Review by Cabadiah
I just had to give it a chance.....I just had to......
Now, unlike many people, I wasn't exactly ecstatic about a new Metroid game, as Metroid Prime 3 was a bit like Zelda's Twilight Princess, fairly easy, streamlined, and it gave you a sense that the end is nigh for that franchise. Sure, maybe my pessimism was kicking in, but it sure felt that way, so I was going into this game with very low expectations, and as many would say, if you go in hating it, you're going to come out hating it, and it all holds true with this game.
There is really so much you can say about the storyline in this game, but at the same time, there is, it's long, but ful of plot-holes and cliches, so you get the point, I hope.
First of all, it takes place just after Super Metroid, after defeating the Mother Brain with the help of the Metroid and the Hyper Beam it sprinkled on you as it faded out of existence after Mother Brains ripple lasers, and the game was so kind as to give you a full-on CG cutscene recounting these events, with the help of Samus' new voice actor. Samus wakes up in some sort of hospital bed, stark naked in her Zero Suit, with some guy with glasses shoving her about. She tells off about how the mission on Zebes was a success, blah blah and such, things we know already. So, business as usual, she saved the galaxy for the third (fourth) time, and she just heads right out the door. As most sci-fi games would play out, she receives a distress signal out in remote space, and naturally goes after it, no real reason to leave a guy or two or three hanging, right? She runs in, for some reason not wearing all of her cool gadgetry and whatnot, and runs into two people she knows, along with some filler dudes who really never serve any purpose at all, one guy is Anthony, some guy she apparently knows from her days as the class pet in the military, since she was the only female in her regiment. They buddy up, he gives them the rundown, she sees Adam, who we know (sorta) from Fusion, he gives Samus the cold shoulder, she helps them through the FIRST DOOR, then decides to step aside and be useless until they give her a job.
Really, a pretty rocky start, and it doesn't pick up much after that, spoilers abound, stuff happens, dirt hits the fan, government conspiracies that are actually eerily (almost painfully) similar to the on we learn about in Fusion, and even in the original Metroid for that matter. This Bottle Ship, if the name doesn't explain much enough already, is an experimental simulated environment headed by a team of scientists setting on cloning (gasp!) Metroids.
But wait, the last Metroid is in captivity and all that, right? Not literally, it was just splatted on the almighty Power Suit some days ago it seems, and if you paid attention to that nerdy kid in the glasses, they "polished" her suit after they picked her up, cell cultures and all, so you can already get an Alien Resurrection feel going on here, save for the whole cloning of Samus, thank God. Also, it seems they picked up a plethora of other species organic matter all over Samus' suit as well, no real surprised there, and since they can clone one Metroid, why not pump out everything else they can scrounge up? Turns out they even cloned Ridley, although he turns out to be a fluffy chocobo/moogle wannabe and later killer lizard and giant purple dragon.
Obviously, the GF brass is holding out on old Samus, in typical higher-power fashion, they have this place set up to create and control Metroids to use as bio-weapons, for galactic peace, of course, if you were to be so kindly naive. But how on Earth can they even do that? Aren't the Metroids basically like any other animal, just trying to eat and repoduce and such nonsense? Turns out, Mother Brain could somehow control them telepathically, and I'm not sure about you guys, but I never heard about that. Moving on, guess what they do next? They even have some sort of copy of the Mother Brain, not so much physical, but more virtual, they have developed an AI with the Mother Brain's matching capacity for thought, data processing, and all that juicy goodness. But what does this have to do with Metroids? How can an AI possibly control living beings? Oh, I don't know, some crock of piss about becoming physical and given a motherly form, so the Metroids can look to MB as a maternal figure, even though what her physical form turns out to be is quite human, and wouldn't even make sense if she stayed the brain she was in Metroid, since while the Metroids seem to be floating brains themselves, I see no resemblance worth noting.
So, we have Ridley, MB, and Metroids, cool, all of that is just grand, but how did this stuff go wrong?
MB got pissy because the GF wanted to use her (gasp!) to control the Metroids, it may sound poor, but that's the basics, they carry her off to make her back into a robot, even they they "needed" her to be somehwat human to control the Metroids, but when she became self-aware Terminator style, they wanted to reprogram her?
Why even bother developing her into an android and make her establish a bond with the Metroids, and then shut her up when she does so?
Whatever, she goes Carrie, gets grits in everyone's grunders, and even though the BS was totally derelict and shut down, MB's plan was to "judge" humanity and crash into the GF HQ and wreak havoc.
Good luck with that, lady.
And while this is going around, the GF also sent in a double agent to take care of everyone, Samus included, even though, well, she's friggin' Samus. But oh wait, I forgot to tell you........she really isn't. I mean, sure, her name is Samus, but she's no longer the strong, clear-headed, responsible, full-grown woman we thought she was, bad move on our part for actually thinking for ourselves, it seems, shame on us! Instead, we get a droning, dull, almost robotic (hur hur) teenybopper who just about cries herself to sleep any time something doesn't go quite as planned. She may only cry two actual times in the game, but they're so drawn out and unnecessary, she did enough work to cover the whole Bottle Ship in one think layer of tasty lady tears.
First time, not so much crying, but getting quite close to it, is when she (gasp!) encounters Ridley. Sure, the guy's supposed to be dead, but come on, after killing his purple ass three (four) times, you'd think she would at least be somewhat desensitized. And for all of you that would spout about her PTSD or the fact about her parents and whatnot, I must simply make unintelligible dribbling noises at you. Yes, her parents were murdered by the Space Pirates and somewhat personally by Ridley himself, but from what I read in the manga, and even the Nitnendo Power comic, and seriously, if the manga is canon, the comic is canon, at least in my eyes, she took those memories into herself with anger and thoughts of revenge, or else she would never have gone along, lived her life with the Chozo, and turned herself into an interstellar ass-kicker. Instead, she would have moped around until she keeled over, and that would have been the ole picture-wrap on Samus.
But no, she put her head back on and toughed it out, and that's how she became herself, or so one would think, apparently, she is really fraught with self-doubt, regrets, and personal weaknesses, and sure, most people have some of that, but cliche "heroes" with weaknesses are more generic than those without, or at least they could have kept her character consistent with the rest of the series. People are saying that limited technology kepy them from putting any real expression, emotion, or any real storytelling into the game, I call BS on that one. Ninja Gaiden was one of the first games to ever have cutscenes and dialogue, and guess what system that was on? The NES, and last time I checked, Metroid was on that same system, maybe they had some distance apart, but they were still using the same generation of technology they could have just as easily shown Samus getting tranqued in the back by some guy like Ryu in NG did.
Second time, Adam's expected, yet unexpectedly moronic and useless, sacrifice. Right before you go to murder the new Metroid clones in Sector Zero, you find a Metroid infant (I refuse to use the word baby). Before she can even lift a finger in her own defense, Adam comes out of nowhere and freezes Samus.
Huh? Samus? What the hell for?
I don't know really, some would say to protect her or something, but others tend to say just plain terrible writing and another excuse to see some of DAT ASS.
Really, Adam explains just after poofing the little brain that the new Metroids MIGHT be unfreezable.
Not the word meaning "strength", or "power", but the word meaning "probability of" and some such semantics.
So, he freezes Samus, putting her into more danger than is necessary, and then goes after the so-called invincible Metroid.
Whew, that out of the way (sure there are some loose ends, but they really make as little sense as any of the above) we can get to the game itself.
I'm not one to praise graphics, I still play Castlevania, Final Fantasy IV, Blaster Master, Mega Man, and The Legend of Zelda, along with games with such aesthetics as Spelunky and La-Mulana, so I'm not much for highfalutin, super-powered graphics engines, I'm more of a "style" kind of guy, so really, the graphics are good, albeit soulless and uninspired, in my opinion of course. It looks like basic Team Ninja fair; everyone is either made of rubber, plastic, clay, or rubbed down with assortments of smelly oils. Really not the best in originality, but it looks good as far as anything else goes.
The game should play out like normal Metroids, no? Right, no. This game follows just about the same formula of a Metroid game as Street Fighter IV does, which is to say, it doesn't. Sure you can run around in circles if you feel so inclined, which very loosely can be considered exploration, but there is no such thing as "freedom" in this game, you are on a set path throughout the game, only with minor pit-stops to grab some useless Missile Tanks or Accel Charges.
Useless upgrades, in Metroid? Pretty much, you can regenerate health and missiles in this game, and is the only way of keeping your ammo count within good range and your health within green, no more purple, yellow, red, or blue bits o' energy no mo, you just have to get down to near-death, clear out of harm's way, and lick your wounds until they simply fade away, and you can regen any amount of missiles in about 1/3 of the time it takes to heal, so no real reason other than completion to scavenge for tanks, unless of course, it's an Energy Tank, but that's a no brainer, even with nigh-infinite health opportunities, it's always cool to seem more powerful with a big ole honkin' life bar.
And you might be wondering why I only mentioned tanks as power-ups, well guess why?
You don't need to actually find your power-ups, you have them all at the start, the catch is that Adam has to tell you when you can equip them.
So THAT'S why she wasn't decked out in purple, or even orange at the start of the game!
Yeah, so don't even pay mind to the fact that there's a glass window with a button on the other side with an Energy Tank in there, you won't be able to grab it until it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to have the Wave Beam, and yes, that's the only use it has, passing through glass.
If you love action games, well lucky you, this game has it..........kind of?
Since this IS Metroid, your main weapon is the beam, but since this is a third-person action-platformer, you can no longer use shoulder buttons to aim your Arm Cannon, instead, they installed an auto-aim function, so just run through every boring hallway and mash the 1 button until everything disappears. And when it comes to bosses, just use the SenseMove, this games dodge roll type move, made possible through tapping the D-pad just as an enemy hits you, over and over again to avoid damage. And after each SenseMove, if you hold down the 1 button and charge your beam, just after dodging, you get a full beam charge, EVERY TIME.
Ridley: *SKREEEEE!!!* *Swipe* *crash* *fire breath* ect.
Samus: *SM, CB, SM, CB, SM, CB, SM* ect.
Ridley: *SKREEEEE!!!* *fly away*
No real challenge at all, really.
So let's recap this games stuffings, shall we? The story is lackluster and useless, which is to be expected, since Metroid has never been story-driven, or at least in this way in particular, but it often gets in the way of gameplay itself with constant cutscenes and monologues, the combat is bland, repetitive, and simplistic in the worst way possible, and even the exploration, isolation, atmosphere, and freedom of past Metroid games has been torn asunder, as you are pushed along the Bottle Ship to the next save point, the next cutscene, the next authorization, rinse repeat, and there is no real sense of danger with the help of CONCENTRATION (new and exciting!)
Game is not even a worth a rent, although that wasn't really my choice as it was bought by someone in the family anyway, for a nominal fee of $59.99.
If you must play it, rent it, beat it, and try to live in regret of those spent monies used to buy the game and brain cells used to play it.
I'd give it a 5/10, it's a distraction, not even a good one, I for one believe this game would not have garnered much attention if it had not been for the Metroid label, it would have been a simple run and gun Team Ninja game that people would tear apart and leave to rot, but since it's Metroid, it's just oh-so-much better.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Product Release: Metroid: Other M (US, 08/31/10)
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