I’m not familiar with the reviewer, Tom Chick, and I probably won’t become familiar with him, either. While he’s done his homework and he possesses some knowledge of the franchise, the reader can’t really tell if this is through true experience or more of a Wikipedia job. While I’ve warned against ingrained game industry journalists taking a haughty stance with the mass media, there’s a difference between fearing their intrusion and rightly noting the deficiencies in their ability, at times, to opine on actual game design.
Here’s a quote from the Variety.com review:
In addition to being borderline nonsensical, “Metroid Prime 3” is also difficult. It has the audacity to say, “Welcome to this strange place. Now go figure it out.” Much of the game consists of groping around strange places, puzzling out devices, and traveling back and forth to find new powers, which serve also as “keys” to get to previously unreachable areas.
Exploration of new and unfamiliar territory, retracing one’s steps, and finding new powers to reach new areas are key elements of the Metroid series. Yes, these things are difficult, but they are also defining aspects of Metroid. Audacious to non-gamers, perhaps. Not so much to gamers.
Another quote from Variety.com:
Too much of the time, though, “Metroid Prime 3” is more tedious than epic. This is particularly true of the boss battles, which are exhaustive affairs requiring dedication, patience, and most importantly, a familiarity with the vocabulary of videogames: double jumping, circle strafing, shooting weak points for massive damage, etc. Those who previously used the Wii only for party games will need a 13 year-old boy to explain it all.
Again, this guy doesn’t appear to have played videogames before, because he seems surprised about how boss battles work. That “13 year-old boy” comment is even more ignorant.