Review – Metroid: Other M

Metroid: Other M
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Action Adventure
Release Date: Out Now

Revealed at E3 2009, Metroid: Other M has been in the wings for quite some time. Retro Studios have had their run with the Prime series and now it’s time for Team Ninja, famous for the Ninja Gaiden series, to have a turn. Ready to find out how Samus’s latest adventure shapes up? Wondering if this will be a better than the G4TV? Hit the jump to find out! (the answer is yes, it is better)

Metroid games have never really been story driven. We’ve had basic plot lines but nothing too engaging. Other M is the first game in the series to center focus on story. Set between Super Metroid (SNES) and Metroid Fusion (GBA), we see Samus pick up a distress signal labelled “baby’s cry”. As if it was deliberately sent for her, Samus speeds off to where the signal is coming from, an abandoned space station. Upon arrival, she bumps into a group of Galactic Federation soldiers, her old friend Anthony (the infamous Remembah Me? guy) and Adam Malkovich, who Samus worked under during her time in the Galactic Federation. If you’ve played Fusion then that name will ring a bell or two. Samus agrees to aid the Galactic Federation soldiers in their mission, to secure their safety and locate the source of the signal. It’s actually quite nice to see Samus talking with people … outside of the Prime series that is.

One thing several people have been complaining about is the characterization of Samus in Other M, and how the game shows her emotional side. It may be down to personal opinion but it doesn’t get in the way at all. It helps you understand Samus and her personality. You can’t get much personality out of someone who can’t talk. Just look at Link. With the aid of flashbacks, the game explores the story of Samus Aran so many of us have waited to hear about. While story is key factor in this game, the gameplay still packs quite a punch. 2D and Prime fans alike will love what they see and play.

Being on a dual-layered disc, you would expect the game to present itself with some pretty outstanding graphics. Other M does just that! Be it cutscenes, gameplay, or the map screen. Presentation is top-notch and one of the nicest looking games on the Wii. It’s always nice to have a game come out that reminds us that the Wii can produce some lovely visuals. You can’t get that with two Gamecube’s taped together. Each area you’ll be exploring is presented in its own unique look and style. You’ll be running and blasting through infested jungles, scorching lava-filled caverns and bone chilling ice fields. These familiar locations are the things that make Metroid what it is, and Other M does a great job of presenting them. The pre-rendered cutscenes are a treat to look at, and really stand out from the in-game graphics. It helped me realise Samus has a mole on the left side of her chin. The more you know!

The voice acting isn’t exactly the best around. It’s not terrible, but it’s nothing outstanding either. Quite a lot of the voices are done well, especially the Galactic Federation soldiers. But what disappoints me is how dull Samus can sound. At times she’ll feel in character, then soon after it sounds like she just can’t be bothered. Although I guess that is kind of fitting. Samus must be sick of the sight of space stations by now. The soundtrack can only be described as fantastic. It blends a selection of new songs with a handful of remixed tracks from the previous games. The little jingle from when you load up your file and step out of the save station is enough to make a grown man cry. It’s like a quick slap to the face to remind you that this is the main series Metroid game we’ve waited years for.

Other M is controlled in two ways. If you hold the Wii Remote in a NES-like fashion, you will control Samus in a third person perspective. Samus can move fully in any direction and use the ever so fun Morph Ball, but the pathways are mostly straight forward. The game uses an auto aim feature so you don’t need to worry about positioning when you come into contact with a group of enemies. Pointing the Wii Remote at the screen switches Samus to a first person view, ala Metroid Prime. Samus can’t move in first person mode, but she can fire beams and missiles, lock onto enemies and examine her surroundings. One of the many new additions introduced in this game are the Combat Moves. When an enemy is downed, you can run up to them whilst holding the 1 button and Samus will perform one of several attacks, accompanied by a small cutscene showing the poor creature stuck in Samus’s grip being blown to pieces. A few creatures and bosses require Samus to jump on a specific part of their body and unload a shot on them. It’s a nice little bit of variety. Samus was badass before, but this makes her even better. And here people have been complaining that she isn’t badass anymore. What more could you want!?

As if to keep up with the stupidly pointless tradition, Samus starts the game with a full inventory of power ups but loses them all in some silly event. To honour Adam’s authority, Samus limits herself to basic weapon equipment until he gives permission. So instead of finding the power ups, you have to wait for Adam to stop being a dick and allow you to use them. I gotta admit, it’s a stupid concept but somehow it works. Best just to accept it for how it is… Stupid. In terms of moves and power ups, Samus is equipped with some classic favourites, as well as some new tricks up her sleeves. Well, Samus doesn’t have sleeves but you get the point. Power ups such as the Charge Beam, Speed Booster and Screw Attack all make a welcome return, and prove to be as satisfying as ever. Continuing the line of newly introduced content, the Diffusion Beam makes a debut. This new beam scatters the blast radius of the Charge Beam, allowing you to hit multiple targets. A similar upgrade is also available for missiles, letting you lock onto several foes at once. Very handy indeed. No pun intended.

While the suit power ups are obtained in a stupid way, you may be happy to know that capacity power ups are found the same way as usual. These items are scattered all through the game, waiting to be found. Energy Tanks and Missile Tanks return, along with two new upgrades for you to scavenge. First up is the Accel Charge. This reduces the time it takes for your Charge Beam to, well, charge. Rather amusing because you find one of these in a toilet. Most amusing power up placement in a Metroid game? Damn right. Also new are Energy Parts. These work in a similar fashion to the Legend of Zelda series’ Heart Containers. Collecting four Energy Parts gives you one extra Energy Tank to your life supply. The power ups are actually much easier to find this time around, as when you destroy every enemy in a room, your map will come up with the position of a power up, if one exists in the room. However, it only displays what direction in the room it is, finding the actual power up is up to you. Happy bomb jump exploiting!

The difficulty level isn’t too extreme this time around. Metroid veterans will breeze through it with barely any trouble, where as it caters to newcomers with even more new features to make the experience easier. Samus can now focus energy to recover energy and missiles, thus removing the item drops from enemies. This is done by simply holding the Wii Remote upwards and holding down the A button. It puzzles me as to how this works but then I realised, this is Nintendo we’re talking about. I was going to make a Nintendo Logic joke but I’m certain that’s a copyrighted gag. Using the d-pad, you can dodge enemy attacks right before they hit you. If you’re charging your beam while dodging, it will max out instantly, allowing a quick charge shot. It’s handy for everyone but it makes things a little easier for those who may struggle. Still stupidly hard in some places if you’re an idiot like myself and can’t find your way out a room. Makes clearing the room that much more satisfying so everybody wins!

At last we’ve arrived to the one question you all want to know. Is Other M worth a purchase? Short answer? Yes. Long answer? Other M breathes new life into the franchise, with a mix of cutscenes, voice acting and gameplay. The cutscenes help give a fantastic atmospheric experience while the gameplay combines the 2D games and the Prime series into one simple to use control scheme. My only complaints would be that the controls were quite unresponsive at times. Auto aim didn’t seem to work very well in places and the first person view was quite difficult to control properly. It doesn’t matter if you’re a long time Metroid fan or new to the series. Other M is worth your time, and is an experience you will definitely enjoy. I hope to see Team Ninja involved with the Metroid franchise again in the near future.

Final Score – 9/10

A solid experience and a true return to roots for the series. Combines the best bits of the 2D and Prime series’, mixes in some new features and presents itself as one of the best titles available on the Wii.

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2 Responses to “Review – Metroid: Other M”

  1. Hi, can I quote some of the content found in this entry if I provide a link back to your site?

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