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2.0 out of 5 stars Metroid: Other Movie - A Lifetime Channel Original, September 16, 2010
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This review is from: Metroid: Other M (Video Game)
*Introduction*
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?

*Story*
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.

*Gameplay*
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.

*Replay Value*
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.

*Graphics*
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.

*Sound*
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.

*Overall*
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.
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Comments

Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 11-20 of 30 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2011 7:33:57 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 1, 2011 2:32:33 AM PDT
John says:
Burr. Female characters with "fragility, submissiveness, or vulnerability" have their place, but it is inconsistent with who Samus is. It is possible to portray an imperfect character without making her into a sniveling weakling who complies with the most irrational of orders. We already knew who Samus Aran "really is," and she already received characterization in Metroid Fusion that was consistent with that knowledge. Fusion makes it clear that she resents taking orders and is not afraid to go her own way, much to the frustration of the Adam computer. From the other games it's clear that she's a lone wolf who has consistently overcome the toughest odds and most horrific monsters while keeping her composure. She has even worked with the GF before, and never did she allow them to order her as far as limiting her most basic protective abilities. With Other M, Nintendo has pandered to the type of gamer who wants nothing more than a submissive fantasy of a strong female character. If you were able to enjoy it, then I'm glad for you.

Also, I'm sorry if you didn't like the Lifetime joke, but judging by the other comments you are the only one who can't seem to "make much sense" of it.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2011 8:03:22 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 14, 2011 10:54:21 AM PDT
John says:
J. Horton. I have not read the manga, but I have heard of it. Thank you for the link. I will read it when I find time. From what I understand, it happens near the beginning of Samus' career, before any of the games. Other M is chronologically the second to last game in the series, and by this point she is a weathered bounty hunter who has defeated the space pirates and their horrific leaders several times over without breaking a sweat. She should be brimming with confidence by the time of Other M. If Other M had limited the uncertain and submissive characterization to the flashbacks, it would have been more understandable. However, in Other M she is portrayed as uncertain and infatuated with Adam through the whole game. I have also heard people say that despite having a freakout scene in the manga, she overcomes her fears by the end of the story, making her character development in the manga (which tracks with the other games where she has faced this same trauma repeatedly without batting an eyelash) inconsistent with her behavior in Other M. Other M is also inconsistent with her portrayal in Metroid Fusion as a strong willed woman who resents taking orders. On some level I appreciate that Sakamoto wanted to add some depth to Samus, but it was executed very poorly.

Posted on Jun 1, 2011 1:05:00 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 1, 2011 1:12:35 AM PDT]

Posted on Jun 17, 2011 12:42:31 AM PDT
Maybe this is why I've had such a hard time finding Corruption in non-gaming stores: They're all bought out! (I do have my own though:)

Posted on Mar 18, 2012 9:52:52 PM PDT
Skitz says:
I don't agree with this at all lol. Your review sounded pretty convincing from reading but I decided to give the game a chance anyways. It's one of the best Wii games there is. An I've been playing Metroid since the NES and don't see the problems. You guys are too picky. Always complaining about this and that. When you keep such a narrow mind, you miss out on alot of great games, and sour good ones in the process. It's all in your mind, snap out of it lol. It's because of these types of fans that Nintendo has such a hard time trying to please their crowd. You guys are almost impossible man

Posted on Mar 29, 2012 10:18:01 AM PDT
Jordan G. says:
I love how this game flesh out Samus's character. They did a wonderful job at this. By the way, this game takes place after Super Metroid and before Metroid Fusion, admittedly played neither of those games yet. Only the original Metroid and Metroid Prime 1 and this game.

But anyway, there is a good reason why Samus's deactivates her abilities, she respects her father figure Adam... She does this out of respect, not out to agree with him instantly.

As for Ridley, there is a reason why she got scared of Ridley, after having so much battle with him, thought that she was done with him, lost her guard and she suffers from PTSD, aka, Post-Trauma Stress Disorder. I don't see her as a weakling. I see her as a woman who can overcome any obstacle in any situation being throwned at. This is why I disagree with this review. You guys are looking for the wrong parts of this game that you miss why it's happening, you just can't see the reason behind it.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 24, 2012 6:20:36 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 24, 2012 6:28:45 AM PDT
Excellent, i think the same, and some of the players complain about the lack of hints.. (whath?) that for me was cool.

and he say: "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"

and the spacecraft areas, some "tropical like zones"? make a suggestion.

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 1:59:43 PM PDT
MovieLover! says:
"...Samus comes across as insecure, uncertain, and even submissive at times."

GEE JUST LIKE A REGULAR AVERAGE HUMAN BEING, HUH!?

SHAME ON THOSE NINTENDO DEVELOPERS FOR MAKING A QUIET DULL EMOTIONLESS W.O.M.A.N. SEEM "INSECURE, UNCERTAIN, and SUBMISSIVE". (hyper sarcasm).

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 2, 2012 4:19:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 2, 2012 4:27:12 PM PDT
John says:
MovieLover... Samus is not a regular average human being. That's the point. She is a super soldier raised by aliens who had been through many horrific otherworldly situations while retaining composure and dignity. If this were a game set in the 1960s about an American suburban housewife, you might have a point. As it is, she's a character whose gender was once irrelevant reduced to a simpering submissive female stereotype to appeal to the sick sexual fantasies of teenage boys. You seem to have a dim view of women considering the way you emphasize the word as if those negative traits are par for the course for a "W.O.M.A.N."...

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 9, 2012 12:44:28 PM PDT
J. Frank says:
I agree with your review completely. This was not a Metroid game, and in fact like to pretend this game never happened. Samus is one of my favorite video game characters and this game totally ruined her... I have gone back and played Super Metroid and the Prime trilogy to get this disgusting taste out of my mouth.

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