Review by defiancecp
"Sadly, a major low point for the series"
I'll preface this by saying, if you're not a particular metroid fan, this game will likely be much more enjoyable than if you are.
First, lets get the bad out of the way. This game abandons several aspects of the Metroid series that make the game relatively unique and attractive to consistent fans -
-massive, freeform exploration.
-new areas of the map opened by means of powerups
-exceptionally fluid controls
So yes, you do get powerups, and they do get you to different parts of the map. However, not in any significant way - 90% or more of the map access control is arbitrarily locked doors (apparently controlled by Adam). At any given time, you'll have an extremely small area to explore. Further, the powerups are never sought out, Samus simply has them but doesn't want to use them without Adam's permission, which he gives at certain designated plot points.
Taken on its own, the gameplay is pretty good, actually, but it's more of a generic third-person shooter feel than a metroid. And several issues keep it from feeling "great"- First, auto-aim is terrible; It's absolutely necessary for this perspective, and works about 90%, but those infrequent imperfections in target selection seem to come at the most inopportune time. With some practice you can get accustomed to handling them, but it's enough to really detract from the feel. Additionally, the wiimote most move from vertical to horizontal extremely quickly, and often the process of locating your crosshairs when switching to vertical (first person) mode is distracting enough to result in player death.
With all that said, if you never really enjoyed the freeform exploration, and arbitrary story railroading doesn't bother you, the above may not be a serious detraction. The controls aren't up to the quality of a metroid game, but they're still pretty good. So the short version of this review of the 'active' portion of gameplay is: Not at all similar to Metroid, but still Pretty OK.
However, again detracting from play are the random first-person-locked 'find the random point the programmers want you to point at" portions of play. In some of these the item you need to point at is obvious, but in others you're required to point at some particular pixel of NOTHING. I don't mean that it's hard to see, I mean there's literally nothing to see. On two of the puzzles, even after I'd figured out (by using the gamefaqs message board) where I was supposed to point, looking exactly at the spot in question, there really was nothing there. When the random thing you're supposed to see is pixel-by-pixel exactly blending with its surroundings, and you're stuck staring at a screen until you point at exactly the right point, it really ceases to be fun quite quickly. Fortunately there are relatively few of these obnoxious distractions, but there are enough to be pretty annoying.
And of course, this review wouldn't be complete without the requisite examination of the story and acting. You've all heard the acting is terrible and the story is insulting. Well.... yeah, it is. The most badass bounty hunter in the galaxy acts like a moronic 13yr-old girl with a bad crush on her teacher... and yet manages to be completely unconvincing in the process. On one hand, Samus's responses to emotions implied by the story and dialog are completely unreasonable for an adult woman, On the other hand, her voice acting doesn't carry a fraction of that emotional weight. It's like hearing a female version of ben stein read Romeo and Juliet. The end result is an incomprehensible melodramatic bore-fest.
Anyway, don't expect exploration, skip the cutscenes, and you can still enjoy this game. But if this is the direction the metroid series will be moving in the future, I suppose I'll have to find other entertainment.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 09/09/10
Game Release: Metroid: Other M (US, 08/31/10)
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