Hands-on: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

We go hands on with Retro's Wii-powered FPS and make a puddle in amazement

We're not sure which bit of the last fifteen minutes was more exciting: playing the astonishing Metroid Prime 3 on Nintendo's Wii or pissing off a forty-strong queue of people by flaunting our media prowess and leaping straight to the front. Either way, we're so elated now, we can barely type.

Ever since Nintendo unveiled the Wii remote at last year's E3, the company's been trumpeting it as the perfect console controller for FPS's, bringing the genre up to snuff with its PC counterpart as far as ease and accuracy of play goes. Were they right? Well, yes, with a few reservations.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption's E3 demo kicks off outside your trusty ship in the huge industrial expanse of a dilapidated space station. There's not much going on at first, thankfully, so it's as good a time as any to familiarise yourself with the controls. As with a lot of the games on display, the nunchuck attachment is essential, with the analogue stick taking care of forward and back movement, as well as strafing. The trigger comes into play when you want to activate your morph ball manoeuvre and there're a few nifty motion-sensing surprises in store too - but we'll get onto those in a bit.

Aiming and turning relies on the remote and, to be honest, is all a bit alien at first. Gently shifting the wand slides your aiming reticule around the screen with such immediacy that it's almost like playing with a light gun. It's probably the single biggest advantage the Wii remote offers and it's such a remarkable step up from the clumsy aiming offered with traditional dual-stick controllers, you seriously won't ever want to go back. As a quick example: exiting the first area requires aiming your reticule at four locks sealing a door then simply flicking your wrist and tapping the remote's main button (mapped to shoot, while the trigger under the wand causes Samus to jump). We had all targets obliterated in a matter of seconds - compare that to the cumbersome faff you'd usually have to endure and it's amazing progress as far as control goes.

Turning is a slightly different matter though and we're not entirely convinced by the mechanics just yet. By shifting the pointer toward the left or right of the screen, Samus spins in that direction. Although it's smartly implemented, your actual turning speed is surprisingly pedestrian, meaning it feels slightly unresponsive and isn't quite up to par with the lightning fast strafe-and-spin possible with a keyboard and mouse. In fairness, it's not something we're going to worry about just yet - we've already been told the E3 demos have been toned down to make them more accessible on the show floor and a simple menu option would fix things right up in the final game.

Metroid's E3 demo is basically designed as a one long corridor run with a couple of set pieces intended to show off some of the game's niftiest features. The first of these came in the form of an impassable door with a scannable panel to its left. Hitting right or left on the d-pad brings up the scan visor and it's simply a case of pointing at your target and hitting the remote button. A successful scan opens the panel, revealing a convenient handle. Move Samus toward it and she'll automatically grab on - this is where things get really clever. Our handy PR guy left us for a minute to figure this one out for ourselves but we're so used to working with traditional controllers, we were flumoxed. To open the door, it's merely a case of moving your arm forward and Samus' arm will mimick your movements. Push in the lever, twist the remote to the left as Samus follows, then pull back to release. We just physically manipulated the game world - yay Nintendo!

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