Metroid: Other M
Published on Thursday, 04 November 2010 20:00
Written by DoctorToboggan
|Title||Metroid: Other M|
|Developer||Project M/Team Ninja|
|System Availibility||Nintendo Wii|
|Release Date||August 31, 2010|
|ESRB Content Rating||T (Teen)|
|By It Now On|
Samus has issues.
It was at E3 2009 when Nintendo showed off the first promising trailer video for Metroid: Other M
. Metroid has been one of their longest running series and regarded in the same class as Mario or Zelda to Nintendo fans all around the world. The series had been running particularly strong in the 2000's with modern classics like Metroid Fusion
for the GBA and the first-person Metroid Prime
trilogy for Gamecube and Wii keeping the series in good standing with critics and fans. However, after 3 Prime games, the formula was starting to get a little stale. So Nintendo signed on Team Ninja, developers behind the action-packed Ninja Gaiden
series to breathe new life into the aging franchise. So with a legacy of excellence and a hot new developer... where did Metroid: Other M
Other M takes place shortly after the events of Super Metroid, a Super Nintendo title that is regarded by many as the high point in the series and one of the best games of all time. Samus Aran, the badass bounty hunter heroine in every Metroid game, receives a mysterious distress signal that calls her to the Bottle Ship, a science vessel for the Galactic Federation (think Star Trek). After arriving on the ship, she finds that most of the crew have been abandoned or killed. It turns out her unit from her old days in the military are already on board, having also responded to the distress call. Following the commands of her old unit officer, Adam Malkovich, Samus decides to help the team investigate what happened to the ship and its crew. As Samus searches through the ship, she experiences flashbacks to her time in the military and her relationship with Adam and her previous crew members. This is where things start to take a turn...
What I Liked
It is Metroid... Eventually: I'll get this out of the way. The beginning of this game is horrible. It's riddled with long, unskippable, ham-fisted cutscenes about Samus's past, but we'll get to that later. If you can suffer through the first hour or two, the game actually gets pretty fun when it takes the handcuffs off and allows you to explore the ship and progress freely throughout the game. Metroid is all about shooting space monsters, exploring deep space settings, finding hidden pathways and power-ups, great boss battles and skillful platforming. Other M does have all those elements and they do serve to remind gamers why they loved Metroid in the first place.
Samus's New Tricks: One of the coolest things to see in the Other M trailer from E3 2009 was Samus's new moves beyond just running and shooting baddies. It showed her jumping on aliens' heads and blasting into their skulls, grabbing space lizards by the tail and swinging them around the room and grabbing monsters in headlocks and shoving her blaster into their face. These moves and more can all be done in the game and make you feel all the more badass for doing so. Samus has some killer awesome looking moves in this game and it helps evolve the action beyond the standard shoot-only mechanics of all the other games in the series.
What I Didn't Like
Samus's So-Called Life:
I will give a tip of the hat for the effort Other M
puts in to exploring Samus's past, but a wag of the finger to the awful execution. Most of Samus's history is told through self-narrated cut scenes where she sounds like a hormonal 12-year old girl writing in her diary. Samus Aran goes from being the idolized intergalactic bounty hunter who's saved the galaxy 10 times over to a petulant child with daddy issues. The story, scripting and delivery of Samus's history in the military is so awful, that it should embarrass strong women and gamers everywhere. Just when the stories in games such as Mass Effect
, Mafia II
and Red Dead Redemption
were becoming respected outside of just the video game world, Other M comes along with a plot and back-story that sets the entire video game writing industry back 15 years. Samus Aran was far better as a faceless, robotic ass kicking machine than a whiny (wo)manchild who would give thumbs down for no reason during military briefings when everyone else gives thumbs up. Bitch should've been dishonorably discharged for that shit.
Out of Control: The other reason why Other M gets off to a horrible start is because the controls are downright stupid. Other M uses only the Wii Remote, without the added nunchuck for analog control, despite it being a completely 3D game. This means you have to fight bad guys and explore areas that surround you in 360 degrees with a control pad that only allows you to move in 4 directions. Whoever made the decision to exclude the analog stick needs to be beaten with pool sticks. Also, at times you are forced to go from holding the Wii Remote sideways to run around, to pointing it at the screen to shift into first-person mode, allowing you to shoot missiles and use some of Samus's other abilities but it completely cements you in one place while in first-person mode. So your choice is run around and hope that the game's iffy auto-aim lets you shoot at the bad guy you want to shoot at, or shift into first-person mode and stand still trying to shoot it while it beats the crap out of you. It just doesn't work.
Not So Super Metroid: While I mentioned above the elements from older Metroid games that it reflects pretty well, there are also a few classic Metroid features this game is lacking. First, in previous Metroid games, Samus would usually explore the alien landscape and find her power-ups throughout the game after getting through a tricky part or defeating a boss, giving it to you as a reward for your efforts and a way to access the next area. In Other M, Samus has all her powers from the beginning of the game, but chooses not to use them unless authorized by Adam Malkovich at certain points in the game. What kind of ass-backwards misogynistic bullshit is that? Samus is among the most respected and dutiful characters in the gaming world, but she can't use her powers unless her old commander tells her it's OK? It really takes the fun out of finding your new powers and it doesn't make any sense that you're running around the lava area, dying as you wait for your "commander" to tell you it's OK to use your heat-protective armor. I guess he was planning on letting you burn to death. Also, the Metroid games have been noted in the past for their awesome music, so much so that the series has its own metal tribute band (Metroid Metal), but there is no notable music to speak of from this entire game.
Metroid: Other M
is a winning concept marred by horrible decisions throughout the development process. Ask any gamer and they'll tell you that the idea of the third-person, story-driven, 3D Metroid game is a no brainer. We have a well-respected developer in Team Ninja, making a game for a series that's been considered one of the best for over two decades. However, this game's issues go much deeper than Samus's psychological trauma. The brutal cocktail of poor storytelling, scripting, voice-acting, controls, game progression and a host of other problems turn this guaranteed homerun into a soul-crushing strikeout. I cannot recommend this game to anyone except for the Metroid faithful in hopes they are willing to cut Nintendo and Team Ninja more slack than me. When it comes to Nintendo's major franchises, there has never been a game that's this big of a disappointment. With the lack of quality Wii titles coming out nowadays, this is a major blow to the entire system and Nintendo's reputation.