"Metroid: Other M is a the red headed step child of Metroid games"

It seems that with every new Nintendo system, you can always expect to find a few shining jewels among a sea of bargain-bin games. The Wii has been no exception with such shining jewels as the Super Mario Galaxy series, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and Super Smash Brothers Brawl. Faithful Wii owners were hoping that Metroid: Other M would be the newest diamond in the rough; however, Other M is nothing more than fool's gold lying a pool of filth.

Gameplay:
While previews made this game seem awesome with the introduction of CQC or hand-to-hand combat. This, in reality, is only triggered during certain moments in a fight and they all constitute the same repetitious movements. Blast baddie with charge beam…baddie looks unconscious…run at baddie while charging…blast baddie away with CQC. This is the case for almost any enemy you run across, so you can just lather, rinse, and repeat.

Now it would not be a Wii game unless it added some useless gimmick to make it stand apart from its competitors. So the useless gimmick in Other M is the ability to go from third-person to first-person simply by pointing the Wii-mote at the television. Why the ability to switch from third-person to first-person, and vice-versa, is mostly a smooth transition and on the surface seems like a cool idea, it only ends up being another useless gimmick. The first-person parts are specific to certain areas of gameplay. For example, this first boss you face, you must shoot its frozen appendages with a missile. To do this, one must switch over to the first person perspective as missiles can only be fired by locking on to a given target in the first person perspective. The game also will at random moments send you into first person mode without you even pointing the Wii-mote at the screen. During these moments, the player is suppose to find something to scan, though, most of the time it is not made clear what one is suppose to scan and you spend the next few minutes flailing the Wii-mote around, hoping to God that the lock-on target pops up so that you can scan something. Another time this happens is during quasi-boss fights, where the player must lock onto a specific target and shoot a missile at it or suffer damage from the boss. Truth be told, the player will spend 85 to 90 percent of the game in third person mode. The only reason you go to first person mode is because either the game forces you to or the bosses require that a missile be shot at its extremely clear weak point. Another reason you will RARELY go to first person mode is the fact that there is an auto-aim feature. You can basically run through the entire game tapping the 1 button due to how easy auto-aiming makes the game.

Some new features to this game are the Sensemoves and the Concentration ability. Sensemove is a fancy Other M word for dodge. Tapping the D-Pad in any direction will cause Samus to dodge an enemy's oncoming attack. The Sensemove can be and should be abused, as this will allow you to avoid practically anything without taking any damage. Concentration allows Samus to replenish health when she is to the point of near death. A useful little feature, but one you will hardly use if you abuse Sensemove. Concentration also refills Samus' missiles, so you never have to worry about running out. These new features make the game too easy. Due to Sensemove, there is no challenge in fighting enemies. During a Sensemove, you can charge your beam up super fast, so this gives you a clear, powerful shot at the enemy. Concentration removes any sense of need to kill the enemies, as they will not drop any health or missiles. If one needs missiles, simply use Concentration.

The exploration factor that made previous Metroid games so enjoyable is taken out of Other M. This has to be the most linear Metroid game I have ever played. Gone are the days of not knowing what you are suppose to be doing and exploring different sectors to figure out where you should head to next. This game makes it very clear as to where you are suppose to go and just in case you get confused, the game will lock doors so that you cannot back track to previous sectors until certain moments in the game. Granted, when these certain moments came up, I refrained from exploring mostly because I just wanted to continue on with story and see what happens. Besides it is not like you need to explore as the only things you can find are missiles (which you will get more than enough of those without having to look), upgrades that make you charge faster (I could not tell a difference after I got 3 of them), energy parts (4 of them make a whole energy tank, but you will find 5 complete energy tanks anyways, so these are not needed), and E-Recovery Tanks, which give you more health after completing a concentration move (another useless item due to Sensemove and the numerous save stations).

Another sad feature taken out is the reward for killing enemies. Running low on missiles? Then use the new Concentration feature to replenish you missiles whenever you feel like. Need health? Go to one of the hundreds of save stations scattered throughout the level (Literally, after every 5 to 7 rooms is a save station, so you do not need to worry about not finding any health). So if you are animal friendly, then this game will be right up your alley as there is no reason to kill enemies and instead you can just run right past them. Samus does start off with all of the items that one would usually have to search for (i.e. Ice Beam, Super Missles, Space Jump, etc.), but Samus will not use these until the commander authorizes them. Many have complained about this, but I think it is a good idea in explaining why Samus does not need to search for her gear AGAIN. Granted, this does take away from the fact that Samus is tough bounty hunter due to how easily she gives in to these commands.

In short, the gameplay is easy, linear, and simple. The lack of puzzles and challenges make the game feel too simplistic when compared to other entries in the series. Due to this, I was able to complete the game in 10 hours and find 60% of all items without doing any real exploring.

Story:
Team Ninja decided to give Samus more personality and a deeper back story, which was a good idea; however, they executed this poorly. Gone are the days of the silent, tough bounty hunter and now we deal with the confused “fledgling girl” who is no longer as tough as she once appeared to be. Samus was considered by many to be the baddest heroine any video game history. With the arrival of Other M, though, this title might be forever lost. What we have in this game is a submissive, overly analytical, and weak woman. In one key moment in the game, Samus is facing an old enemy from her past and upon seeing this enemy she freezes and is then portrayed as a scared, little girl. WHAT?! I understand Team Ninja wanted to give Samus a little more humanity, but did it really call for sacrificing her toughness?! Maybe Team Ninja is sexist? If Samus had been a male, you can imagine that he would have used whatever weapons he wanted to when he wanted to and would not of coward down to such a joke of an enemy.

In short, the story is ridiculous and ruins the character of Samus.

Controls:
It is a Wii game, so the controls are simplistic. Use the D-Pad to move around, 2 to jump, 1 to shoot, and A to go into Morph Ball. In first person, use Z to freely look around as well as lock in to certain targets and A to shoot. So simple, a kid can play this game, which is no surprise since this game is on the Wii after all.

Graphics:
Best graphics I have seen on the Wii yet. Other M boasts vibrant colors and very polished textures.

Sound/Music:
Other M contains many odes to the classic Metroid games. I've got no complaints here.

Summary:
Metroid: Other M is not the title that Metroid fans have been holding out for. It is a great disappointment and will surely let down hardcore fans of the Metroid series. I am just a casual fan of the series and found it to be very disappointing. The game does have its moments and on occasion is kind of fun; however, the lack of challenges, the linear gameplay, and the terrible plot make this game less than mediocre. All gamers should rent before buying.

Pros:
+Possible the best graphics on the Wii to date
+The game is still kind of fun, despite it being too short and the gameplay and story being disappointing.

Cons:
-Going to First Person is a useless gimmick designed to help sell the game.
-Other new features make the game far too easy and remove any challenge.
-Game is extremely linear.
-The story does injustice to our strong, silent protagonist.

Score: 4/10 - Poor - Game is Unremarkable and Flawed


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 09/09/10

Game Release: Metroid: Other M (US, 08/31/10)


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