Well, I've finally reached the end of my Metroid marathon. And what a note to end on! Metroid Prime 3 feels climactic and grandiose- not just in closing out the Prime trilogy, but also as a peak of the series in terms of spectacle and scale. The whole game feels like this big fireworks show, from the bombastic roller coaster ride of an opening to Samus's oh-so satisfying thumbs-up at the end. I loved it.
And I'm kind of surprised Metroid fans don't hate this game. It's linear, rarely isolating, and has the biggest focus on story and dialogue out of any game in the series I've played. These are the same things that would ruin Other M a few years later.
I think the key difference here is execution. I've never played Other M, but I get the impression that Prime 3 executes these things far better than Other M. Samus doesn't speak and the story-heavy sections rarely jerk control away from the player. You're either in full control or in a cutscene that is either delivering exposition or amping you up for a boss fight. Although the progression is linear, you're never truly restricted in where you can backtrack to- rooms don't lock themselves off after you're done. If you want you can return to an old region with your new gear to pick up some collectables. And the way room-to-room progression is designed, it still feels like you're navigating an environment, even though your path is actually predetermined.
But I can still see how this would be enough to turn someone away from the game. Fair enough. But I was having too much fun to care. I'm pretty lenient about long-running series trying new things and experimenting with the formula as time goes on. We've had a fair amount of traditional Metroid games, so I'm okay with trying a more story-oriented and linear Metroid game. Of course, I'm still going to decry a game when it tries something new and it doesn't work out(Other M, Fire Emblem Conquest, MGSV, ). Not every Metroid game has to fit into that Metroid 1- Super Metroid- Prime mold just like how every Zelda game doesn't have to fit the Link to the Past-Ocarina-Twilight Princess mold. There's enough room for well done, varied takes on the formula. There's enough room for the Wind Waker, Metroid Fusion, Majora's Mask, Metroid 2, and Metroid Prime 3.
It's a grand spectacle that delivers more moment-to-moment fun than perhaps any other Metroid game. It's doesn't adhere to every convention in the sub-genre, but that's okay.
So there are my thoughts Metroid Prime 3. And with that my run of Metroid games is done. I have intentionally avoided a few games for reasons that I'll explain below. I'm very glad I finally got to see the appeal of the series. Thank you for taking the time to ready any of my posts and follow me on this fun journey. To close things out, here is my top 7 list of Metroid games, plus my impressions of the 3 games I haven't played!
X. Metroid: I tried the original title multiple times and didn't like it, even with a guide. One of those attempts was during this marathon. It's just too dated for me. X. Metroid: Other M: Past experience has taught me that I'd be better off living in a world where a game like this has not consumed 9 hours of my life X. Metroid Prime Hunters: I've heard mixed-negative things about this one. People say the controls are weird, but I think it's something I'll be able to adjust to. Maybe I'll give it a try sometime down the road. I'll probably like it at the very least. 7. Metroid Prime: I'm a casual faker who doesn't truly like the Metroid series and just needs to get good. 6. Metroid Fusion: I like what it does differently and I think the plot is pretty dang cool, but I couldn't get into the gameplay that much for whatever reason. I still like it though, I just don't having any strong feelings for it outside of an appreciation for the unique concepts it offers. 5. Metroid II: Return of Samus: I'm surprised this only gets number 5! Metroid II is an ambitious sequel that I have a lot of respect for. The concept is awesome, and the gameplay isn't anything to sneeze at, considering the hardware and how young the series was at the time. 4. Metroid Prime 2: Another surprisingly low game! I dig the challenge and dark oppressive atmosphere. This game is a rewarding challenge that makes you feel great for persevering through any tough spots. 3. Super Metroid: Just barely beating Prime 2, Super Metroid is the perennial Metroid title that sets the standard to which other games are held. I'm not as starstruck with this game as some other people are, but it's damn good. 2. Metroid: Zero Mission: I'm not sure if I'd place this at number 1 or 2, so for now I'll give Metroid 3 the edge. Zero Mission feels like a true classic, re-imagining iconic series imagery and gameplay through a modern lens. It's also a blast to play. 1. Metroid Prime 3: It's a big fireworks show and casual old me was tantalized by the pretty colors. Actually no, this game is super polished. Pound-for-pound it was my most enjoyable experience with the series. It was an incredible ride from beginning to end with no low points or lacking areas.
I really liked this game but at the same time, I feel like I don't remember much about it. I've wanted to replay it and Metroid Prime 2 a few times but I always get side tracked. Though one thing I did do with Metroid Prime 3 back in the day was do a low Energy (skip all option Energy Tanks) run and wow is that ever intense for the final battle. Very hard but possible and satisfying!
Maybe the linearity would bother me if the levels weren't so well designed. I see it like a lot of Zelda dungeons, where they're pretty much linear but still make it feel like you're exploring and figuring things out.
If Prime 2 was a game that rewarded perseverance and dedication, Prime 3 is kind of a fun, breezy victory lap. It's a perfect chaser to the demanding second game in the trilogy, something that's just lighter and quicker-paced while still delivering a lot of memorable sequences. It's my second-favorite of the trilogy and probably my third-favorite of the series. I actually think it's a bit underrated despite its linearity (which I don't think is too bad compared to the hyper-linear Fusion and Other M; it actually feels more like Metroid 2, where you have "stages" that you progress through that are fairly nonlinear in and of themselves). I also really enjoyed the Wii features, such as IR aiming and using the blowtorch plasma beam, etc.
I think one of the criticisms of Prime 3 is that it "sells its soul" a bit with the fed troopers setpiece stuff, increased number of NPCs, the commander and hunters, etc, but I don't think these elements really overtake the game. After the prologue, they pretty much disappear until the final chapter (minus some boss fights), which is barely more narration than something like Prime 2 with its Luminoth character.
While I'm less a fan of MP2 as an individual game, I think the Prime Trilogy really complements itself nicely. Each game really brings something unique to the table, from MP1's ambitious "Metroid as a 3D game" approach, to MP2's hardcore puzzles and navigation, to MP3's popcorn blockbuster stylings. I think it's my favorite trilogy in gaming behind the three EarthBound titles.
I can get how the AAA style "soul-selling" would put people off, but I'm cool with it as a one time thing. It gives the last Prime game a true sense of finality. The sense of spectacle and action is at an all time high, which is only furthered by the ticking clock on Samus's corruption and Dark Samus's aggressive strategies. It all comes together to create a sense that this is the climax of the trilogy.
I wouldn't want every or even most future Metrois games to be like this, but as with Skyward Sword, I enjoy the unique take on a familiar series.
I figured that you'd like this game, and I was right! I almost feel like you've developed this inverse opinion of Metroid games just to spite fans of the series. :P
I think I would rank it third in the Prime series simply because it's, well, number three in series where the mechanics are all so similar. But I still think it's a great game for what it is, and I can see how it could be someone's fave.
I actually think that you might like Other M, or at least parts of it. Enough of it that I think you should still give it a try. Don't let the poor story ruin the whole game, though it is certainly intrusive with the amount of cutscenes.
I think Other M is over-hated. That said, it would rank near the bottom of my Metroid hierarchy, more due to the linearity than the storytelling. But I could appreciate some of the bold design decisions like FPS missile-shooting and requiring the Wiimote to be on its side.
I enjoyed Other M a lot more than Prime 3, I don't think either of them are stellar games though. Other M had a lot of annoying stuff in relation to the story but it was ambitious and was fun to play and I appreciated those qualities. Prime 3 had some really cool set-pieces and atmosphere but graphically it was really rough around the edges and the motion controls were not good.
All I'm saying is Metroid Federation Force would be better if you could rub a space marine's face with the touch screen. I mean really, is it too much to ask that we get some dating sim elements up in this isolated exploration platformer? At the very least can we agree that Admiral Dane was not nearly naked enough?
I've become the thing I whine about on the Internet!