If you expected Metroid Prime 3: Corruption to be a high-quality continuation of the series, you'd be right. And yes, the Wii controls are terrific and intuitive, so if you hoped that controlling bounty hunter Samus Aran would be a dream, that wish has been granted, too. All told, even though Corruption's easier battles and conservative design sometimes seems like less of a sprawling Metroid adventure and more of a straightforward first-person shooter, it's still a great action game that does exactly what you expect it to do, no more and no less.
Of course, the five years that have elapsed between the original Metroid Prime and the trilogy's final hurrah is an eternity in gaming, so even with its smooth, Wii-specific controls, there is a strong sense of familiarity here. While Metroid Prime spectacularly ushered Metroid gameplay into a 3D vision, Corruption is content to be a solid successor. Yet you shouldn't let some spurts of predictability dissuade you from checking it out, particularly if you are a Metroid enthusiast. Corruption offers its own formula tweaks while staying true to its roots, and like the previous games in the Prime series, it sends you on an atmospheric journey of discovery and enjoyable boss fights.
This sequel is aptly named. Samus and her fellow bounty hunters are struggling to repair an organic computer that has been infected by a mysterious virus. As always, these things are never what they seem, but rather than risk spoiling any sensitive plot points, we would rather safely say that the ensuing adventure sends Samus across a number of lush alien worlds and bizarre landscapes. (Not that the Prime games have ever strived to set standards for gaming fiction.) There is a plot here, but it's never been about the destination: It's about the voyage. As before, there is a ton of written backstory to discover, all dispersed among strange, imaginative worlds. You'll also meet up with a number of old acquaintances, friend and foe alike.
But all that is part and parcel of a terrific series. The obvious change here is in the controls, and Corruption leaves behind the methodical maneuvering of its GameCube brethren with an intuitive and configurable scheme that sets the standard for first-person shooting controls on the Wii, despite Corruption's battles not being all that challenging. (More on that later.) All of your aiming and turning is done with the remote, while moving and strafing is handled by the Nunchuk. It's been done before, of course, but not to this degree of success. Almost any player will be at home with the "advanced" scheme, where moving the remote moves your targeting reticle but also turns your point of view as it approaches the edge of the screen. The other schemes require your reticle to hit the screen's edge before turning commences, which is more than a bit annoying. You aren't stuck free-aiming at your enemies, though, since the Z button allows you to lock on to your target.
Suffice it to say, Metroid Prime 3 takes on characteristics more akin to a standard first-person shooter than its predecessors did. The good news is that moving about is less frustrating and plodding than before. Your enemies fall faster, boss encounters require less controller fumbling, and there is an overall ease to travel and movement that the series lacked before. It's a double-edged sword, however, because while most Metroid Prime hallmarks--object scanning, careful exploration, complex puzzle-solving--remain, Corruption feels less like a probing adventure than a regular shooter.
Only grapple the ones you love.
But a highly enjoyable shooter nevertheless. When it comes to blasting stuff, Retro Studios kept things simple this time. Samus begins with the trusty arm cannon and soon gains the use of homing missiles. These are, more or less, the weapons you will keep for the duration, though not as you are given them. As you progress through Corruption's 20-hour campaign, you'll earn cumulative upgrades, so the standard fire becomes plasma fire, which evolves again come the next power-up, and so on. You never lose any abilities with a new upgrade, so once you've earned the ability to melt through ice, you aren't in danger of losing it later. But don't expect a barrage of constant enemies; nor should you expect much of a challenge from the standard foes. Yet even without a sense of challenge, shooting feels great in Corruption. A lot of this has to do with the smooth controls, but even more of it is due to the good variety of alien and mechanical monstrosities you do battle with.
The biggest addition to the shooting is that of the Phazon Enhancement Device. The PED allows you to enter hypermode by holding the plus button. In this mode, Samus' attacks do outrageous damage. But she has limited phazon in her reserves, so once it's all gone, all you can do is wait for it to replenish. You've got to pay attention, since entering hypermode depletes Samus' energy, and you also run the risk of overloading her with too much phazon and being forced to fire it all away lest she bite the dust. Another new element is the nova beam, which is a great cannon upgrade in and of itself, but is also used in conjunction with the x-ray visor to shoot at enemies and objects through solid walls.