After years of hope and optimism I'm happy to say that I'm finally living the dream: I've found a Metroid Prime game that I really like. Nintendo's new Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has firmly ensnared me with its fantastic controls, slimmer difficulty, and engaging puzzles. My issue with past Prime games have revolved mostly around the control scheme. Using control sticks and buttons I find that I just cannot run, jump, turn, and fire simultaneously, something that past Prime games require quite a bit of in later stages. Corruption's unique Wii controls do away with this problem. I have no problems maneuvering Samus Aran through the various environments. I understand now the praises that the game's controls have received. This is the way first-person shooter/adventure games are meant to be controlled on a console.
I've also found that Corruption isn't as frustratingly difficult than the other games in the series (I've been playing the game on the Normal difficulty instead of Veteran, mind you). In past Prime games after running out of energy Samus would be returned to the last place I saved the game, forcing me to replay thirty minutes or so of gameplay. That's not really a major problem (replaying failed portions is all part of the gaming world, of course), but it becomes very tedious when I have to rescan and reread the same information over and over again. I'll refight a boss, sure, but I'm not eager to read the complete history of the Chozo again and again and again. Corruption has this great habit of restarting Samus from a position after the previous save point, negating the need for too much of a do-over. The extra health objects that are dropped during boss fights are also especially appreciated.
My favorite thing about Metroid games involves solving the various puzzles that block Samus's progress. Corruption is loaded with puzzles, most of which require some serious thought and experimentation to unravel. The game offers hints here and there, but on the whole it allows me to take a moment, pause, and think things through. There's a fantastic moment in SkyTown where an Elysian power generator is offline (and, as you can imagine, I need to turn it on to continue). Deep in the heart of the machinery is a large gear that has fallen from its position above. If I can get that gear back in place, the generator will start. So how do I move that gear? Scanning it tells me that there's a grapple point in the center of it, so I start there and try to heave it around with the grapple beam. That almost works, but I don't have enough leverage to toss it upwards. While exploring the room I find a small platform that, when grappling from it, gives Samus the power to throw that gear straight up into the air... where it then falls back to the floor with a metallic clunk. I try lifting it again and again, seeing it fly so close to the disabled machine above. Eventually it hits me that perhaps I can give the gear a nudge while it's airborne, so I lift it up one more time and, as it reaches the height of its journey, I fire a missile at it. The resulting blast knocks the gear back into position, the generator comes online, and I'm rewarded with a new power-up item.
I don't know how much more I have to do before I reach the end of Corruption, but so far I've accomplished quite a lot. I've liberated both planets Bryyo and Elysia from the phazon menace. Planet Norion has been defended. I'm still exploring the Galactic Federation ship Valhalla and I've been to the Pirate Homeworld, too. For all that I've done so far, however, I have the feeling that Corruption is saving the absolute best for last.