Review by blazemace
"Don't judge a book by its cover."
Metroid: Other M begins with a bang, but ends with an unsettling feeling of you being ripped off.. Beginning with the ending sequence of Super Metroid, Other M introduces us to the sequel to Super Metroid with a beautiful CGI cutscene, showing off what the wii is made of. But it quickly falls apart from there. Other M has too many flaws to make it a fairly enjoyable experience, and tries to cover it over with CGI sequences and flashy visuals and battle sequences, the latter of which feel downright unnatural in the Metroid universe.
Where can you start the gameplay rants, though? First and foremost, the control scheme: switching between 3rd and 1st person is incredibly awkward and annoying. What's worse? You cannot move while in 1st person, only dodge attacks and fire shots. Why would you use 1st person then? It's made a necessity by the fact that you cannot use missiles in 3rd person. What? This design flaw was a terrible idea by Team Ninja, and could easily have been fixed by using the full wiimote and nunchuk setup with the Prime series' controls. Second: the powerup system. This has to be the most terrible idea I've ever heard for the reasons Samus gets powerups. Apparently, Samus comes equipped with everything at the start of the game, she just chooses not to use them out of respect for Adam's command. It makes literally no sense whatsoever though that you have to treck through a lava surrounded area for 15~ minutes before Adam tells you "Oh, btw Samus, you can put on that extra armor you have that reduces damage and makes you immune to the heat that's been melting you for the past 10 minutes." Third, Samus has an infinite missile supply, and in a way, infinite health due to a "concentrate" ability, which allows Samus to "think" about having missiles or health, and wallah! she has them. Again, what was Team Ninja thinking? Not only does this slow down the gameplay immensely, as defeating enemies no longer reaps rewards, but during the tougher fights players are forced into running and recharging constantly just to survive, and it makes NO SENSE. Other M also encompasses an auto aim feature while in 3rd person that makes you miss the old 2D Metroid games all the more, where you actually had to time jumps and aim at the right angles to hit targets. You think they would have learned from Starfox Assault and Dirge of Cerberus? Along with this they've introduced a "finishing strike" to the series, where if you knock an enemy to the ground you can headshot them for extra damage. Only thing is, it makes no sense whatsoever that shooting an enemy in the face from a foot away does any less then a finishing blow, where the only difference is a flashy, yet usually flawed, animation of Samus jumping on the enemy from an awkward angle and putting her arm cannon to their head. They've also introduced a "timed dodge" system, where right before an enemy attacks you can tap any direction and dodge out of the way. Only problem is, there's no limit or delay to how many dodges you can use and how often, so long as an attack is happening near you. Other M reduces fighting fodder enemies to button mashing or repeated charge shots and repeatedly tapping directions to dodge attacks. Bottom line: due to the crap control scheme and awkward 1st person mechanics, Other M's main gameplay becomes dull, repetitive, and frustrating quickly despite the fun start. Oh, and did I mention how contact with enemies no longer damages Samus unless they're in a (dodge able) attack animation? I'm dissapointed, Team Ninja.
Graphics are a different story, however. Though, some of the animations do deteriorate the beauty that is of Other M. As mentioned above, the game opens with a beautiful CGI sequence, and does not let up throughout. All the CGI cut scenes are well made and fit smoothly into the game play. Models are very smooth, colorful, and bright. The Power Bomb and Speed Booster animations are very cool. However, many of the enemy animations, and even some of Samus' are done extremely lazily. Missiles come at the top of my mind. While in morph ball, rolling down declines does not accelerate you in any way, and rolling down steps slows you down instead of speeding you up. As mentioned before, almost 100% of the time while administering a finishing blow on certain enemies, Samus moves in a ridiculous, against the laws of physics kind of way. Your fall speed never increases in any way even after falling 200+ feet. The arm cannon does not match the angle of shots or missiles being fired if you move the wiimote while shooting rapidly. When Samus is hit in the air or while jumping, she always flies away like she just got hit with a tank cannon, no matter how soft or hard the attack was. Many of the enemies walk on every surface as if it was flat, despite the beautifully detailed and varied environments. Last thing I have to mention is a geek out on the opening CGI: why does the "hyper beam" look exactly like a power shot? The hyper beam in Super Metroid was a beam, and rainbow colored! Not a ball of yellow energy! Laziness, I tell you!
Music, voice acting, and sound effects are all a mixed bag. Music wise, almost all the tracks are just ambient, sci-fi esque tracks that hold no attention or significance. There were only two tracks in the whole game I found distinguishable. The rest, such as the "encounter" themes when engaging multiple enemies, got dull , and quick. The voice acting can be very good, as is the case with Adam or Anthony (who humorously sounds like Samuel L Jackson during a few conversations), while some of the other troopers voices are annoying or non-befitting of the character they belong to. I think people forget that Samus' voice is supposed to be narrative when she's speaking 90% of the time, as that's exactly what she's doing. She's narrating her thoughts, reading aloud a diary, as you will. Sound effects are also done very well, except a few minor ones that sound so unnatural to the creature or object they're assigned to it's slightly bothersome.
The Story of Other M is... unoriginal and cliched off of the sci-fi genre, mixed in with Metroid elements. If I didn't know any better, I'd say Team Ninja was trying to make a 3D successor/ hybrid of Metroid: Fusion and Prime: Corruption. It gets the job done, although it's nothing special and can be viewed almost like the Megaman series; the story is second to everything except the credits.
Metroid Other M is a rent or buy used game only. I would not spend $50 on this game. The game falls very far from the Metroid series roots and does not bring anything new to the table except bad gameplay, animation, and story quirks, anger at commanding officers, and regenerative health/ ammo (again, wth!?).
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 09/09/10
Game Release: Metroid: Other M (US, 08/31/10)
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