Metroid Prime 3 is better than you thought.

It's certainly better than I thought, anyway. Thanks again for the sale, TRU!

When I initially made my decision to pass on Metroid Prime 3, I read the usual review suspects... all of which said the game was awesome. And yeah, I figured it would be. But the reasons I really like it aren't getting the press.

To wit, number 1: the screenshot feature.

I've said before that the Wii needs a system-level screenshotting feature, most recently in mid-August, and Metroid 3 sorta delivers on that. Once unlocked and activated, you can press up on the d-pad to save a screenshot to your Wii message center, where it can then be emailed out to other Wiis or fiddled with in the Photo Channel.

Yes, it works during cutscenes too.

To buy the screenshot tool, you need to spend a pile of those weird credits you collect during the game... three red ones, three blue ones, two gold ones and two green ones, or something like that. Red and blue come by the ton, as you get those for scanning creatures and lore in the game. Gold credits are quite a bit rarer, only awarded after beating certain bosses. The green ones are the crazies, as they come from other Metroid 3 players on your Wii Friend Code list. (Metroid 3 doesn't even need its own code, the game uses the Wii console code, just as Elebits did.)

The way it works is, you collect a fifth color credit - gray - during the game. You get one every 100 kills and at certain discoveries. For example, I've received gray credits for finding a shortcut and for finding a new area (which was odd, because the "new" area was a place that the game was telling me I had to explore.) The gray credits are vouchers and are entirely worthless to you; you have to send them to your Friends, where they transform into the prized green credits.

Basically, Nintendo found a way for you to hassle your pals into buying and playing Metroid 3. It's evil genius. But when the unlockable is as cool as a screenshot ability, I'll definitely pester [the two people on my list who own the game].

(Although Nintendo should still bring this to the system level, regardless of game.)

To wit, number 2: a much improved mapping and hint system.

I stopped playing Metroid Prime 2 when I got lost and could not figure out my next goal. Metroid Prime 3 sidesteps that ugliness by including goal reminders, in the form of an important communication from the Aurora Units. They call you every time you start up the game, so you don't have to page through your logbook to see what you should be doing. They is especially helpful to a guy like me, who doesn't necessarily play every day. I can turn it on after three days away, get my reminder of my current task, and not waste time with redundant exploring.

To wit, number 3: Mii Bobblehead.

This is another unlockable, same as the screenshot tool. Buy it, turn it on, and get this for your ship's dashboard:

I'll zoom in for the extra sweetness:

So freakin' cool.

To wit, number 4: onscreen battery lights.

Check those two HUD screenshots above. See the four rectangles in top center? That's the battery power of your Remote. Cleverly integrated into the screen design. Brilliant!

These are all little things, and I guess most people just wanted to know if the game's controls worked, so I've not seen anybody mention these particular perks. (The neatest non-feature feature I saw on the circuit was the hidden space messages from Iwata and Miyamoto.) But they make all the difference to me, small touches that showcase the obvious care that went into a AAA title.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe published on October 3, 2007 2:21 AM.

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