A Dark Horse in the Metoid Series Rides Hard.

User Rating: 9.5 | Metroid: Other M WII
Regardless of the harsh treatment the young life of Metroid: Other M has received, in my household it was received with open arms. With a un-welcomed straying from the Metroid formula, I was hesitant when I first starting playing. You can say that you won't let the talk and reviews bend your opinion but it happens. Last night I played the game for the first time and this is the opinion I now have.

GAMEPLAY
We all knew coming into this game that the gameplay itself had been brought to a hybrid of 2-D/ 3-D and FPS. The mix of classic and Prime is excellent. Story and action blend nicely, given each other a break from what can, at times, been seen as flat.
The gameplay itself has a very linear feeling, like that found in Fusion but still has the exploration we know and love, if maybe just a little less. A detailed map that shows item locations as you defeat enemies in a specific room allows for easy retracing of your steps as you pass doors and tunnels not yet accessable.
The new item system leaves a hole in the game as equipment, for the most part, comes to you as your commander authorizes it. The events that lead up to the authorization still feel the same as when you beat a boss in previous installments and gain access to the equipment but I personally miss the good old Chozo statues.
Overall the gameplay is exciting and new. A long gooey stretch from its previous kin but every family has its black sheep.

STORYLINE
Since its beginning, the Metroid series has more or less lacked a strong storyline as Samus has remained silent. What story there has been has been told through actions and consequences and holes, filled in by fan fiction and the Japanese manga series. Even Samus was seen as a cold, killing bounty hunter (much like the infamous Boba Fett).
This time around they gave Samus and her world a new life, and given the fans the true story of her past. The story is exciting and reveals much of why Samus is the way she is. Some have said the story is told by the whiny bounty hunter, with lines that are corny at times, but in my opinion, she still remains the bounty hunter we love but now is revealed as a human and much more a woman. Women who, by nature, are generally nuturing and caring. This aspect plays a lot in the telling of her story and I am excited to find out the whole story by the end and see where they leave the game open.

GRAPHICS
Graphics are great. Straying from the darkness that was the Prime series, Other M takes it back to the colors of the original but with a fresh crisp 3-d rendering.
At times the over all resolution seems simplified but other then the occassional blurp on screen, whether during an intense fight or cutscene (live or pre-rendered CG), the fighting and story take your mind away from the flaw that only last seconds in the grand scheme of things. People, weapons and environment come together well save for the normal Japanese to English dubbing.
Team Ninja did a great job with bringing Samus a new graphical life. Whether harsh at times or not, you can't deny this game looks sharp.

CONTROLS
Pulling back, way back, with the controls, Other M brings a simple scheme to the controls. Using the D-pad, 1, 2, and A as your action buttons and are flawless. Now add in some of the inner game mechanics and it becomes a whole new ball game. With auto aim (that occassionally forgets its target) and 3-D surroundings makes it difficult getting used to the D-pad and throw in your immobility when in first person mode makes it a hard new control scheme to get used to but it is not impossible
With the learning curve on the controls, only determined players will find this fun, once you get the controls down. If you get aggrevated fast, just make sure family isn't around during your rage. Overall, it took me no time to get the controls down and find it fun and almost fluid.

OVERALL
Overall I gave the game a 9.5. Its fun and fresh, innovative, yet true to the series. That being said, there will always be those who will hate this game for what it is and love it for what it is. I have been a Metroid fan since the beginning and I feel no betrayal. I welcome a new formula as I welcomed the Prime series which was a huge leap for the series. Games will always get new and innovative and Metroid Other M rides that wave and hangs 10 (or I guess 9.5, oh yeah I went there).

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