Metroid Prime (Corruption)
Machine: Nintendo Wii
I'm a big fan of Metroid. I'm a big fan of Samus. So I was thrilled when Metroid came out on the Wii. Embarrassingly thrilled; in retrospect, I feel rather embarrassed about it all now. Because I was wrong to be thrilled. I based my optimism on the previous games in the series and I was really looking forward to how the developers would employ the Wii-mote - it seemed perfect for a game like Metroid. Worse still, this game was raved about by the press. They liked how it was like Halo. They liked how it was grown up. They liked how it was hardcore. You know - the usual cliched reasons.
Drunk on the hype and expectation, I really enjoyed myself, at least for the first hours. The Wii-mote was well used (if occasionally a little unresponsive), and the sense of control was, initially, really excellent. The graphics, too, were very beautiful to look at. But during these early hours, there was a nagging feeling - something was wrong. Why are all these 'friendly' troops around? Why does Samus accept all this help? Metroid games were traditionally steeped in a bleak, existential horror but that all depended upon the incredible feeling of loneliness that the earlier games managed to conjure up. With Metroid: Corruption, you are never really alone, and never really immersed in your environment.
As I progressed with the game, there were other problems, perhaps more significant than a rather hum-drum atmosphere. It was the actual structure of the game. You found yourself exploring enormous, beautiful alien landscapes (which is, admittedly, really enjoyable) and then, suddenly, you'd be faced with a big boss to defeat. It was just so bloody tedious, and wrecked the flow of the game. It just felt so bone-headed and lazy. "Ooh, there's a great big monster. Shoot it here, here, and here. Then grapple with this, pull and shoot. Then go through that same sequence again three or four times." It's so dull. Worse still, the baddies showed up the limitations of the control system. While fighting a baddie, and trying to dodge its tedium rays or ennui bullets (or whatever) it becomes clear that it is not possible to articulate your moves properly. You want to dodge out of the way? Well, the best you can do is to clumsily hop left or right. It's really annoying, and rather having your skill tested by the baddy, you're just struggling with the limitations of the control system.
But surely there are only a few baddies to cope with. Wrong. As the game progresses, the gaps between the big baddies shrink to about one every half-an-hour. Worse still, they're all much of a muchness, and there is no variety at all. It's a real shame because really this should have been a marvellous game, but it just ends up being supremely irritating.