Review by endless172
"A must own Wii gem, but a few minor flaws keep it from perfection"
Well, it's time for another mission with our armor clad heroine Samus Aran. This time, our adventure is brought to us by Team Ninja. The creators of DOA and Ninja Gaiden had their work cut out for them, following such a magnificent trilogy created by Retro Studios, and it seems they rose to the challenge with some minor hiccups with their design choices. Other M is a very satisfying action-adventure game that combines both an intriguing story and fast pace, sometimes punishingly difficult, action.
I'll begin with the story, as it's here where you learn why you lose your powers and what your objective is. You don't lose your powers this time. Adam, your C.O., tells you that it's not cool that you use them. That's fine and annoying to, which I'll get to later. Other M is more like Metroid Fusion as it is more story driven than the typical Metroid game. You actually get into Samus' personal thoughts on her mission and see her interact with people from her past, specifically a man named Adam. If you played Metroid Fusion you'll remember that name because it played a major role in that games story. It's here that Team Ninja payed a lot of attention to, and it's here that Team Ninja makes its first small crack in a very beautiful Wii gem. Samus' is called to a space station by a distress signal. Once she gets there she meets up with her old squad leader Adam and some others from her past. This is all well and good, Samus reflecting on her past when she sees them and things. The problem with these events of story is that, unlike Fusion, it takes away from the game play too long. Some story sequences can be upwards of 20 minutes. This is unacceptable in a game that's so fast paced. This is a minor nuisance though, because once you get back into the thick of the action you'll forget all about it. Otherwise the story is pretty solid.
Graphically this is one beautiful game. Team Ninja didn't slack off here. Everything from the environment to drool is very detailed and interesting to look at. The most remarkable part is that there is never a point when this game slows down from it. There are times when it can get tough to distinguish between a movie sequence and actual game play The environment is beautifully rendered and watching the effects of your beam in some corridors is just stunning. It would be nice to see more developers take this much care with other games on the Wii.
The sound in this game is also amazing but it is another area that cracks this gem. All the sound effects are very well done. Her beams sound genuine and the monsters sound menacing and powerful. Voice acting in Other M is top notch. There are quite a few games from Japan that hurt here because of poor voice acting. Other M is an exception to this. Though I had hoped that Jennifer Hale would be kept as Samus, this new voice wasn't bad in the least. With all the good, however, there is a dark side to this. The music. The music isn't bad to say. It's actually orchestrated and hearing some retro themes redone will bring back some pleasant nostalgia for fans of the series. The problem with the music comes from the lack of music most of the game. Metroids have always had some pretty funky music. It added to the atmosphere of the game, as most music does. It's puzzling then why Team Ninja would leave out something so important for most of the game. It is a minor gripe though, as most people won't notice this until you're off collecting the extra items because that's when you'll spend the most time out of the intense combat.
Last but not least is the game play This is something I was most worried about when I first saw Other M's demos'. Thankfully, my fears weren't realized entirely. The controls are solid and responsive. Everything from dodging to the FPS view. One small gripe with the FPS view. In all boss fights when you point at the screen to enter FPS view the camera auto centers on the boss with a slight bullet time for you to get your barrings. This is nice because combat is intense and this gives you time to aim to get the lock-on need for missiles. The lock-on is also very generous too, so you don't need to get the cursor directly over the target to get a lock. In other encounters, however, the screen does not auto center on your target. This sucks because sometimes, a quick missile is needed and to have the screen center on the way Samus is facing when she isn't always facing the enemy that's stunned can make you lose the small chance you have to hit your enemy with a missile. Also, when the game forces you to look for something vital to advance the story, sometimes they are a bit too small and unclear. You can spend a great deal of time searching for something that you need to be pin point accurate to make activate. It's frustrating and not really necessary to the game.
Another thing that was surprisingly annoying is your power acquisition. This is my biggest gripe about Other M. As stated before, you don't lose your powers like other Metroids. Adam says you can't use them. This is fine. Samus is a walking, pirate killing, planet busting, weapon of mass destruction around a bunch of normal military guys. I can understand limiting her weapons. Her Varia and Gravity suit don't make sense and their limitation without good story backing is more than a little frustrating. The thing that makes this worse is that Adam takes so long to authorize abilities for use. Not cool. Its hot, so let me use my Varia before I'm near death or at least have Samus do it herself. The idea of it is sound and if you played Metroid Fusion it makes sense why Samus listens to him. She respects the guy. But it's hard to forgive something as frustrating as this. Weapons limitation is fine but limits in armor and other abilities that don't effect combat are mind boggling and absurd.
Those things aside, Other M is an excellent addition to the Metroid franchise. With solid game play and some interesting new changes, Other M evolves the franchise in a good way. Team Ninja did a great job adding in new mechanics with the classic 2D Metroid feel. I do hope to see another Metroid game developed by them with maybe a few more liberties taken to fix the few, though minor, flaws and maybe break away from the feeling that the Prime trilogy made clear. The power loss is showing its age and has become more of a gimmick than something that makes the game interesting. We as gamers and fans of the series deserve better and it's time for Samus to stop being so clumsy with her armor. Enjoy Other M and I'll see you next mission.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/03/10
Game Release: Metroid: Other M (US, 08/31/10)
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