Review by Reach_Out_12

"This game had so much wasted potential..."

Metroid: Other M is the twelfth game released in the Metroid series, which has produced many incredible, award-winning games. After the genre founding Metroid Prime series, Team Ninja took to making a Metroid game, along with a major voice in Metroid games, Yoshio Sakomoto. This Metroid, according to him, would expand Samus's back-story to never-before-seen levels,which personally got me exited. But was that the nail in the coffin for this game at the end of the day? Many seem to think so.

Gameplay: 5/10 The most controversy from this game come from the plot and characterization of Samus, but even ignoring those there are many issues that need solving.

The game has two aspects from which you play, first person and third person. Third person controls are a little glitchy at times, but they're not that hard to get used to. You play with the Wii remote sideways, and thus have to use the d-pad to navigate a 3d environment. To help out with this, Team Ninja decided to not only make your cannon auto-aim in front of you, but it also included a dodge function, which allows Samus to dodge in whichever direction you're currently holding the D-pad. Not only that, but a dodge fully charges you cannon, allowing for a quick, powerful strike with nearly no effort at all. This makes fights against large hordes easy, as many times I just had to hold the D-pad in a direction where I could run and mash my beam until I won.

Then there are times where you need to switch in to first person mode by pointing the Wii remote at the screen. This enables you to use missiles and scan. What killed this aspect for me was two things-first of all, you can't move while in first person. You can still dodge, but this is a lot harder to do. I assumed this was not going to be a big part of major fights due to this, but I was dead wrong. There was more than one moment that I had to aim perfectly at a boss while it was biting chunks out of me. Just a little annoying.

The worst parts were the moments in which you had to “scan” things that didn't seem to exist. Literally, the spots, which are where you're supposed to scan, aren't even well blended; it simply looks like they don't exist. Not only is this boring and long to accomplish, but also along with the numerous, boring cut scenes, nearly any momentum the game tries to build up is being constantly interrupted, which doesn't help in the least.

Did you enjoy finding powerups, expansions, or exploring in general in other Metroid games? Other M forgets completely about it. You start off with all the upgrades, but for whatever reason Samus has she relinquishes control of her powerups to her former commander, Adam Malkovich, and will not use them until she is authorized. Not only does this sound completely insane (I would have preferred a bump on the head and losing it all to this) for a bounty hunter, it leads to ridiculously illogical moments, such as not being able to use the completely harmless Varia Suit until AFTER you're done trekking half-way through a damaging heat-intensive zone.

Exploration is dead as well. In addition to the incredibly short playtime and authorization of items, there are often two doors in each area-the one leading to the next room, and the one you came out of, which is often locked. This offers nowhere to go except a straight path. It doesn't do justice that energy tanks and missile expansions are revealed to you after you can move on to the next room. Only AFTER you beat the final boss can you actually explore the damn ship. “Oh, it resembles a Metroid game after you beat it.”

Graphics: 8/10 This is where Team Ninja spent most of their time for sure-the graphics are some of the best on the Wii so far. Samus looks good. Facial and creature textures look right. The environments look “meh”, but they're not that bad. The cutscenes are incredibly well designed though. If you're looking for good Wii graphics, this has them-enough shiny explosions to give you a seizure. Enjoy.

Plot: 1/10 I'm sure that you've probably heard more than once that the entire plot is boring and uninspired and the characterization of Samus is ridiculous and insulting to females. Well, that's pretty much the truth. Before I jump in to the characters (whom I could devote an entire page to how bad they are alone), let's look at the plot.

Now this is more of a personal preference than anything, but I don't like anime. The story and characters in this are definitely anime. I realise that some will like that, but I don't.

The story takes place right after the events of Super Metroid. Samus receives a distress signal from the BOTTLE SHIP, and docks there. Upon landing, she notices that she is not alone; a squad of Galactic Federation soldiers are docked here, led by her old commanding officer and father figure, Adam Malkovich. From here on in, we hear a lot of dialogue from Samus. And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT. It feels like too much in certain situations in my opinion.

Anyway, from here she agrees to serve under his command, and relinquishes control of all of her items. From here, the plot is either incredibly boring or really hard to understand. You'll be wandering around for about an hour before you even know why you or the soldiers on the ship. They try to throw in some of Nintendo's famous plot twists near the end, but most of them can be seem coming from several miles away and all lead up to a slow ending. That's when the ending cut scene happens, and over half the plot is dumped in front of you. The ending actually made me say “wow”, in the worst possible way.

Now for the characters. First, let's look at Samus. I have no problem with Samus showing emotion; heck, if you look closely she showed emotion in Zero Mission, Corruption, and Fusion. But even then, she managed to remain a silent, cold, stoic figure of justice-the kind that would laugh in the face of death and not break a sweat as she killed a massive metal dragon. She was proof that anything a man could do, a woman could do better.

However, this seems to not be the kind of female hero Team Ninja had in mind. Instead, they decided to make Samus vulnerable, emotional, feminine, and submissive to every male around her. Not only does this play in to the whole “damsel in distress” stereotype, but also it breaks her established character on levels previously never seen in a video game. In one scene, she's so frozen in fear that, not only can she not attack, but she's seen a scared little three year old, only to be saved by a man moments later. I'm sorry but that's where I draw the line. Even her father/daughter relationship with Adam is awkward and unconvincing.

Basically, instead of being a silent badass with a person she's grateful towards and shows only the emotion required for the situation, she comes off as a typical oversensitive teenage girl with a crush on her teacher. Her terrible voice actor doesn't do her any justice-I don't know if she was sedated or just woke up from a coma before the recording or what, but she spoke in one tone the entire time. She says “the baby” so many times in the opening cutscene that I was ready to mute my TV. The problem isn't that she showed emotion. It's that the writers have no idea about realism in reactions and emotion in the story. Her “badass” image sure has taken a blow with this one.

The only thing that annoys me more than characters breaking established character in a story is characters who need development but don't get it. Unfortunately, they once again manage to do that in this. Along with Adam, who's you stereotypical military officer, you have Anthony Higgs, you old squad leader. Once again, he shows no development and is a stereotypical black soldier-cocky, light-hearted, and has a gun twice s big as the other members. Then there are the four other soldiers in the squad who are so unimportant that they get all of one scene in the actual story. All the characters offer no noticeable traits and the writers make it impossible to connect with them, so the “drama” they tried when Adam dies goes to waste because nobody ever cared about him.

That's the bottom line-Other M was so focused and insistent on a story that they sacrificed what it means to be a Metroid game, but does abysmally in the area that it wants to be it's defining quality as well. It was a good concept, but the implementation was beyond terrible. Instead of being given a look at the past of the most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy, we get a boring diary entry from a teenage girl, which is delivered in monotone.

Music: 2/10 What music? It's usually so silent you can barely hear it when going form room to room, then all of a sudden is cranked up to max in a boss fight. Even then, aside from a few remixes, the score is all but memorable. I have so many catchy Metroid songs on my Ipod, but not one from this managed to catch my ear. The music director preformed abysmally compared to the music director from the Prime series.

Replayability: 1/10 This is a one time playthrough for sure. It is more than easy to get 100% in 7-9 hours. It offers a “hardmode” afterwards, which is basically the game without the expansions, which people can more than do by themselves. I would only watch a few of the cutscenes, other than that I was done after the first time.

Overall: 2/10 Like I said, the concept for the game and story was good, but implemented horribly. I could at least recommend some of the Metroid games I didn't like (such as Fusion) to diehard fans, but this I really can't recommend to anyone. It lacks the polish and creativity of the previous titles. It sacrifices gameplay and exploration for story, but does abysmally in that area as well. Its characters are boring and unmemorable. It had little t offer except graphics, in the end.

This game didn't receive this score because it's a bad Metroid game; it received this score because it's a bad game in general. This could be called “Jenny the nobody kills things on a ship”, and the score would remain unaltered. It feels like a complete abuse of an incredible series like Metroid. If you're really dead-set on playing this game, rent it. It's not at all worth owning after the first playthrough, really. Team Ninja was clearly the wrong choice to develop a Metroid game, and if the nest games are like this I may very well abandon the series.


Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 09/17/10

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


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