Review by Glakma3
"Metroid Other M: Another change in perspective which ends in success"
As for the actual storyline, it's an interesting story full of lots of twists and turns you won't expect. However, too much of it was just crammed into the end. Because of this, we get short cutscenes for (most) of the game, and then a 20 minute long one at the end. The actual story would have been better if it was made a bit simpler, but the story is still very interesting, and the plot twists are actually surprising.
The cutscenes themselves look very nice, aside from some stiff character animations. The voice acting is decent in some areas, while pretty bad in others. Samus doesn't show a lot of emotion, but there are scenes where she gets sad or angry, mostly because she wants to try to save someone but doesn't have the chance. I actually liked these scenes as a contrast to the modern Samus, who, besides when narrating, doesn't talk too much.
The game looks good from a distance while playing in third person, but not quite as good in first person. The game does have some very good effects, however. For example, the light reflecting on Samus when she goes down an elevator. Water is absolutely beautiful and reflective, at the cost of a slower rate of frames per second. Still, some of the areas tend to look like something you'd see on a Gamecube game, when compared to some of the Wii's better looking titles. It still looks a bit better than Metroid Prime, but not by much. Some areas, like the snow area in Sector 2, really look stunning, but this is mostly due to great art design, not great graphics.
Despite what some others have said, the game controls very well. I've never had a problem getting Samus where I want her to go with the D pad, since the game is almost always moving left, right, forward, or backward. Moving into first person becomes second nature, as does flicking the wii remote to dodge while in first person, and I normally completely forget I'm playing with only the Wii remote. There are some control issues in areas where you have to walk around slowly, as turning only works well if you don't turn too far.
The gameplay in Metroid: Other M may seem completely linear at first. And although it is true you will be told where to go at times, that doesn't mean the sense of exploration is lost. The game does a good job of tricking you into thinking you're exploring. Not that there isn't any exploring, of course.
When you start the game, you'll simply be told where to go by Adam. A diamond will mark your next destination on the map. However, all the diamond normally marks, is the next save point. Personally, I didn't pay attention to the diamond, unless I really just wanted to know where to go. However, there are still moments where you'll see something you can't do, then gain a power, and then later you will be able to go back and do it.
Even though you're on a linear path, there will often be multiple routes. Only difference is, this time there will only be one route you can progress on. The same was often true about Super Metroid, so it's just slightly more streamlined. So maybe there will be one route you can go down with your current equipment, one that you need the Grapple Beam for, and one that you need Super Missiles for. It's your job to explore and find out where you can go. Instead of taking away the feel of exploration, this actually improves the flow of the game. And for those who want to explore, by the time you near end game, you will have the entire area open for exploration.
The game is cleverly split up into 3 different sectors. Sector 1 contains all new material, of course. But when you get to Sector 2, you'll notice that parts of it are interconnected with Sector 1. A lot like Super Metroid, when you'd get to one area and then realize it intersects with an old area. This is how the game allows you to backtrack without actually having to go through the level again. You still have to explore to find these areas though, as well as a plethora of different optional upgrades, so the sense of exploration is definitely not lost. Backtracking is still in play, you'll find yourself going somewhere, not being able to do something, getting a new power, then having to backtrack back to the area and use the new power. However since the game knows you have to backtrack to progress, normally backtracking will cause some sort of special even to happen, making backtracking a lot more fun and interesting.
Once you get to Sector 3, you'll see it's mostly made up of areas from sector 1 and 2, with its own areas as well. Once again, all the sectors are interconnected, so you can backtrack and get new items. So the game really does what you would do in Super Metroid, go back to old areas with new powers, just you don't need to remember where each location is. The game will make it clear for you. At first this may seem like the game is holding your hand, but it's really for the best. It makes sure you never travel all the way back to one area, only to find all you missed was a missile tank. There are some areas in the game where you will get stuck, but it's normally nothing too confusing. I made it to the end without needing to use a guide, but some areas definitely had me stuck. Puzzles are normally interesting when they come into play, but they are far and few between. A much larger focus has been put on combat.
The combat is, quite frankly, perfect. Well, almost. Still, shooting enemies is so much fun, and the new sense move, which allows you to dodge by tapping the D pad, is great. However, in most boss battles you'll find yourself holding the 1 button to charge, tapping the D pad to just keep dodging, and then letting the 1 button go and shooting the enemy. It's very hard to get hurt when just tapping the D pad makes you dodge instantly. Still, the combat still manages to be difficult, and you have to find time to shoot enemies with missiles, which can be hard. The bosses are really fun to fight though. Some of them have really unique gimmicks that makes them a joy to play.
The only problem with the combat, is that some enemies have a sort of "hyper mode" where you can't hurt them. This is very annoying when you have to kill enemies to move on. Luckily this only happens with one of the bosses, and as for the other enemies that have this "hyper mode", they can be killed with a move you earn later on.
The only parts of the gameplay that are less than perfect are the slow walking sections, and the scanning sections. Even so, I think the good outweighs the bad so much that I'm willing to let it go. The slow walking sections are atmospheric and the scanning sections normally have a loud noise you can hear to make it obvious where to look.
Many people have been bashing the music, but it has some epic tracks. The tracks are very atmospheric, and some actually make me paranoid, when they go from being calm to loud all of a sudden. Honestly, none of the tracks are "bad". They're all just different from what we normally hear in a Metroid game. Still, they're good tracks.
Some people have said that the game doesn't make you feel isolated because of the galactic federation also being on the Bottleship. However, as the game progresses, you start to become more and more isolated. At the last stretch of the game, I really started to feel isolated. Because the game starts you off feeling surrounded by people, and slowly makes you feel more and more isolated, it makes the effect of the isolation greater.
It's a similar experience with the hologram rooms. They give you a feeling of freedom, and make it seem like there's lots of open space, and then you see that it's fake. This gives a feeling of claustrophobia, and it's only because of the way the area was shown before revealing it was all virtual.
Overall, this is an amazing game. Super Metroid used to be my favorite Metroid game, but it has been succeeded by Other M. Despite its flaws, it really manages to give you the feel of what makes Metroid what it is, without forcing you to backtrack too often, or explore only to realize you can't go any further in that direction. You still get the feel of Metroid, but with better and more streamlined gameplay.
So I give this game a 9.5/10, rounded up to a 10/10
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/03/10
Game Release: Metroid: Other M (US, 08/31/10)
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