Metroid: Other M - It may not be Super Metroid, but it's still a great game on its own
So is Metroid: Other M really that bad of a game? Well let's find out.
Time to take a step inside Samus' past:
Metroid: Other M, or MoM for short, is the first game in the Metroid series to really have a major focus on the game's story. While Metroid games in the past normally featured our silent heroin as she battled Space Pirates and slowly uncovered the stories of the world around here, they never really focused on Samus herself. Well, MoM changed that.
As soon as you start up the game you'll find yourself watching a CGI cutscene version of Super Metroid's ending. The, now grown, Baby Metroid is holding onto Samus recovering her energy, and Mother Brain is ready to attack. After shooting a beam through the Baby Metroid and killing it; Mother brain then turns her sights on the now fully recovered Samus. After being stunned by the fallen remains of the Baby, Samus soon quickly charges up a Super Beam Shot, (which was apparently given to her by the Baby) and fires it into Mother Brain, which finally kills her. After waking up in a Galactic Federation infirmary, the still traumatized (due to the loss of "her baby") Samus is instructed to complete a training exercise for testing, and to file her report on planet Zebes.
Weeks later Samus is once again floating through space in her ship when she comes across a distress signal, dubbed "Baby's Cry," which was coming from a bottle ship. Feeling that the cry was directed at her, Samus decides to follow the signal and help whoever is in trouble. Once arriving on the Bottle Ship, Samus soon finds herself face to face with some old friends; the Galactic Federation 07th Platoon, and their commander Adam Malkovich. After a quick talk, Samus decides to join them on their mission, and once again go under the command of her old commander Adam.
Metroid: Other M's main focus is in fact on Samus and her relationship with Adam. Throughout the game we slow get to see bits and pieces of Samus' past when she was a member of the Galactic Federation, and we also get to see her really interact with other people for the first time. Although Samus is an ace bounty hunter who has never shown any emotions in past games, Metroid: Other M takes place at one of the more dramatic parts of Samus' life and it was criticised by most fans due to this. Not only is Samus still dealing with the loss of the Baby Metroid, a creature she did everything to protect in Super Metroid, she also has to deal with the feels from the past, which were brought up from meeting some of her old friends, and she also has to deal with a great amount of loss.
Although MoM's story might be one some fans would like to forget, it's also the game that Samus would like to forget as well. After destroying the space pirates, after chasing down Ridley and stopping Metroid Prime, after stopping the "Ultimate Power in the universe," after destroying an alternate dark dimension, after stopping Dark Samus, after destroying the the Metroid Home world, and after doing everything to save a Baby Metroid only to watch it die in front of her, you would think that the worst of it would all be behind her, but that's far from the truth. MoM might be criticised for it's story and over emotional Samus, but everyone has their breaking point and Samus has finally reached hers.
Yes Commander Adam:
Metroid: Other M's gameplay is a mix between the classic Metroid side scrollers and Metroid Prime. Although the game mostly takes place in 3rd person, by pointing the Wii remote at the screen you can switch into a first person view. This allows you to scan the area around you for clues, aim at vital points during boss fights, and fire missiles; however, unlike in Metroid prime, it is completely impossible to move while in this state.
When in a 3rd person point of view the game plays very much like the classic Metroid games. Although the world around you is in fact completely 3D, areas are completely enclosed and feature quite a bit of platforming. Since the game is played using the Wii Remote, which only has a D pad and a few buttons, movement feels almost as if you're playing a 2.5D game. When holding left or right Samus will follow the basic set path, but not everything will follow that said path. There are paths to the north, paths to the south, platforming sections which will require you to jump all around the 3D space, and puzzles will require you to make the full use of the space you're given. Even so due to the sharp movements and fixed camera angle the game features, Metroid: Other M feels a lot like a 2D platformer, and it feels great.
Due to the fact that MoM is a completely 3D game which uses only the Wii Remote, one major change had to be made, and that major change was how the combat was handled. Since the D pad is used to move your character around, it is completely impossible to take aim while you're in 3rd person mode. To fix this problem Samus now actually locks onto all targets in the area and will shoot at whatever enemy is in the direction is facing. While this may be a bit of a let down for some, the automatic lock on system actually works quite well and allows for much more control overall. Since Samus will now automatically lock on, players are free to run, jump, and dodge as they try to kill the enemies as fast as possible. Besides having an automatic lock on system, Samus can also preform finishing moves on some enemies as well. Normally these finishing moves are used for boss fights and mini boss fights, but they really do speed up the battle system.
Although the Wii remote only has a few buttons, the game makes sure to take full advantage of them. Double tapping any direction on the D pad will preform an automatic dodge, pressing the 2 button will allow you to jump, the 1 button will allow you to fire, the A button will allow you to go into morph ball mode, and like I said before, pointing the Wii remote at the screen will allow you to switch into a first person point of view; however there is still one major change that makes use of the Wii's motion controls.
Unlike in past games Samus no longer will receive health items and ammo packs, but instead she can now restore both energy and ammo on her own. By holding the Wii remote up Samus can focus her energy to slowly recover both her health and ammo. Although it takes time to charge, which can be quite hard to do in a room filled with enemies, this new feature is quite the life saver, especially on hard mode where you only have one energy tank. Still this newly added feature can make the game a little bit too easy at times, and some fans might find that it takes away from the challenge brought by the original games.
Ever since the original Metroid Samus has been exploring a massive open world as she collects power ups that provides her with new abilities and equipment that allows her to access new areas. Everything from missiles to blow open doors, to the space jump to fly across gaps, these power ups have always been a major part of Metroid, and they are a feature fans have come to expect. Well, this time things are handled a bit differently, and once again the change has brought a LOT of criticism.
Since Samus is an outsider working under the command of Commander Adam, she must follow protocol and deactivate all of her abilities until told other wise. At first Samus simply starts out with a few basic abilities, such as her beam, but over time Adam will authorize new abilities for you to use to access new areas. Yep that's right, if you reach a burning room of fire, you cant activate your armor to protect against damage until Adam tells you to. So you reached a gap that you can cross with your space jump? Well has Adam given you permission? No? Well guess you have to come back later!
Although powers do unlock as you progress through the story, it really isn't the Metroid style. Sure you can still find energy tanks and missile upgrades, as well as a few new power ups, but you can't find your main equipment. Samus starts with just about everything in this game, but she just can't use it until she's given the A-OK. A lot of fans may feel that listening to Adam like this is once again way out of character for Samus, but at the same time there's something you must understand.
Even though Metroid is in fact fiction, there has always been at least some sense of the real world. In real life you simply cant run around a military operation doing whatever you want with whatever equipment you want. There are set protocols you must follow, and the same thing applies here. If Samus wants to work side by side with the Galactic Federation, she MUST follow their command. On top that, Samus has a great amount of respect for Commander Adam, and she'd hate to undermine his command.
Is Other M really the next generation Super Metroid?
Back when Other M was first announced Nintendo openly advertised that it would in fact be a next generation Super Metroid. The game would be returning Metroid to its roots, it would have the same Super Metroid style exploration, and it would simply be the game fans have been waiting for for years; however as it turns out, this was all a lie.
Many people go into Metroid: Other M expecting a 3D Super Metroid, but what they find them self playing is something completely different. Although the gameplay is in fact a lot like the classic 2D platformers, Other M is actually more along the lines of another Metroid Fusion. In Super Metroid players got to explore a massive world where they alone had to figure out where to go, but Other M simply doesn't follow that style.
Like in Metroid Fusion, Other M's world is broken up into a few different sections which are more along the lines of standard levels. Samus will be ordered to check out one section, she'll go down an elevator or go through a door, and then she'll go through a level and fight a boss at the end. Besides looking for hidden power ups, there really isn't that much exploring. Every area is basically self contained, and the game gives you very little reason to actually back track to old areas that you have completed.
Although the story picks up right after the events of Super Metroid, the main game's story actually focuses on Samus and the events that lead up to Metroid Fusion, and it copies the gameplay style of Fusion as well. It has self contained areas, a linear story, and very little exploration.
The Sound and Graphics:
Normally I leave Sound and Graphics out of my reviews, but Metroid: Other M is a special case. Although Other M is in fact a Wii game, it is actually one of the best looking Wii games out there. Even if you don't have component cables and you're playing on an HD TV, the game still looks great! The character models are nice and smooth, the world has a lot of detail, and everything shines. Although it's a Wii game, Metroid: Other M looks better than most of Team Ninja's earlier games that were released on HD consoles. On top of the very nice in game graphics, most of the story is told through very well done CGI cutscenes. Easily some of the best you'll see in a Nintendo game this generation.
Besides the fact that Other M is the first game to actually have a deep story, and besides the fact that it's also the first 3rd person 3D Metroid game, Other M has two other firsts as well, and both are related to the game's sound. Metroid: Other M is the first Metroid game to feature a fully orchestrated soundtrack! Yep that's right, like most of the newer Wii games, the soundtrack in MoM is completely orchestrated and it sounds great. From well known tunes, to completely brand new ones, the music really sets the mood for the game, and it sounds great. Although not everyone may be a fan of orchestrated music, I'm sure most of you can agree that it's a very nice edition. Still, that isn't the major first Other M has to offer.
Metroid: Other M is actually the first Metroid game where Samus is FULLY voiced. Yep that's right, she has a voice! Although in past games Samus would scream in pain and make sounds, Other M is the first game where she actually states her mind. Before dialog was normally limited to a few cutscenes, such as the intro to Super Metroid and the elevator scenes in Metroid Fusion, but this time it's throughout the game. There are scenes where Samus simply states what's on her mind, scenes where she talks to the other main characters, and scenes where she relives her past. This time around Samus always has something to say, and that isn't always a good thing.
As I stated before, Other M is basically Samus' breaking point where all of her feelings from the past finally start to get to her. Although Samus' dialog later on is actually pretty good and some might say it really adds to her story, it actually starts out a bit shaky. Near the start of the game Samus seems almost robotic. Her anti social nature causes her dialog to be a little bit funny, and she can come off quite a bit strong. Either way near the start of the game most of you may find yourself hating Samus' dialog, and you may even wish she'd just shut up and never speak again, but as time goes on things do get better. As for the other characters, their dialog is actually pretty good right from the start, and most are voiced by well known voice actors which actually really helps in the end.
So, Is Metroid: Other M worth it?
Metroid: Other M is one of them types of games that you will either love or hate. Long time fans of the series may have a hard time getting past the major changes, but at the same time they might enjoy finally seeing Samus' past, something which has only really been explained in interviews, comics, and mangas. Although the gameplay really isn't that much like Super Metroid, it does play a lot like the GBA title Metroid Fusion, which was also a game that as given to Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors for free, and it is sure to please fans who liked it.
Although the game does have many flaws, such as the few annoying "search" points where the game forces you to look around the screen in first person mode until you can find a "clue," and the shaky dialog, Metroid: Other M is generaly overall a pretty fun game. If you like action adventure games, platforming games, puzzle games, and games with a strong focus on story, then Metroid: Other M is the game for you. It's main story mode generaly takes around 10 or so hours to beat, and it's hard mode is sure to challenge even series pros.
In short, if you're looking for a great (but cheap) game, then MoM is the game for you, but if you're looking for Super Metroid, then you're better off just playing Super Metroid.
Metroid: Other M is a solid 10/10 in my book. For what it's worth, it's a great game with only a few minor "problems" to "hold it back." It might not as great as the past games or the Metroid Prime Trilogy Collection, but it's a great game on it's own.