Review by Moulinoski
In order to dispel the 3/10 scores but to balance off the 10/10 scores...:
I am mainly writing this review on Metroid: Other M as a response to the people that are giving it 3/10 and 10/10. I do not believe this game is so horrible that it deserves a 3, but it's too far from being perfect that even an 8/10 would be going easy on it.
I am a somewhat "long-time" Metroid fan, having played virtually every Metroid game (except 3, which I have thanks to the Trilogy set, but I'm still halfway through Prime 2). I know that I like the old 2D Metroid adventures better than the first person Prime adventures, so I like quick, smooth gameplay.
The controls in this game work. That is not to say they are perfect. If Nintendo had simply made 2.5D Metroid game, that could have solved many of the 3D-roaming problems I had with the D-Pad, that is, diagonal movement (it was surprising weird, specially in the slow-movement, behind the back rooms). They could have kept auto-aiming, but should have just stuck to what I think most people thought this game was going to be: A platformer/adventure game, or in some other light, a Mario-Zelda. The control scheme for Metroid II worked in its time, so I don't see why it couldn't have worked this time around, considering that the designer wanted to use a simple control system.
The first person view (FPV) deal seemed like an attempt to please Prime fans, but that fell on its face too. The biggest complaint is that you can't move while in FPV. At first, these complaints may seem shallow, until you realize that you can only use missiles in FPV. I've heard that you don't need missiles to fight the bosses, but believe me that you do. That is, if you want to complete the game sometime in your lifetime (an exaggeration, but still). If bosses stayed still when you needed to shoot a missile, then this may have been a different story, but you need to shoot missiles while dodging sometimes, so standing still and trying to shoot become kind of a hectic deal. Fortunately, flicking the Wiimote when the hud flashes green causes Samus to dodge, but I found myself losing my aim- I had to aim again for the... I don't know what to call it... "lock," which sometimes would cause the boss to simply hide its weakness again.
The auto-select weaponry system was not too bad, I suppose, although it may have just better to have used A/- to scroll through weapons, down+down for morph ball, 2 and 1 for jumping and shooting. Auto-aiming could have been used for aiming. Really, I don't see why they had to make the controls less simple than what they wanted it to be. I guess it was because someone had to insist on making a 3D free roaming environment instead of the familiar 2D plane environment (everything could have been in 3D though, honest).
This is a polarizing issue in Metroid: Other M. Some feel that Samus some characterization. Some feel she was always a kick-butt/taking-names character with no feelings. And then there's me: WE define who Samus is; in other words, there was no need for them to tell us who Samus was because each one of us have our own versions of who Samus is. It's the same criteria I have with Link from the Legend of Zelda and every Dragon Quest main character- we are them and they are us. The moment we are told who we are, the mirror breaks and then we find ourselves "guiding" a character rather being a character. I guess this point is kinda moot after Super Metroid, but it's worse in Fusion and just a horrible issue in Other M.
As for the other point in the story, well... The story is pretty cliche. I felt as if the Galactic Federation was the Federation from Gundam, what with their horrible secrets (the Titans and heck, even from the very first Gundam you saw signs of corruption). I suppose it works; it's not even all that bad. I used to say that the story and cutscenes are intrusive to the game, but I can't justify it right now. I suppose the problem with the story is that Metroid was never a cutscene heavy game and many fans like to speed run through Metroid games (I do too, sometimes, it's part of the fun, seeing Samus pose without the armor on or simply taking off her helmet). In some ways, the story is good- and heck, when you get to a certain part of the game, you start to suspect everyone for a crime you'll see in-game; I mean, I sure as heck did- but just the fact that there is a story mid-game is a big change that most people simply couldn't handle. Actually, it's the way the story was presented. You always had a story, whether it was in the manual or shown through quick animations or cutscenes (ala Zero Mission). It's just that the cutscenes in Other M tend to get into RPG territory.
Last note: You will not see the final boss coming. ;) (I consider the next to last final boss the final boss, since the supposed final boss is pretty much a story fight)
I have nothing to say about the music or sound. It all works. There's no Norfair or Brinstar, but it all works.
I already spoke of the controls, so I won't repeat myself in that regard. However, as I played through the game, I felt as if Metroid had suddenly become Legend of Zelda. Instead of going up and down, left and right, you are now going in a spherical orientation; that is, you have forward, backwards, up and down, if that makes any sense. Picture any dungeon in any 3D Legend of Zelda. That's how the maps are, except you have pseudo-2D-ish corriders that don't require you to move back or forward (or left and right in the behind-the-back or in-front-of-the-camera views). I kinda like these parts a little simply due to the fact that all I had to do to dodge was jump and step back- no tapping on the D-pad, full charging a beam in the hopes that I'm still facing the enemy (I mean, it's a cool gimmick, but kinda unpolished).
Then you have the slow-moving rooms. In like two of these rooms, it worked to make me feel vulnerable, to make me feel as if something horrible was going to happen. But then there was a locker room where I moved like this and all that happened is that I got a power-up- this was right before a boss that kept killing me, so I had to get the power-up so many times until I beat the boss. The elevator segments also take much longer than I wish they took.
The part many people hate: You don't collect suits or weapons now; your honorary commanding officer, Adam, authorizes you to do so. Many people hate this because it breaks the old Metroid formula of collecting items (I feel this way too). Many people say this is an example of sexism (which IS a problem in Japan, but it's getting better) when it is really an example of the senpai-kohai relationship prevalent in Japan- meaning that under-ranked individuals have to honor the higher-ranked individual no matter how much they hate that individual. It's really a cultural thing, although it's a horrible excuse for "upgrade collection." Samus would always seemingly lose her equipment from installment to installment, so I don't see why they couldn't have done the same again. It's as if they thought too much on this and couldn't come up for a better way for the player to collect upgrades.
You do hear a lot of people complaining about having to run through an area that just sucks the life out of you. Normally, you'd have gone looking for the Varia Suit, but not in this game. Granted, the areas are all small and short, until you DO get authorized to use the suit. Even then, there's no outward change in your suit (since the standardized, big shouldered suit IS the Varia Suit already). So it wasn't much of an issue as people like to make it out to be (the issue really comes from the silly authorization system).
Now, there were many parts in the game where movement is stopped completely and then you have to go through what TV Tropes calls "Pixel Hunting". You need to point at the screen and look for the one small detail the game wants you to look at, no matter how utterly tiny and innocent it seems. This was an obvious attempt at Guide-Dang-it, game segments designed to sell guides. Apparently, there is an audio cue for when you get close to a point you need to look at, but either the copy I rented was defective, my ears are bad, or my TV wasn't loud enough. The "final" boss is this way too and you don't even realize it since you actually have enemies moving around, whom you can shoot and kill.
This game WAS good. However, it did not measure up to my vision of the perfect Metroid experience- Metroid: Zero Mission. The shame is that it could've have been much better than it turned out to be. Had the controls been different (notice that I'm not even asking for a nunchuck deal, since I actually hate having to dig around for that thing), had the plane orientation been different, had the cutscenes been shorter and the story being less intrusive, what that may mean to you... This game could have been infinitely much better.
Like Metroid? This is another Metroid game in the franchise, although there are many changes.
Like Legend of Zelda? This game has parts that feel like it.
Like Resident Evil 4? There are parts where the game controls like this (I kid you not).
Like Team Ninja? They developed this game.
Like Aliens? There seems to be a number of Aliens references in this game.
Like speed runs? I beat this game in 8 hours and 30 minutes- I'm pretty sure I could do better. (But without any reward for shorter times, it's kinda meh).
Like movies? See if you can get someone's completed save file. You can watch Metroid: Other M The Movie, which lasts around an hour. Now, you don't even have to play the game (I heard there are game segments included)!
I rented this game, but given the chance, I would buy it. For 15-20 bucks, however. So, I say, rent this game or borrow it from someone if you must play it day one (like I did) or wait until it gets severe price drops (like I am).
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Metroid: Other M (US, 08/31/10)
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