Metroid: Other M Review
The latest entry in the venerable Metroid series is Metroid: Other M. Developed by Team Ninja and set just after the events of 1994′s Super Metroid, Other M features a brand new story starring intrepid bounty hunter Samus Aran. It’s also one of the more highly anticipated games of 2010. Does it live up to the hype?
One of the first things you’ll notice about Metroid: Other M is that Samus actually has quite a bit of dialogue. This is both a positive and a negative, as some of the dialogue is painful to listen to. Trust me when I say that you’ll be sick of hearing about the Baby. Plus, Samus comes off as less a bounty hunting badass, and more a whiny brat. Still, it doesn’t spoil the story.
Metroid: Other M (Wii [Reviewed])
Developer: Team Ninja/Nintendo
Release Date: August 31, 2010
The game begins as you watch a cinematic of the conclusion of Super Metroid, and you get to see what happens to Samus afterward. Soon, Samus returns to her ship, and while flying through space, she receives a distress call. Following the call takes her to the “Bottle Ship,” where the majority of the game takes place. There, she teams up with a team of Galactic Federation soldiers to search for survivors.
Fans of the Metroid series will be right at home in Other M right away. The game is in 3D, but much of is played in a side-scrolling, third-person environment. Other M uses the standard Wiimote with no nunchuk. Instead, you hold the controller sideways, much like you do for New Super Mario Bros. Wii or Mario Kart Wii. This simplifies the controls markedly, and allows them to incorporate the true standout feature: the ability to switch seamlessly to a first-person perspective.
Activated by simply pointing the Wiimote at the screen, switching into first person allows the player to use Samus’ missiles, as well as to look around and examine the environment. First person mode does come with a major drawback: you can’t move around. Tapping the D-pad in any direction allows you to dodge enemy attacks in either view mode, but outside of this, you’re rooted to your spot in first person. My one big complaint is that the switch to first person often leaves you looking in a very different direction than you anticipated, resulting in a second of disorientation, and often causing you to die to whatever enemy you’re facing.
Samus comes equipped with her full arsenal of weapons, but many of them are off-limits in the beginning. Since she’s working with a team of soldiers, Samus is limited by the rules of engagement they issue. As she progresses in the facility, she receives permission to unlock more powerful weapons as the need arises.
Unlocking weapons shows off one of the coolest new features: beam stacking. As you unlock new beams, they don’t replace the old one as they did in the Metroid: Prime series. Rather, the beam simply augments and improves your existing beam. This is important because it allows you to use the more powerful wave beam and still gain the freezing effects of the ice beam. It also frees up buttons on the controller, which are at a premium.
Samus continues her tradition of rolling up in a ball and cutting through ventilation shafts. In fact, exploration plays a large role in this game, as many of the items (energy and missile tanks) require you to find your way to them.
Other M is one of the best looking Wii games I have played to date. The environments are varied, and the Bottle Ship presents a number of different themes, including a lava board and a snow & ice area. You’ll encounter a large variety of enemies, and many of them are quite unique.
One facet of Other M that didn’t thrill me was the difficulty. Instead of a rising difficulty throughout the game, it seemed that extremely difficult spots were interspersed throughout the game in seemingly random locations. I expected the game to be challenging since Team Ninja was involved, but it almost felt kind of schizophrenic at times.
Still, Team Ninja has crafted a Metroid game that stands solidly on it own. It’s similar enough to previous games in the series that it remains instantly familiar, but different enough to stand apart as well. As a bonus, it’s roughly 15 hours long, meaning that you’ll definitely get your money’s worth out of this one.
All in all, Metroid: Other M is a compelling title that will appeal to longtime fans of the series and newcomers alike. It’s a polished, well-rounded experience. While it may not be reason enough to buy a Wii, it’s a game that should definitely be in the library of any Wii owner.
- Innovative seamless switching from 1st to 3rd person view
- Beam stacking
- Instantly familiar to fans of the series
- Great variety of enemies and environments
- Poorly written dialogue
- Wildly fluctuating difficulty
- Inability to move normally in first person view