First of all let me apologize to anyone out there that may not enjoy or care about the Metroid series because the rest of this week will be a comparison of the past games in the Metroid Prime trilogy. Throughout the week I am going to be comparing my personal beliefs as to which of the three Metroid Prime games is the best in certain categories. I will touch on things such as graphics, enemies, weapons, and puzzles. Today I will be discussing controls.
The one thing that really sets Metroid apart from other first-person games, in the control department, is the option to lock-on to enemies. The much loved Z-targeting system, initially conceived in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, allows you to lock-on to certain enemies and strafe around them. In MP and MP2 when you are locked onto an enemy every shot that is fired is directed towards that enemy. MP3 offers a slightly different take on the lock-on by allowing you to aim independently of your targeted enemy. This is extremely helpful later in the game during the more intense battles against multiple enemies. MP3 also allows you, due to the differing Wiimote controls, to strafe without having to target an enemy. This is a huge benefit when trying to cruise around the environments.
To add to the brilliant control setup that is the Metroid series, MP3 added some context sensitive situations involving the Wiimote. Rather than coming to a door and pushing "A" to open it, Retro Studios implemented various motion-based activities. There are times you must twist, pull, turn, and lift various levers or knobs to open or adjust doors and switches. And it all happens at a 1:1 ratio to your real life movements. Perhaps the best addition to the controls in MP3 or it's predecessors is the IR aiming that the Wiimote allows. You are free to look up and down as well as left and right similar to how you control a cursor with a mouse and keyboard.
1) Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
2) TIE: Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
Visors play a large role in the Metroid Prime games, especially if you are a gamer who cares about the story. In order to gain the most out of the story you must use Samus' Scan Visor to scan the surroundings and read more information about the history of the planet and characters. In addition to the Scan Visor there are multiple other visors, some unique to each game. MP has the X-Ray Visor and Thermal Visor, MP2 has the Dark Visor and the Echo Visor, MP3 has the X-Ray Visor and the Command Visor. You will see the X-Ray Visor from MP below.
I find both the Dark Visor and rarely used Echo Visor to be pretty lame and uneventful when compared to the other options MP and MP3 offer. Both of the X-Ray Visors have simliar effects but based on appearance alone I prefer the look of MP's X-Ray Visor to that of MP3. One feature that the X-Ray Visor in MP3 has is it allows you to see through enemies bodies and determine weak points where you zoom in and take them out from the inside. That leads us to a comparison of the remaining visors: Thermal (MP) and Command (MP3). I personally find the Command Visor to be more appealing in regards to originality but in terms of total usefulness the Thermal Visor is superior. The Command Visor is only useful in rooms with no ceiling whereas the Thermal Visor is useful in any room. In the end, I must give the nod to MP3 for creativity and a new feature for the X-Ray Visor, but only by a tiny margin.
1) Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
2) Metroid Prime
3) Metroid Prime 2: Echoes