So this is a review I have been thinking about for a while. This is probably the most controversial game in the franchise; and it is really easy to see why. However, it isn't all bad so lets dive right in.
First off the graphics are something I found rather average. It doesn't look bad, but it doesn't come close to Prime 1 at all. I don't know what it is bit the game just looks rather bland and a lot of background textures are pretty muddy. Hell, at a point I was supposed to bomb a specific portion of a grey wall but I couldn't tell where at all because it was not apparent at all. Another issue with the look are the 'pixel hunts' in the game. Its section that forces Samus to stop and look at something of importance. Sometimes it is obvious; other times the 'important thing' is lost in bland look. Its not bad; and it does look good at times; but too often it settles for average. The sound is generally good. I found the music enjoyable on the most part; and sound effects were nice as well. Voice acting...is pretty average to awful but I will get into that deeper in a bit.
The gameplay is something I found quite interesting; though incredibly flawed. The gameplay mixes the 2d and 3d styles really well and its an approach I wouldn't see fleshed out further. It is the next logical step for moving a 2D metroid further. It is like putting Super Metroid in a 3d environment with a 3rd person POV. I think this idea can really go places. However, the way it is handled really kills the momentum the idea has. See, Other M only uses the Wii Mote; really limiting what the devs can do. This limits what Samus normally is able to do. Aiming is automatic now, Samus will lock on to the nearest target. To use missiles the player must point the Wiimote at the screen to activate the manual aiming. However Samus is no longer able to move, and this is really clunky to use in a combat situation. This is the only way to use missiles and aim precisely. Had the devs been allowed to develop the game around the nunchuk or classic pro controller; I feel that the game would have been improved ten fold! The controls is what really kills the gameplay; and stifles what can be done.
Another sin is the linearity of the game, this is basically an action game now and all but abandons the core essence of previous metroid titles. No power ups are found outside of health, missiles, and charge boosters. However, if just taken as a action title the gameplay is decent. The combat is mostly enjoyable; I found the boss fights to be a highlight of the game.An addition taht plays to the action of the game is the ability to perform a killing blow on stunned opponents. Another big change is enemies no longer drop health and ammo. The only way to refill is at save stations, or use a 'concentrate' ability when low on health or have no missiles. I found this to be a rather odd change and prefered the old way. Overall, the gameplay is just barely over average; and had the controls been better (being able to use more than just the wiimote) I feel it would not only have been much better, but designed in a much more fun way to take advantage of having more button inputs. However, the lack of how exploration really kills it; and just shows how lackluster the game is.
Finally the god forsaken story. Before I start, if playing this game; ignoring the story and using cutscenes to get food or check facebook will help improve the game. To sum it up; it is the same melodrama as Twilight. I don't know if that was big in Japan, but Samus is an extremely melodramatic lady with intense Dad (and Mom) issues. She will drone on and on in a monotone voice about everything. The first game Samus is given a voice to show off her personality, and it completely destroys her character. The Samus Aran I know is not in Other M. Imagine Bella from Twilight...BOOM that is Samus. Instead of an obsession with a vampire boyfriend, Samus has a father issue with her former CO Adam Malkovich. Also, Adam is never shown to care at all, or be likeable in the tiniest bit. He is a stubborn dick and I never really got any indication he particularly cared for Samus. There is very little interaction between the two even though they have comms to communicate over. This is a real missed opportunity.
The story is after Super Metroid Samus gets a distress beacon from the 'bottleship' and responds. There she finds a marine team already responding, lead by Adam. There they discover the ship in shambles and investigate what happened. Spoiler, its taken right from Metroid Fusion; Federation cloned Monsters Samus killed but they got loose. This isn't even mentioning that this is waht the space pirates of the franchise are usually doing; to say it is lazy is too nice. I could go into detail over all the plot holes, inaccuracies, and outright bullshit the games spews but I really don't want to make this into a huge list and they are so numerous it is redundant. The game treads all over existing lore without a single fuck given. There is a subplot about a traitor killing the space marines that never gets resolved as well. There are a couple more twists but in the grand scheme they are weak and don't really matter. I find that the constant mom issue that Samus has with the baby metroid from Metroid 2 and Super metroid is weird and never really goes anywhere. I would say it is a comment about the mothers depression post abortion but that is giving the game WAAAAAY to much credit to think it would go deep or have insightful commentary. Samus's daddy issue is also out of character and extremely annoying. The voice acting really drives home the mediocre story and script. As stated overall the voice acting is average, bot special, not bad. However Samus's voice is terribly done. It is extremely monotone and boring, i don't know if we can blame the actress as it may be the direction she would be given. .
To sum it up; this is an awful Metroid game. The focus on story is really bad considering the story and characters are written like shit. It screws up the metroid lore and tarnishes Samus's character. The gameplay is focused on action, which is decent; but the clunky controls and the fact it barely resembles how a metroid game is played is the final nail. There are times I did enjoy the game; but I had to ignore the story and focus on the actiony aspects of it to really eek it out. The best I can say about the game is I like the 2d/3d blend, had some good boss fights, and some of the music was pretty good. This is a average game at best; and I have a hard time recommending it. Go in expecting a decent action game with shit for story and you'll be fine. Go in expecting a metroid title that respects the franchise, story, characters, and gameplay...well you read the review.
Note: On re read the review began to sound rant ish and I want to really stress that while a really bad Metroid title and the story being awful; I did enjoy the game at times. The base action gameplay was very enjoyable and I think it is a shame that so much went wrong with the project that the good got lost in the shuffle. I feel this is a very cool blend of 2D and 3D elements; and if taken further could be a perfect marriage of the styles. These days the game can be found for cheap, I got mine at gamestop for five bucks brand new and don't regret it. For a budget price, it is a decent action game; just don't expect a metroid game.