Review by VRX3000

Reviewed: 09/09/10

Even ignoring the plot, this game has many issues that should have been resolved

I happen to consider myself a big Metroid fan. I have done 100% runs for Super (including saving the creatures at the end), Original, Zero Mission, Prime, Corruption and Fusion ad well as a minimum% run on Fusion (as in only getting the mandatory missile expansion...which I think someone later found a way around so my run is 1% too high) so I consider myself pretty moderately engrossed in my Metroid. Giving this game a 4/10 pains me. I want this game to be good. I really do. But I can't give a game a good score if it is below average.

Now, the game's plot, mainly it's depiction of Samus has come under question. As much as I want to vent on that, I'm going to ignore this aspect of the game...for the most part. You see, the problem isn't that Samus has emotion. The problem is that the writers don't understand the concept of believability. They crank every emotional inner monologue and scene of weakness up to 11, and unlike Spinal tap, 11 is not good. 11 is too much. When you hit 11 you go way too far and make Samus look like a damsel in distress. There is a difference between human weakness and what Other M does. If you want Samus with believable weakness, look no further than Zero Mission, Corruption and Fusion. Seriously, though, even without how Samus acts, the plot is basically a bunch of sci-fi cliches that feel more fitting in MGS2. But I am already spending too much time on this section.

While the story may be the biggest target on the forums, the controls in Other M are the start of the really big troubles. First off, you hold the wiimote sideways like an NES controller. However, this makes the controls overly simplified, somehow resulting in the game being both too easy and too hard at the same time. Confused yet? I'll explain.

Other M for the most part plays like a fast paced Luigi's Mansion, in that I mean you are in a 3D environment but the camera is ALWAYS in one position, thus looking like you are going through a doll house. In this mode of play, the game allows for auto aim, which usually works....unless you have 1 enemy and you are pointing right at it. Then the game will miss the target 80% of the time until you turn slightly away from the enemy, in which Samus will somehow have better aim when hitting something diagonally than when it was a clear shot right in front of her. And to do all this, just press 1 button. Simple, yes. Difficult, no. In fact, even the "harder" enemies don't provide a challenge. Once you figure out you can just hit the d pad right before getting hit to dodge, you can dodge every single projectile ever. So just spam random directions and press 1 button to win. Even Metroid 1 had more complexity in combat. And if you ever do somehow face a tougher battle, just point the wiimote at the ceiling and press A. You'll recharge your energy to a point along with your missiles. It basically allows for an endless suply of missiles and lives so you are never in danger of death as long as you time it right. So technically, you could beat this game with getting minimum power ups. The game actually realizes this and once you beat the game with 100%, it gives you a hard mode which is exactly that; a mode where you have only the lowest amount of items possible.

Now you heard the easy, what about the hard.That comes from the 1st person mode. By pointing the wiimote at the screen, you can see through Samus's visor much like Metroid Prime. However, unlike those games, you can't move in this mode. You can still dodge but you can't walk. Many a times will you find yourself pointing at the screen to look around, then only find that you are slightly off angle and something is blocking your view, so you switch back to 3rd person, take 2 steps, then switch back to 1st person and solve the puzzle. It may not sound like that big a deal but it gets very annoying.

Another issue with the 1st person mode is that it is useless in battle. It is the only way to fire missiles, but you won't get any off in normal enemies. You see, the enemies here take 2 seconds to react, but the wii doesn't understand that you are pointing at the screen until after 3 seconds. You are guaranteed to get hit. it is safer just to do a charge shot in 3rd person and hope the auto aim wants to be nice. You will never use the 1st person mode except in boss battles where you have to use it. And when you HAVE to use the 1st person mode, well let;s just say those enemies can ONLY be killed by missiles when they are frozen...and they unfreeze even faster then a normal enemy can react....and attack in swarms. That lag between you pointing the wiimote at the screen and the game figuring out what you want will become infuriating and artificially increase the difficulty exponentially.

And then the game at times will force you to be in 1st person mode and won't let you leave. There will be two things that can happen in this situation. You may need to shoot a boss in the right spot before it basically instant kills you, in which case I say, why can't I dodge? I dodge everything else. I can dodge in 1st person. Why is the game now restricting my controls and refusing to let me save myself? The game instead wants you to hit the right part of the boss at the right time and becomes basically a puzzle game. Think Punchout, but Little Mac is not allowed to block, dodge or duck. You HAVE to hit ever punch correctly. Imagine how not fun that is.

Or the other option is you are stuck in a story sequence and you need to scan the right thing to advance the plot. You will spend a while looking at everything to figure out what the game wants you to do. And this is not always obvious. At one point the camera starts you out pointing in one direction, but the thing the game wants you to look is directly behind you. How was I ever going to think of that? Why would you make the game face me one way when you want me to look the other?

Basically, the point I am trying to make is that any time with 1st person mode sucks. It is game ruining. The wiimote alone just does not have enough buttons to allow features that are needed for the mode. They should have cut anything 1st person out of the game. Or if you really needed to put it in, the use of an analog stick on the nunchuck would be very appreciated. Heck, the entire game should use the nunchuck. You get a few more buttons to use, allow for movement in first person, the extra buttons make the fighting more complex, and then you can just use a simple button press to switch perspectives, thus avoiding the lag issue as well. The control scheme just cripples the game.

But the controls are not the only issue. The level design also lacks compared to other games. First off there are invisible walls everywhere. Why can Samus not jump over that knee high area? Why is it Samus can not walk to that door in the background? There is nothing blocking the way except for a 2 ft drop to a solid floor that is easily walkable. there is only one path you are meant to take. And you can't deviate from it until the end. Yup, that's right, the biggest sin of all level design is...hindering collecting missions.

Now, despite what people say, Metroid has never actually been a non linear series with the exception of Zero Mission. There is only one way you are meant to go in any Metroid game. You can only progress forward when you get your power-up. But once you get that power up, you can still go back to previous areas and collect a few items you saw that you couldn't reach before. But not in Other M. Other M locks those doors. You can NOT backtrack to item collect until the very end of the game. This game has a very linear structure and you are not allowed to deviate until the game says you can deviate. Yes, it copied the worst aspect of Fusion.

And how you get the the power-ups is a bit odd too. You technically already have the power ups, you just aren't allowed to use them. This will lead to an odd situation where you actually HAVE to go through the lava section and constantly have your health drained. Any experienced Metroid player would naturally turn back and try and find the one safe way to the objective because that is what you are meant to do in every other Metroid game. This game however, expects you to go through this and then after you run through it all, Samus gets permission. This is like constantly stabbing yourself until someone says "stop." I find it dumb to believe that someone would willingly refuse to put on the "I will not die from lava" suit while surrounded by lava...but now here I am bringing up the absurd plot again so I'll stop this section now.

Basically, from item progression, to controls....Other M feels like this game is only half completed and rushed out. The areas are more linear, even compared to Fusion. The item collection doesn't make sense and just feels like, "we didn't make this room where the powerup will be so now we'll just say you use it here." And the controls are nowhere near the level of quality you expect from a Metroid game (they feel like it wasn't properly play-tested).

And that's basically my review of the game, but I feel I must explain my scoring first so people so they don't get the wrong impression. I do not review with a 8 as an average like how "professional" reviews have ended up becoming. They never use half the scale. 5 is average. it is in between 0 and 10. A 6 is above average. A 4 is below average. This game is merely below average. A 4 is not that bad a score. If you really like Metroid and you consider Fusion your favorite game in the series, you just might enjoy this. I just recommend renting it first though just to be safe.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

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

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