on November 19, 2010
Metroid Other M is an enigma of sorts. You have a legendary video game icon who has a new story introduced into the series and makes noble attempts to take the formula in the past and evolve it through creative bursts. While I have always embraced the creative benchmarks in this series (ie Metroid Prime) and can acknowledge there are some good elements of this game, in the end Metroid Other M loses any sense of identity as it borrows from other games without understanding its roots while at the same time not committing to being its own game. The end result is like eating at a buffet style restaurant...there are many good things in the mix but they don't compliment one another and won't leave you with a memory of an amazing meal but rather something that filled you up.
Starting off with the good, Metroid starts off with some top of the line graphics for the Wii. In the era of HDTV's and graphical prowess, Other M taps into all of the resources of the Wii and creates some gorgeous environments. The gameplay is creative and unique with first person/third person gameplay and tries to spice up things with more quick action timing sequences and physical gameplay. I thought it was a nice touch that Samus sometimes had a more physical approach to attacking her enemies and gave the game a harder edge. The story of the game I thought was pretty solid and fit well within the Metroid universe while the script of the story was lacking, the voice acting was, for the most part, very well done.
One of the biggest letdowns of this game is the emotional disconnect the player has with Samus. Metroid games to me create a universe of solitude and abandonment. Unlike a lot of games out there that put a lot of production into how alone you are, Metroid has always put you into a place of despair without much fanfare and made you feel that you truly had little to hope for. In Other M, the solitude has been replaced for a need of grand production and fanfare which really isn't fit for Samus style. Unlike other great games that use cinematics to tell the tale, the stories have always been told within the context of the environment leaving you, the player, to your own imagination. Samus always dealt with the cards she was dealt without making a big spectacle. With the recent introduction of cinematics and dialogue, Nintendo has taken a direction of telling you HOW the story unfolds rather than giving the player a chance to discern for themselves. This results in destroying the heart of what has made Metroid so memorable.
The other largest complaint about this game is bringing together ideas that don't seem to fit. Other M struggles with sticking with a gameplay element and mastering it which results in a hodgepodge of design choices that don't quite fit together. I found it odd that there were random moments throughout the game the camera would fixate over Samus shoulder similiar to Resident Evil and force you to walk through an era in an attempt to build suspense. The problem is that Metroid isn't Resident Evil. The constant chatter you have between Adam and you and forcing you down certain paths and giving you upgrades in the process was another gameplay element that has been overused time and time again, most notably introduced in Metal Gear.
The last complaint about this game is the linearity. I mentioned above about how Metroid games used to give you a sense of solitude. In Other M, you are always commanded and told what to do which takes away the free exploration and makes you feel as if the system is always telling you what you should do next. While it could be argued that there are other Metroid games that do similiar things, usually there is a vast chasm of rooms and multiple paths that lie between where Samus currently is vs. where she had to go. In this game, the environment is very restricted in making sure you only have a couple of options and in the end, you will always end up where you intended on going. When you introduce this stronger method of guidance, it takes away the feeling that the world is 1000x's bigger than you are and puts the game more in control than you as the player. It results in a disconnected experience as instead of exploring your environment in a vast world based on your own decisions and living with those consequences, you're just doing what the game is telling you to do.
At the end of the day, Other M is not a bad game but rather an experience sprinkled with creativity and disappointment. I left the game feeling moderately entertained for the time but, in the end, will find the experience forgettable. To ensure you get the most out of it, I highly recommend a gamer come in with 0 expectations. Those who do will be the ones who stand the best chance at appreciating the games rewards. If you come in as a true Metroid fan, be warned, you will go in expecting eating at a steakhouse and realize you are dining on fast food.
on September 16, 2010
The Metroid series is one of Nintendo's finest, and the new entry, Metroid: Other M, is finally here. After the excellent first person Metroid Prime series by Retro was concluded, it was announced that Metroid was returning to both third person view and Japanese development. Many fans were made uneasy when it was announced that Team Ninja would be heavily involved in the project, but the fact that it was being headed by Yoshio Sakamoto, who has been heavily involved with Metroid from the beginning, gave hope that the game would live up to its classic name. Sakamoto promised that this game would flesh out Samus's character as the most story heavy Metroid yet, but has this decision ultimately backfired?
The story is the most controversial aspect of this game. Rather than opt for the minimalist approach of the other titles in the series, Metroid: Other M inserts a full blown Final Fantasy XIII style cinematic experience. The story begins with a recap of the events that took place in Super Metroid's final moments and leads into Samus receiving a distress signal from a space station called "the bottle ship." She arrives to find out that the Galactic Federation has already sent a squad of soldiers, led by her old commanding officer Adam Malkovich. She ultimately joins up with them and politely agrees to follow Adam's orders.
The most jarring aspect of the story is the way it fleshes out the character of Samus. While Samus has had spoken lines before in Metroid: Fusion, but they were never overly intrusive and didn't reveal a whole lot about her. However, in Other M, she not only talks, she talks a lot. For a series that has largely lived on letting the player form their own ideas about the character of Samus, this is a bit disconcerting. The personality she reveals as she narrates the storyline is bound to infuriate many fans who have long seen Samus as a stoic and strong individual who is in control of her emotions.
Throughout the game, Samus has many flashbacks to her time in the Galactic Federation with Adam which portray her as an insecure little girl who has trouble handling the fact that she's a woman in a man's world. From giving a thumbs down as a salute, to her monologues about how father figure Adam is the only one who understands her, this becomes cheesy and embarrassing to watch. Back on the bottle ship Samus continues to act submissive to Adam as she instantly agrees to disable all of her abilities at his request with zero hesitation. Later on in the game, there's a scene where Samus is so frozen in fear that she is unable to do anything. Samus comes across as insecure, uncertain, and even submissive at times.
Watching the story play out, it is incredibly difficult to believe that this could be the same bounty hunter who has courageously saved the galaxy on numerous occasions. In an attempt to make Samus more human and relatable, Other M goes overboard. It's one thing to have emotions. It's another thing to be crippled by them to the point of endangering lives. For a game series that has never had a lot of story and never really needed one, I have to question why the game creators felt the need to insert this melodramatic poorly plotted mess. The story is a major part of the game, and since you can't skip cut scenes, it is impossible to ignore.
Once you complete the game, a cinema mode unlocks where you can re-watch all of the cut-scenes strung together like a movie. Whether you'd want to is another story.
The gameplay in M:oM is also a controversial element. Other M opts to use only the Wii pointer and nothing else for control. You hold it sideways like a NES controller leaving only the d-pad and two buttons for input. If you want to fire a missile, you have to rotate the Wii remote so it is pointing at the screen, which changes the perspective to first person. This shift is rather awkward, and you can't move while you are in this view aside from an awkward dodge maneuver accomplished by quickly shifting the pointer off the side of the screen. The controls aren't broken, but they are not particularly good, either. They work, but only just.
The game itself plays more like an action game than a Metroid game. Almost all of the exploration you would expect from the series is gone, and for the vast majority of the game you are restricted to a linear path where doors will often lock behind you to prevent revisiting previous areas. There are some hidden missile expansions and energy tanks along the way, but the game pretty much tells you their exact position once you clear a room of enemies. The game only opens up to allow free exploration at the very end. This exploration makes it very clear why they decided to restrict the main story line so much, because when you have a few options of where to go, every other area is "now loading" for ten seconds, especially when you use the speed booster.
The combat in this game is very easy. Due to the limitations of using a digital control pad in 3d space, Other M includes a dodge move that occurs automatically when you are pressing a direction on the d-pad. This means you will almost never get hit by anything as long as you are moving around. Samus's gun also auto-aims, so most of the time you can just shoot blindly down a corridor and not worry about whether or not you hit anything. The only challenge comes from shifting to first person to fire a missile, which is only required for boss fights the majority of the time. This is more annoying and awkward than difficult, since it merely involves waiting until you have a large enough window of time to get a missile off without getting hit.
Throughout the game, Adam restricts the use of Samus's abilities until he deems them necessary, which means no more finding your abilities along the way, and also leads to illogical moments such as Adam not deciding it was appropriate to authorize the Varia suit to protect Samus from heat damage until she is already most of the way through the lava sector taking heavy heat damage along the way. This approach also means that there are no substantial new powerups for Samus to acquire. All of the significant abilities Samus has in this game are repeats from Super Metroid.
Also worth noting are frustrating sequences that involve freezing you in the first person perspective until you find some tiny hard to find object. Often you will pass the Wii cursor directly over the object you are supposed to examine without the game registering it, leading to a lot of time wasted passing over everything over and over in an attempt to find what you are meant to scan. These moments completely kill the pacing of the game.
After you complete the game, every door unlocks, and you are finally completely free to finish your collecting spree of leftover expansions. At this point, there is also an extra boss and epilogue sequence to find. However, this can all be done in less than twelve hours the first time through, and once you do, the only reason to replay the game is the hard mode that unlocks upon 100% completion. There is also a cinema mode and art gallery that unlocks. If you don't care about getting everything, a regular main story play-through only lasts around eight hours.
The graphics look pretty good for a Wii game, but the actual art design is lacking. The game is filled with generic looking hallways and rooms that don't really stand out visually, and the themes never go beyond the typical generic fire, ice, and jungle areas. The only thing that stands out about them is the holographic effect that appears sometimes to remind you that these are only simulations on a space station. One high point of the visuals is that the animations are some of the most fluid I've seen on the Wii.
One of the most disappointing aspects of Metroid: Other M is that the game has almost no music during actual game play. The background noise consists mostly ambient sounds and, very rarely, one or two recycled tunes from past Metroid games. Expansions are also missing the familiar tune that used to play when you picked them up in other Metroid games. This is a very disappointing aspect of the game. The voice acting is alright, but it's not spectacular. Samus sounds monotone throughout the game and you'll be hearing her a lot. The sound effects for weapons and enemies are adequate.
In more ways than one, this game is a massive disappointment. The game is playable, but in a series as outstanding as Metroid, it sticks out like a sore thumb, and even taken on its own terms it fails to impress.
on November 19, 2010
Super Metroid is one of my favorite games of all time. And since I have over 1500 games and spent 8 years as a professional game critic, that's saying something. Other M is supposedly a direct sequel. I couldn't ask for much more. Until I played through it.
Metroid: Other M disappointed me. I was excited to see a return to third-person, 2D gameplay, and intrigued by the potential of adding more story elements. The former worked okay, but lacked smoothness. Controlling Samus in 3D space with a controller as simple as the Wii's is not optimal. I found the auto-targeting wrong often and movement wonky. But once you get your weapons powered-up -- including some old favorites -- it really starts to shine. By then, though, the game is almost done.
The story wasn't what I hoped. As a bounty hunter, Samus shines when it's her alone against the world. In Other M, it's her and a platoon of marines and their bossy commanding officer against the world. It just doesn't work as well -- especially since Samus is forced to do whatever the boss says.
"Look, I'm being destroyed by fire monsters, but I can't use my ice beam because Adam didn't tell me it's okay. Oh, fiddlesticks!" Give me a break! One of the main story elements doesn't even reach an actual resolution -- as if the writer just forgot about it.
On the positive tip, the boss fights are pretty slick, holding their own against other recent action games. Also, this is a very pretty Wii game. The map is huge, with lots of ground to cover.
It'll take about 10 hours to beat if you're not rushing, and there's an epilogue which adds more longevity. There isn't as much tedious back-tracking like in Prime, thankfully. Getting 100% will be no easy task, though the game as a whole is easier than I thought it would be.
It's novel to point the Wii remote at your TV to scan objects and fire missiles, but it can be clunky. I really wish there were more things to scan and read about -- like in the Prime series. I want to learn more about Bottle Ship and the creatures I'm fighting!
If you temper your expectations, you'll find a lot to like in Metroid: Other M. I played the game to the end, so it couldn't have been too bad. Just don't expect something that lives up to the pedigree of this franchise. This will be on no one's game-of-the-year list.
on January 2, 2014
Quite what anyone was thinking when this was greenlighted is beyond me, as what resulted was a game which no Metroid fan could fail to hate, and which from a more objective view has little to nothing to offer which another game hasn't done better.
From a Metroid perspective, the game is a brutal slap in the face. In the game in which the decision was made to expand on Samus' backstory, little consistency in story or characters is to be had throughout, and players of any other Metroid titles will be quick to note the numerous flagrant inconsistencies with previous games. Moreover, story is often used as an element to limit exploration and player action rather than expanding it over the game; this includes arbitrarily locking doors that limit where the player can go with no real explanation, unlocking upgrades because an unlikeable character gives Samus permission to do so (when she already had it), and even worse. It's hard not to hate every character's guts and the story a short while into the game.
Gameplay wise the adventure becomes quite linear, losing replay value, killing the exploration that made previous games successful. Even non-Metroid fans will soon become bored with being spoon-fed every acquirable item. The upgrades themselves add little to the overall gameplay, and are altogether too incremental to maintain novelty. Though environments are decently rendered and composed, lack of camera angle control prevents detracts from this, and the simple fact is that the Prime games clearly look more fleshed out in most regards.
Combat could have been compelling, and brought new fast-paced action to the series. Unfortunately, combat ultimately boils down to repeatedly mashing the directional pad to automatically dodge attacks and unleash a counter, and the choice to eschew both a lock-on system and a useful manual aiming during normal run and gun mode means even more control is taken away from the player as the game takes over aiming in large part. An awkward first person mode for missile aiming and scanning forces the player to stand still and inevitably take hits, though at least the transition is relatively seamless. The end result is a repetitive combat experience which quickly becomes tedious, and is altogether too easy to finish.
Overall, what we are left with it a game which can barely stand on its own and account of terrible story and surprisingly boring gameplay, and which fails to carry forward any of the good aspects of the series it purports to be a part of.
on December 25, 2014
As someone who's been a long time fan of the Metroid series, it pains me to say that I can't recommend this game. The main character Samus, is utterly destroyed in this game. She's been one of the most iconic female characters in gaming and is one of the most powerful in Nintendo history, but in this game, she's been turned into this unthinking, emotionless, slave-like person, who can't even apply common sense to save her friends until she's actively told to do so. That's not even the worst part about this game, there are several glaring issues that go with it, from several plot-holes in the story (For example: One major part of the story is completely forgotten near the end of the game.), awkward controls (You have to use a D-Pad to control a Samus in a 3D plain and you can't use missiles unless you're in 1st person mode, which prevents you from moving.), repetitive mandatory fights that get old fast, a complete lack of challenge due to the ever useful "Sense Move" allowing you to dodge everything that comes your way, the game relies on nostalgia to sell itself, and the ever infamous game breaking glitch.
For those of you who don't know, the game breaking glitch occurs if you backtrack after getting the Ice Beam power up, which causes a certain door to lock SEVERAL HOURS later in the game. Worse yet, this door isn't optional, so you have to go through it in order to progress with the game. This forces you to use Gecko codes to hack the game, or you can use the other, less desirable method: Restart the game at the very beginning.
Approach this game with caution folks. It's probably better to just rent this game or look up a let's play on YouTube if you're curious about it.
on October 12, 2010
For the last 10 years, Nintendo has been constantly changed what Metroid is supposed to be. Metroid Fusion attempted to follow in the footsteps of the original trilogy that creater Gunpei had made, although he had intended it to never be more than a trilogy, and Nintendo did at least wait until his untimely death to continue the series. Metroid Prime, however, at Miyamoto's request, was changed from the original idea of a Third Person Shooter (which would have been closer to the Metroid style) to a First Person Shooter. The term First Person Adventure was made up to fool people who weren't into shooters but were curious about Metroid or had been fans. Despite hesitation by the fans that a change might ruin the series, they were surprised at how well it was done. Meanwhile, Fusion was chided because it was too linear, although there's nothing inherently wrong with linearity and a great many games followed such gameplay and it led them to greatness.
Following that, Retro was left to their own devices to persue the Prime trilogy, and Classic 2-D Metroid was handed to Sakamoto, who decided he was going to rewrite the series as he saw fit. This much was proven with the complete retcon of the original game in Metroid: Zero Mission. Sakamoto has stayed true to his vision of taking the once beloved series and turning it on its ear. He changed Samus from a mysterious Bounty Hunter who always got the job done, into a ditsy blonde who makes seemingly ridiculous mistakes like taking her suit off before checking she was in the clear. Well, Metroid: Other M follows that new tradition nicely. One of the problems with Metroid Prime 3 was that Samus felt left out in all the scenes because she never spoke (although she has had written dialogue in previous games). Perhaps in an attempt to change this, Samus now never shuts up. At every opportunity she will release a deluge of backstory showing flashbacks, fears, and enough emotional issues to make Freud giddy with delight.
Along with her lengthy emotional baggage, Samus is teamed up with the oh-so-common politically correct group of Federation Soldiers, who've traded in their now familiar white armour for a strange blue one. Anthony Higgs, the token black (no offense) with a BFG and a penchant for wit that will remove all severity from most any scene he's in. Then you have the asian with his glasses, the good ol' boy with his beard and mustache, the paranoid hacker, and a traitor in their midst. On top of all that, you have the suddenly father-figure of Adam returning from Metroid Fusion where so many had presumed he was a former love interest. Sakamoto pulled a curve ball there, but the idea is still there and neatly tucked away into yet another of the many flash backs, though I shall not spoil it for those inclined to play it. Oh, and do be on the look out for Samus' new magical mole/beauty spot which comes and goes from scene to scene. And marvel at how predictable the plot gets, and cringe at how broken Samus has become, constantly seeking acceptance and no longer independant (or even raised by the Chozo, who've vanished from the game). And do, oh yes do enjoy watching Samus switch off all her upgrades and powers 5 minutes into the game until she is "authorized" to use them, even if that means going into situations she is technically capable of dealing with yet can not.
And by all means, I do suggest people give it a try, but nothing more than a rental, unless you just HAVE to have the game. There's little replay value, although once you beat it you can go back in and find a secret boss and an extended ending sequence. But be forewarned that it won't be available on Hard Mode, not that I mind cause I think the Hard Mode was rendered pointless (and I've never cared for them at any rate). But let me explain.
If you want to play this, do it for the gameplay itself and try very hard to ignore the backstory which contradicts so much that came before or the fact that Metroid suddenly feels very Japanese, though Samus was never meant to be. The gameplay is mostly solid. The third person action is smooth and responsive and very, very enjoyable. The gameplay graphics are vivid, crisp, and very well done on the Wii, though I can't say it's the best looking game I've ever seen on it. The enemies are so perfectly rendered, looking exactly like they did in Super Metroid or Metroid Fusion or whatever game many of the enemies originated in. Which isn't to say the new/original enemies look bad, cause they certainly don't! The Power Suit and Varia Suit look well made, the silly "butt" the Prime suit had is now gone.. pity the useless Zero Suit returns, and looking tackier than ever. Samus comes across as a big blue Barbie Doll, and about as well endowned...
Sorry, getting carried away again. The "auto-lock on" during normal gameplay is not as bad as some had feared and in fact mades the gameplay that much more frantic when you've got too many targets to lock on accurately. The items are fairly well hidden even though you will be told something is in the room on occasion (Super Metroid and Fusion both had that though, so no saying it's a new feature); you still have to figure out how to find them and some are decidedly cunning. The first person gameplay is a little.. out of place, but I suppose that can't be helped. Also, gone are the once myriad power-ups dropped by baddies to restore health and ammo, instead Samus has Concentration (which is kind of silly and absolute rubbish if you need the health in a boss fight). The music, what there is, is well done and very fitting with its ambient feel.
No, by all means, the gameplay is not that bad, and I mostly enjoyed that. It's just that the very heavy hand of Sakamoto in the direction he's taken the series is hard to ignore and it feels like it is weighing the game down. That's the big hurdle a fan has to get over to enjoy this title, and I have to say I think it's a bit too big for me to manage. And though he was attempting to Japanify the game, as it has never been all that popular in Japan, has failed miserably. I guess he didn't realize that if 7+ games over 20 years hasn't swayed the general populace, than no amount of eye candy (which Samus has decidedly become) is going to change the fact that they just don't care all that much. In fact, I do believe the game has had terrible sales in Japan, though I don't know all the figures.
I am glad I did not have to pay $50 USD for this, because it certainly wasn't worth it. But if you can find it cheap, it's not too bad, in the end. If nothing else, at least we have Anthony Higgs, and the hidden boss fight is probably the most satisfying piece of fan service the series has ever seen, and certainly the only kind I like seeing.. none of this "oh no, my suit came off" rubbish of later games.
on October 12, 2010
When I first saw the announcement trailer for Metroid Other M during a live Nintendo E3 event, I was ecstatic! The return of pseudo-2D Metroid complete with old favorite enemies like Mother Brain, and the inhabitants of Planet Zebes...what more could you want?!
Well, it turns out, you could be left wanting a lot more. The game is technically solid. Gameplay is tight, the graphics are excellent and the fighting mechanics, (after a short learning curve), are enjoyable. The game falls apart in the story-telling. Now, I'm not going to say that I need a rich full story in my Metroid experience, it was the game's creators that said I was going to get one. We were supposed to delve into Samus' back story and find out what makes her tick...instead we got a handful of blurry incidents from her past that may or may not be loosely connected to current situation.
No mention of the Chozo, the race who more than any other, are responsible for her being who she is. The raid on K2L that led to the murder of her parents is mentioned in passing! That was the impetus for her being `adopted' by the Chozo and the infusion of their blood is what made her the skilled, deadly warrior she is today...nothing is mentioned of this. We do get lots of innocuous info about Adam and his son, I think, who was killed in a something-or-other...and something about the Federation developing Bio-Weapons, (again). Very disappointing.
Fun game to play, but fails to deliver on its promise of the real story of the woman behind the visor.
A real shame.
on July 11, 2015
Let me start off with saying something good: the graphics are beautiful. Long story short, it's a bad Metroid movie with QTEs.
The graphics are the only thing I can call "good"; everything else is terrible. I won't say anything about the story because everyone knows how bad that is, and that's Sakamoto's fault. The gameplay is terrible regardless:
Dodging is just a QTE. Missiles are worthless because you can't move while firing them. You don't aim your shots most of the time; instead you just face in the general direction of an enemy and the game automatically fires at it. You can replenish missiles and health at wil. Combat feels more like a chore than a game.
There is no exploration because in the rare even where a room has more than two exits, one is usually just flat-out locked your first time there. You simply follow a path the entire game. It also occasionally locks you into a slow walk mode where you're forced to procede at a snail's pace.
The enemy design is terrible and I only really liked the extra boss and one other boss. There's a 4-legged tree miniboss with only one attack (easily dodged with your QTE powers!) but has excessive health to the point where it takes over a minute of spamming attacks at it to kill it. Retro really liked it, because you have to fight it again. And a third time. It never has more than one attack. The attack is missiles. It's a tree that fires missiles.
Samus stumped by her mortal nemesis, a slight slope!
Spend five minutes locked in slow walking mode. Upon reaching your destination, get teleported back to where you started by a cutscene and slow walk the path again!
Samus hears loud noise, wonders if it was a Furby.
on July 25, 2013
I really liked the action in this game. I liked how they gave Samus excellent melee & finishing moves. The weapons were good as usual like they were in past Metroid games. I really enjoyed the boss battles. The graphics looked great to me, even in 2013. The controls were done well for the most part. I like the idea and feeling of switching between 3rd and 1st person. In first person mode I had fun blasting enemies with missiles, charge shots, and locking the grappling hook before swinging back to 3rd person mode. My only issue was not being able to move in first person mode. Scanning large areas was quite a chore. A few of the enemies were tough to lock as well. If there is anyway the possible that they can allow you to move in 1st person mode while still keeping the 3rd person element, I would have given this game 5 plus stars! I really enjoyed the level designs. The sounds were really good. They didn't have the eerie music that I like playing as much as past metroid games. When the music is playing it's great! I personally didn't like how Samus had to get permission to use weapons she already had. She is a bounty hunter that plays by her own rules. I understand that she had to agree to follow her former superior officer's rules to participate in the mission, but she shouldn't have to consult with him when it was life or death or the only way you can advance in the game. The power bomb was the only thing I can see her getting permission on. I can understand why the story irritated many. I didn't mind the emotion of the story. I didn't mind Samus narrating her past at the beginning to set the story line. Samus is a loner bounty hunter and really has no one to interact with. I have to have interaction in my video game story lines. I just got a little annoyed towards the end of the game because of the LONG break in all of the fun and furious action I was having. It took awhile before the action to crank back up. Once it did, It made up for the break in action. I hope the same team works on the next game for the Wii U and really utilizes the game pad. If they improve the story line and first person controls, they will have another hit on their hands!
on September 5, 2010
I'll start this review with a caveat: I am an enormous Metroid fan. I've played and beaten literally every Metroid game with the exception of the first two for the NES. I love the style, the atmospheric storytelling, Samus as a strong female character - it's a very beloved series to me.
Team Ninja ruined the name of Metroid with Other M.
I'll break this down.
I have to hand it to them, graphically, this is an amazing looking game. It's smooth and polished, from the pre-rendered CG cutscenes to the in-game graphics.
Unfortunately, that's about all there is that's good about this game.
I loved exploring the worlds of Metroid: deep jungles, dark caverns, flying cities... And I hated Team Ninja's Bottle Ship (the spaceship upon which the entirety of Other M takes place). For the first half hour, I was quite nervous about the level design, as I was running down long hallway after long hallway. What kind of spaceship consists entirely of long, empty, metallic hallways? Then I got to a jungle area, and my fears were eased - but only briefly. I quickly became enraged as I discovered that literally 90% of the rooms have one entrance, and one exit. If you are not LITERALLY running down a hallway, then you are almost always still FUNCTIONALLY doing so - your goal is to move from one end of the room to another, in the exact means that Team Ninja wants you to. Time after time again I had to look up walkthroughs online because I could NOT figure out how I was to progress - all too often, it was because of a morph ball opening was tucked away in some corner of the room, almost impossible to see unless you already knew where to look.
Which brings me to my next point..
Okay, the running around vs. first-person switching actually wasn't too horrible.
What WAS horrible was every time you encounter a story-specific mini-game that I'll call "Find the pixel." I call this "find the pixel" because at various points in the story, you'll be forced into first-person mode and your goal will be to find in the environment a story-related clue... except that these clues are hidden deep in the environment and you literally have to focus your cursor DIRECTLY over the pixel that Team Ninja has decreed to be the target.
Example (mild spoilers, but really I'm just saving you some frustration): One of these moments happens in a grassy clearing. Your ultimate target is alien blood. Sounds straightforward, right? Wrong. The alien blood is GREEN. GREEN BLOOD IN A GRASSY CLEARING. Thanks, Team Ninja, for wasting 10 minutes of my life on that asinine moment, as I rotated around and around, scouring the environment for the clue.
Oh, also, in previous Metroids I loved finding upgrades and becoming more and more powerful. That's nonexistent here, as Samus starts off with all of her powers, but decides that she needs authorization from her superiors to use them. That sounds ok... except when you're burning to death in lava and your superior refuses to give you authorization to unlock your Varia Suit.
This method of unlocking occurs for every single power... except one. They do NOT tell you that that power is unlocked, and Team Ninja expects you that in the throes of Samus dying, you are to suddenly feel inspired to attempt to use a power that has never been authorized - and to remember how to use it from the tutorial, which you probably played through more than 10 hours ago.
Oh, also, there are less than a dozen primary enemy types. You'll spend almost the entire game fighting slight variations of the exact same enemies. Fun!
The music for this game is practically nonexistent. The majority of the game will play 30-second loops of ambient noise. The cutscenes will employ sweeping orchestrated music that swells at the cheesiest moments, making it impossible to take what's occurring on-screen seriously. But then again, that's probably not even possible, because:
The story in Metroid: Other M is the single worst story I've ever experienced tied to a mainline Nintendo franchise. It has glaring plotholes, horrible prose, and poor voice acting. Remember the baby Metroid from Super Metroid? In an effort to jam down our throats that Samus has maternal instincts, Team Ninja has her refer to that Metroid as "the baby" almost 20 times within the first 5 minutes of the game. It's nauseating. If I get attached to a puppy, I don't constantly refer to it as "a baby." It's a puppy. I'm going to call it a puppy. Ergo, IT'S A METROID. CALL IT THAT.
The translation was of the text was good, in that the vocabulary is sophisticated and that there are no grammatical errors. Other than that, it was horrific. The dialogue sounded as if it were written by a highly intelligent 14-year-old who writes vampire fanfiction in his spare time - overly dramatic, gauche, maudlin, and inappropriate.
A key line, delivered by a Galactic Federation official: "Samus, you're forbidden from using Power Bombs. They're dangerous against living things. That's a nice way of saying they can vaporize humans!"
..... Excuse me? Whoever wrote that needs to be struck in the face with a copy of Ender's Game. Or Neuromancer. Or any piece of science fiction worth reading.
The gameplay mechanics are acceptable. However, the level design is excruciatingly boring, the joy of upgrading Samus' abilities are completely forgone for the sake of a laughable Authorization mechanic, and the story - the very reason you are playing the game - is wretched.
To those who say, "You just don't like a story-heavy Metroid!" No, all Metroid games have story, especially the Prime series. They simply employ atmospheric storytelling devices - skillfully - instead of forcing you to watch laughable cutscene after cutscene unfold.
To those who say, "I loved the development of the human side of Samus, seeing her vulnerabilities!" - If you mean to say you liked seeing a strong, independent, highly intelligent female character reduced to a maudlin, overly emotional cliche that has absolutely no resemblance to her actions as established by the Metroid franchise... then that's your own prerogative.
I will never buy another Team Ninja game again.