hunters have woken up earlier than her and also received PED Suits too to use the Phazon inside them. This is apparently due to the bodies “naturally” producing Phazon from being hit by Dark Samus, and the scientist then tells her that there are no negative effects (yet) and to meet up with 242.

It explains to the bounty hunter how the others mysteriously lost contact and went missing a week ago her waking up, while they were completing their missions on 3 separate planets – and her job is to find them and finish their missions for the GF to thwart the plans of the Space Pirates. The heroine hastily leaves the G.F.S. Olympus, and 242 tells her in the Gun-Ship that both Rundas and Ghor travelled to Bryyo and Elysia respectively to stop the spread of Phazon corruption from a Leviathan Seed (the meteor in Tallon IV, Aether, and Norion).

Gandrayda though was assigned to find and infiltrate the Space Pirate’s home planet to gather intel and stop whatever scheme they’re planning. So now, basically for the rest of the game, you have to do what the others were supposed to complete…and the plot dies out here in terms of cinematic cutscenes but this is when the lore starts to bloom and multiply which balances it out evenly.

On Bryyo, Samus arrives in the ruins of ancient civilization highly advanced in both science and magic, now turned into a wasteland with its inhabitants devolved into mindless barbarics (totally useless, but very interesting lore). She explores it, noticing ice blasts and structures left behind by Rundas that are at first pure ice but become mixed with Phazon later on; salvages intel from a satellite in a run-down GF base; and visits the rest of Bryyo to shut down two shield generators creating a force-field that is protecting the Leviathan Seed.

Samus then proceeds to go to the factory that produces Fuel Gel, finding even more trails of ice when she actually sees Rundas from afar who now remains silent and mysterious. Giving chase in hot pursuit, Samus eventually meets up with Rundas after he saves her once more from Space Pirates in an open-ended area. Confused, she attempts to talk with him which he replies with an ice blast in return, creating ice glaciers to fill the area and blocking all doors to prevent escape. She realizes something is not right with Rundas as he challenges her to a battle to the death.

Eventually concluding that Rundas has become corrupted by the Phazon inside him after seeing a mirage of Dark Samus, Samus is shocked and depressed, but must put a beloved friend back into his own grave for her own survival. After a long and very depressing battle, Samus salutes her fallen comrade as he dies as soon as he escapes his possession from the corruption, rewarding her with the Ice Missile.

242 calls Samus back to the Gf base in order to upgrade her ship with missiles to destroy the generators after failing to disable them from the terminals. With these explosives in hand (or in the ship LOL), she backtracks and bombs the first generator, travelling to a deep jungle to bomb the next while bombing some pirates, satellites, and barricades blocking the path. Samus discovers the other generator is protected by anti-aircraft turrets as her ship gets heavily damaged, so she must disable each turret manually.

With the turrets and second generator destroyed, access to the seed is granted for Samus to destroy to free Brryo of further Phazon corruption. Entering inside, it is noted how bizzare and different it is from the other seeds explored in Tallon IV and Dark Aether. Reaching the center, a colossal mech-robot wakens from Phazon and magic, challenging Samus to a duel, which she wins after a long battle with Mogenar’s constant stalling and mind games. The seed becomes destroyed at a cost of vomitting and increase of bodily Phazon corruption, leaving Bryyo for good in its recovered state.

Aurora Unit 242 advises to visit Sky-Town as the next destination, a floating “city” that serves as a spying facility for the GF above the gaseous surface and dense clouds of Elysia. Arriving there, the super-computer reveals another Leviathan Seed is here; that Ghor is still here but his location is unknown; and that another Aurora Unit by the name of 217 is here but was also a victim of the network virus. The vaccine is transferred somehow through Samus’ com system to rid it of Phazon corruption, but the gate leading to it is blocked.

Defeating another boss whom is a robot called Defense Drone to receive the Boost Ball to unlock the gate. When the heroine downloads the vaccine to rid 212 of Phazon corruption, Ghor appears out of nowhere and melts the circuit boards with a heat beam, stating in a peaceful manner that the only chance of reaching the seed is to restore Sky-Town’s network online after being aggressive before when he was mocking her.

217 activates after using the vaccine, thanking Samus for healing it. The first mission is to find and assassinate Ghor, using a mech-suit to fight a pathetically easy battle using a force-field, missiles, melee attacks, and heat beams to fight. He also becomes possessed by Dark Samus upon death. Samus returns to fix the severed cables after acquiring the Plasma Beam, bringing back Sky-Town’s network back online to give total control and access to the rest of the city. Samus travels back to Bryyo to acquire the Screw-Attack to aid in exploring the rest of the city after 217 recommends it. She comes back to 242 asking her to visit the wrecked ship G.F.S. Valhalla after leaving an alternate dimension (but it’s not needed to go for now).

Going back to Elysia after realizing Samus needs energy cells to explore Valhalla, 217 explains how a ship upgrade is necessary to assemble the three parts of a thermal-nuclear bomb that can destroy the force field, since both generators are hidden beneath the dense clouds as a ploy by the Space Pirates, which is the second mission. Samus comes upon another GF base (which is just a landing spot for the Gun-Ship), repeating the same procedure to give the ship its own Grapple Beam.

With it, Samus goes off to assembling all 3 bomb parts; discovering a hidden part of Sky-Town; killing off more Space Pirates and another Berserker Lord; and accidentally finding and releasing the Phazon Metroids throughout the solar system in a hidden lab. With the bomb finally complete after alot of backtracking and fetch-questing, 217 assigns Samus a third mission: to plant and fuse the bomb in the Spire Pod manually to protect it from any threats. It seperates and launches it close to the Leviathan Seed, becoming under attack by Space Pirates that detected its presence.

The pod becomes protected, and she leaves with an escape pod after fixing its broken circuits just as it releases the bomb, destroying the shield to access the seed. As before, she enters, fights the guardian that is this time a commanding Steam-Bot called Helios with an army of robots, and ditches Elysia when all is back to normal. Inside the Gun-Ship, 242 explains that Gandrayda left behind a communication space capsule right before she lost contact, revealing that another Leviathan Seed has corrupted that planet too, meaning that the pirates have become corrupted themselves.

The bounty hunter flies her way there, uses her stealth skills to sneak past the pirates and security, and saves a kidnapped Federation Trooper that turns out to be…Gandrayda. Laughing at her enjoyment of tricking her, the two females fight a long battle of her using clever mind-tricks, difficult strategies, and morphing into past enemies as a means to mock and test Samus. With all the hunters but Samus dead, the protagonist stands in silence as she helplessly watches the possession of Gandrayda from Dark Samus knowing that her weapons are useless against the mirage, with the Energy Lasso as a reward.

Samus manages to get the Acid Shield to protect herself from the planet’s acid rain as ironically advised to get by Gandrayda, and visits the other areas of the base through subway…or freight train after receiving orders from Admiral Dane to disable the planetary defense system so the GF can invade the planet (now I actually wonder how Samus invaded it). The badass bounty hunter fights more pirates, gets past more security, and finally malfunctions the planetary defense system after getting the Nova Beam, starting the assault.

The Galactic Federation arrives to help Samus by offering, or rather Dane offering, Federation and Demolition Troopers – the latter soldiers being weak in strength and numbers but crucial for the invasion to work as they have explosives that can take down large gates that are immune to all of Samus’ weapons (even Hyper-Mode). All of the strongest minions of the Space Pirates ranging from Beserker Lords to Pirate Commandos battle with Samus and her supporters; though many fall, the few survivors team up to destroy the final gate.

In the next room, a small remaining group of Pirate Commandos and another high-ranking pirate, calling her ship to shoot down the true final gate leading to the last seed via cargo route. Taking off her ship, she finally reaches the Leviathan Seed and enters the center, meeting up with Ridley who shockingly survived the fall back on Norion, appearing to have a Phazite armor protecting his chest and becoming more biological than cybernetic from Phazon corruption.

This new form is called Omega Ridley according to the Scan Visor, and engages in combat with Samus with her winning after a long intense battle of mind games, stalling, chasing, and breaking the Phazite armor. With the beast now seemingly dead, the heroine leaves the seed for good as well as the Pirate Homeworld. Aurora Unit 242 thanks her for her efforts but claims there is still one last mission before the horrors of Phazon is over.

According to 217 who did some spying on the pirates, the origin of the seeds come from a sentient planet composed of pure Phazon called Phazee, or at least, that’s the name of 242 came up with. The Galactic Federation plans a full-scale assault on Phazee to prevent more seeds from appearing and stop Dark Samus once and for all. However, it is too far away via regular space travel, so it must be accessed with a wormhole with a teleporter that so happens to be disguised as a Leviathan Seed above the atmosphere of the Pirate Homeworld. Samus reaches it via another teleporting device hidden within the Pirate Homeworld itself, but discovers that a special input code is required to use it.

Aurora Unit 242 recommends that re-visiting the G.F.S. Valhalla to look for any clues since it’s the only place to look for left. Flying to the abandoned vessel, Samus explores the wreckage to find debris, corpses, puzzles, Metroids, and Phazon. Using the energy cells collected throughout Samus’ quest, all rooms within the ship unlock to grant access for the bounty hunter to inspect to gather more pick-up items, solve puzzles, and defeat the last remaining Phazon Metroids. After finding the code, she also finds a message left behind by Aurora Unit 313 to warn the GF of Phazee, the Leviathan Seeds, and Dark Samus a little too late now that 242 and 217 have both found out.

The chosen warrior hastily flies back and activates the seed properly for the federation to warp to Phazee. Samus then rendez-vous with Admiral Dane and off they go to the final destination (Smash pun not intended). Warping to Phazee is greeted by a swarm of fighter ships controlled by the remaining Space Pirates who followed Dark Samus like a religious cult. The GF and pirates battle it out, while Samus individually travels to the planet’s surface to face her evil counterpart alone (so technically only Samus invaded Phazee).

Travelling a straightforward and linear path, she eventually reaches the core, after destroying some infant seeds along the way, and then dukes it out with Dark Samus. The two fight, with the villian using techniques stolen from the dead bounty hunters as well as using some tricks up her sleeves such as cloning and regeneration. The good Samus is victorious but this is when the tables turn with Metroid Prime gaining the upper hand. In a last ditch effort after being defeated multiple times, Dark Samus summons up a corrupted Aurora Unit 313 to become one with it.

Samus must now defeat Dark Samus disguised as the Mother Brain rip-off, who is actually Metroid Prime…which is actually a Phazon Metroid that became the guardian of the Leviathan Seed in Tallon IV. Permanently destroying it after a long and hard-fought battle, Dark Samus is forced out to leave 313, screaming in pain as she explodes and disintegrates into Phazon particles that dissolve into the atmosphere of Phazee. This removes the Phazon inside Samus, forever ridding her of corruption, but also starts a chain reaction that destroys Phazee (since 313 was attached and controls it with biotechnology).

The Galactic Federation leaves just as it explodes, with Samus appearing just as Admiral Dane declares her dead, and the two part ways after stopping the evil of Phazon and Dark Samus once and for all to enjoy a peaceful day in the galaxy…until Metroid II: Return of Samus. Overall, the plot is greatly presented and well-written in a cinematic, complex, and realistic, and story-driven manner. It caters to long time Metroid fans who are now adults with the serious, mature, and dark mood/atmosphere yet still having that sense of nostalgia and child-friendly material.

There honestly isn’t any flaws or plot-holes as said before and reading the scanned lore, and playing Prime 1 and 2 for the Game-Cube, explains everything about the origins and history of literally everything; from the people to the planets, and even the items and enemies. Cutscenes and animation are also all amazing plot elements since Prime 3 is much more cinematic and story-driven by using the cutscenes to explain the plot, besides just showcasing bosses, areas, and puzzles like it was back in Prime and Echoes.

Animation is fluid, smooth, and natural with realistic and believable movements from characters, enemies, bosses, and background objects. The script is great too with the lines fitting each characters’ personality or job unlike the cheesy and dramatic lines in Other M. Another cool new feature is voice acting, which is a series first and actually leaves a good impression; everyone but Samus can talk, which works very well despite Nintendo being against such an act (or do it poorly when they allow it, like Other M).

Verdict

Despite appearing to be a short game at first glance, Corruption is packed with high replay value as you can tell with how much I wrote for this review, which is just as long as my first review on this site LOL. Pick-up items, lore, energy cells, and credits boost the gameplay time exponentially, not to mention doing it all again in Veteran and Hyper Mode for extra length and challenge. Getting 75% all of the pick-up items unlocks a cutscene showing Samus mourning for her fallen allies on Elysia; getting 100% reveals the true ending with the heroine showing off her sexy ass body…I mean the Zero Suit before leaving Elysia in her Gun-Ship with another ship following hers, which is claimed to be Dark Samus – but she died along with Phazee and she can fly too.

Beating it on your first try nets you around 20 hours, 30 hours for the side-quests on 100% completion, and 10 hours on all other playthroughs (with 5 hours or less with speed runs). There isn’t really anything I like that I haven’t mentioned, so let’s discuss what I don’t; there are alot of cheap moments where you’re either severely disadvantaged or can easily die, such as when you protect the Spire Pod or disabling the anti-aircraft turrets in Elysia and Brryo respectively. The ending is also very underwhelming and anti-climatic for something that serves as the conclusion to the trilogy of some of the best games ever made of all-time. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption earns a 9.1 out of 10, in which I highly recommend as a must-have to add to your Wii collection.

 

Super Smash Bros. Brawl Review

Introduction

Super Smash Bros is one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises and one of the best (if not the best) fighting series of all time. When it was announced back in 1999 that Nintendo would release a fighting game for the Nintendo 64 that allowed players to duke it out with their favorite Nintendo characters, nearly every Nintendo fan got it and it eventually became an international and critically acclaimed title. Its sequel, Super Smash Bros Melee, came out in 2001 for the Nintendo Game-Cube and showcased the console’s technical and graphical capabilities, appealing to the hardcore audience with loads of content, fast physics, heavy gravity, and complex game mechanics. Then back in 2008, the sequel was released on the Nintendo Wii called Super Smash Bros Brawl.

When it first released, many people loved it for better aesthetics, much more content, inclusion of third-party characters, online gameplay, and the Final Smashes. But as time went by, many disagreed and criticized it for “casual” physics, lighter gravity, removed hardcore mechanics, and focusing on quantity rather than quality. Though I was a tween at the time (and never bought it until getting convinced from the Supspace Emissary – oops…spoilers), I still love this game to its core and agree that it’s part of the best fighting franchise to date. Even if at times the flaws make me prefer Super Smash Bros Melee over Brawl, I still can’t deny how much the game offers and even improves over its predecessors.

Graphics

The graphics for this game are absolutely amazing and near perfect in every way. Literally being the best looking game on the Nintendo Wii, Super Smash Bros Brawl looks exactly like any good-looking game on the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. Graphical quality is excellent and matches the CG illustrations and cut scenes spot-on, as well as looking good even when zoomed in to close distances. Textures are extremely detailed, realistic, and high-resolution, increasing the graphical ability to reduce the rare occasions of jaggy and pixelated graphics from being noticed (it does happen but it’s too small to even notice it). It truly shows what Nintendo can do by pushing the hardware to its absolute limits.

Running at a high-resolution of 480p standard definition, it enhances the sharpness of the smooth graphics and can be upscaled even further to non-native 720i HD via the Wii HD component cable (and native 1080p on the Wii U respectively…looks like I broke the fourth wall – I mean the fifth wall again!) And by enhancing the sharpness of the graphics in the game’s settings, the resolution increases to 720p HD (or even non-native 1440p HD on the Wii U…or maybe not). Because this is a fighting game after all, Brawl runs at a consistent 60 FPS, even when there are multiple characters, items, and environments on-screen, and only rarely dropping (as it’s impossible to be always at 60 FPS). Though like explained before, the speed of the characters’ movements is slowed down to appeal to the casual crowd on the Wii, making it seem like it runs at 50 rather than 60 frames per second.

Characters in Super Smash Bros Brawl look better than ever. These models look exactly like their trophy/CGI counterparts and are completely flawless. They are so good that they look even better than in their past and even future games released after Brawl (well, except with games on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, of course). Enemy models also look better than before, even putting the artwork and CGI of past models to shame. The boss models, specifically the bosses coming from actual Nintendo franchises look extremely realistic and accurate, making their past artwork and CGI models seem unpleasant and terrible to even glance at. Last and most certainly least, trophy models return from Melee and also look better than ever too.

Although taking a realistic art style approach, Nintendo added some cartoonish effects into the mix to prevent Brawl from looking as dark and dull as that of Melee. While some textures such as hair and clothing look dark, bold, and dull; other textures such as skin and metal clearly look bright and cheery as a result of the lighting effects. Shadows are done well and helps enhance the mood and atmosphere under certain circumstances – and even different environmental/weather conditions (though this is minor and not that significant). Color for this game is a bit off due to it trying to be as realistic as possible while still attempting to be realistic, but this mainly applies to characters, enemies, and assistant trophies.

Music

Music is top-notch with having one of the best sound-tracks for any video game in general. With over 30 video game composers, all of the songs taken from past Nintendo (Sonic and Metal Gear Solid) games have been remade and remastered to become modernized and high-quality that even sounds amazing in the ears of casual players and non-gamers alike. Songs that were relevant to both the stages and franchises were included such as Ridley’s Theme, Gerudo Valley, Star Wolf, Meta Knight’s Theme, and the like. Each stage in the game has multiple songs for it, and they can all be adjusted and customized within the settings to toggle which should be heard more often or less frequently (or even being muted completely). All musical genres have been included for  diverse sound-track.

Customization isn’t just limited to music however, as the volume and balance of sound effects/music can be toggled as well. This can help a lot due to the volume being extremely louder than most games, especially if the TV is set to a high volume. Since there’s absolutely no speech whatsoever (except for fighting grunts and cries), it doesn’t really get in the way that much as the sound effects do drown out the music more than the other way around, which is usually the case for many video games. What does bring down the sound quality though is that the sound effects can get faster than the animations, but this only applies to slow motion sections and heavy gravity (and is not noticeable that much).

Controls

Controlling the characters to fight is much similar to Super Smash Bros Melee, and thankfully doesn’t offer any motion or pointer gimmicks whatsoever. The standard method of playing Brawl is using the Wii Remote (held horizontally with the d-pad on the left and the 1 & 2 buttons on the right). Tilting the d-pad moves the character, the 1 and 2 buttons are for attacks, the B button is for evading and defense, the A button does taunting, and the – button is for grabbing. Overall, the controller and button scheme is great and feels ergonomic, natural, and nothing out of the ordinary. Speaking of controllers, you can also use the Wiimote & Nunchuk combo, the Classic Controller (or Classic Controller Pro), and even the Nintendo Game-Cube Controller as alternatives.

The controls are great and are arguably better than using the Nunchuk combo, but they do take some time getting used to. Once you do get used to them though, you’ll find that the smaller and more bumpy buttons allow for faster and more precise commands, and the ergonomic shape of the controllers allow for reduced hand pain and easier access to the said buttons. If these controllers aren’t suitable for you for whatever reason, then you can customize the button commands to suit your liking for a more personal experience (or resort to the Nintendo Game-Cube Controller – or even customize that as well). Personally though, I find that the Classic Controller Pro to be the best option.

Plot

Unlike other games in the franchise, there is actually a plot but only for the adventure mode called the Subspace Emissary. It starts off with Mario and Kirby battling in a fighting tournament on a floating stadium, whom are watched by Princess Peach, Zelda, and Pit (secretly in…heaven). Suddenly, the Battleship Halberd (Meta Knight’s airship) comes and summons an army of Primids, so that the Ancient Minister can drop a Subspace Bomb without any resistance from the Smash fighters (Dragon Ball Z pun intended). He is unknowingly protected from Petey Piranha, who blasts Mario to the sky with a cannon ball; holds Zelda and Peach hostage in two separate cages – but gets defeated by Kirby – before Wario comes out of nowhere and kidnaps a princess after trophifying her with the Dark Cannon. Two R.O.B.’s then proceed to activate the bomb, exploding and attracting the entire stadium into the hole itself as if it were a black hole.

Zelda (or Peach, depending on who you saved) escapes with Kirby on a Warp Star to the sky. Meanwhile, Pit sees the bombing and gets summoned by Palutena (and no, she’s not playable nor unlockable – or at least until Smash 4 – oh my, I’m breaking the fifth wall again…sorry) to save the world, teaming up with Mario along the way. The princess and Kirby get chased and knocked down by the Halberd which also takes down Fox flying in an Arwing. All but Fox land safely, who crashes into a nearby lake in a jungle, saving Diddy Kong from Rayquaza (who escaped the clutches of Bowser after trophifying Donkey Kong by luring them with their stolen banana hoard earlier). After defeating the legendary Pokemon, the two travel throughout the jungle and fight a clone of Bowser and end up hiding from the real Bowser.

Lucas walks in an abandoned city, gets chased by Pork King, teams up with Ness to defeat Porky, and witnesses Ness get trophified by Wario as a sacrifice in order to spare Lucas. He runs away to confront Pokemon Trainer (who is actually Red by the way) and later joins him in catching other Pokemon (which are Ivysaur and Charizard). Far away in a medieval fortress, the Ancient Minister flies around to plant another bomb and summons an entire army of Primids and other Subspace enemies to fend off Marth. Meta Knight immediately appears and forms an alliance with Marth after realizing who the enemies were and later allying with Ike that destroys another bomb that the Ancient Minister was attempting to set off. Somewhere in a forest, Link grabs the Master Sword and teams up with Yoshi as well.

Deep within a research facility, Samus infiltrates the facility in order to find the location of the Varia Suit and saves Pikachu locked up in some sort of energy draining contraption, but at the risk of being exposed and targeted as an enemy and intruder by the R.O.B. army. With Peach and Ness being trophified and captured, Wario decides to take a break in the middle of a field when he suddenly sees a trophy of Luigi. He gets ambushed by an army of Waddle Dees hiding nearby; King Dedede hijack his hovercraft  along with Peach, Ness, and Luigi; and flies off to his castle for some apparent reason. Back at where Kirby was, he leaves Zelda alone, who gets trophified and cloned by Bowser to become Dark Zelda to take down Link and Yoshi (or Mario and Pit ), but gets ambushed and defeated by Mario and Yoshi. Mad at Zelda’s death (even though trophies can’t die), Link and Yoshi challenge the former fighters but gets defeated by them.

Just as King Dedede is about to take Link and Yoshi to his collection, Kirby comes back and saves them, immediately after the five fighters team up to stop King Dedede once Mario sees Peach captured and realizes his mistakes. Going back to Lucas and the Pokemon Trainer (Red), they see Charizard flying through the mountains and decide to visit the underground ruins to capture it and Ivysaur. Wario blocks the ruins’ entrance but is defeated as the two enter the ruins, captures Ivysaur and Charizard, and gawk at the underground arena. At the far edge of the desert, the trio of swordsmen chase and fight Galleom that crashes into the ruins upon defeat, but it ignites and explodes a Subspace bomb once it is defeated a second time by Lucas and Red.

Saved by Meta Knight at the last second, Lucas and Red team up with Marth, Ike, and Meta Knight. Somewhere in the research facility, Ganondorf is watching the fighters and orders Bowser to do his bidding and a cardboard box with the Smash logo lies hidden within the Halberd. Mario, Link, Yoshi, Kirby, and Pit pursue the Ancient Minister to prevent another bombing but fail as more R.O.B.’s get sacrificed, making the minister sad (even though robots have no emotions). They the head to King Dedede’s castle and discover that Bowser wrecked havoc, supposedly have killed King Dedede, and kidnapped Peach. Bowser escapes with Peach in his Clown-Copter right before he falls to his death after jumping off a cliff to avoid being pursued by the five fighters. They successfully leave the castle just before the bomb is even placed with Kirby picking up the badge that slipped off of Peach’s body when Bowser escapes.

Within the depths of the jungle are Diddy Kong and Fox, who for some reason were doing nothing this whole time when suddenly Bowser trophifies and clones Diddy Kong to create Dark Diddy Kong. Just as Fox is about to meet his doom, another Arwing flies by and out comes Falco, who proceeds to destroy the Dark Cannon, scaring off Bowser, and fighting a gigantic variation of Dark Diddy Kong. Upon defeating the fake and reviving the real Diddy Kong, Falco is forced to team up with the other two and finally reaches the location of Donkey Kong – towed away on a hovercraft programmed to fly to the Ancient Isles (the floating island that serves as the base and home of the Ancient Minister and the R.O.B. army).

In the Ancient Isles, Samus continues to search for the Varia Suit with Pikachu’s help. Finally reuniting with the Varia Suit, Samus and Pikachu are greeted by two Dark Samus’ (no, not the one from the Metroid Prime Trilogy) before equipping it, fighting off more R.O.B.’s, and defeating Ridley once more. The two eventually make it outside of the lab and enter the Subspace Factory to prevent even more bombs from destroying the world, even confronting the Ancient Minister and the remaining R.O.B.’s prepared to activate the Supspace bombs.

Outside of the factory, Pikmins are getting killed by a giant R.O.B. when Captain Falcon comes to help Olimar defeat it. They land on the hovercraft with Donkey Kong after Falco drops off Diddy Kong to save him, in which the four team up to defeat a bunch of Primids that were somehow hiding inside the hovercraft before entering the factory. While infiltrating the factory, the four manage to find another route to the same room with Samus, Pikachu, Ancient Minister, and the R.O.B.’s. Ganondorf appears and commands the R.O.B.’s to activate the bombs to destroy the Ancient Isles itself. The Ancient Minister turns against him and joins the good side, but is thought to be destroyed when the R.O.B.’s are controlled and commanded by Ganondorf to shoot lasers at him.

Suddenly, when things seem down and depressing, the Ancient Minister fights back the Subspace enemies by shooting lasers out of his eyes and transforms into R.O.B. by burning his clothes and exterior armor with his own lasers (who is just as generic as the other R.O.B.’s). After defeating the enemies and saying his good-byes to the R.O.B.’s, R.O.B. concludes it’s too late to reverse the bombs’ timers and therefore impossible to stop them. Captain Falcon calls his Falcon Flyer as a means to escape. He then gestures the others to hurry and escape the factory as well before it’s too late to avoid the bombs’ massive explosion.

All seven fighters quickly leave the island to escape the mega black-hole but are stopped to battle Meta-Ridley bent on revenge for his previous defeat. The Falcon Flyer successfully escapes and lands in the desert conveniently located below the Ancient Isles. Meanwhile, Meta Knight leaves his alliance to pursue the Halberd – currently in a dog fight with the Great Fox – in hopes of claiming it back by scaling the frozen mountain with the assistance of the Ice Climbers (who are just randomly there). Reaching the top, Meta Knight confronts, challenges, and defeats Lucario (or vice versa, depending on who you choose) before teaming up and boarding the Halberd as it crashes the Great Fox into the mountain below. Coincidentally, Solid Snake appears out of the cardboard box, stealthily explores the ship, and teams up with Meta Knight and Lucario to support their cause.

The trio then end up in a room with Peach and Zelda locked up in two cages, who get freed and returned to their regular state once both Dark Peach and Dark Zelda are dealt with. Zelda then decides to transform into Sheik and explore the rest of the Halberd alongside with Peach, reaching the deck and inviting Fox to a tea party. Meta Knight, Snake, and Lucario arrive at the control room to discover that a group of Mr. Game & Watches were piloting the airship the whole time. Snake hastily pushes them all to the deck below, which merge and fuse together to transform into Duon, challenging Fox, Peach, Sheik, Lucario, Snake, and Falco before being defeated and reverting back to Mr. Game & Watch; thus, joining the good side and leaving behind the bad side.

Meta Knight then reclaims his stolen airship and then flies the Halberd to the desert below, reuniting with the other fighters. Far away in an ocean, the Subspace Cannon controlled by Bowser and Ganondorf emerge from the mega black-hole and shoots out a laser that sucks up another part of the ocean with another mega black hole. Suddenly, the Halberd appears from a distance and all seems lost when the Subspace Cannon fires lasers through its turrets, destroying the ship completely. When miraculously, four smaller ships appear to fly out of the explosion and continue to pursue the cannon – the Falcon Flyer, Arwing, Samus Aran’s Gunship, and Olimar’s Rocket. This angers Bowser and Ganondorf and prompts them to activate even more laser turrets to destroy the ships. Out of nowhere, Kirby appears from a far angle, riding on a Dragoon and flies straight through the cannon, destroying it to smithereens.

Bowser and Ganondorf retreat by entering the mega black hole itself, while the Smash fighters all chase after them. While Bowser is walking to the dead end of Subspace, Ganondorf ambushes from behind by trophifying him. Master Hand appears and Ganondorf greets him, only to discover that they were all manipulated the whole time by an evil entity known as Tabuu (who controlled Master Hand this whole time). Realizing that he was the mastermind all along, Ganondorf tries to use his Warlock Punch but fails as Tabuu simply trophifies him with a powerful energy shock-wave blast. Master Hand realizes all of this too after being freed from the chains he was binded to, charging up a rocket punch to kill Tabuu, but ultimately fails as he too dies. The other fighters arrive but they’re all too late as Tabuu proceeds to use an energy blast so powerful that it trophifies every single fighter.

All hope and luck is lost when suddenly, the Dedede Badges on Luigi and Ness both activate to reverse their trophification. Seeing it as an act of generosity, Ness revives King Dedede and the trio begin hunting down other trophies in order to save the world. They come across and convince Bowser to join the good side after a short brawl and revealing the truth of Master Hand and Tabuu. Meanwhile, Kirby also gets revived by the badge that he got from Peach at Dedede’s castle and hunts down the remaining fighters before joining the revived fighters. Wario and Ganondorf also join the good side when King Dedede, Luigi, Ness, Link, and Zelda convince them as well to defeat Tabuu. With everyone revived, the Smash fighters enter the bright sphere at the end of Supspace that leads to all of the places that were destroyed on Earth by the Subspace Bombs.

Eventually clearing the maze (after exploring old places and defeating dark clones of past foes and bosses), the fighters confront Tabuu again a second time. When he attempts to trophify them again, his butterfly wings are destroyed by two blue blurry streaks of energy. Coming from the spin dashes of none other than the blue blur himself, Sonic The Hedgehog appears (at quite a late time for the world’s fastest thing alive) and mocks Tabbu, in which he becomes significantly weakened and challenges all the fighters to a battle. After a long and hard struggle, the Smash fighters win and defeat him once and for all. As he is dying, his bodily remains and energy disintegrate and allows all of the places bombed on Earth to be completely restored to their former glory. With Tabuu and the Supspace Army finally eliminated, all of the fighters return to Earth for a new and bright day.

Overall, the Subspace Emissary has a good plot despite it being extremely confusing and attempting to be a fan service to all Nintendo fans. The characters are obviously from the roster itself, while the setting takes place on Earth – specifically, in a stadium, medieval fortress, abandoned ghost-town, tropical jungle/swamp, enchanted forest, open field, giant lake, dry desert, ancient ruins, and cold mountain, as well as the sky, a floating island, a futuristic laboratory, and another dimension altogether. The plot overall is presented very well with the cinematics, though it does get confusing as there is no dialogue and it seems to go all over the place, but it does make sense once you get near the story’s climax.

It’s essentially about an evil entity that lusts for power and manipulates certain people to do his bidding but many people team up and become heroes to rebel against this greedy monster – Nintendo did well to make the plot seem more complex than just this and I have to applaud them for that. What I don’t really like about the plot is that it tries to get all the characters involved, but does this in a way that makes it even more confusing and leaves many plot holes as some characters just get randomly introduced. Like how is King Dedede supposed to know about Tabuu and his plans all along – I heard that Sakurai originally planned to make several cut scenes explaining this, but it never made it through development and got scrapped as a result.

For being more plot heavy than other games within the franchise, Nintendo does an excellent job of presenting the plot with the cut scenes. Cinematics are full CGI cut scenes and are used to showcase not only the well-developed story, but also the game’s excellent graphics and music – and to also show how much the Wii’s hardware can really handle. They appear multiple times throughout each level ranging from several seconds to several minutes and are not just limited to character and boss introductions. Animation is well done and reflects the high frame rate that this game runs at and enhances the presentation of the already excellent plot and good-looking CGI cut scenes.

Unfortunately, the narrative script is extremely terrible and lacks any dialogue to begin with. There is no voice acting in the adventure mode (with the exception of Captain Falcon and Snake) and there aren’t even any grunts or cries either (except from the Mario characters out of all people). Unlike other video games, there isn’t even text dialogue for players to read, so the only way of understanding the plot is looking and interpreting the characters’ emotions, facial expressions, gestures, and body language. There are, however, text that reveals a character’s name in character introduction sequences, and it’s actually pretty cool on how it looks and sounds when presented. But other than that, the narrative script is terrible and pretty much non-existent.

Gameplay

Contrary to belief, Super Smash Bros Brawl is different from other conventional fighting games. Instead of two fighters duking it out on a confined stage and attempting to deplete each other’s health, up to four fighters can battle in a free form arena in which the goal is to make the opponent go past the boundaries of the stage to knock them out. Fighters do not have a health bar but instead have a damage percentage meter; the higher it gets, the easier it is to get flung off the stage (but you can, of course, come back to the stage with a recovery jump/move). Attacks and combos are also much easier to maneuver due to simple button placement. Dodging and defense techniques are also implemented as well, unlike other fighters where it is not implemented or only has one of the two available.

Returning from previous titles in the franchise are the damage percentage, combat system, and item mechanics. Players can not only make fighters perform attacking, defensive, and evasive techniques – but also regular, strong, special, aerial, and smash attacks; and also shielding, rolling, side-stepping, air-dodging, grabbing, throwing, and recovering. Items can frequently appear to help assist whichever fighter obtains it, coming from all sorts of franchises and can range from offensive, defensive, healing, throwing, explosive, weaponry, flying, storage, agility, and so on. Some are stronger than others, and items can be customized to your preferences in certain game modes where you can toggle the frequency of every individual item (even turning them on or off).

Brawl has loads of content and offers even more that what its predecessors offered. Each of the game modes are divided up into six different categories: Solo, Multi-Player, Online, Vault, Options, and Data. Solo consists of Classic, Adventure, All-Star, Event Match, Break The Targets, Multi-Man Brawl, Boss Battle, and Training. Multi-Player consists of Brawl, Tourney, Rotational, Special Brawl, and Rules. Vault consists of Trophies, Stickers, Custom Stage Builder, Master Pieces, Chronicle List, Coin Launcher, Challenges, and Album. Online consists of Online Brawl, Team Matches, Co-Op Stadium, and Spectator. Finally, the Options and Data contains settings and records that can be viewed and/or customized.

While All-Star, Training, and Event Match stay relatively the same, all others do not. Classic Mode has been unfortunately downgraded to have no bonus stages but Target Stages, as well as a scoring system based on time and damage. While Adventure Mode does have a better plot and increased content, it still has level design being too generic and boring, while the enemies (and sometimes the mini-bosses and dark clones) being way too overpowered, even on the easiest difficulty. Break The Targets may be more fun with better level design, but there are only five stages based on each of the five difficulties – as opposed to each character having their own unique level like in Melee and Smash 64.

On the bright side though, Home Run Contest has been made easier thanks to a breakable barrier that increases the power that launches Sand-Bag farther than in Melee. Multi-Man Brawl has a variety of fighters instead of just the male and female wire-framed fighters, as well as actual characters appearing occasionally. Boss Battle is a non-stop fight with all of the bosses in Adventure Mode, and you can even play every single game mode mentioned (except for Classic) with another player for local co-op. Fortunately, the other game modes have been significantly improved for the better. Versus (or Brawl) is still the same as Melee and doesn’t have any major letdown besides the awkward physics suited for the casual audience. Special Brawl is all of the Special Melees combined into one customizable experience, with newer special modes introduced in this installment. Tourney now only allows 32 instead of 64 contestants, and Rotational is Versus but allows 5 or more players to participate without any CPU interference.

Online and Vault are the only new categories introduced in this game. Apparently, online is supposed to be second to none for the Wii, being only slightly worse than Mario Kart Wii, but for some reason, majority of people (including me) find it and complain that it is laggy, slow, and the connections usually break or don’t even pick up. Unfortunately, most of the game modes exclusive to online either can’t be played with friends or extremely limited with random people, such as not being able to submit Vault content and communicating. Social interaction is limited to only one word messages that appear from taunting…how lame, that’s all I’m going to say.

Trophies are sort of like encyclopedias and reveals the history of Nintendo’s games from the NES, SNES, N64, GCN, Wii, Game & Watch, Game Boy, GBC, GBA, and DS; stickers have different effects that help fighters with improved stats in Adventure Mode (kind of pointless to be honest). Album stores all replay videos and photos; Stage Builder lets you build custom stages with limited parts to fight on; Master Pieces are demos of several Virtual Console games; and Challenges is basically this game’s achievement system – showing what you unlocked and hints on what you didn’t, and even allowing you to automatically unlock whatever you want with limited set of hammers (though I somehow got more hammers despite using them all up).

What matters the most to Smash fans would probably be the characters themselves, and there are a whopping 40 fighters (but only 35 in the roster) this time around. There are about 14 unlockable and 26 starter characters, but the unlockables can all be unlocked without even fighting them by playing as them in Adventure mode. These characters have serious balance issues with some being way too overpowered or way too weak. Similar to Smash 64 though, character introductions return and appear in multi-player and online matches, such as Mario entering out of a pipe, Pikachu leaving a Pokemon Ball, or Samus walking out of a futuristic elevator. Characters also have different color variations, while some even have different outfits such as Wario and Samus.

The roster itself starts off with Mario, Peach, Bowser, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Yoshi, Wario, Link, Zelda, Sheik, Samus, Zero Suit Samus, Pit, Ice Climbers, Pikmin & Olimar, Kirby, Meta Knight, King Dedede, Fox, Pikachu, Pokemon Trainer, Squirtle, Ivysaur, Charizard, Ike, and Lucas. As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock Luigi, Ganondorf, Toon Link, R.O.B., Captain Falcon, Falco, Wolf, Lucario, Jiglypuff, Marth, Ness, Mr. Game & Watch, Solid Snake, and finally Sonic The Hedgehog. Unfortunate as it is, Dr.Mario, Young Link, Pichu, Mewtwo, and Roy have been removed and are exclusive characters to Melee (though Dr. Mario returns as a starter character in Smash 4 and Mewtwo is DLC when you purchase both the 3DS and Wii U variations – oh no, breaking the fifth wall again).

There are much more stages than before, with each stage representing a franchise (for the most part as some stages are part of one franchise, namely Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and Pokemon) – and even retro stages from Melee and custom built stages as well. Stages are more unique with different time of day, weather/season transformations, 2D to 3D transition, warping points, change of terrain, destructive environmental objects, background enemies, natural disasters, and background interaction. You start off with around 30 and gradually unlock around 40 stages, not including custom stages as those are built by the players.

Stages consist of the following: Battlefield, Final Destination, Delfino Square, Luigi’s Mansion, Mario Kart Circuit, Mario Bros., 75 M, Rumble Falls, Yoshi’s Island, WarioWare Inc., Great Bridge of Eldin, Pirate Ship, Norfair, Frigate Orpheon, Skyworld, Ice Summit, Distant Planet, Smashville, Port Town Aero Dive, Halberd, Lylat Cruise, Pokemon Stadium 2, Spear Pillar, Castle Siege, New Pork City, Picto Chat, Hanenbow, Flat Zone 2, Shadow Moses Island, and Green Hill Zone for the modern stages. For the retro stages from Melee, we got these few: Rainbow Cruise, (GCN) Yoshi’s Island, Jungle Japes, Great Temple, Brinstar, Green Greens, Corneria, Pokemon Stadium, Big Blue, and also Onett.

Items are essential and helpful in increasing your chance towards victory, and Brawl has more than ever before. I won’t be discussing what each one does, so I’ll only talk about the most newest and popular items. The Smash Ball is a rainbow-colored Smash logo that grants the user a Final Smash, a super strong attack or ability that varies with each fighter and helps them defeat opponents easily. Usually, you’re invincible and there’s a time limit, but some is a one-time use kind of thing and you can die with others; they usually range from transformations, powerful attacks, using a powerful weapon, or changing the status of the other fighters. An assistant trophy summons an NPC that will help the fighter that comes from different franchises – these are usually those that didn’t make it to the roster or is a fan service. Dragoon is an item divided into three parts, and when collected, allows the collector to instantly K.O. an opponent.

Returning from the older titles are Crates, Barrels, Party Balls, Super Mushroom, Poison Mushroom, Fire Flower, Starman, Metal Box, Bob-Omb, Green Shell, Hammer, Food & Drinks, Heart Container, Bunny Hood, Screw Attack, Laser Gun, Super Scope, Beam Sword, Motion Sensing Bomb, Mr. Freezie, Mr. Saturn, Maxim Tomato, Warp Star, Star Rod, Lipstick, Fan, Baseball Bat, and Trophies. New items in Brawl are as follows: Moving Crates, Blast Box, Soccer Ball, Lightning, Hothead, Slow-Mo Clock, Golden Hammer, Spring, Sand Bag, Deku Nut, Banana Peel, Pitfall, Sea Urchin, Gooey Bomb, Smoke Ball, Team Healer, Smart Bomb, Cracker Launcher, Franklin Badge, Stickers, CD’s, Keys, and Trophy Stands (which are exclusive to Subspace Emissary and allow you to trophify enemies and bosses.)

Enemies and bosses aren’t that significant in Brawl, but are in Adventure Mode and Multi-Man Brawl. The Subspace Army ,in my opinion, is way too overpowered but have low health to compensate – and they are also extremely diverse and come from many different Nintendo franchises. The fighters from Multi-Man Brawl are weird looking aliens called “Alloys” with white circles covering their face, hands, feet, and stomach, as well as having a distinctive color elsewhere on their skin. They’re extremely diverse as well as they imitate many fighters in appearance and techniques, such as the fat green fighters imitating Kirby; bulky red fighters imitating Captain Falcon; tall/skinny blue fighters imitate Zelda; and short yellow fighters imitating Mario. Bosses consist of Master Hand, Crazy Hand, Master & Crazy Hand, Petey Piranha, Rayquaza, King Porky, Porky, Galleom, Duon, Ridley, Meta Ridley, and Tabuu.

Collectibles, unlockables, and Vault-specific game modes serve as the only “side quests” to this game, and the achievement system as well. Collectibles and/or unlockables range from characters, stages, assist trophies, trophies, and stickers to music, coins, cut scenes, custom stage parts, demos, and additional rules. These can all be obtained by finding them or meeting certain conditions, which is where the achievements come into play. Characters and stages can usually be unlocked through multiple methods like playing a certain set of matches or clearing certain levels in adventure mode. By fulfilling harder challenges though, the game will reward you with rare trophies, stickers, stages, demos, and music that cannot be obtained elsewhere or through traditional means.

Within the Vault, you can also use all the coins you obtain from Classic and Adventure Mode as ammo for a laser turret when playing Coin Launcher to obtain more trophies and stickers. The Custom-Stage-Builder, while limits players to strictly 2D geometric stages with a fixed background/camera angle and generic parts, can allow for some creativity that developers would never come up with…well, if you’re into these kind of things. Though the Master Pieces are actually pretty shit, it allows younger and casual players to get introduced to the origins or classic titles of some of the fighters. Last but not least, sound effects, music, trailers, records, settings, tutorials, and cut scenes can all be viewed and/or changed in the Options and Data sections in Brawl.

Overall, Super Smash Bros Brawl is suitable for players of all skill levels as it has five different difficulties. All of the Solo game modes allow more or less challenge, so that less skilled players won’t get frustrated and highly skilled gamers can enjoy more out of the game by choosing Easy, Normal, Hard, Very Hard, or Intense. The computer opponents’ skill levels can be toggled in multi-player and training from levels 1 through 9, allowing even more options with difficulty. And in case you ever find yourself outmatched for some odd reason, you can increase the stock count from 1 to 5 in Classic; utilizing stickers in Adventure; handicapping other players and CPU’s in Versus; and changing the rules.

Verdict

Replayability value for a game like Brawl is sky-high as almost every game mode has replay value in it. Plus, with the surplus amount of content and customization, they allow hundreds to thousands of possible combinations that can be used by players when constantly replaying the game modes. And with the achievement system in place, hardcore gamers and completionists alike are motivated to replay the different game modes over and over again in order to unlock the many rare trophies, stickers, and music available, as well as increasing the time spent since some are unlocked that way. There’s so much replay value, that I can go on forever explaining it so I’ll stop here.

Though Brawl is an extremely great game, there are still flaws that hinder this from perfection. What I hated about this game is that the physics, speed, gravity, and fighting style pales in comparison to Melee, as it increases my chances of unfair advantages and cheap deaths/losses. I dislike the fact that there are frequent long loading times whenever you start the game; transition from cut scene to gameplay (in adventure mode); begin Event Match, Master Pieces, Tourney, and Stadium; or viewing in-game content which can disappoint me at times. I also feel that Nintendo put too much effort in the Subspace Emissary, Multi-Player, and Vault, while putting little effort in Solo and Online.

To wrap it all off, Brawl is a phenomenal fighting game and a must have for the Nintendo Wii. With its excellent graphics, greatly composed music, customizable and precise controls, and high quality gameplay, this game is just too awesome to ignore in a lifetime as it was nominated as a game in the “1001 Games To Play Before You Die” book. But with emphasis over quantity over quality (as the saying goes, don’t fix something if it isn’t broken), casual fighting style, balance issues with enemies and fighters, and many game modes now downgraded to mediocre quality, this game fails to become a perfect masterpiece (pun not intended). An excellent game overall with minor flaws, Super Smash Bros Brawl deserves a score of 9.4 out of 10.

Metroid: Other M Review

After the success of the Metroid Prime Trilogy developed by Retro Studios for the Nintendo Game-Cube and Wii, fans were eager to see the next Metroid games and demanded more. In 2008, Nintendo showed a trailer of Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Wii that combined all three Prime games into one remastered collection. That following year, they showed a trailer at E3 2009 of a new Metroid game called Other M. It was going to be co-developed by Team Ninja, known for making the Ninja Gaiden and Dead Or Alive franchises. Released in 2010, this action adventure game was soon to be considered one of the worst Metroid games of all time.

Metroid: Other M is probably one of the most underrated video games as well. Many hate this game for having a bad plot, bad character development of Samus, lack of memorable music, and gimmicky motion controls. I never actually even heard about this game until watching a commercial on television in 2011, and never bought it until 2013. At first, I wasn’t interested or intended on buying this game, but after trying out the demo of Super Metroid in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, playing as Samus in the Smash Bros. franchise (except for Smash 4), and researching about the game, I finally decided to get it. Like Twilight Princess, this is my first Metroid game that I owned, played, and beaten. Although many fans hate this game, is it really as bad as they make it seem – let’s find out!

The game is played just like past Metroid games and a bit like the Prime games. You play as Samus, the galaxy’s most well known bounty hunter equipped with a Power Suit and futuristic weapons. Each game has their own specific goal, but the overall objective is to help the Galactic Federation (a human military organization in outer space) with their problems. I’m actually starting to wonder if Samus is actually an employee but called a bounty hunter to make herself seem awesome, as all of her work and pay come from the Galactic Federation.

Because Nintendo wanted Metroid: Other M to bring the Metroid franchise back to its old roots, there is almost no new mechanic in this game. Returning from previous games though are the weapon upgrade system and the pick-up item system, as well as new mechanics such as concentration, item authorization, and the changing of perspective from first person to third person. Although starting off weak, Samus will eventually acquire more items as the game progresses; however, she does so this time through authorization, in which Adam Malkovich (oops…early spoilers) must grant permission first before Samus can use the item. She basically already has all (but two) items and suit upgrades in the game – she just needs Adam’s call before she can use them.

Metroid: Other M is unlike many Metroid games, as the game only takes place inside the Bottle Ship, which is a top-secret research facility owned by the Galactic Federation. This space station is the only area in the game and doesn’t take place in any other satellite, planet, or dimension. Similar to Metroid Fusion, there  are different sectors that you can explore with each having their own unique “theme”. In total, there are six: Main Sector, Sector One, Sector Two, Sector Three, Sector Zero, and the Bio-Experimental Research Sector. This game is also linear like Fusion, as it states obvious objectives and hints, shows the route and location of the goals, and will always lock out restricted or unexplored areas. Unfortunately, this brings down the exploration for what the franchise is well known and praised for.

Besides energy tanks and missile expansions as pick-up items, there are also energy tank parts (similar to Heart Pieces in the Zelda franchise); accel-charge tanks (increasing the speed of charging weapons); and also concentration tanks (increases the amount of health that can be brought back via concentration). Unlike other games but Fusion, you cannot replenish your health by collecting floating orbs and missiles that appear inside containers or after killing enemies, but rather through navigation booths (similar to save stations in the Prime games) and concentration. Speaking of concentration, it’s basically a mechanic allowing Samus to replenish some of her health and all of her missiles when extremely low on health, but takes too long and can allow enemies to sneak up and kill you.

All suits and weapons (except for one) are returning from past Metroid games. There’s the Power Suit, Varia Suit, Gravity Suit, and the Zero Suit (umm…spoiler warning) as well. Then the weapons consist of the following: Power Beam, Charge Beam, Ice Beam, Wave Beam, Plasma Beam, Missiles, Super Missiles, Seeker Missiles, Morph Ball, Bomb, Power Bomb, Space Jump, Screw Attack, Speed Booster, and Shinespark. The only weapons obtained through boss battles are the Seeker Missiles and the all-new Diffusion Beam. This new beam is basically the Charge Beam on steroids – it has an even bigger range and collateral damage than the Charge Beam. What doesn’t make a return are the visor upgrades from the Prime games; the Fusion, Dark, Light, and P.E.D. Suit; and the Spider, Spring, and Boost Ball.

Enemies and bosses are really underwhelming in this game since they are generic, easy, and forgettable. Most of the enemies from past Metroid games either do not make a return or are significantly weakened. Most of the enemies from past Metroid games either do not make a return or are significantly weakened. Bosses are also extremely easy in this game, which makes boss fights more of a chore than a challenge. Only those who have never played a 2D Metroid game before will struggle. Ridley, Metroid Queen (from Metroid II: Return of Samus), Phantoon (from Super Metroid), and Nightmare (from Metroid Fusion) all make a return and are featured in Other M.

Overall, Metroid: Other M is an extremely easy game that takes away alot of fun and challenge for veteran players. However, Metroid: Other M does have its fair share of extremely difficult situations that can result in many cheap and unexpected deaths for both newcomers and fans alike, such as the broken elevator shaft or the mountain avalanche. Many challenges that were prominent in past Metroid games are now eliminated or greatly reduced, either due to overpowered items (like the Diffusion Beam); new game mechanics (like Concentration), or lame fighting techniques (like auto-shooting or auto-dodging) which can often be game-breaking.

Controlling Samus in this game feels like playing a 2.5 D game, since Nintendo wanted to go back to its 2D roots while still staying in 3D. The game is played with the Wii Remote alone, but Other M requires players to switch the remote from a horizontal to vertical position to change the camera angle in-game. Holding it horizontally changes it into third person view, which is a series first and allows moving and attacking, while holding it vertically makes it into first person view similar to the Prime games. This gimmick is implemented terribly as the first person mode doesn’t allow moving and only allows shooting missiles, locking-on to enemies, and viewing the environment, in which the third person mode could have easily done (well, except for the viewing part) – it’s even mandatory in many parts of the game.

When in a third person perspective, the Wii Remote is held horizontally with the d-pad on the left. Pressing the d-pad moves Samus, pressing the 2 button makes her shoot, and pressing the 1 button makes her jump. The A button enters Morph-Ball mode and holding down the 1 and 2 button separately makes  jumping and shooting more effective than before. When in first person mode, the Wii Remote is held vertically so that the pointer is facing the TV screen. Moving the cursor moves the reticle itself for aiming, shooting, and scanning targets. Pressing the B button locks on to nearby enemies, grappling hooks, and objects of interest, and can even scan specific items relevant to progression. The A button simply shoots out missiles and holding it can charge up a Super Missile, Seeker Missiles, or even a charged beam when not locked on to an enemy.

New control gimmicks that lower the difficulty are melee attacks and evasion maneuvers. The sense move is an auto dodge technique that allows Samus to dodge pretty much anything coming to her at the last second, which makes it game-breaking and if used right, can make you invincible against strong enemies or save your energy when low on health. The wall climb is basically wall jumping, the lethal strike is a finishing move that makes Samus release a charged shot at an enemy immediately after rushing into them, and the over-blast is shooting an enemy after jumping on top. There’s also a grab ‘n throw combo attack, though it’s never stated in the manual or recognized as an official attack nor can it be executed manually – I swear that I somehow randomly do it when fighting groups of enemies. Generally speaking, the controls feel too gimmicky and limited with just the Wii Remote alone, as allowing Other M to have the Nunchuk combo or Classic Controller as alternate or required options would make it more fun and easier to play.

The story begins right after where Super Metroid is about to end. After defeating Mother Brain, Samus escapes Planet Zebes and enters rehabilitation in a Galactic Federation space facility. When Samus recovers, she leaves the facility and pilots her ship to the depths of outer space. While she is flying, she recalls her emotional and mother-child relationship with the Baby Metroid and begins to show signs of PTSD. Suddenly, she receives a distress signal called “Baby’s Cry”, and as it reminds her of the Metroid she took care of, she quickly goes to investigate. Samus proceeds to head to its destination: the Bottle Ship, in which she encounters a small team of Galactic Federation soldiers who also came from the distress signal.

One of the members immediately greets Samus as he introduces himself as Anthony Higgs, a former team-mate of Samus when she was still part of the Galactic Federation. Another member gets introduced by Anthony as Samus’ former commanding officer and father figure, who is Adam Malkovich when he wasn’t a computer. At first, Adam distrusts her, but after helping the crew take down a boss and a door with some missiles, he earns her trust. As they head into the Main Sector, each crew member is ordered to investigate all three sectors (as well as other irrelevant areas). Samus is ordered to back-track to turn on the back-up electrical generator to power up the Bottle Ship, and then heading into Sector One to check up on the others.

In Sector One, Samus discovers a dead scientist, several strange monsters, virtual outdoor swamp environments, and a tall building in the middle of a virtual open field. The team soon hacks into a super-computer to discover that the Galactic Federation is secretly using bio-weapons via the captured monsters and that a scientist by the name of Madeline Bergman is responsible for leading the project. Along the way, Samus confronts a white bunny that soon evolves into a giant lizard monster which attacks her in the field and eventually eats one of the members alive. She is fortunately saved by Anthony’s plasma gun after a long struggle, but the monster quickly escapes into Sector Three. Samus then uses an alternate route to get there, and the tall building explodes afterwards.

Upon entering, Samus noticed she entered a volcanic area with fire, heat, and lava, and barely survives it due to the extreme temperature penetrating her Power Suit. When reaching a cylinder-shaped room that turns out to be the interior of a volcano, Samus isn’t granted permission to upgrade to the Varia Suit until she just barely escapes the rising lava and is nearly depleted of more than half of her energy tanks. After easily defeating another boss, Samus explores the rest of the area until she stumbles upon the next area, Sector Two, which turns out to be an area filled with snow, ice, and sub-zero temperatures. Samus doesn’t come upon anything special or significant here until she finds the dead corpse of another member (Maurice) who appeared to die from an ice blast, as well as a blonde female scientist watching from the distance inside a nearby building.

Giving chase, Samus almost reaches the scientist who claims that the Galactic Federation has sent soldiers to assassinate all the scientists when suddenly a gigantic construction robot-vehicle hybrid crashes in and tries to kill her.  Allowing the woman to escape and to discover more intel, Samus soon finds herself concerned and forced to battle the robot, which is indeed controlled by one of the members of Adam’s team. Easily destroying the robot, she goes back to the Main Sector when Adam gives her orders to check up on Anthony in Sector Three. In Sector Three, she confronts a giant bug mutant taking Anthony hostage and tries to drop him into a lava pit. She successfully saves him and discusses about Adam’s personality and how he sacrificed his brother’s life to save some civilians before they head off into the Geo-Thermal Power Plant.

Both enter the generator room and finds it to be dark and quiet, when she is approached by Anthony who arrived earlier. He asks her to find the exit as it’s dark and he is attempting to shoot down a monster that is disrupting the operation of the power plant. The bridge leading to the door then gets blocked by rubble and debris caused by a fiery blast from the unknown monster. Adam suggests and authorizes the use of Super Missiles to destroy a conveniently placed wall crack for lava to enter and brighten up the room. As soon as she does, the monster then comes flying to her, revealing that the bunny that evolved into the lizard had then evolved into her long time arch-nemesis Ridley. Scared from her childhood memories (and maybe that fact that she was shocked that he somehow survived the planetary explosion back in Super Metroid), Anthony distracts Ridley to save Samus’ life but at the cost of his own as he gets pushed by Ridley’s tail into the lava below.

Angered at the stupid loss and death of Anthony, Samus quickly gets to her senses and activates the Plasma Beam. Ridley seems to be defeated after a long (but again, super easy – pun not intended) battle when he wakes up and quickly tries to grab Samus to kill her, but fails as she immediately dodges and shoots the Plasma Beam to discourage him from repeating. With Anthony dead and Adam somehow losing communication with Samus, she returns to the Main Sector to find the assasin soldier going to Sector One. Samus soon follows but is stopped by a destroyed bridge that malfunctioned from a wrecked terminal.

Samus authorizes herself to use the Space Jump and Screw Attack, making a cunning remark to Adam. After reaching the other side, Samus takes an elevator to an entirely new area later known as the Bio-Experimental Research Center. Not seeing the soldier anywhere in sight, Samus hacks a super-computer which opens a giant locked door. The female scientist from earlier comes out but begins to run away upon noticing it was Samus who opened the door, but fails as Samus catches up to her. The woman reveals herself as Madeline Bergman, the person mentioned earlier as the head of this “illegal” project.

Feeling safe and secure, Madeline explains to Samus all of the evil plans that the Galactic Federation came up with to increase their military might against intergalactic threats. They planned to use monsters that were always a threat to the federation, genetically modified them, and used them as bio-weapons (kind of like what the Space Pirates did to the Metroids). Some of the “weapons” being used included Metroids and Space Pirates, even though they were all exterminated back in Metroid II and Super Metroid. Upon hearing this, Samus demands how this logically makes sense as she was the one responsible for killing off those two species. Madeline admits that the scientists that healed her while in rehabilitation lied to her about polishing her Varia Suit, as they actually cleaned the suit to extract DNA from the remains of the Metroids and Space Pirates while Samus was unconscious in order to duplicate it to create entirely new clones of them.

In order for the monsters to obey without rebellion, the Galactic Federation created an android that had the mentality and intelligence of Mother Brain that was able command the bio-weapons through telepathy. Madeline explained that MB became berserk one day and vowed to get revenge on all of humanity by using the monsters to her aid. As a result of the failure of the project, the federation then hired a double agent to travel with Adam’s team and kill anybody that found out about the project, including Adam himself. Samus then nick-names this person the “Deleter”, before vowing to protect Madeline from the assassin in the future.

Now knowing everything about the secret project, Samus then leaves Madeline to go to Sector Zero. In a flash-back that could have been part of earlier, she tells Samus that Adam was the true director of the project all along and advises her to investigate Sector Zero, which houses MB and all of the cloned Metroids so that they can be destroyed. She reaches it after exploring a hidden area in Sector Two containing heavy and anti-gravity rooms, and even a battle with Nightmare. Just as she goes inside though, Samus walks quietly to the gate after hearing strange sounds throughout the room. An infant Metroid suddenly appears before getting freezed to death from an ice blaster. Samus gets hit by it as well, knocking her out and temporarily disabling the Varia and Power Suit features, before waking up to realize it was Adam who shot her.

Adam sits with Samus and tells her that although he was involved, he initially disagreed but higher-ranking officers said otherwise. He also said that he was going to detach Sector Zero and make it enter self-destruct mode to kill all Metroids and Mother Brain inside. Samus becomes extremely emotional once again and pleads Adam not to sacrifice himself, but he reassures her that it is the sake for all of galactic civilization because the Metroids are extremely dangerous and he is suspicious that they may have been genetically coded to be resistant to cold temperatures. Adam finally tells Samus to stop Ridley before leaving for Sector Zero as he states that Ridley’s natural ability to command all monsters is just as much of a threat as MB.

Sad and depressed at Adam’s death, Samus quickly heads to the Bio-Experimental Research Center to hunt down Ridley as Adam ordered her to (but not before activating the Gravity Suit after another near-death incident). Upon reaching the room that Madeline Bergman hid in, Samus finds the dead body of James, strongly suggesting that he is the Deleter and that he died of Metroid predation. She goes deeper into the sector to discover a giant room full of emergency chambers. Another scientist is seen in one of them, in which she hides from Samus by closing the small window after expressing fear of the Galactic Federation. The scientist also granted access to another large room, containing a dead corpse of Ridley, suggesting he too was a victim of Metroids.

Out of nowhere, a giant Metroid Queen comes out and tries to eat Samus. She battles the beast and barely defeats it after killing the infant Metroids and destroying her crystallized skull, when the Bottle Ship itself is about to crash into Galactic Federation HQ. However, it somehow stops and stays idle in its current position, allowing the two to continue fighting. Samus finally kills the Metroid Queen by releasing a Power Bomb inside its stomach. Upon killing it, the scientist that was hiding earlier runs away. Samus gives chase and tries to persuade that she is an ally. After calming the scientist down, she tells and even proves that she is the real Madeline Bergman and that the other one she met was actually MB all along. After explaining the spark that caused Mother Brain to become insane and the origins of the cloned Ridley, MB herself appears at the door with an ice blaster.

Just as MB is about to shoot Madeline for being deceived, a horde of Galactic Federation troopers come in and start shooting MB. The ice blasts simply make her even more angry, and she then telepathically summons a swarm of monsters to aid her in battle. Samus guards Madeline and proceeds to shoot MB when Madeline screams to stop everybody (even the monsters) from fighting and attempts to use the ice blaster to shoot Samus. A loud voice from nowhere yells, “Fire!”, which commands even more soldiers to appear and take down Mother Brain by shooting her with several bullets. Madeline is sad at her death as she developed a mother-daughter bond with MB. A high ranking officer approaches Samus and asks her to leave the Bottle Ship or become arrested for becoming an outsider simply because all of Adam’s crew members got killed. A soldier grabs her and tells Samus to leave; however, she hears a familiar voice, revealing it to be Anthony all along – he admits that he survived Ridley’s attack and even stopped the Bottle Ship from crashing which would have allowed MB to win. Samus calls Anthony and Madeline Bergman to come with her, leaving the depths of outer space in her gun-ship to head to the Galactic Federation HQ.

According to many critics and haters, Metroid: Other M has a terrible plot that showcases the worst character development of Samus imaginable. Yes, her personality is extremely off and over-exaggerated compared to all other Metroid games, but after experiencing many traumatizing and strange events in Metroid II: Return of Samus and Super Metroid – and even developing a strong bond with an  infant Metroid that she was set out to kill that ironically saved her life by sacrificing its own, it’s more than possible. Many people assume that Samus is a bad-ass bounty hunter that can confront anything and nothing more, but if that was the case, why would she have saved that infant Metroid back in Super Metroid? Also, the plot itself, while not written well and leaves many confusions and plot-holes, is still acceptable and much better than other plot driven games such as the infamous Sonic The Hedgehog 2006 or Shadow The Hedgehog.

Cinematics in this game look extremely amazing, much higher quality, and more action-packed than before. Thanks to Team Ninja and their huge collaboration with several different movie/animation/CGI studios, Other M has mind-blowing CGI cutscenes that puts even the PS3 and Xbox 360’s HD graphics to shame. Other cutscenes that are in-game and not pre-rendered still look great and manage to present the game’s excellent graphics, textures, and character models. Speaking of graphics, the animation is much better than the Prime games as it feels and looks faster, smoother, and more realistic. The animations are superior to the slower and clunky animations of older games and aren’t just limited to cutscenes.

Voice-acting makes a return from the Metroid Prime Trilogy, specifically Metroid Prime 3: Corruption; however, it’s not as great and may seem to be very underwhelming. Characters sound forced to say awkward lines, express too much or too little emotion, or just sounds ridiculous with cheesy/corny phrases and obvious observations. It fails in comparison to Corruption, as the voice-acting is average for even a video game and nothing special. The script itself is also a bit mediocre, as many lines do not sound like they fit with the characters or in a Metroid game and most of the lines actually come from Samus’ monologues showcasing her thoughts and character development (these are the best and ironic since they are just monologues and she sounds like a robot). Though Other M strives to be plot heavy, it still lacks in quality when compared to the plot of the Metroid Prime games before it, especially since the trilogy had back-stories and lore to make up for the lack of cinematic cutscenes.

The graphics in this game are absolutely gorgeous and improve on the already appealing graphics seen in Corruption. It’s so high-quality that it looks just like any typical game on the PS3 or the Xbox 360, and shows just what the Nintendo Wii is capable of by pushing the hardware to its absolute limits – hell, they even used a dual-layer disc just for Other M despite not having a huge amount of blocks or compressed data. Although not as visually appealing as Super Mario Galaxy 2, Sonic Colors, or Super Smash Bros. Brawl, it’s still one of the best looking games on the Wii because of the efforts and reputation that Team Ninja put to developing Other M. What this game lacks in gameplay makes up for the graphics.

Team Ninja did a great job on creating high resolution textures that are extremely detailed and realistic. Some textures were specifically rendered to look more blurry or focused than others in order to fit with the different environments within the game’s settings. Since Metroid: Other M uses a graphics engine that is a mix of both cartoon and realism, it’s hard to determine whether the textures match it well. And because only the CGI cutscenes match the CG illustrations and artwork, the textures aren’t the best either when compared to the cinematics.

Metroid: Other M runs at 480p standard definition and rendered at a full 60 FPS. As expected for a game with shooting elements, Other M’s graphics become upscaled and enhanced to its true quality. It especially helps during the first person perspective and the fights with large groups of enemies in third person perspective, as it makes it easier to see and faster to react to the movements and attacks of enemies and bosses. The game really takes advantage of the high resolution and frame-rate as the camera frequently zooms in and out that focus or blur the textures, and there are even quick-time events throughout the game requiring fast movement and precision.

Samus and company are rendered well in the game and imitate the pre-rendered models accurately. Models are detailed and smooth, being less jaggy, blurry, and inaccurate than models rendered in the Prime games. They even went the extra mile by creating new suit models for Samus and the troopers for the Galactic Federation, as they look more futuristic and militaresque than the suits in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Corruption. What is a minor let down for the models though is that all of the suit models are the exact same and simply just color palette swaps for Samus. The Gravity Suit specifically is just a purple growing aura of light that surrounds Samus’ suit and entire visor to magenta. Other suits that were not featured in Super Metroid do not come back, nor is there any new suit upgrade that Samus can acquire.

Lighting is properly done and reflects the atmosphere of different sectors. Shadow and bloom effects enhance the lighting and does the same for mood as well. While some areas tend to get too dark or too bright, it’s perfectly acceptable as bright environments consist of volcanic and arctic areas, while dark environments consist of underground caves and rooms in the Main Sector. From a graphical view-point, Metroid: Other M overall has excellent graphics with a high polygon count, high resolution and frame-rate, high res textures, and diverse lighting effects that make it as good looking as a game with high definition graphics.

Unfortunately, Other M lacks any music at all, let alone have good music. Many of the rooms and areas throughout the game contains no music at all in the background; it only has multiple sound effects to make it seem like it does. The only music you do hear is during the mini-boss and strong enemy fights, quick-time events or cheap death situations, or boss battles. They are either too generic, too forgettable, or too low-quality to be even considered to be video game music at all.

Those few music compositions that are memorable and awesome sound absolutely amazing. I love listening to Ridley’s Theme and it’s so good and orchestrated well that it puts even the remixed composition in Brawl to shame. The other good music in this game includes the music you hear when you arrive on a new planet frequently used in Corruption, and the modern remix of Samus Aran’s Theme/Super Metroid Prologue. Finally, the infamous Escape Theme (which is a just a variation of Ridley’s Theme) sounds amazing even with the alarm sound.

As mentioned and mentioned before, Other M does offer some replayability value besides collecting the pick-up items. When you beat the game, complete the post-credit content, and collect all 100% items, you will unlock and be able to play the game’s Hard Mode. Similar to the Master Quest and Hero’s Quest seen in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Skyward Sword, and The Wind Waker HD, you basically play the game all over again (with previous save data deleted) but with a higher difficulty. However, you begin with 100 units of health and 10 missiles and end with that same amount. Sounds easy, but extremely challenging since all pick-up items are removed and you can only rely on concentration and navigation booths to replenish health and ammo.

Another new addition with replayability value is the post-credit gameplay. After beating the game and watching the credits, Samus will go back to the Bottle Ship to retrieve Adam’s helmet in the Main Sector before the Galactic Federation destroys it in a couple days. Since the direct route is blocked, you have to take a longer and indirect route to get there. Thanks to the newly authorized Power Bombs, this is no longer a problem because those locked doors that were vulnerable to Power Bombs (according to Samus’ visor) can now be destroyed and accessed. This leads for some interesting exploration and back-tracking, as many hidden rooms containing pick-up items can be discovered and an entirely new area within the Bottle Ship can be accessed.

What I liked most about this game is that each of the sectors contained its own environment or theme that seperated itself from others. Sure, it may ripped-off of the themes in the NEW! Super Mario Bros. games, but still better than the Prime games (except for the first one) that had different areas that blended in with one another as they had similar environments, themes, and textures – Dark Aether as well as Norion, G.F.S. Valhalla, and G.F.S. Olympus come to mind. Another thing I personally liked were the monologues of Samus that allowed me to directly witness her character development and personality throughout the game’s plot progression. I finally like the controller gimmick, as it allows you to have many different perspectives and play both in third-person and first-person. And although many hated it, I actually loved the authorization mechanic because I don’t have to waste time searching for the item and suit-upgrades and use them from the get-go when I’m allowed to use them.

What I dislike though about this game is that it lacks creativity and innovation, as it feels too much like the past Metroid titles with all the nostalgia it puts in and lacking new ideas that would have improved it. I find that the navigation booths are good for replenishing health and ammo, but terrible for saving progress as the booth placement is just terrible; quitting or dying before can result in data loss. After playing Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, I also don’t like how the visor upgrades are gone and that the Grapple Beam is limited to just locomoting instead of using it to absorb/give energy and grab/pull obstacles. This may be nitpicking, but I also dislike the melee combat system, as I find many techniques to be useless at times.

In my opinion, I think and agree that Metroid: Other M is a good game to play – nothing else and nothing more. Although I love playing Other M, there’s no denying how flawed and how difficult it is to ignore them. The benefits certainly do not completely outweigh the flaws, nor is it the other way around. I also wouldn’t think this game is average because it’s far from being horrible. I will admit and state that Metroid: Other M isn’t great, nor shit, nor mediocre, nor average – simply a good game and that’s it.

Having great looking graphics and cinematics, good controls, and being plot-heavy and more story-driven than before, Metroid: Other M succeeds to present the player a good impression and representation of the gameplay experience. But due to it having forgettable and shit music, gimmicky control mechanics, lack of originality/creativity/innovation, and underwhelming gameplay for a Metroid game, Other M fails to strive for excellence and will always remain as a a good but flawed game. Metroid: Other M truly deserves a score of 8.2 out of 10 for being a good game neither crap nor great.