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Modern Gaming: Metroid: Other M
Article by: FinalGamer 9/10/2010 1:45:23 PM
(Because "Metroid: From Another Mother" didn't quite have the same ring to it)
Metroid: Other M
Developer: Project M (Team Ninja, Nintendo, D-Rockets)
It's rare that games in a long-standing series are handed over to another developer for an alternate twist to it. Let it not be known that Nintendo are slackers, for they have done this many MANY times to most of their properties. Mario has been played around with by Square, Intelligent Systems and Next Level Games, whereas Metroid has now been played around with by Retro Studios and now Team Ninja. Really, all that's left is for BioWare to make a Zelda RPG or something (this may or may not be a good idea).
But enough about possibilities, let's talk about the latest Metroid game, the one that will possibly split the fandom.
- Set between Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion, Other M explains the story of what occurred in between, from her terrifying battle with an evolved Mother Brain at the cost of her "baby" Metroid, right up to her return to SR388 only to face off against the X Parasites. In this time, she receives a "Baby's Cry" distress call from a derelict space station known as the Bottle Ship. On board already are a squadron from the Galactic Federation, headed by Samus' former commander Adam Malkovich.
Not one to turn her back from those in potential need, Samus agrees to make a joint mission with the Galactic Federation, under the condition that she follows Malkovich's orders to the letter, in her deepening search upon the mystery of the Bottle Ship. Out of all the Metroid games, this one is the most story-heavy, as given largely by Samus' inner monologues. This is one of the big points of the game that will make or break it for you.
Some people may enjoy having Samus' character explored with reasons for her legendarily stoic personality, as well as the story behind Adam Malkovich since our knowing of him from Fusion. On the other hand, some people may dislike having Samus talking TOO much which she is wont to do, or even just talking at all. While she did narrate in Metroid Fusion, it wasn't to this extent of chattiness. So this will be a personal preference, of which I am of the former, and I personally like seeing deeper into Samus' mindset.
(Pick your own goddamn line from
, I'm not doing your job for you)
Sure I enjoy seeing her as a stone-cold bounty hunter, but I know she's more than that, and I like the fact we are seeing it in-game truly for the first time to such a level. But again, this is a personal preference, some of you might not like Samus talking so much or even at all, and it can get quite irritating when you just want to keep walking and shooting. Speaking of which...
- The gameplay alone sets this game higher than Metroid 2, Metroid Prime: Hunters, and Pinball. Firstly the game has the perspective of the 2D Metroid games, but with the ability to go to any point of the room in full 3D control as well as of course running further into the backgrounds. Samus moves expertly sleek, a high-res equivalent of her Super Metroid days when she spun in the air. Her arm cannon is largely lock-on all the time and will shoot at any enemies within the general direction she's facing, all of which is done while holding the Wiimote sideways like a NES controller.
Charge Beams are simple too but perhaps a little slower than they were in Prime, though thankfully one of the things you can collect in the game are charge accelerators. Then comes one newly-obtained ability known as Sensemove, where Samus can dodge oncoming enemy attacks simply by pressing any directional button when an enemy is attacking towards you, which gets easier than you think over time.
Enemies can also be attacked when weak enough to deal a Lethal Strike which is just to show Samus' badassery in taking down some insect punks genocide-style, accompanied by Overblast where you jump on enemies with a charged beam to really fuck them up. Morph Ball mode is also still as good as ever, with even a jump function added as well as the three bombs and Power Bomb later on. Now we come to the most interesting part of the game, first-person.
(Samus actually has only two modes. Ass-Kicking and Ass-Killing)
When you aim the wiimote towards the screen, you will seamlessly switch to first-person mode without hesitation and you can either shoot off at enemies with the beam, or more frequently with missiles.
The entire point of first-person is using missiles, not only in wrecking enemies but also to clear your path as well as scan weaknesses and anomalies. The only problem of first-person is that firstly it's the only time you can use missiles, and secondly you cannot move during it, but this isn't too bad if you're just quick about shooting then backing out of first-person to swiftly dodge like a badass soon as you see third-person, which you will do more often than you think.
Hell you can even go into first person when hanging from ledges to take down enemies and activate switches! Believe me, that is a godsend of an ability and something you'd want Samus to do.
Sadly scanning is not in this game as a completionist detail like in the Prime trilogy. It is however an irritating stopping point for when Samus will just be in a room completely quiet, and she has to scan SOMETHING. The game will never tell you what, and it really does serve no point other than making you feel more interactive with something that could just as easily have been given a longer cutscene in detail.
It's truly one of the more irritating parts of the game where it stops dead for five minutes thanks to you TRYING to find one tiny fucking flower against a background of the same colour. While I'm ranting there is also another thing that will annoy people in this game. Authorisation. Because you are not alone, Samus agrees to take orders from Adam Malkovich who is the one actually in charge of this entire operation. Let's ignore the fact they used to be close because that's not the reason.
To all the people who whine about authorisation as being completely useless story-wise, here is my response. This is NOT Samus' mission. This is the Galactic Federation's. Samus just showed up on the scene because of the distress signal. Samus was not ordered to go to the Bottle Ship like she was ordered to go to Zebes or Tallon IV. She went there by herself and got involved with a mission she has no part in, so Malkovich is only letting her stay because she can help, but she can't go her own way with a full swing of artillery that can endanger his crew roaming the ship.
(Not Pictured: Samus' Mission)
This isn't some kind of excuse to halt your progress with checkpoints of upgrades, this is an actual story-based reason only because Samus respects the Galactic Federation, and she does not want to accidentally kill the crew as well as any potential survivors by Power Bombing the fuck out of vents. Samus could be able to do that on Zebes and Tallon IV because she had free reign of the mission. She did it on the Biologic Space Laboraties in Fusion because she WANTED to destroy the space station and make absolutely sure that the X Parasites were destroyed.
But here on the Bottle Ship, she has neither of those reasons, and as such, this Authorisation system is probably for the best, and Samus knows it, not because it's Adam, but because it's not her mission and she, for once, does not know better than the Galactic Federation for this mission. And if you're still not convinced, think about this.
Is this really worse than Samus losing all her abilities, and having to gather them all back in EVERY SINGLE OTHER METROID GAME? Compared to the times when Samus received a nasty bump on the head and dropped EVERYTHING, this makes her look a lot less fucking clumsy or unlucky with her abilities than before.
Anyways, that's all of the gameplay covered, other than a few small points.
Missiles and Energy are no longer dropped by enemies but can be recharged. Missiles can be recharged at anytime, while health can be recharged back to a single 99 points if your health is in the red. Missile Packs are still obtainable but now amount to adding 1 missile. Energy Packs are also in the game but there are also Energy Parts which can be made into one Pack if you obtain four of them, just like Zelda's heart pieces.
- Metroid: Other M truly pushes the boundary of graphics on the Wii. The graphics are absolutely crisp and clean, the enemies move very swiftly and without delay as well as Samus, and the non in-game cutscenes are glorious enough to even compete with some of the 360's games! The Bottle Ship has many facades from cold clinical corridors to vibrantly illusionary biosystems ranging from caverns to forests to deserts.
This variety of biodome areas is not only very reminiscent with Metroid Fusion but it also works fantastically so to give the sense of grandeur into how huge this ship truly is to support such thriving biosystems. There's truly no complaint in the graphics department, truly one of the finest-looking games on the Wii.
(Seriously, all we need is to photoshop a Turian in there with an arm around her and it's Mass Effect 2. Incidentally, female Shepard is the same voice of Samus in Prime)
- Another dividing point of the game for fans is the sound. The sound effects, there's no problem with that at all, the monsters and cannon blasts sound as perfect as always and can only belong in a Metroid game. The music is also wonderfully used and while it doesn't have the same power and grandeur of the other Metroid games by not having the acclaimed Metroidian musician Kenji Yamamoto on board, Team Ninja's Kuniaki Haishima has done a surprisingly good job in creating a minimalist soundtrack to employ fear and uncertainty, which you will actually feel for most of the time in corridors so cold and silent with the tiniest of murmurs to unnerve you.
The real divider however is Samus' own voice, in either the fact that it's not the acclaimed Jennifer Hale voicing it this game when she voiced Samus ever since her grunts of pain in Metroid Prime, or the fact that she's talking....a lot. Even though I love the fact Samus is having more of a story, I can see how annoying it can get for Samus to drag on a little TOO long in some inner monologues.
While this is not the first game she has made inner monologues with thanks to Metroid Fusion, it IS the first game where she's actually talking, which will split the Metroid fandom. The voice actress for Samus is not particularly great and she does occasionally read off some lines a little TOO coldly (or rather, without enough ACTING). Team Ninja are big on cutscenes as evidenced from their Ninja Gaiden days on the NES, true, but this game wouldn't have had any problems if they cut out some of the script.
So, what's the word on Metroid: Other M? As an unbiased reviewer, I enjoyed it a lot. The graphics are slick, the controls are incredibly quick to respond and easy to handle and the atmosphere is well-used, with occasional problems involving the pointless scanning, too much dialogue and the occasional "seriously Adam, give me the fucking suit upgrade" moments. I agree with the 8/10 reviews this game is getting a lot, it really is fitting that score, which is good.
As a biased Metroid fan, I love it a lot. Not as much as the Prime trilogy, Super Metroid, or Zero Mission, but I do love it more than Metroid Prime: Hunters which had awful controls, Metroid 2 which was confusing, and Metroid Pinball.....which is pinball. Good pinball, don't get me wrong, but.....it's pinball.
Whether you buy this or not is all down to what you think of how Team Ninja handled Samus. If possible, rent it, and see how you go. Everything else in the game is rendered unimportant depending on your reaction to Samus, to which you probably already know the answer of for yourself.
Fun and Innovation - 4
Replayability - 3
Gameplay - 4
Presentation - 4
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