Review by Fang289

Reviewed: 09/09/10

I have some objections, Adam


I like Metroid. Actually, that’s an understatement; I’m an obsessed fan that absolutely craves Metroid in every which way. I have Metroid posters, paintings, every single game, I’ve even had dreams about Metroid once or twice. I’ve played every single Metroid game so much that I know them like the back of my hand. But that’s beside the point. When Metroid: Other M was first announced back in June of 2009, I was ecstatic for it. As I saw the fluid gameplay, the interesting potential story, and the fluid speed and motions of our fair Samus, I began thinking of how great this game would be. Sure, I had doubts when I heard of Team Ninja, but I gave it a chance. Why should I have let anything cloud my perception of what defines a game as being good or bad if it wasn’t even out yet? As the months rolled on slowly, my ecstasy for this game disappeared and I began wondering why I wasn’t as excited as I was when I first saw the game.

Then the day came when I purchased it and played it. I suppose I realized exactly what had transpired to cause me to lose interest in a Metroid game. A lack of nonlinearity in terms of diverging paths, odd combat and controls, and other poor mechanics which could’ve easily been fixed had the right people been chosen to correct each issue.

Who’s at fault, though? Team Ninja and their distinct flavor that’s in this game? Sakamoto and his rather bizarre executive choices? Maybe it’s my own tastes for not enjoying the game as much as I could’ve. I suppose it’s the third choice, but that’s simply my opinion: my opinion on this game, which is my review of this game.

Story: 7/10

Story? In my Metroid? It’s more likely than you think.

Where Other M shines is the story it tells. To put it simply, Samus is grieving over the infant Metroid’s death at the hands of Mother Brain as time passes and galactic civilization’s thoughts about Space Pirates and Metroids dies down. Samus is in her ship, traveling almost nomadically, when she picks up a distress signal known as the “Baby’s Cry,” a signal sent from the Bottle Ship.

Samus enters the Bottle Ship and meets her old Federation squad she used to work with during her times as a soldier, along with her old commanding officer and confidant, Adam Malkovich, along with her other friend and comrade, Anthony Higgs. They were sent to investigate why the Bottle Ship was in disrepair, and Samus finds herself under the command of her old officer once again.

As the story progresses, plot points which reveal things about Samus’ decision to become a bounty hunter are revealed, as well as doing a good job of fixing many plot holes that Fusion had to offer prior to this game. The Bottle Ship is a home to very dangerous creatures, and as Samus explores more, the dangers in the station grow stronger and stronger.

Fabulous! Other M ties up those loose ends that Fusion offered and we get to see Adam Malkovich as well! It’d be great if all the other soldiers in the group, save Anthony, weren’t so forgettable and one-dimensional. It’s disappointing that all we’re offered is Anthony and Adam. James, K.G., Lyle, and Maurice are barely touched upon, and when they are, it’s only in the present tense. We get no back-story of who they are, so we’re just supposed to roll with it.

I mean, hell, K.G. has only one or two lines in the entire game. That’s simply astonishing. He’s only seriously used for a cutscene that I won’t mention due to it containing spoilers. But enough about those soldiers, what about Adam and Anthony, you may ask. Well, Anthony is rather dull in character development, often being rather joking in situations that simply don’t apply. Did you nearly get killed by some freakish creature from hell? Just tell Samus that you want to want to reactivate the generator so you can “see that pretty face of hers.” Oh, and don’t forget to call her “Princess.” Never use her name. Ever.

Don’t get me wrong, I find Anthony a fun character, but he just seems so... generic. As for Adam, he’s about what I expected from playing Metroid Fusion: a seemingly cold, distant guy that actually has a softer heart underneath that metal power suit. There’s really not much to touch on here.

Lasty, but most importantly, we have Samus. Oh lovely. Aside from Samus being cornier than I’d ever imagine her to be, she’s played out well... sort of. She does have some PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that doesn’t seem to fit, seeing as she survived the incident with Ridley, the Space Pirates, and the Metroids at least twice (I say “twice” because I wonder how canon Prime was in this game). She’s unintentionally corny at some times, dead serious and stoic at other times, so I guess I can live with her. I don’t have any real problems.

But there’s just one thing that bugs me about this plot. We’re supposed to learn about Samus’ past, so I was hoping that we’d get to learn about her childhood and her growing up with the Chozo. Are we offered that? Sadly, no. I guess I’ll have to wait for another Metroid game for that. Sure, I could read the manga, but I’ve already done that. Why can’t I see it in a game so I can confirm the canonicity?

Bottom line, the plot is good, but a plethora of the characters sure aren’t. Its okay, I suppose.

Controls: 4/10

A double-edged sword, Sakamoto.

When Sakamoto decided to be adamant in the control scheme being only with the Wii Remote, I was unsure on how to feel. Now that I’ve played the game, I can safely say that it disgusts me to play the game like this. Don’t get me wrong, the controls work; the only problem is that they’re boring. This is what happens when you have controls that are so simple that they make the game boring and tedious for any action you can ever do in this game.

Sense Moving, Overblasting, the transition between first-person mode and third-person mode, all of these are tedious and boring after you’ve done them a hundred times in one playthrough. Everything is so simple and fluid, I feel like there’s no learning curve. Once I learned the controls in an hour, I wrecked the game’s enemies and bosses afterwards. Sometimes, due to the controls being so simple, I Sense Move when I don’t want to, or I can’t get that "Concentration" to work properly without going into Morph Ball form. As for missiles, I must be in first-person mode to use them, and I have to lock on to an enemy. I can’t lock on and use my Charge Beam? Come on.

The D-Pad works for movement, but why couldn’t we be offered a simple Nunchuck instead? These controls could’ve easily been spread out and made less congested with a simple Nunchuck, but due to Sakamoto’s adamant notion on this issue, he said “no.” Sometimes, I don’t even know what I’m doing and I accomplish what I need to do. I don’t want to play a game where I win without knowing how I won. All those lethal strikes and counterattacks are so simple to pull off, I feel bored whenever I do so.

Bottom line, the controls work. But they’re boring after a while and they sure don’t make the game any more enjoyable. I don’t like it.

Gameplay: 6/10

Woohoo, we’re onto the gameplay segment of this review. I’m exhilarated...

What’s right with the gameplay? Well, it’s fast, enemies are relentless, some bosses are challenging... I guess. The best part of the gameplay is the exploring factor, and even that is rather poor. The fighting just plain sucks for the exact same reasons I mentioned for the poor controls: it’s too boring. Every enemy feels the same. Virtually every large enemy can be killed with a lethal strike after stunned, every large enemy can be Overblasted, and pretty much every enemy can be dodged with the Sense Move. Boring, boring, boring! What’s the point of having different enemies if they all feel the same? The auto aim makes things boring too, but to be honest, this game would not work without auto aim. It just wouldn’t.

A few are interesting, but only a few of them. Mainly the later bosses. All the prior bosses and mini-bosses are dull and uninteresting. Some could barely be considered bosses since you see them rather often. My favorite boss fight is a spoiler, so I can’t mention it, but I found it definitely nostalgic, if that helps for some of you.

But enough of that, the actual exploring part leaves much to be desired. Other M has the same problem as Prime 3: virtually no forks in the road. If there is a fork in the road, one of the paths is inaccessible without a certain power-up. But on the plus side, expansions are well hidden to say the least. Fusion had a plethora of different side-rooms on your main path, as does Zero Mission, Super, and don’t even get me started on Return of Samus. But does this game? Nope. Barely any, if not none. Not to mention that you’re given a marker on where to go like in Prime 3. Thankfully, unlike Prime 3, I don’t have a Goddamn Aurora Unit breathing down my neck like Navi the freakin’ fairy this time. Adam barely chimes in anyway.

Lastly, the most jarring portion of the gameplay is the Godforsaken over-the-shoulder mode. Dear God, this is the slowest, most boring thing I’ve ever had to do in any Metroid game! Ugh, it serves no purpose but to build on the atmosphere, but I find it completely unnecessary! You move too slowly and you can’t fire your Arm Cannon or go into Morph Ball mode! Did Fusion need you to go slowly? No, but that game built up tension without a “make-you-go-snail-pace” mode, now didn’t it? Who’s the genius that implemented this feature? It’s pointless!

But that’s only my opinion. Feel free to disagree with my opinion on the over-the-shoulder mode.

Bottom line, the gameplay is lacking, enemies all feel the same, exploring is at a minimum, and only later bosses are truly interesting. Also, over-the-shoulder mode is hideous.

Graphics: 8/10

The best thing about this game is its graphics. But I’m playing a game, not watching a movie...

This game looks very nice. Not Okami nice, but very nice in its own way. Everything is crisp and crystal clear, and enemies are detailed beyond belief. You can see the disrepair of each room, examine all its features in the first-person mode, and marvel at the sectors and their interestingly beautiful environments.

There’s very little I can say about the graphics since there’s nothing wrong with them. They’re beautiful. Not the best on the Wii, but very good. Framerate is almost always perfect, there’s blur and other special effects in scenarios and the cinematics look fabulous. Honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with these graphics. I just wish the gameplay was as good as the graphics...

Bottom line, Other M is a beautiful game. But I... guess you didn’t need a short summary of what I just said, since it’s only two paragraphs, though. Heh, moving on...

Music/Sounds: 5/10

... Wait, you mean to tell me there’s actually music in this game? Unbelievable! I never would’ve guessed! Who’s the great mind who hired this “musician” for Project M, huh?

What went wrong when choosing a musician? Was Kenji Yamamoto taking a break from Metroid? Was Hikorazu “Hip” Tanaka already working on something else so he couldn’t focus on Other M? What about Minako Hamano? He worked on Fusion and I think he’d be best for Other M.

Honestly, I don’t know who this musician is, and I don’t really care since I’ll probably never see him or her again in a Metroid game, but can you honestly call this music? The entire game’s music is completely shadowed by the sound effects. Obviously Sakamoto was trying to build atmosphere, but come on. Fusion did that just fine and it didn’t need to be nearly nonexistent. The only time I’ve ever really heard music in this game was during cutscenes, boss fights, the title screen, and the credits. That’s it. Maybe one or two themes in the game, but everything was instantly forgettable, even if it was audible.

Metroid is known to have great tunes in it. Brinstar, Kraid’s Theme, Tourian, the Space Pirate battle theme from the Prime series, every game had music that conveyed an emotion to the player, but Other M’s music? All it attempts to convey is atmosphere. I couldn’t feel an inkling of an emotion in Other M’s music, just a tiny bit of foreboding thoughts which I instantly got over and forgot. And that’s when I could hear the music. Some of this music is so quiet that you’ll think it’s not even there. If I wanted to play Metroid with the sound off, I’d go to the option settings and change my music volume down to zero, if there was such an option.

Sound effects are perfectly fine. There’s nothing wrong with them. I mean, they’re sound effects. I think it’d be rather tough to screw those up without intentionally doing so. You have your standard flame sound effects, water sound effects, explosions, beams, et cetera and so forth. There’s nothing to touch on here, really. As for voice acting? Well, it’s fine. Corny sometimes, but fine. No qualms here, either, I guess...

Bottom line, the sound effects and voice acting is standard. As for the music... What music?

Replay Value: 4/10

Yeah! This game’s issues that were previously listed will totally assist its replay value, especially in terms of the Metroid series! Yeah!

Let’s think about it for a moment: we have a lack of nonlinearity, no music, and boring fighting and controls. Yeah, this game isn’t the best in terms of replayability. The better part of this game is the later half and I just wish I could skip through the first half of easily-killable creatures and dull bosses. With no catchy music, what’s the drive to keep you going? I’ve always hummed Kraid’s theme on the NES, and that level is a monstrosity to get through. I get through it, though, due to the theme being amazing and the game giving you a reason to travel through Zebes.

The fact that every enemy feels the same and you essentially kill everything the same way also doesn’t assist the replayability. With boring controls that act the same in every situation, why would anyone want to continuously replay this game? There aren’t even multiple endings like in most Metroids. I’ve always thought that Metroid was great in terms of replayability, but this game is almost as bad as Prime 3. I just don’t see the value in replaying this game after I’ve unlocked everything. There’s simply no drive.

Bottom line, this game is severely lacking in replayability. It’s not like every other Metroid, sadly...

Final Summary

If you’re looking for a great Metroid game, I’m sorry, but this isn’t it. It’s a fabulous game, but a seriously lacking Metroid game. But this is all my opinion. Perhaps Metroid has simply evolved, leaving my unchanging tastes behind. Whether Metroid has evolved for better or for worse isn’t for me to decide. No one can say that. This is simply a review from a die-hard Metroid fan that plays and enjoys all sorts of games, even if they're new or old, casual or hardcore.

A final score for this game? 6/10. If you love Metroid, buy it. Otherwise, rent it.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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

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