Customer Review

14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wasted Potential, October 12, 2010
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Metroid: Other M (Video Game)
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.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 20, 2010 9:19:19 PM PDT
I think that you are one of the few reviewers with a deep understanding of the Metroid franchise. I was also disappointed by this game and am even somewhat offended by the fact that Samus needs permission from a man to use her abilities (and I'm a guy!)

I actually liked the gameplay of Fusion and didn't mind the Prime trilogy (even bought the steelbook version). However, Other M is a big miss and I will only buy it if it shows up on clearance. That is my way of protesting this game.

Posted on Jun 1, 2011 1:05:14 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 1, 2011 1:12:36 AM PDT]
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J. Batson

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