Retro Studios succeeded in ending the Metroid Prime series with a very solid game. (Actual: 8.75)
The first thing I noticed when I started the game was the jump in graphics. At first it looks like it's the same as Metroid Prime 2...but then you notice little things here and there. More dynamic environments. More detailed models and environments. Better animations. Much better effects. It honestly wasn't until I got to the intro boss battle that I really noticed how much better this game looked (I was playing in 480p widescreen by the way). This game really brings out some of the best that the Wii can offer. The Metroid Prime series has been known for pulling you into a fully detailed and realized world, and Metroid Prime 3 tops the other two in every way in that regard. The HUD is also a little more refined and a lot easier to read, while still avoiding being too intrusive on the player which is most definitely a plus and a nice draw. You really feel like you are in Samus' eyes when you play this game.
The next thing I noticed were the sounds. I will admit about half the voice acting was mediocre at best, while some of it was really good, but I was very happy that Retro decided to actually have talking, being how important communication is in this game. Like the other games though, the big things are the sound effects and ambience, which are spot on. Every little noise you hear has a distinct effect on your gameplay, and you might hear a screech that makes you think of the diving bats, or maybe hear the dull humming that let's you know that there is a powerup nearby. Everything in the game sounds fantastic.
So aesthetically the game is fantastic, it delivers beyond the last two games, and that's great...but how is the game as a whole? How does it play? The controls are spot on as well. It's obvious Retro spent quite some time trying to make sure the controls felt natural. The aiming is accurate and you can even set the degree of sensitivity for screen scrolling to make sure it suits your style. I never once found the controls limiting in any way. In fact I found them to be quite a bit more liberating than the controls from the first two games...and that's saying something since I didn't really have any problems with the first two games' controls. The button layout is also fine, though I did find shooting missiles as down on the D-pad to be a little cumbersome since I'd have to re-position my hand a little to use it comfortably...but that's probably my only complaint about it. Motion controls are also used very minimally, really only for using the grapple beam to latch onto enemy shields and whatnot...and it responded beautifully.
These controls end up translating into a much upgraded combat system. While still retaining the lock-on feature, being able to free-look at ease leaves the battles a bit more dynamic and action-packed. The normal battles are generally just as fun as the original games, but where the improvements in controls really shine are in the boss battles. All of the bosses are fun, unique, and make complete use of all of your abilities. This is a welcome change where previous bosses would usually only use the items you got recently. This also leaves a little bit of wiggle room for boss strategies this time around. The boss battles in this game are some of the best you will see in the whole series.
The power-ups and upgrades in this game are fantastic also, where they share the stacking feature of previous Metroid titles rather than the choosing style of the Prime games. It was nice that they went with this throwback style and it also forced them to rethink how they wanted players to approach battles since all the tools are already there rather than having to choose the appropriate tool for each fight. In some places this made the fights much easier while in some others it was nice because it forced you to use tools aside from your weapons...something I didn't do a lot of in the last two games.
Corruption also improves on the story quite a bit and offers a very satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. A lot of questions are answered and the development is handled beautifully. The only problem that arises from the story in this game is that a few parts of the game are a little more linear than the other games, but thus is the price we pay for making sure we get the ending that Retro wants. The exploration is still there though, and oftentimes you will find joy in exploring areas that have nothing useful in them. Power-ups are also a lot easier to acquire this time around, since the game offers maps telling you what rooms have power-ups that you haven't found (similar to Zero Mission and Fusion). I wish this feature was in the other two, but definitely makes 100% completion a lot more tolerable for those of you that found that a little frustrating in the last games.
Lastly, you are awarded with medals...these achievement sort of objects that you can spend to unlock music and art, which is a nice little incentive to do everything in the game (this is how achievements SHOULD be done in games or similarly...not meaningless points). This gives a little incentive for replay, but besides trying hard mode or low-percentage runs or to just experience things again, this game doesn't have much replayability.
In the end, this is a very solid ending to the trilogy that will have you hooked from the amazing first boss all the way to the satisfying ending. This game was a huge step up from Metroid Prime 2 (which, while I thought was a good game, I found to be a dissapointment in comparison to part 1) and while this won't beat Prime 1 in my eyes, it definitely gets pretty darn close.
OVERALL: 9/10 (8.75/10.0 Actual Score)