Review by kvmer
"Change is usually a good thing..."
As part of Nintendo's holy trinity, together with Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda, it's to be expected that Other M will be place under heavy scrutiny. You have probably already much about how fans of the series claim the game is terrible, giving the game 2 out of 10 scores, but of course, that's very short-minded.
The original Metroid was a unique game for the NES. It featured an incredibly expansive, maze-like world, and the player had to figure out himself what to do and where to go next. Its sequel for the Game Boy featured similar gameplay, with Samus having to hunt down all the Metroids on their home planet. The third game in the series however, is what made the series really special. Super Metroid refined all the aspects of the previous games, and was set in an expansive and atmospheric world. After that, the series went on a long hiatus, and skipped the entire N64 generation. When Metroid Fusion for the Game Boy Advance was announced, a game very similar in style to Super Metroid, many fans were ecstatic. Finally another entry in the series. But those same fans weren't as excited for the first 3D Metroid game for Gamecube, Metroid Prime. It was handled by Retro Studios, a company with no real experience when it came to big franchises. It gave the game a FPS-view, which was viewed as blasphemy by the entire fanbase.
But Retro proved them all wrong.
Metroid Prime is still regarded as one of the finest games in videogaming history. It translated the sense of exploration of Super Metroid into 3D perfectly, and it was still very much an adventure game, even with the FPS camera. The fans were exhilerated with Metroid Prime, and many declared it to be their favorite Metroid game. It even attracted a whole new fan base as well. There were three more entries in the series on Nintendo's portable consoles, and while all of them were solid games, it was the Prime series that attracted the most attention.
The follow-up on the Gamecube, Echoes, was another stellar game. However, it was criticised for not having an environment as compelling as the original Prime. The third entry in the Prime series, Corruption for Wii, adressed this problem, and featured plenty of varied environments and a spectacular atmosphere once again. However, it was clearly more of the same. The Metroid needed a change. And that's where Other M comes in.
Other M takes an entirely new approach. Where Prime's focus was on exploration, Other M focuses on intense action. This meant that the path in Other M is a lot more linear. Some love it, others don't, and is a matter of personal taste. Since there is still plenty of exploration to be had to collect all the power-ups, it isn't much of the problem. The linear path just fits better within this game.
I will not explain to you how the gameplay works in this game. I'm sure you've all read about this in official reviews. I'm here to tell you that while the game has its flaws, it's still very much a good game and fully deserves at least 8 out of 10.
The main complaint about this game, has been the story. A lot of people will say it's feminist garbage. I wholeheartedly disagree on this. People seem to expect Samus to be an almost robotic, emotionless robot. And that really doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Fans will know that when she was a child, she saw here own parents getting devoured by a ferocious dragon-like monster. That's bound to leave some scars. Team Ninja decided on a new system to get power-ups. Instead of randomly finding items on a strange planet (which, contrariously to what fans seem to say, doesn't make any sense whatsoever either), she now starts with all of her powers present. But she can only start using them, when her supervisor, somewhat of a father figure to Samus, gives the okay. This fits better within the action-intense nature of the game, and makes for a better flow. A lot of fans say this is feminist and doesn't make any sense. But how logical is it for Samus to go to a planet and somehow get her gear "stolen" by some weird creatures. How exactly does one rip off a missile launcher off Samus, while keeping the beam intact? Or how much sense does it make to arrive on an ancient destroyed planet, and find power-ups for her suit in the strangest of places? Team Ninja never meant to be sexist either, but people who dislike the gameplay, use this to rip on the game, unfortunately.
Yes, Samus has emotions. But the story is still intriguing, with several very mysterious elements that will keep you wondering until the end of the game. People are angry that Samus is shocked when she sees Ridley, a ferocious dragonlike genius, who killed her parents, and who she thought she had killed a few weeks ago. When you're surrounded by lava, being attacked by a huge screaming dragon, how can you expect anyone to really be confident and attack? The storyline was made to show people that eventhough she wears a robotic costume, there's still very much a human being under there. If you think Samus has to be bad-ass all the time, then you're the one who is not making any sense, and not Team Ninja. Sure the story isn't perfect, but there were some nonsensical elements in the Prime story as well. Why don't people complain about that?
The fact remains, that the game is fun, the enemies are extremely well designed, and that you will remain on your toes throughout the whole game. Another Prime simply would've been too much, and would have start to ruin the classic status of the original Metroid Prime. Team Ninja and Nintendo wanted to shake up the Metroid experience, and did a great job at that. Unfortunately, a lot of gamers tend to be incredible whiners. A sad truth, but gamers have bad reputations for a reason. Super Mario Galaxy 2, while pretty much the best Mario game ever, was heavily criticised to be an unoriginal game, a lazy attempt from Nintendo to get some money. But it's pretty much one of the best games ever, and feels very different to the original Galaxy. Still many people complain Nintendo was too lazy to innovate. But when Nintendo does innovate, the same people complain it should've been kept exactly the same. The same thing is happening with Donkey Kong Country Returns.
Just don't be fooled by what anyone says, play this game without any prejudice, and you'll have fun. Everyone who says the storyline is terrible, is saying that because they do not like change, it's as simple as that. 95% of the people will be intrigued by the storyline and Little Birdie. I loved the story of Metroid Prime, but this was a lot more engrossing for me. The cut-scenes aren't nearly as long and emotional as many people want to make you believe, except for one perhaps.
It was time for a change in the Metroid universe, and while Other M is not perfect, it delivers. It will certainly be remembered and cherised a lot more in general than Echoes and Corruption.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/20/10
Game Release: Metroid: Other M (EU, 09/03/10)
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