I Twittered about Saturday’s lapse in judgement, but it really does deserve more explanation than that. Since I’m always on the hunt for great deals (especially game-related), I was happily surprised to see that Family Video was selling off their excess copies of Metroid Prime 3 for the Wii… for the bargain price of $20. I figured that giving it a try wouldn’t hurt; maybe it would rekindle my interested in the more neglected of my children. Consoles. I think of them as my children though.
That’s not true.
Anyway. Prime came home with me, where I promptly popped it in to make sure it was a good disc. It fired right up, as expected, and after some unrelated technical difficulties (audio ins on Samsung televisions apparently don’t pass through to the audio outs) we were in space. Because that’s where all Metroid games take place.
Graphically, the game looks nice, but I didn’t notice a significant improvement over the original on the Gamecube. The keyword is “notice”, because I haven’t touched the Gamecube version since last year; there could be a substantial difference. Sound was average; it would’ve been better if I was running it through the stereo rather than the TV speakers, but whatever.
I was most interested in the control scheme, since this is the Wii and that’s how they get you. It was not disappointing and behaved as expected. Moving your arm/hand to aim rather than an analog stick is different but fairly intuitive, but that’s where the good stuff ended. The problem here is that the Wii controller still pretty much sucks when you try to compare it to a normal controller. Any analog movement is fine, but as soon as you need to find buttons, you’re boned.
My problem with the Metroid Prime (emphasis on Prime, because the regular 2D Metroids didn’t have this issue) is that there are many different things you’re expected to be doing, often in very very short amounts of time. The biggest culprit here is the visors. In the series you generally accumulate 2-3 additional visors in addition to your standard view; each of them serves a different purpose: research, thermal, etc. Unfortunately, switching between them was always a hindrance for me, especially in battle.
And boy, are there battles. Nintendo has this nasty habit of making their bosses require very specific processes to defeat. You see it in Zelda, in Mario, and of course, Metroid. Honestly, it can get a little tedious, but once you know what to do, it’s not overly difficult to go about accomplishing your task. Generally.
Prime adds a level of frustration in that not only are you trying to carry out a very specific set of tasks in a very limited amount of time, but you’re trying to do it from a first person perspective. At best, this is only a minor hindrance, but often it’s so much more. In this case, trying to defeat the first boss in the game was frustrating enough that I decided that this wasn’t the game for me.
Fortunately, Family Video also had copies of Orange Box for the bargain-basement price of $30, and at just $6 a game, that’s a purchase I feel immensely confident about.