Review by Shah138

Reviewed: 09/09/10

9 thumbs up out of 10

Samus Aran, Intergalactic Bounty Hunter is armed and ready to take on her next mission, in Metroid Other M, but this time, there is a twist to the situation. Nintendo and Team Ninja have worked together to create this masterpiece of a Metroid Game and surpasses some of the old ones in the series. Yes, some core elements of Metroid such as gameplay, story telling, and overall feel have changed but I assure you, they are for the best and help give depth to this action adventure title.

This game takes place in between Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion, the last so far in the series. The game starts off flashing back to the ending events of Super Metroid which depicts Samus, Mother Brain, and 'Baby' battling it out. The Baby was an infant Metroid that Samus found on SR388, while she was sent their on a mission by the Galactic Federation to exterminate all Metroids. Upon defeating the Metroid Queen , Samus saw the egg hatch and the Metroid saw Samus as it's mother. It followed Samus back to her ship and they left the planet. The events of Super Metroid find the Baby captured by the Space Pirates, an evil race that attempts to take over the galaxy. What makes this important is who stole it, and that is Ridley. Ridley is the person who brutally killed Samus's parents when she was only three years old, so you can see why there would be so much tension, hate, anger, and even fear between the two. Nearing the end of the game, Samus finds the Baby again, trying to kill her, until it realizes that it is Samus and it stops attacking and leaves. It is at this point where Other M begins. The final boss of Super Metroid, Mother Brain, suspected leader of the Space Pirate, fires her deadly beam at Samus, and injures her badly. Just when it's about to happen again, the Baby flies in and saves Samus only to be killed in the process by Mother Brain. Samus then proceeds to kill Mother Brain and avenge the death of the Baby and then escapes the crumbling planet around her. You may be thinking "What does that have to do with Metroid: Other M?". It actually has a lot to do with it because, it justifies many new things that happen in this game, and why some events happen.

The story of this game revolves around a Galactic Federation station called the Bottle Ship, and what happened there. Along the way Samus reveals bits of her past piece by piece to give the player more knowledge of her and what she's been through. She first gets a distress signal code named "Babies Cry" from the Bottle Ship and then flies there. This is where the path deviates from normal Metroid games. Rather than exploring a wrecked ship by herself like in Metroid Fusion, she discovers some Galactic Federation Troopers are already there. They are of the 7th platoon and led by Commander Adam Malkovich, Samus's old Commanding Officer, trusted friend, and Father Figure. At first he doesn't allow her to be around but because of the high amount of trust between them, and a little convincing on Samus's part, he allows her to stay on the condition that she follows his orders as if she is one of his own soldiers. The story then proceeds as it should, and as Samus explores the Bottle Ship, we see flashbacks to her past, and her relation with Adam, and why she had to leave the Galactic Federation. Of course, any good story isn't without it's plot twists. Metroid games do not usually have them but they are welcome. Without spoiling anything, it's safe to say that even though the isolation aspect, a core feature of Metroid games, is not there at some points, but slowly starts to appear as you learn of the fate of the 7th Platoon soldiers, and even Adam himself. All in all, the story is presented in a well organized way through cutscenes between the characters or more flashbacks. The voice acting used is also welcome and is a good choice that moves away from the usual text only.

The very core gameplay is normal for a Metroid game. This can be mostly compared with Metroid Fusion, with a sort of linear gameplay, but is obvious due to the game being story driven. Exploration, upgrades and power ups are all added to Samus's arsenal as the game progresses. The way this happens is not normal though. Health and missile pickups can still be found in hidden locations but weapons and armor upgrades are not. Rather than exploring and finding them, Adam authorizes them. He does not do this all at once though and only when the time calls for it so it is basically the same thing. You go where he tells you to go but that is fine as there is a free roaming post game.

You go about exploring the environment on your own as the troopers get sent to other sectors of the Bottle Ship, thus creating an isolated feeling. Adam tells you where to go but not step by step, so you still have to take care of branching paths and the like, but once you get their, you have to figure out what to do, or wait for new orders. The environments are all Holograms, and representations of real (Metroid real) locations. They range form the normal space station locals, to a jungle like place to even a lava filled cave or an ice filled area. If you didn't know they were holograms you would mistake them for being real. The areas may be fake but the enemies are very much real and can even kill Samus so be wary of them. An example of weapons or armor being authorized is when Samus needs protection in a lava filled cave, or activation of Missiles to take down frozen enemies piece by piece. Another example of this would be when gravity is distorted so Samus has to use the Gravity Suit to nullify it's effects. Other than Samus running around on foot, this game also features the Morph Ball. The Morph Ball is an item used to allow Samus to get into tight spaces to reach normally unreachable locations or find a Missile Upgrade or Energy Tank. You also gain authorization of the Grapple Beam which allows you to swing up to high places. Overall, exploration or movement in general is only presented differently but the formula is still the same old Metroid, and it controls very well.

The combat in this game is absolutely amazing. Normal Metroid games would have you shooting enemies with your arm cannon or in the Morph Ball. This game has that but with a slight change to it. While you still are shooting at enemies, there is an auto aim function to go along with the 2.5D gameplay. It would be near impossible to hit an enemy without it as there is no manual lock on function. There is still Morph Ball gameplay but nothing new is added to it, just the same old Bombs and Power Bombs. The Power Bombs are infinite though so you don't have to worry about running out but there is a significant cool down time until you can use it again. Outside of the Diffusion Beam, which supposedly replaced the Spazer Beam, every weapon and armor upgrade that you get authorized is something you found in Super Metroid. Outside of one or two weapons, the standard Metroid combat has not changed one bit and is still the same, but there are new additions to it.

Blasting enemies and bombing others is fun and all but what are the new things that Other M has brought to the table? One of them is how you use your missiles. Pointing the Wii Remote at the screen causes you to go into first person mode, and you see everything Samus sees. In this mode, you can fire missiles, and shoot standard power beam shots and scan things. Scanning is usually done during exploration to find key things in the environment but is also used during combat to find what something is weak to. For example, a wall could be scanned to find it can be destroyed with a Super Missile. The game slows down a bit to make a smooth transition between the first and third person views. This may seem weird at first but once you realize what other offensive things you can do, missiles become a secondary thought.

There is a myriad of new techniques that Samus has. She knew all of these in previous Metroid titles but never used them. Now is the chance to show what she can really do. Is Samus about to get hit by a really powerful attack? Press a button on the D Pad and she uses what's called the "Sense" move which lets her dodge out of the way of the attack. She can do this in third and first person multiple times so it's a very nice defensive strategy. Be warned though, there are a few attacks that need to be dealt with in other fashions, such as the classic running away or jumping over them. Also, as the enemies in this game don't drop ammo or health, Samus can use the "Concentration" move by holding the Wii Remove towards the ceiling and pressing A. If low on health, she can heal two energy tanks, and in all situations, refill all her Missiles. This is extremely helpful in tough situations when you are near death. Even if you die you get sent back to a checkpoint or save point so it isn't as tedious as other Metroid games.

On the offensive new techniques, Samus finally uses her agility and melee skills. She can now leap on top of creatures and unleash a Charge Beam shot right into them for a nice head shot. She can also put dragon like enemies into head locks or throw them around the place. Shooting an enemy to death is fun but not as satisfying as a strong kick to the head or dealing a lethal strike on a tough foe.

The graphics in this game are top notch, being with the best graphics for the Wii. The character models to the environment are excellent and fit the Metroid theme. The voice acting in this game is also great, adding emotion to the characters. The sound effects are typical Metroid fare. The music, while not as good as other Metroid titles is still great, and give a good atmosphere to the game, even though a good amount if it is ambient.

Going through this game as quickly as possible would take you to around the 7 hour mark. Trying to get 100% and appreciating what this game has to offer can take you from 15 hours onward. Once you beat the game once however you wanted to, you can play it again for either a faster time, or a faster item percentage. Added onto that, there is a hard mode that test's your skill by giving you no item upgrades. Only your armor and weapons, nothing new.

In the end, Metroid Other M comes out to be a fun and fantastic Metroid Title. It may change some core elements of the Metroid franchise but they are not extremely major, and in my opinion, are good changes. Addition of a story is definitely a plus when the series never really had a game that focused on it. New characters were also nice, and flashbacks and cutscenes were excellent ways of revealing Samus Aran's past. The combat was given a great overhaul keeping the standard Metroid gameplay while adding in welcomed techniques, which keeps the game from being too hard. The only downside I would give this game is a glitch that prevents you from progressing. While this is bad, only a small handful of people have encountered it so it isn't major. In the end Metroid Other M is a great game and most definitely a welcome addition to the series. I give this game 9 thumbs up out of 10.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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

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