Debunking Common Gaming Myths

If you’re like me, chances are your parents are of a much older generation and have never been exposed to video games when they were young. Human nature dictates that we tend to fear the unknown; what we don’t understand, we come to both have an irrational fear and hatred for such things and concepts. My parents have always had a “phobia” for video games – completely believed in the negative stereotypes, tried everything they could to limit me from gaming, and would constantly belittle and ridicule me for having an interest in them.

Now with this article I’m not going to list and debunk every single lie about video games that baby boomers have. Instead, I will list down the myths that many parents, especially my own, seem to possess and prove them wrong. I’ll try to keep this compilation of myths and realities as short as possible, as we live in an era where youth tend to have extremely short attention spans and won’t bother reading anything as long as a very short essay. Here are all of the common myths parents believe about gaming and the comforting truths to debunk them:

Myth -> Video Games Rot Your Brain

Parents believe that video games require little to no mental concentration and usage of the brain. They reason that since it is for entertainment, the player is essentially losing their intelligence to such a mindless activity. However, they don’t seem to make the same negative claims when it comes to watching TV and movies…

Reality -> Video Games Improve Your Brain

Not only are those assumptions false and offensive, video games require high amounts of concentration and usage of the brain. Video games are classified as a mentally demanding activity unlike that of watching TV or movies. As with games like chess and poker, one must focus and be sharp in order to win.

In addition, numerous studies conclude you become better at problem solving, hand eye coordination, greater tenacity, and other skills that can never be obtained by watching TV or listening to music. Doesn’t it make the parents a bunch of hypocrites when they makes those claims about video games but not TV shows?

I’m not going to lie but video games is what kept my sanity and logic/reasoning in check throughout my childhood. It also prevents me from becoming the stupid man-child they believe I am from gaming so much. I get tired a lot after playing video games because it’s mentally demanding, kind of like when I study a lot for exams.

Myth -> Video Games Are For Youth

Parents believe all games are targeted towards either children, teenagers, or the general audience with some exceptions. Those exceptions they find are too violent, sexual, controversial, or inappropriate in other ways for kids. People who are adults that still game are seen as outcasts of society in their eyes.

Reality -> Video Games Are For Everyone

Although that myth was true back then from the late 1960’s to mid 1990’s, after that was when games were targeted to older audiences. As of the year of 2017, majority of gamers are in fact adults with the median being those in their mid to late 30’s.

Games that are too inappropriate for children are geared towards this audience. It surprises and shocks me to realize so many parents are still completely ignorant of the rating systems put in place for video games.  They exist so that consumers can be notified whether it is appropriate for specific age groups.

If you choose to buy a M rated or 16+ rated game to a minor you are not just letting them play “disgusting” games, but you are also breaking the law. Think about that before buying the next GTA or COD game for your child.

Myth -> Video Games Makes You Anti-Social

I can’t believe some parents (including my mom) still believe in this myth but they believe you get alienated from others when gaming. You decrease whatever social skills you already have and become very anti-social. Eventually you’ll refuse to interact with others and become a loner or socially awkward at work/school.

Reality -> Video Games Makes You Social

Oh how those few ignorant parents are so fucking wrong. Starting with the late 90’s and early 2000’s, gamers were introduced to online multiplayer. Consoles as early as the Play-Station 2 and the original Xbox had them which allowed random people to play games with one another from around the world.

Eventually with newer systems like the PS3 and Xbox 360 (as well as platforms like Steam), gamers were able to participate in virtual communities. Gamers were able to trade items, post user-generated content, display their own social profile, and do other things similar to social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and WeChat.

On top of that, players could communicate in-game and outside of them through voice chat and/or texting. So playing video games now a days actually makes you even more social and increases your social skills which benefit youth.

Myth -> Video Games Are Wasteful

Parents believe video games are mostly or completely waste of time and that you could be doing better things with your life. They find it just as immoral and time consuming as say doing drugs, banging prostitutes, and joining gangs. Most parents don’t have such extreme beliefs and state everything is to be done in moderation.

Reality -> Video Games Are Helpful

To the parents that believe too much of anything isn’t good and balance is needed, more power and support goes to you. Anyways, they have benefits that I previously mentioned that are proven by scientific researchers.

Such skills can help you get and succeed in jobs such as surgeons and video content creators. They can also help those suffering from stress, dyslexia, poor vision, autism, and so on to improve and reduce of those problems. So no, it’s not just better hand eye coordination that are beneficial in gaming.

Obviously if the only thing you’re doing besides mandatory stuff like eating, sleeping, bathroom, and going to school/work is gaming then you have issues. Unless you’re like me and stuck in a suburbs for the summer with nothing else to do since you lost connection with high-school friends.

 

 

 

Sonic Colors Review

Foreword

Well my fellow readers, it’s been several months since I’ve published reviews, and I think it’s time to go out of that hibernation state. Sonic Colors is a game that I was ignorant of (despite being a Sonic fan), that I eventually learned of its existence through reviews – whether it be written or videos – and gaming sites in 2011. What influenced me to buy it was the similarities to Sonic Unleashed; the lack of third party games (and in general); and the positive reception, finally getting it in March of 2012.

Almost all of you already know about the history, but I’ll give you a brief synopsis on it anyways. After the atrocity known as Sonic ’06 made the franchise go rock bottom, Sega decided to return its IP to its former glory. First, they developed Sonic Unleashed, though only somewhat of a success. Then came along Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode I, which both received critical acclaim. With fans and critics beginning to re-trust Sega with the series again, would Sonic Colors finally be the game?

Then in 2010 it was finally released, living up to most of its hype. It received positive acclaim again, and some even considered it to be the best since Sonic Adventure 2. Sega brought back the daytime levels from Unleashed, and replaced the godawful werehog levels with more 2D sidescrolling segments, alternate routes, and platforming. Aesthetics are of high quality as usual, the plot was “retconned” to the early days…before Shadow The Hedgehog, and the only gimmicks this time around were the power-ups.

Plot Analysis: 8.0/10

So the story starts off with Sonic and Tails in an amusement park within outer space built by none other than Dr. Eggman “to make up for his past transgressions.” Of course, Sonic doesn’t buy into this scheme, and decides to investigate even further to uncover any evil plots just the day before it opens. Lo and behold, his suspicions are confirmed when he saves an alien from Orbot and Cubot (Eggman’s personal robots) who reveals his plans to Sonic. In reality, the park is really just a set-up to fool people into being ignorant of his true intentions.

The alien (whose name is Yacker) reveals that he comes from a race called Wisps, and his race along with their home planets (disguised as attractions) were dragged “halfway across the universe, ” bound by chains through several different generators. Since Eggman discovered discovered they produce a type of energy in their bodies called “Hyper-Go-On-Power,” he decided to harness it via the energy reactor disguised as the park, in order to hypnotize the citizens of Mobius to do his bidding to aspire for universal domination.

All of this is received by Tail’s alien translator after many humorous attempts at troubleshooting. Sonic goes on his way to destroy all five generators and free the kidnapped Wisps, while exploring and sightseeing the beautiful attractions (okay, the player does that). Once this is done, they all celebrate for their hard work – when suddenly Dr. Eggman claims that Sonic’s efforts were in vain as he already harnessed enough energy to put his plan into effect. However, just as the satellite can activate, Orbot’s missing arm is revealed to be jamming it, causing the entire plan to completely backfire.

Sonic and Tails runs for the exit as the park is being destroyed, only to be stopped by Dr. Eggman in a giant killer robot (that also uses the Hyper-Go-On-Power). Sonic sacrifices himself by letting Tails take the ride back home while he stays to fight (and obviously) defeat the doctor for the 9000th time. Although the reactor collapses upon itself to create a mini-black hole (or purple wormhole), the Wisps save him from his doom by taking him back to Mobius. They all depart back to their regular lives after Tails whines about the Wisps leaving when his translator finally works.

Sonic Team this time decided to go with a simple plot equivalent to that of a children’s cartoon. And it works well, as we all know how tired we are of the long and mediocre plots that plagued the series. It’s aimed towards children, so despite the lame jokes and corny lines, they did their job well with presenting kid-friendly material to their targeted audience. What I find to be a major disappointment is there lacks returning and new characters that could’ve made the plot more developed.

Colors may just be a Wii exclusive (the DS port is both non-canon and a spin-off), the cutscenes rendered in this game are of high quality, almost being a rival of Unleashed (well, not the CGI of course – though Colors also has CGI of its own). Animation and lip syncing are accurate, though the use of certain sound effects is questionable – even if used for comical purposes. Another good thing is that it doesn’t abuse cinematic time by going straight to the point without any plot holes or paradoxes.

Just like the story, the script revolves around comedy, corny jokes, and a simple layout in order to appeal to children. But don’t be fooled, as long time fans can also be entertained with the jokes poking fun to nostalgic references and humor that only adults and youth understand (though not to children…hopefully). This is a good change, since we all know how bad previous Sonic games were, focusing on realism and mature content when the characters are just talking anthropomorphic animals!

Gameplay: 8.0/10

Like in most Sonic games, the goal is to complete the level (called acts) as fast as possible from point A to B. You do this by utilizing traditional mechanics such as the homing attack, spin dash, and light speed dash seen in the Adventure titles; while also taking advantage of newer techniques like the speed boost, drifting, quick-step, and sliding/stomping introduced in Unleashed. At the end, you’ll be given a rank based on your overall performance, which is influenced by factors consisting of time, rings, bonus points, skills, and enemy count.

New to this title are the aerial tricks, double jump, and the jump dash, which are pretty self-explanatory. Power-ups make a return, in the form of Wisps inside capsules, each representing a different color and ability; thus, the game’s name, plot, and gameplay is focused around this one gimmick but it works pretty well. Other than conventional sections like shuttle loops, grind rails, and linear paths, Colors brings back the 2D sidescrolling sections and the quick-step chase sequences from Unleashed, which add more to the gameplay.

The controls is somewhat of a blend of Adventure, Unleashed, and Rush put together. You can play Sonic Colors with either the Wii Remote, Wiimote + Nunchuk, Classic Controller, or also the Game-Cube controller. Many recommend the retro controller for its lack of motion and ergonomic design, although I find the Classic Controller Pro to be great too (since it has handles and improved shoulder buttons). Overall, the controls are very precise and responsive, but at the cost of slippery controls that is a nuisance to inexperienced players.

If you practice often, develop quick thinking/reflexes, and have played Unleashed, the controls should be a breeze. The controls for Sonic is similar to that of a spaceship – control stick to steer, face buttons to use the ship’s main functions, and shoulder buttons to activate special features. Colors puts more of an emphasis on platforming and 2D sidescrolling, so it’s not like you can simply just “boost to win” as Unleashed was heavily criticized for.

Although there are many control styles, I’ll still do my best to explain it. You use the d-pad or control stick to move; A or the 2 button to jump, double jump, spin attack, and perform the homing attack; B or the 1 button speed boost and jump dash; X, Z, or B button to stomp/crouch/slide; and the R or Z button to activate power-ups. Of course, you have to shake the Wii Remote to use the Wisps if using the first two controller variations. What sucks is that you can’t customize it to suit your preferences like in Brawl.

Quite surprisingly, this installment is actually pretty easy; if you only care about beating the game by clearing each level, watching every cutscene, and defeating all bosses, then you can beat it within a few hours. But if you achieve high ranks, find all collectibles, explore every nook and cranny, and complete side quests, then that’s when it’s difficult. However, in general (and to balance it out) though, it’s still easy as there are a surplus of check-points, warning signs over most death traps, on-screen button prompts, hint system, and hazards easy enough for kids to avoid.

Content: 7.4/10

There really isn’t anything to play besides story mode and replaying old levels, except for Sonic Simulator and the Egg Shuttle. In Sonic Simulator, up to two players can participate (simultaneously or alternating)  in 21 different levels inspired by past Sonic games; you can unlock more levels by collecting red star rings and beating three acts for all seven zones unlock the Chaos Emeralds (which brings back Super Sonic). And the Egg Shuttle is sort of like a speed run, in which you attempt to beat all the levels in one run with no extra help as fast as possible.

It’s nice to have multi-player for a change, although the drawbacks outnumber the benefits of Sonic Simulator. Similar to New! Super Mario Bros. Wii, all players share the same screen, so the second player can often die if left behind (though warping is available). Just like in Donkey Kong Country Returns, both players share the same life count, so you better make sure that you work well as a team or you’ll both suffer. Though in my opinion, it’s quite fun and easy with most levels being 2D and the Wisps being used in ways not seen in campaign.

One of the major downsides to Colors is the level design. Sonic Team finally listened to the criticism and their fans by removing all bad gimmicks and different gameplay styles, but as a result had boiled everything down to its basic foundation. More than 80% of the levels are in 2D, which slows down the fast-paced actions we got from Unleashed. The 3D sections are few and just consist of straight linear paths, quick-step sequences, drifting curves and grind rails with little to no hazards, and automated sections such as shuttle loops.

I’m not saying it’s mediocre as said before, they removed what the fans hated. The levels make use of the park and space themes without being a rip-off of Super Mario Galaxy; each act being different from the last and each world feeling alive. Who can forget memorable levels like the hamburger tower, outer space rollercoaster, or even the galactic parade? It also puts a larger emphasis on platforming, bringing Colors somewhat back to its Genesis roots. Each level also has multiple paths and goals which rewards you with hidden goodies and racks up the total score.

Eggman’s Interstellar Amusement Park (as the doctor likes to call it) has 7 different attractions that can be accessed as you progress. The hubworld in Colors is just for visual purposes as you can’t explore it; the park itself is a map which you use the cursor to choose the attractions similar to Unleashed (PS2/Wii ports) and Adventure 2. Each attractions represents a different theme, and resembles the map system of the NSMB games. All the levels are represented by dots connected by lines with landmarks indicating what to expect just like in Donkey Kong Country Returns.

Now let’s talk about the game’s power-ups, or the Wisps, as they are the main focus of the plot and the main gimmicks. It may seem like Sega is just ripping us off and appeal to kids at first. However, the Wisps aren’t forced on you to beat levels (for the most part and are temporary if forced), only mandatory to access hidden routes and collect red star rings. Each of them has a unique ability and can be used strategically in different situations. When you do use them, they’re simple to use, have a time limit, and rack up extra bonus points.

There’s the Cyan Laser Wisp to bounce off walls and use diamonds and optical cables; and the Yellow Drill Wisp to travel underground and underwater at high speeds. The Orange Rocket Wisp to reach high places; Blue Cube Wisp to change blue blocks to blue rings and vice versa; and the Green Hover Wisp to travel over long gaps and perform the light speed dash. Finally we have the Magenta Spike Wisp to maneuver around walls and ceilings and do the spin dash; and the Purple Frenzy Wisp, becoming a Nega-Wisp to eat everything in sight and getting bigger over time.

As you can tell, the Wisps aren’t just situational limited in one use *cough* Mario items. You also have the White Wisps that fills up your boost gauge, thus you can’t just boost whenever you please (whereas you could in Unleashed with rings). Red Star Rings are pretty self explanatory are pretty straightforward, hidden throughout the levels that test your curiosity and skill, since they’re hidden well or difficult to get to. Actually beating the Sonic Simulator grants you the Chaos Emeralds to become Super Sonic in normal levels but disables the Wisps.

For some reason, Sonic Team decided to make this game extremely easy including the enemies and bosses. The homing attack, stomp, and speed boost make it easy enough to make the enemies seem like flies, but they nerfed the bosses by reducing their health, having a repetitive fighting pattern, slow obstacles and attacks, and giving you a power-up (if you’re fast enough). On top of that, the hint system even directly tells you how to defeat each boss; and the second set of bosses is just clones of the first three bosses, but at least the enemies are very diverse.

Presentation: 8.5/10

Before anybody assumes that Colors has bad graphics being a Wii game, then let me prove you wrong. It’s considered by many critics and fans to be one of the best looking Wii games, praising it to have near HD graphics. Upscaling the resolution from 480i to progressive scan makes it look close to Unleashed (and I’m not exaggerating). The models are accurate and detailed, seeing how they based the characters from their appearances in Unleashed – I hear that even the game engine and its physics is taken directly from it too.

Although at 30 FPS and not 60, it’s still consistent and usually never drops unlike in Unleashed; textures are a bit odd looking with the art style being a split between Sonic ’06 and Unleashed. Still, the lighting is done very well, combined with the bright and vibrant colors (pun somewhat intended), giving it the look of a cartoony feel from the Genesis titles. Being in a park, there are many breath-taking environments that take advantage of the graphics and it make feel lively, from Sweet Mountain to Planet Wisp to even Starlight Carnival.

Music is phenomenal with the soundtrack being catchy and memorable, different genres to suit everybody’s tastes, and tunes being relevant. It doesn’t sound as sophisticated as say Sonic Unleashed, since Sega finally stopped trying to make Sonic serious and cool for once which really works. They even made multiple re-mixes for each attraction (and I love all of them, even the 8-bit variations). Who can forget about the orchestral remix of the main theme used in the final boss battle, and is it me or does the generic boss music sound like Silver’s Boss Battle Theme from Sonic ’06?

Nothing much to complain about the sound effects, but the in-game sound is realistic to balance out the goofiness. Sometimes the music drowns out all other sound…especially when you want to listen to the hilarious announcements made by Eggman. I know this happens whenever you speed boost, but they should’ve just sped everything up instead of muffling the noise (on top of adding a rocket sound effect). I forgot to mention voice acting, though it’s not much besides new voice actors (except for Eggman) to rid the series of corny sounding adults that never hit puberty.

Verdict: 8.7/10

Completing the game takes 4 hours; trying to go above and beyond takes 10 ; and doing everything takes over 20. Getting all the red rings is a pain, so make sure you use a walkthrough guide. It’s worth it because Super Sonic is this game’s super easy mode, but they nerfed it by taking out flight (though you can fly a little with the jump dash), and the top speed is only a little faster but you have unlimited speed boost. You have to go back to get the full experience; not just to extend time, but to discover secrets and get rewarded, as opposed to just bragging rights.

Overall, Sonic Colors is a game that truly shows that Sega doesn’t need to implement different gameplay styles, loads of content, and a serious plot to make a decent Sonic game. As being my first 3D Sonic game, I have to say that it left a great impression, and I’ll definitely buy more Sonic titles in the future. Colors is short and sweet by favoring quality over quantity; the fast-paced action mixed with power-ups and exploration makes it addicting; rewarded with extra content for finding secrets; and great aesthetics and plot to compliment all else.

To make up for the cheesy plot, low difficulty, barebones level design, and lack of content, Sonic Team balanced it with amazing aesthetics, humorous script and voice acting, precise controls, superb gameplay, and high replay value. I personally enjoy the little things that add extra charm such as the radio announcements, enemy animations, and backgrounds; however, I dislike the fact that you must adapt to the controls and platforming to truly enjoy Colors. Sonic can definitely talk the talk and walk the walk, deserving to be played by any Wii owner and Sonic fan.

Final Review Score: 8.1/10

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.

 

NEW! Super Mario Bros. Wii Review

Introduction

Man, it’s been a really long time ever since I wrote my last review back in April, huh? After this and the Metroid Prime 3 review, I’ll be moving on to the third “saga” of reviews. Getting back on topic and as the name implies, this is basically the console successor to the original NEW! Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo DS. What I’m trying to essentially state is that it’s the rip-off to a rip-off. The irony of such a claim is that it’s actually the most unique game in the spin-off series, because its successors NSMB2 and NSMBU on the 3DS and Wii U respectively are even more ripped-off.

It started development and was surprisingly published in the same year of 2009. This was when the Wii was at its peak, only a few months later for it to be the casual kiddie toy that it’s remembered…er…forgotten as today. I recall everyone getting hyped for the game since it was the return of 2D Mario on consoles; there was co-op multiplayer for the first time; and the reboot of old characters like Yoshi, Kamek, and the Koopalings (okay, Yoshi sort of doesn’t count). I didn’t get it until December 2010 as I was too busy playing Mario Kart Wii back in 2009.

Plot

Just like with any typical 2D Mario platforming side-scroller game, all is well until Bowser comes and kidnaps Peach, prompting Mario in pursuit to save her. This time; however, it’s her birthday with the plumbers , along with two generic Toads as invited guests, which gets crashed by the Koopalings and Bowser J.R. Peach is brought to and taken hostage into their air-ship, where they head off to escape Mario’s grasp, but not before the game’s new power-ups being launched by cannons throughout the kingdom to aid Mario.

If you honestly expected this game to have an amazing plot, then this is the wrong place to look for. I understand that Mario games were never really strong in the story department, but ever since the cinematic storyline in Super Mario Galaxy and Super Paper Mario, it’s very disappointing to downgrade as something as shitty as this. They should’ve at least put some story cutscenes to expand upon the plot (besides the prologue and epilogue) and also place some dialogue text boxes for character interaction.

Gameplay

Basic concepts such as platforming and power-ups are present; however, there are some new gameplay mechanics. As with most Wii titles, motion controls are implemented in gimmicks one way or another. Unlike other games, NEW! Super Mario Bros. Wii inputs them as control commands such as spinning, grabbing/throwing, or activating motion-controlled “vehicles” and platforms. Another mechanic is the 4 player co-op that will be emphasized later; while objects, platforms, and enemies being of different proportion is a deliberate level design choice that will also be elaborated.

Other than single player, there’s also multi-player; three friends can join in the fray and play together simultaneously on-screen with four different characters. Each player has an option of either Luigi, Yellow Toad, or Blue Toad…with player 1 having Mario as default. It’s nice to have several people helping each other out to get hidden goodies or beat tough challenges that a single person usually can’t do alone. You can take advantage by grabbing, throwing, and even jumping on other players too – there’s also this super move that occurs when 2 or more ground pound at the same time.

Since it’s a series first, I’ll let some strings loose and not judge it for lacking online or having good teamwork design. On the contrary, I do find the screen and camera to be an issue because it always zooms out extremely with four players; it chooses which player to focus on – not always the first player or leading one; and anybody behind the camera can get killed and anybody ahead risks getting damaged by incoming obstacles and enemies. The whole co-op idea is a good start, though it honestly hinders progress more often than increasing it if your goal is to seriously beat the game.

Coin Hunting and Free-For-All are solutions to it as they fix these annoyances. The former is getting as much coins as you can by beating custom levels that are full of coins; the latter is beating any level except that no progress is saved and the screen isn’t as messed up as it usually is. The downside to these game modes is that you have to beat the levels in the main game in order to play all the levels in these modes, and also that your progress automatically gets deleted when you reset, turn off, or leave the multi-player menus.

What I forgot to mention was that the characters themselves are also underwhelming to play as. There is no difference in terms of stats at all, so each character are all clones and/or palette swaps of each other. Don’t assume that they’re as unique as they are in Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA) or in Super Mario 3D World. Returning from past titles are the Koopalings, Yoshi, Bowser J.R, and Kamek. The returning villians are much better in their modern appearances and boss battles, whereas Yoshi and Bowser J.R are disappointing with theirs.

Similar to NSMB, the Mushroom Kingdom is comprised of 8 worlds. Each area is based off of stereotypical environments such as forest, desert, and beach. They are all third-dimensional in terms of exploration with nice layouts and several great landmarks. Fortresses, castles, and houses fill up the maps, and each level icon has background objects giving clues as to what to expect when you play them…similar to Donkey Kong Country Returns. Alternate paths, hidden areas, and enemy battle-grounds are just some of the gimmicks used to enhance the map’s appeal and replay value.

Level design is above-average – most ideas are ripped straight from older Mario games or NSMB as I said before. Anything new is just enemies, hazards, and platforms of different sizes that gives the illusion of microscopic or gigantic proportions (which is actually pretty damn cool), motion manipulated platforms and vehicles are used too. Some levels use gimmicks only seen once and never again, such as skeletal roller-coasters over lava and flying manta-rays in the sky. It seems interesting but it pales in comparison to that of DKCR (which is a much better title).

There are returning and new items that are gimmicky but not situational. Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, 1-Up Mushroom, Mini Mushroom, and Star-Man are old items and are pretty self-explanatory. New power-ups consist of the Ice-Flower, Penguin Suit, and the Propeller Mushroom. The Ice Flower allows you to throw ice balls to freeze enemies into ice blocks; the Penguin Suit lets you have ice balls, better swimming controls, and sliding on water and ice to smash through enemies and blocks; and the last item grants flight and is the most OP.

Star Coins, alternate goals/paths, warp-pipes, cannons, and secret rooms are all the hidden goodies in NSMBWii unlockables include a completely new hidden world that is space-themed…spoilers, Toad House mini-games, and also extra game modes and hint videos. They’re all fun to find and collect, definitely adding to the replay value, though they do get tedious and boring afterwards. There are these golden stars that you can earn as you progress through getting the unlockables, but it’s just for aesthetics as it’s displayed on the save file.

Any player, for any odd reason, who cannot beat a tough level or boss battle can activate Super Guide. This is basically a giant, glowing green block with an exclamation mark that appears after dying in a level 8 times in a row and at a checkpoint (or the beginning of a level if you return after leaving it). When activated, the game will simply play itself and beat the level for you, which you just sit back and watch a computer controlled Luigi that slowly beats it. I honestly find it pathetic for the developers to spoon-feed the casuals, and very offensive to use gamers for making the game easier than it already is.

Controls

You can either choose the Wii Remote or the Wiimote & Nunchuk combo, but the former option is recommended and it’s the default. The d-pad is to move, crouch, enter doors and pipes, and toggle menu options. Pressing 2 is to jump and confirm menu selections; and the 1 button is to run and/or throw projectiles or objects. If you played the original on the DS, then you’ve pretty much mastered these controls too. Motion based commands include shaking to spin, grab, and throw certain enemies and items; titling the Wii Remote left and right enables the use of motion controlled platforms and vehicles as repeated dozens of time before.

Music

Another minor thing is the music which is a replica of the prequel’s sound track. There are some new compositions and remixes here and there but overall the tunes are generic, repetitive, and corny as usual. Different genres and instruments are evident; however, anybody who played NSMB agrees with me on how useless these efforts are to increase the music’s quality. Nintendo should’ve tried harder like they usually do with other IP’s instead of going the lazy route and not composing good music which they did here.

Graphics

Nintendo also put up a half-hearted effort with producing the graphics, and you can tell just by looking at it. The textures are extremely high-rez and the models being exactly accurate of CGI artwork; but everything else is mediocre and makes NSMBWii look only slightly better than its DS predecessors (which looks as bad as a N64 game). While resolution is at 480p standard definition, the frame rate is only at 30 FPS – and it’s not locked or consistent as it sometimes can drop to 25 FPS. Lighting and shadow is superficial since the graphics resemble a CGI cartoon animation with plastic, cartoony models like in Sonic Adventure DX.

Verdict

I honestly didn’t expect this review to be so short; replay value is ironically where this game shines the most, as beating the game by taking the most linear path; clearing all eight out of nine worlds; and defeating Bowser and his children to save the princess takes about roughly 8 hours. However, attempting to clear all levels, unlock every alternate map route, collect all Star-Coins, activate every warp pipe/cannon, and clear World 9 – which is not easy, even for skilled players – increases it to 40 hours.

We’re at the end of this, and you guys know what’s coming…so here goes. I like how this game is simplistic and easy, yet still being difficult with extra optional challenges. I also hypocritically enjoy the gimmicks, old mechanics, and the corny music despite what I said as it actually adds to the fun atmosphere and experience in my opinion. I despise how this entry lacks creativity and originality as almost all concepts are rip-offs from older Mario games. With that, I do suggest getting it but only at a reduced price through vintage stores/sites, and for casual gamers and Mario fans, so not a recommendation or a must-have. I mark this game off with a 6.6 out of 10.