Metroid: Other M Updated Hands-On: Exploring the Bottle Ship

We get a look at new enemies and environments in Nintendo and Team Ninja's new entry in the Metroid series.

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Metroid: Other M is the latest entry in Nintendo's fan-favorite series starring the first lady of alien blasting, Samus Aran. The game has garnered much attention from fans since its revelation at last year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, thanks to the fresh approach being taken in its development. Other M marks a departure from the first-person shooter structure used for the last few entries in the series on the GameCube and Wii; it features a new developer, Tecmo's Team Ninja; and its storyline appears to touch on the repercussions of events that happened at the end of Super Metroid. We've been excited to see how the whole package comes together, after getting glimpses at the game over the past few months. We recently stopped by Nintendo's offices to spend some time with an updated version of the game and got to try our hand at some new sections that left us wanting more

Round house to the face? Yes please.

The section of the game we played was set in the first sector of the mysterious Bottle Ship that Samus is investigating. The massive spacecraft appears to be one part zoo and one part ark, housing a menagerie of space critters, big and small, in a variety of unique environments tailored to their needs. At the start of our demo, Samus is looking for clues and getting some direction from her former commanding officer, Adam Malkovich, who has moved up to be the commanding officer of the Galactic Federation. The gist of things is that something went wrong on the Bottle Ship and Samus is tasked with finding out what happened. This translates into "explore the ship and look for clues," which is perfect for a Metroid game.

Our run through the Bottle Ship was fairly linear, although we passed several areas we couldn't access because we didn't have the proper gear, but it was clear we'd be revisiting locations. The enemy types ran the gamut from small flyers that could be dodged, to massive creatures that had to be actively avoided and smacked down. There were even some cloaked foes that required some coaxing to pull out of hiding so they could be blasted. In addition to the standard enemies, we found a few Venus flytrap-style foes that required us to shift to morph ball form and lay some mines to escape. Some enemies and transitions to new areas were introduced by cinematics of varying length. Some of the cinematics featured Samus' internal monologue on the situation and moved the story along, while others showed off some of the wildlife on the ship that doesn't seem to be on a mission to murder you. That said, we're pretty convinced a seemingly adorable fluffball with chicken legs that popped up in a cinematic is going to wind up being something horrible later on.

But, as anyone who has played a Metroid game can tell you, enemies are only part of the challenge you'll face. The environment is, in a lot of ways, one big enemy to take on as well. We faced a number of different puzzles that blocked our way and required us to switch to morph ball form, use missiles, or look for hidden paths to get where we needed to go. Along the way we found hidden items and other surprises that gave the impression that there is going to be a whole lot of stuff to be found by inquisitive players. For example, in one area we discovered the Accel Charge upgrade, which increases how quickly Samus can charge her weapons. While this all sounds fairly standard, one of the later puzzles set in an elevator shaft showed a whole other level of challenge. The timed puzzle requires you to pay attention to your surroundings and make use of them in order to avoid death. The catch is that you have only a very short period of time to figure it out. If you succeed, you're rewarded by a classic action-movie moment where the hero just narrowly avoids something horrible. If you fail, things go badly. Very badly.

This guy probably isn't going to last that much longer.

As we've mentioned in our previous looks at the game, the action in Other M has seen some changes and marries some of the elements from the previous first-person games with old-school 2D gameplay. Our play time let us dive a bit deeper into how it all works together, and we have to say that almost everything feels right. The platforming and shooting feel good, thanks to tight controls and new mechanics that keep things fun. Samus' standard moves work like a charm and, as always, can be enhanced by finding new abilities and upgrades. The ability to "concentrate" and refill your missiles and one health bar is an interesting addition to the mix. We're fans of Samus' new dodge, the overblast attacks, and the lethal strike moves on downed enemies. Anyone who has played a Team Ninja game should be right at home with these new additions to the arsenal, because they most definitely have a ninja, albeit a space ninja, feel to them.

The first-person mechanics in the game, while much improved since the last time we played, because of tighter transitions and controls, still break up the flow of action. While we like how smooth the transition between first- and third-person is, from what we've played so far, it still doesn't flow with the action as well as we would like. Hopefully we'll have a better feel for it once we can log more time in the game.

From the look of things so far, Metroid: Other M is shaping up to offer an engaging experience that is set to cover all the bases for fans. The Bottle Ship is an imaginative setting that provides a good variety of environments for you to explore. This particular demo showed off a good range of locales and gameplay that left us eager to dive deeper into the game. Metroid: Other M is slated to ship August 31 for the Nintendo Wii. Look for more on the game in the coming weeks.

Discussion

144 comments
hoysoy
hoysoy

ZOMG 6 more days!!!

hoysoy
hoysoy

@nchan - samus' light suit from MP2, best suit hands down :D 2nd runner up, the fusion suit..two of my faves

Vegna871
Vegna871

@Dr_Corndog Well, the thing is, IGN tends to be more pessimistic, Gamespot tends to be more optimistic, at least about the Wii (they really like the Wii here). There are pros and cons to both, but I find myself agreeing with gamespot more often, personally.

DEATHKILLER-93
DEATHKILLER-93

the first one was great... but this one seems even better. the boss fights look to be even more epic. it's games like this that make me happy a have a wii... if only there were more.

Waldkrieger
Waldkrieger

All Metroid games are great, too bad the WIi is not, in my opinion.

HonorOfGod
HonorOfGod

Cant wait to play this awesome game!!

guyguyguy1234
guyguyguy1234

This comes out right after my birthday :) I know what I'm gonna run and buy. This! Ninja Gaiden games are good, and metroid games are great. I think this game has loads of potential. I just hope that it lives up to it.

WeatherMan89
WeatherMan89

@abzddon thanx 4 replying. Nah im from leicester but obviously theres still repair shops here so i will try that. First tho i will try and borrow the cables from somewhere like a friend, even cheaper option haha, thats if ive got any that have a wii and not a ps or xbox @chisunn It could be that, ill leave it on standby and see if it heats up. I cant tell now because its not been on 4 ages, it p****d me off, especially when it 1st happened so i aint botherd with it since. Its lucky i never threw it out the window! thanx agen both of you

dovberg
dovberg

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

wisebandit
wisebandit

Been playing Metroid games since the first one.... This one will also come to my collection.

mydsgamer
mydsgamer

Im thinking about geting this game i've only my 3ed Metroid game

Rovelius
Rovelius

@dovberg A noob needs to read the Iwata Asks for this game...

Rovelius
Rovelius

18 days, guys... 18 FREAKING DAYS !!

nchan
nchan

Samus suit looks more feminine on this game. Thanks Team Ninja.

McLoven92
McLoven92

HEY everybody chill out! just talk about how awsome the game is or something. you guys don't need to go so over board about games. just play em and have fun. : p

hoysoy
hoysoy

*sigh.. I have been pretty gloomy for the last couple weeks actually. In fact Ive been playing some good ol' mario the last couple days. I've just been so bored at work when were slow and end up just posting on forums most of my shift(like right now). But hey, don't get me wrong-I was just saying my thoughts on the previous posts before me, I love metroid, ninja gaiden And Doa, thats why i got a 360 in the first place. sorry dynomitemasta, I should take a break from everything for today-got a weekend of OT shifts so its gonna be a looong week for me -_-

dynomitemasta
dynomitemasta

@hoysoy.....dude, your taking this just a wee bit too seriously. Go play a game and have some fun. Your all doom and gloom.

joshphillips
joshphillips

@jsa3 ya I know man did you see the part where I said they can suck unoriginal balls. I'm concuring with you brochacho.

jsa3
jsa3

@joshphillips COD and halo? you talk about them likle theyre actually 2 different things. theyre the exact same thing except halos with a space theme and cods with a war theme. aside from that, theyre the exact same thing

bbello170
bbello170

This might be the breakout game of the year. Creative new platform. I cannot wait for this. Hope they tighten the controls and make the game as great as it's looking so far.

lindallison
lindallison

@hoysoy I wish she looked like she did in those old Nintendo Power Super Metroid comics.

joshphillips
joshphillips

This will be hands down the best game of this console generation. Reach and COD can suck unoriginal balls. I want this game now!

joshphillips
joshphillips

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

lindallison
lindallison

@stevencvms It's really not that different from the way you were immobile while free aiming in the two GC primes or even Perfect Dark and Goldeneye. It's a bit artificial and quaint but a risk/reward to the 1st person POV isn't automatically a bad thing....

frankfartmouth
frankfartmouth

Nintendo and Team Ninja probably had to pit their Sumo wrestlers against each other to decide whether to give Samus a nice set of triple E, DOA-size mammos

dovberg
dovberg

I don't like team ninja so much so I'm not preordering this

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

The metroid series is awesome, having team ninja have at it will be awesome, I dont give a sh** on what you people say, nintendo knows what their fans want!

Dr_Corndog
Dr_Corndog

Gamespot seems to have a more optimistic view of how the controls will end up working out for this game than IGN does. I hope Gamespot is right.

Zorcana
Zorcana

Can't wait, time to see Samus pwn even more

jsa3
jsa3

@stevencvms thats what we originally thought about metroid primes no movement whilst aiming. and take a look at what spot its taken on gamerankings.com

stevencvms
stevencvms

this seriously looks like a flop... first person with no movement? really?

Distinctive_Fin
Distinctive_Fin

This is proof that the Chozo didn't just teach her how to shoot. . .

hoysoy
hoysoy

OH yeah, I also dont like what Team Ninja did to samus' face, looks too much like DOA imo and i dont like the little beauty mark either, that plus the military guy's helmets look retarded. all in all though i cant wait for the game to come out.

hoysoy
hoysoy

man, the Wii is NOT a next gen console so stop comparing it to next gen. yea most games are like ps2-ish but in truth the Wii handles a higher poly count capacity and the PS2 cannot handle actual lighting effect layers :s so there, SOTC for ps2 was the best one for lighting but polygons had to be reduced becasue it would lag way too much trying to render everything going at once(awesome game btw, one of my favs). and thps48- "give up"? give up on what?? of course theres monsters from the snes version-this is a pre-setting in the timeline of the story. I honestly have no complaints so far because 1-the games not even out yet, and the other thing is that I think its dumb that we cant walk/run in 1st person mode, but its not such a big deal since its meant to be 3rd person anyway.

thps48
thps48

First-person sounds wonky, but we've experienced wonkier, I'm sure. Also, the green ostrich and blue monkeys have been around since Super, dude. I'd say something demeaning to the present staff, but I'm starting a new thing called "I give up." Actually, The Daily Show had a similar segment a few days ago, so that's perfect. :\

ichc1000x
ichc1000x

This looks great! Nintendo never disappoints!

T-Sub96
T-Sub96

I can't wait for this! I love the MP series, so this will be a little different for me since i haven't played the old ones as much, but awesome!

killer690
killer690

- Team Ninja, awesome… I hope the camera is not as awful as the one in ninja Gaiden 2 for the xbox 360, I also hope the difficulty is well balanced this time around, and not stupidly hard well "balanced" -

UberGameSystem
UberGameSystem

Chuck Norris is gonna have some competition with the round house kick... wait a minute, what am i saying?

UberGameSystem
UberGameSystem

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

dandaily4
dandaily4

I think graphics should be the least of any of our concerns. Gameplay and storyline are the most important things of this game, just like Zelda. And @K5Stalker, that's totally true. I felt the same way in Metroid Prime 3.