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 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 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 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 February 22, 2013
I'm biased, but I love Metroid!
I'm a mother of two and in my 30's and I do not play a ton of video ames, but I really love Metroid. This is a beautifully designed game with a strong female heroine and it's been reworked in a really visually stunning way. It has the same sci-fi/ fantasy element so many other more popular games have but is thankfully, in my opinion, missing the blood and guts and gore.
I have no problem with my children playing this game and they are middle school and just under. The story in great and the play is smooth and really exquisite looking. I think it's a fantastic alternative to some of the more intense games out there and a great choice if you aren't quite ready to let your kids delve head first into violent action games.
on February 12, 2014
Metroid Other M makes Metroid Prime 2 seem like an amazing game in comparison (and that game was a major disappointment). This game was awful and it had some of the worst controls and the most eye straining gameplay mechanics I've ever experienced. The entire game is played using only the Wii Mote. No joypad from the nunchuk, no plugging in a classic or GameCube controller, only the Wii mote and its awful dpad played sideways. The thing barely fits in my adult male sized hands.
There are times when you have to turn the Wii Mote around to aim it at the screen just to shoot at certain types of enemies that the game decided could only be shot by pointing the Wii Mote at the screen. And being that the Wii Mote barely aims properly, you can imagine how annoying this was. All of the other enemies in the game could be shot by simply pressing the shoot button while holding the Wii Mote sideways, no strategy, no skill needed, the game auto aims and shoots the enemies for you when you press the shoot button (one of the only 2 buttons used for gameplay, jump and shoot). This took away any chance the game could've possibly had at being fun.
The navigation through the buildings was so unbelievably confusing and you couldn't go back to certain areas after you've left them because the game wouldn't allow you to. Unlike in every other Metroid game where you could explore almost every area as often as you wanted.
Another annoying thing was having to fight side by side with some kind of galactic federation team. Instead of fighting as a solo bounty hunter like in every other Metroid game. This game was terrible and I was barely able to sit through more than 5 hours of gameplay before my head started to hurt.
I can't express how thankful I am for being able to sell this game, along with my Wii and everything I bought for it (immediately after I bought them) before I knew how crappy it all turned out to be. The game sucked, the graphics were GameCube standard, the cutscenes were stupid and they took the Metroid storyline into directions that I didn't want it to go in.
on March 2, 2014
Metriod Prime was a great Wii game. I enjoy this game from beginning to the end. The game, Metroid Other M is just not a good game. The game goes from shooter game mode to some strange mode that was just not fun to play. After a few tries it's been placed in the "Never play that game again archive".
on September 23, 2015
It's a bad Metroid game. The gameplay is really what kills it. Energy tanks are heart pieces, there are no health pickups, Samus has to recharge, you only have 50 missles, you can only use missles in first person, you can't move in first person,there are "Where's Waldo" cutscenes with absolutely no context or hints as to what to do. The dialogue is uneeded and the end of the game has a 25 minute cutscene that you can't skip.
on February 4, 2016
This is in no way like any metroid game you have ever played. however it is not a bad game - once you get over the weird story and the bad acting the game play is pretty good. Do not expect similar game play to any other metroid game.