Review by charyon
"Too many bad descisions..."
There's fun to be had in Metroid: Other M. Unfortunately, to get to the fun you have to plod through a number of bad decisions on the part of the designers.
First off, the game has two view points. The first is a third-person view where you explore and play most of your game. The second is a first-person view where you can scan and fire missiles. You have to turn the Wii Remote to change views, which is awkward at best. Further, you can not move while in first-person. This means that while you are trying to fire off shots, you are a sitting duck for anything that wants to kill you. This is especially problematic in boss fights since you can't fire missiles in third person. So boss fights consists of getting yourself enough time and space so you can safely fire a missile. This is after you figure out where the target reticule is after switching views. While the third-person view is a lot of fun, they could have allowed the use of the nunchuk in first-person. this would give it more of a Metroid Prime feel in first person. The control scheme for Metroid Prime 3 was spot on and a lot of fun. They did not need to fix it.
Second, Metroid games have never been big on story - explore, get power ups that allow you to explore further, explore more, fight bosses (lather, rinse, repeat). Metroid Other M insists on having a story. This means that any momentum the game builds is constantly being interrupted by cut scenes that explore Samus' past. The problem is, we don't need to know a lot about Samus other than she's is a bounty hunter that doesn't like space pirates. Somehow knowing more about her past makes her less cool. Further, these cut scenes seem to contradict what we know about Samus. Earlier games depicted Samus as strong and independent. This game depicts Samus as being submissive to this Adam guy we've never heard of before. It doesn't help matters that the cut scenes are un-skippable and filled with wooden voice acting. So, why give the game a story if you are going to make it a lousy story?
There are two types of puzzles in Metroid Other M. The fist involves standing still until you scan the one thing on screen that the game wants you to scan. An early example is you have to scan the galactic federation logo on the ship. Unfortunately, the logo is small and blends in with the rest of the ship, which in turn blends in with the rest of the background. In no way is the logo highlighted until you pass over it with the reticule. So unless you know specifically what you are looking for, this can be very frustrating. There are several of these puzzles through out the game. This kind of puzzle seems destined to sell strategy guides and send groves to Gamefaqs. The second puzzle is to find the one thing you can hold on to so you move forward. Again, this one ledge looks no different from any other ledge and you may have to explore two rooms to find it. Even if you scan the ledge, it doesn't help. A simple hint mode while in the visor could reduce alot of the frustration and increase the fun.
The best way to judge a game is against other games on the same system. While playing Metroid Other M I couldn't help but think how much I would rather be playing the Metroid Prime trilogy or Super Metroid (which are vastly superior games). This is a game that you will quickly forget about and sell as a used game. My advice is to avoid this game unless you want to also invest in the strategy guide or spend a lot of time on Gamefaqs to solve "simple" puzzles.
Graphics: 6 - Not bad. Samus looks like she is supposed to. The backgrounds look nice. Its too bad the puzzle sensitive ledges blend in so well.
Sound: 4 - Lousy voice acting and a forgettable score.
Story: 2 - An Uninteresting story that flies in the face of previous Metroids.
Controls: 2 - An awkward control scheme. If only they had allowed the nunchuk.
Fun: 5 - There's fun to be had. Unfortunately it regularly cones screeching to a halt by cut-scenes and frustrating scan puzzles. Awkward controls don't help either.
Overall : 4 - Metroid: Other M is a game you can play and think "If only they had done..." and "If only they hadn't done." If you are wanting your Metroid fix on the Wii, download Super Metroid for the Virtual console (still a classic after all these years) or find a copy of the Metroid Prime Trilogy. The game wants to be loved, but they all want to be loved. Unfortunately, this is a game that is hampered by too many bad decisions. It soils the good name of Metroid.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 09/03/10
Game Release: Metroid: Other M (US, 08/31/10)
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