Review by unclehosh
"A game with a lot of potential, yet it so clearly misses the mark."
I have always enjoyed the Metroid series. The first person view did not immediately meet my approval, but I grew to love it. However, I was eagerly waiting for the day when there would be a third person Metroid title in 3d. When Metroid Other M was announced, I was dumbfounded by the similarities the game seemed to share with Super Metroid. I expected a fantastic game, but I set my expectations too high. Other M is a semi decent game, but I expected more from this series.
It is a little difficult to say whether or not the graphics are good or bad. Some instances are great, and others are disgusting. The opening scene has some of the best graphics the Wii offers with fantastic lighting and realistic textures. Later on, Samus investigates green blood that looks like dark patches on the flat and blurry grass. In the end, I decided that I enjoyed the look. Character animations are decent, and most of the areas look great, even in the first person perspective.
The actual concept of Other M is not terrible. Set a short period of time after the events of Super Metroid, Samus discovers a small and deserted ship. After boarding it, she finds her old teammate, Adam Malkovich. Samus and the rest of Adam's team discover that foul-play was going on in the ship, and there may be a traitor among them. The writing itself and the sometimes epic cutscenes will leave any player desperate for more. That being said, there is one question that is left completely unanswered, and I don't know if it was done on purpose or by accident. Either way, it stands out, and not in a good way. Also, the voice acting is awful. Samus sounds like a heartless witch, and her voice never changes the dreary tone. Her personality disappointed me greatly. She overreacts in certain situations to the point where anyone will be begging for her to stop talking. Even the ending scene is dragged out as she soullessly narrates what is supposed to be a depressing event. Instead, it just seems like it won't ever end. Other characters like Anthony (Samus's old partner) sound ridiculous, and most of their lines of dialogue come off as corny. Anthony seems like one of the characters to smugly say, "Am I late?" after saving someone. I have many issues with the story of Other M, but it does contain a lot of welcome references to other Metroid games, Super Metroid in particular. In the end, this game does a decent job of filling in the gap between Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion. It is just a little lacking.
A lot of the music in other M is repetitive. There are very few themes, and they all sound similar. Actually, most of the areas are silent to establish the mood. Team Ninja does a decent job, but I was left wanting more. The ending cutscene does feature one of the best songs in the series, in my opinion. Thankfully, the sound effects are fantastic. Energy waves ripple, and Samus's boot crush snow or dirt as she runs over them. If it weren't for a few lacking songs or the overall small number of them, this game would have fantastic music. Sadly, it is another area where Other M falls just short of the mark.
Other M is bizarre in the gameplay department. The nunchuck is not used, and the Wii remote is held sideways. The D-pad provides little in terms of movement, and Samus does not even have the ability to move in a circle. Team Ninja thankfully included an auto turn feature when going around corners, but I ended up running in big squares until I found where I needed to go. Other M also features a dodge ability that can be used by hitting the D-pad with the right timing. Unfortunately, it is used way too often, and makes the game feel too easy. In fact, I never even died in the entire campaign! The game is about 12 hours long, and it does have a moderate replay value by including tons of extra items to get. The level of backtracking is very similar to what fans of the series should be familiar with. The game can also be played in first person. The player can fire missiles, use the grapple beam, and fire from the alternate point of view, but Samus is unable to move! The only good thing is that you can still dodge by shaking the Wii remote. However, enemies are everywhere, so you may find yourself frantically shaking the remote to dodge dozens of attacks (With limited visibility! Yay!). Obviously, the D-Pad restricts a lot of things in the gameplay department. Team Ninja included an auto aim feature, but it does not work well. Samus will end up firing at the wall before targeting the enemy right next to her. In the end, I managed to get through battles by hitting the shoot button as fast as I could and hoping that something hit the boss. Speaking of which, the boss fights are basically the best part. They are fun, cleverly designed, and very intense. But again, the auto aim does not make me feel like an all powerful space hunter. It makes me feel like I am trying to aim a gun after hitting my head repeatedly against a wall, which does make some of the fights really annoying. Jumping could also use some work. The new perspective actually lacks a little depth, which makes it a little difficult to see just how far away a platform is. I found myself constantly misjudging the distance, and falling back down to the bottom of a giant room I had just spent several minutes climbing. Other M is deeply flawed in terms of gameplay. The only reason I don't give it a lower score is the fact that it doesn't fail completely. At least there are not a lot of glitches! And... no, that is definitely the only good thing to be had here.
Other M was a huge disappointment. I was left wanting a lot more out of the experience. The graphics are thankfully decent, but the music is lacking, the story is terrible thanks to poor acting, and the gameplay seems to put the series back to the days of the Super Nintendo. I tried so hard to like this game, and I still failed. Why couldn't we be back on Zebes?
Final Score: 7/10
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 02/27/12
Game Release: Metroid: Other M (US, 08/31/10)
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