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  2. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
  3. Playing through this game again - my thoughts (spoilers)

User Info: PappinAce

PappinAce
4 years ago#1
First of all, I'm pleasantly surprised by this game. The criticism I see most often about Corruption is that it's linear and there's handholding from the Auroras, but playing it for the first time in seven years (since it came out), I pleased by the amount of exploration. The moment that sticks out to me most was leaving the Pirate Homeworld about halfway through to backtrack to Elysia and grab the spider ball. After that point, so much opens up! I explored all of Skytown, Bryyo, and Norion, powering myself up with a bunch of missile expansions and energy tanks to prepare myself for the next phase. I was actually really disappointed when I'd discovered everything and had to move on with the story.

This type of side content, where I can go do what I want and discover things without the game shoving me toward the plot, is part of what makes Metroid great. I'm sure the first two games actually had way more of it; maybe it's because I played Skyward Sword lately, which is ridiculously linear, but Corruption seems to have more exploration than many people say.

I LOVE Skytown. One of the most beautiful, peaceful environments in the Prime series. Really well-designed, not just the individual rooms, but the way it's all put together. Great job by Retro here. If I had to rank my favorite areas of the series, Skytown would be number 1 in front of Phendrana Drifts, Torvus Bog, and Chozo Ruins.

Pirate Homeworld, on the other hand, makes absolutely no sense. It seems like the deadline was approaching and the developers just threw together some random planet. The puzzles are uncharacteristically elementary. Some of them literally consist of finding morph ball slots, going inside, and bombing them. Then a cutscene plays where something comes together and the little jingle plays, as if you've accomplished something. And what's with those terminals were you place your palm on it to activate things? Why would that work for Samus when it's designed for Space Pirate hands?

Also, Samus has been built up throughout the series to be the pirates' most hated enemy. She has wiped out so many of them and ****ed up a ton of their research. If she were to set foot on their homeworld, they would instantly send hundreds of soldiers to murder her. Instead, it's just business as usual. You can trigger alarms and then individual soldiers attack you, then you kill them and move on. Why the hell isn't there a constant planet-wide alarm that Samus Aran has arrived? The attitude is like "oh well, keep doing your work. If you see her, do your best to take her out." I'm not a big fan of that planet's atmosphere, puzzles, or logic. Seems like half-assed fan service to me.

The rest of the game though, is pretty good. Regardless of the unnaturally large amount of NPCs for a Metroid game, it still does the job pretty well. Mainly Skytown.
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User Info: PappinAce

PappinAce
4 years ago#2
bump
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User Info: sithmaster15

sithmaster15
4 years ago#3
Zelda Sidebar before starting: I don't remember Skyward Sword being all that linear; don't you even have the option of which order to play some of the dungeons in? Also, it featured plenty of sidequests which I was very happy to see- far more than Twilight Princess, though still less than Majora's Mask (to me MM set a gold standard for the series which is very hard to match).

Now Metroid! My favourite game series! I loved MP3! You're bang on about Skytown; it's a beautiful world! My favourite areas pretty much match up exactly with yours too, though maybe in a different order (though it's hard to put them in an order, let's be honest). I also think Bryyo is an excellent world with one of my favourite backstories in the series, and the main Bryyo theme is one of my favourite tracks.

I did enjoy the Space Pirate homeworld quite a bit as well. Possibly because of the fan service, but I think also because it represented a unique tone, despite being quite similar in many ways to the Phazon Mines from MP1. You're right though that it is the most questionable, gameplay-wise, in MP3. The 'defend the troopers' segment was particularly out of place. I would have questioned the value of such a segment even had it shown up in a Halo game.

I think one of the biggest, most common gripes about MP3 is the general dumbing-down, or simplifying, of the game. This can be seen in a number of ways:

- The 'layering' of the beam weapons, as opposed to the beam selection system of previous 3D Metroid games.
- The guidance provided by the Aurora units.
- The inability to completely remove hints.
- The ability to have secret items located on the map for you.
- The ability to easily travel from anywhere to anywhere using Samus' ship.

I want to go a bit more in depth on that last one, the ship, because while on the surface it appears to simply make travel easier, (probably resulting from complaints that MP2 was a little too labyrinthine), I added it to the list because I actually think it dumbs down the whole experience and takes away from the player's immersion into the world.

Essentially, I think that one of the things that made the exploration in MP1 and MP2 so great was that the areas flowed together seamlessly (admittedly less so in MP2). You actually had to travel every step of the way from point A to B, picking your route carefully. This gives the world a great deal of weight, yet is still interesting and enjoyable because of the artfully rendered environments, the atmospheric music, and the interconnected nature of the elevator system ensuring that shortcuts were always available.

MP3 meanwhile, rather than featuring a continuous worlds, features fragmented chunks of areas, each entirely separate from the other. This breaks up the experience and takes away from the player's immersion into the game.

I'm going to attempt to illustrate the difference with a bit of ASCII:

A crude sketch of MP1's world:

................//===========\\
............CR==\\......//==IC...\\
...........//.........\\...//............//
........MC=====TO............//
..........\\==PD.......\\====PM==\\
...........\\.......\\========//........\\
............\\=================//


That's roughly the idea, though it's far from accurate, I'm sure. Notice how you have a nice continuous world. In MP3, the game map looks more like: (S for Samus' ship)

........N......S1......S2......GFS
.......//.......//........//..........//
S =//=\\==//=\\==//=\\===//==\\== > End
..........\\.........\\........\\...........\\
..........B1.......B2.....PH1.......PH2

Notice how the player now experiences the game in chunks, instead of as a whole. This is probably not overtly noticed by most players, but I believe it contributes to players generally not preferring MP3 over the first two.

Again though, I still love it! Just analysing!
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User Info: PappinAce

PappinAce
4 years ago#4
The 'defend the troopers' segment was particularly out of place. I would have questioned the value of such a segment even had it shown up in a Halo game.


I know! The emphasis on combat in general feels out of place and shoehorned in. Metroid Prime does not lend itself to combat. This comes up a lot on the Homeworld with all these different types of pirates popping up at you, and then the game tries to force you into an intense shootout. Every time it happens it feels like a chore. I'm just thinking to myself "This isn't fun at all! Stop trying to make combat happen! This is NOT an FPS!" Usually it ends with me spamming hypermode anyway; it's not like it's challenging.

Essentially, I think that one of the things that made the exploration in MP1 and MP2 so great was that the areas flowed together seamlessly (admittedly less so in MP2). You actually had to travel every step of the way from point A to B, picking your route carefully. This gives the world a great deal of weight, yet is still interesting and enjoyable because of the artfully rendered environments, the atmospheric music, and the interconnected nature of the elevator system ensuring that shortcuts were always available.


This is very insightful. I remember when playing Metroid Prime, I would always look on my map and analyze my next destination after getting a new ability. I would plan out my route and imagine exactly how to get there, but it would never go as smoothly as I planned. Things distract you along the way; you hear sounds and find missile expansions, energy tanks, etc. You find scenery that you want to explore and end up deviating a bit. Doing this, you get to know the world as if it were your own house.

This is partially missing from Metroid Prime 3. Not only are you told where to go, but you don't really plan out a route to get there. You just get in your ship and click on the nearest landing site, and after a short cutscene you're there, effectively skipping the entire exploration / backtracking phase that made Prime 1 so great. I still wouldn't say I'm familiar with Bryyo, for instance; I still have to check on the map where this door and that door will take me when I go through. In Prime 1 I know Tallon IV so well that I know exactly where every door leads and whether or not it's the right way to go.

And I have mixed feelings about marking all the expansions on the map. You do have to be sharp enough to remember to go back to the observatory, if you remember that there were spider ball tracks that stopped you from accessing some of the map data. Then you get your reward, and you can walk / fly around the galaxy going from room to room collecting power-ups. The process of getting 100% in this game is streamlined compared to the first two Primes, with 1) the ship getting you to places of interest faster than walking, and 2) you know which rooms you need to go to and you can check them off your list, as opposed to wandering around aimlessly.

It all comes down to personal preference. I personally have always loved wandering around aimlessly and stumbling upon things, but it's not exactly a popular sentiment among today's gamers.
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User Info: sithmaster15

sithmaster15
4 years ago#5
And I have mixed feelings about marking all the expansions on the map. You do have to be sharp enough to remember to go back to the observatory, if you remember that there were spider ball tracks that stopped you from accessing some of the map data. Then you get your reward, and you can walk / fly around the galaxy going from room to room collecting power-ups. The process of getting 100% in this game is streamlined compared to the first two Primes, with 1) the ship getting you to places of interest faster than walking, and 2) you know which rooms you need to go to and you can check them off your list, as opposed to wandering around aimlessly.


Personally the biggest issue I took with the secret items being marked on your map is that the first time you do it, you're not expressly told that that is what will happen when you activate the bomb slot. I thought it was going to reveal more of the map from that world, or possibly reveal a new landing site. This was a disappointment because I was now robbed of the opportunity to discover those item locations on my own. I think there should have been a scan advising you of what the bomb slots in the research station were going to do.

To be honest, I'm not entirely opposed to the idea of having such a mechanic in the game. What I think it comes down to is whether you think secret item locations ought to be available to be listed in-game, or think that gamers should track down such a list in a FAQ or guide. So is it directly part of the game, or part of the meta-game surrounding it? (e.g. What we're doing right now, discussing and analyzing the game, could be thought of as the meta-game). Another example of this kind of debate is the question of whether games should include a world map or if gamers should create or seek out their own. Miyamoto actually planned for, and cited the meta-game as one of the main reasons for Zelda's initial success, because secrets were so hard to find and yet so enticing, gamers inevitably discussed the game a great deal, spreading word of mouth about the game:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqBee2YlDPg&feature=youtu.be&t=6m38s

So with this in mind, I think I prefer to not have the option of listing item locations on the world map. To me, this would open up the game more, as it allows a single player game to nonetheless include a sort of meta-game multiplayer component.
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User Info: PappinAce

PappinAce
4 years ago#6
That's true. Leaving more up to discovery opens up communication between players, not just from player to game. Speaking of this, didn't Super Metroid mark item locations on the map too? I seem to remember white dots on the map in every room where there was a missile expansion or energy tank. Didn't this come with finding the map room in each area?

On an unrelated note, I've been seeing a lot of complaints about fetch quests. In fact, all three Prime games had one. However, I personally have NEVER gone on a fetch quest! I always get the majority of them during the course of the adventure without realizing that I'll have to collect them all later. For example, I've already placed seven of the energy cells into the Valhalla before the final phase of the game, and I see that they're all required. My fetch quest will consist of a whopping two energy cells.

I did the same thing with the artifacts in MP1 and the Triforce Shards in Wind Waker, for example. Maybe it's just my playing style (I love to explore every nook and cranny) or the developers have done a good job embedding them into the game. Do people seriously go through the entire game, get to the fetch quest, and not have a single one? I can see why that might ruin the pacing of the game.
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User Info: PappinAce

PappinAce
4 years ago#7
Also, do you have any idea what the thrusters on the ship do? When you're sitting inside it, on the left side you can pull out a lever, then it says "move the remote toward the screen to activate thruster", then the ship shakes a little and makes a rumbling sound.
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User Info: sithmaster15

sithmaster15
4 years ago#8
Speaking of this, didn't Super Metroid mark item locations on the map too?

To an extent. When entering a room, there would be a mark on the map indicating if there was an item there, but many secret items were in hidden rooms, which you don't see on the map until you enter the room. These ones, obviously, can be very tricky to find, as there usually aren't any clues as to their whereabouts. I consider this mechanic to be similar to the "hum" of secret items in the Prime games. It helps, but only to an extent. The mechanic in Prime 3 was much more thorough in pinpointing all the items on the map.

I never had a problem with the fetch quests either, except a little bit in Wind Waker. Mostly because by that point I was really craving the ability to adjust the speed of the wind, so that travel could be fluid, yet faster, as I had already thoroughly explored most of the ocean, yet hadn't managed to collect all the triforce shards. Prime 3 seemed to make a special effort though to place the cells in readily available locations, and I think you actually only need seven total if you use them correctly.

Also, do you have any idea what the thrusters on the ship do?

The only time they're used in the game is in the opening sequence, when you activate them to get your ship to fly towards the GF fleet. Other than that, absolutely nothing except the rumbling you described.
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User Info: PappinAce

PappinAce
4 years ago#9
To an extent. When entering a room, there would be a mark on the map indicating if there was an item there, but many secret items were in hidden rooms, which you don't see on the map until you enter the room.


Yeah, that's what I was remembering. Still not as much handholding as Corruption, where each item's exact spot is marked on the map. Since the map is 3D you can actually go to that room and know whether it's above, below, to the right, or to the left. That was a little too much.

After collecting some stuff at the research station, I got up to 98% but I was still missing an energy cell. I had been looking for this damn thing for the past three days (the last one I didn't have). I'd conducted investigations throughout the entire ****ing Valhalla TWICE, looking for that floating thing that gives you a clue about its location, and came up empty-handed. Then in a desperate move I went back and looked around the landing zone, and there it is, just lying among the wreckage next to the door. Hahaha.

So I put in the last energy cell and it took me to a room with a missile expansion, and next to it the clue from the Federation...giving me the location of the energy cell that I had just found. :D That's kind of a weird way to design the clues; you don't get access to the clues until you make your way further into the ship by using the energy cells. Meaning that some of the clues for the energy cells will be in areas that you can't access WITHOUT the energy cell, making it pretty much impossible to find. Or did I just happen to find the one that isn't marked on the map by a white dot?

Another thing I disliked about this game was that some of the weapons / items you find are essentially just keys to unlock new areas. My reward for beating Gandrayda is...an electro grapple? Wtf am I going to do with that other than open doors? And the hyper grapple? What other use does that have other than destroying Phazon to get to new areas?

And going back to how elementary the puzzles were, especially on Pirate Homeworld: most of them don't really require thought. They consist of things like: boost ball slot in the center of the room -> go there and use your boost ball -> the machine spins and the puzzle is complete. There's a little cutscene of something happening, but when it boils down to it you didn't really have to do any thinking. You just see an obvious place to use one of your items, go there and use the corresponding item, and watch as everything comes together in the cutscene.

Clearly the focus was on combat, but they wanted to keep some semblance of puzzles in the faith of Metroid, but half-assed them. What happened to clever puzzles like that one in Phazon Mines with the 3-section spinning spider ball tower?
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User Info: sithmaster15

sithmaster15
4 years ago#10
Then in a desperate move I went back and looked around the landing zone, and there it is, just lying among the wreckage next to the door. Hahaha.

Haha yeah I missed that one too. It's pretty inconspicuous. I do remember finding the mechanic odd. I think it was their attempt at re-imagining the system from MP1, where more clues became available as you discovered the Chozo Artifacts. The key difference being that in MP1 none of the clues were behind locked doors; they were all in the open and were unlocked simply by returning artifacts. So I will have to agree with you there, the Energy Cell system certainly had flaws. I think you were particularly unlucky in the order by which you unlocked the clues in relation to which Cells you had already recovered.

Another thing I disliked about this game was that some of the weapons / items you find are essentially just keys to unlock new areas.

This time I get to credit you for your insight! What you're describing is something that always bugged me about the game but which I never quite put my finger on. The majority of hypermode weapons that you receive are exactly as you describe; little more than keys! At least until the end of the game when you're on Phaaze, but at that point they could have all been unlocked en masse upon setting foot on the surface, as part of the permanent hypermode you experience there. This is made worse by the fact that attacks such as the Super Missile were sacrificed for these weapons.

On a related note however, the electro grapple can be used to suck health out of grapple-able enemies, or pour health into them to cause them to overload. I found this function particularly useful on Phaaze, as it helps a great deal in keeping your corruption to a minimum by dumping your excess phazon directly into certain enemies. So while limited, it does have some use outside of being a key.

This has me thinking, what items in the Metroid Prime series can be classified as 'glorified keys'? We could define a 'glorified key' as any item that does little to nothing except grant access between areas, between one room and the next, through some door or passageway. Immediate suspects are the Screw Attack, all hypermode attacks except your basic beam weapon and missile, and the Seeker Missile (another poor replacement for the Super Missile IMO). Obviously this can be very subjective, as all these items do technically offer some expanded utility, but their application is limited. Perhaps, if we were to construct a list of 'keys', some debate would be in order.

In a larger context, I think you may have hit on a fundamental principle of item design in games: make sure your items, unless they are literally keys, are more than just glorified keys.

Now as to the puzzles, for the most part I agree with you. With one exception. I absolutely love the spinning gear puzzle in Skytown, (I think it's required to get the Spider Ball?). I remember being genuinely puzzled by it in a way that no other Metroid puzzle has ever challenged me, and the solution required out-of-the-box thinking, was surprising, unique, and very satisfying. At least for me, anyway. Maybe it wasn't so original and stimulating for others.
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