Review by Mageknight
"A risk that falls a bit short"
Metroid Other M is a heavy polarizing title. It is the first 3D Metroid game that has returned to the gameplay style of the 2D Metroid games, has cut scenes, voice acting, and a lot more fast pacing. It's almost everything you can ask for in a Metroid game, but some things are better left untouched.
Stories are something the Metroid series wasn't too heavy on until Other M was made. Samus gets a distress call from a ship called the Bottle Ship and runs into Adam, an old friend and member of the Galactic Federation, who was sent with his men to investigate the ship as well since they intercepted the distress signal. From there, the plot is pretty straightforward with a few plot twists here and there, but nothing too surprising. Metroid Other M uses voice acting and cut scenes for the first time and the results are mixed. Samus has a voice actor for the first time and during her monologues, she can sound very monotone and dull, although she does improve a little bit later on, especially in the scenes where she gets emotional. The voice acting from the other characters is pretty ok, nothing too memorable. There is also a sub plot that involves people being killed off left and right and you are left to guess who is doing it, but the story of that one is never resolved because it is expected of the player to guess. The cut scenes are also average in presentation, but one nice effect of them is if a cut scene goes to first person view, the HUD will be displayed and show the actual health and ammo readings that the player has. The transition from gameplay to cut scene and back again is also very smooth.
The main meat of the game is very fast paced. As you go from room to room, you usually run and gun enemies and have the ability to dodge attacks with the Sense Move technique. It takes a little while to get used to the controls since everything is done with the wii remote held sideways, but once you get into it, the action flows very smoothly. You can also look and shoot in first person by pointing the remote at the screen, but this leaves you unable to move and that can cost you if you bring up the view at the wrong time. Gone are the health and ammo pick ups, so the only way you can recover besides saving the game is to use the Concentration technique, where you have to stand still to use it. Similar to Metroid Fusion, Samus is unable to take too many hits from enemies before she goes into critical status, so you'll have to master the Sense Move if you want to survive and you should expect to get at least several game overs before you finish the game. Samus' movements are very smooth (especially from wall jumping) and you'll rarely get stuck on something. Metroid Fusion was very linear but Other M is even more linear. You will literally be running down nothing but corridors and are unable to explore any side paths most of the time due to the game railroading you onto a fixed path because you don't have the right items to blast down a certain door or the like.
Like in any other Metroid game, you have your gear from Samus' previous adventure, but are unable to use them in the start due to some event. This time, Samus won't use any of her stuff until Adam says so because she agreed to cooperate on his mission. This becomes an extreme wall banger when Samus is forced to navigate rooms filled with lava and suffer from the extreme heat until Adam later on says it is ok to activate one of her items to counter the effect. You're also forced to fight some enemies where you can't do any harm to them until Adam realizes you need better weapons and lets you use it in that situation. The authorizations from Adam are to help tie in gameplay with the story, but it falls flat.
For a Metroid game, Other M lacks very heavily in music. Most of the tunes are very forgettable, generic, and are drowned out by the action, though there are a few remakes of some old classics fans should instantly recognize.
Despite everything the game has to offer, it is quite short, clocking around 6-8 hours on the first play. Smooth action during fights, though hard difficulty due to how much damage you take from enemies. Forgettable music, average voice acting and story, and not much replay value after getting the unloackables. Metroid Other M is worth checking out, but not worth buying at the full price.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/05/10
Game Release: Metroid: Other M (US, 08/31/10)
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