Other M started development much like Metroid Prime. They were both handled by other developers and many considered it a risky move. Especially considering that Other Mís Co-developer, Team Ninja, isnít always the best representative for female portrayal *cough* Dead or Alive: Extreme *cough*. Not to mention that Team Ninja is also famous for ridiculous difficulty ala Ninja Gaiden series. But once everything settled down and E3 came up it was looking to be a great blend of two styles rolled into one, and another success story much like Metroid Prime was. Some may have even thought it to be the greatest metroid to be released to date. So did it live up to such a hype? WellÖkinda.
Metroid Other M starts off with a load of cut-scenes to give the player exposition of The Story
so far, which may worry some players that have played previous Metroids before and want to get straight into the action. Do not worry, the beginning is heavily story driven, but once exposition gets out-of-the-way the story will pace itself and let the player get into the action.
Samus Aran acts has the narrator, telling the player her thoughts on the events taking place, and how her past connects to them. Samus effectively tells two stories at once, her time in the Galactic Federation and the events of whatís happening in the space station, Bottle Ship. Samus tells her thoughts in a rather monotone, and calming voice, and rarely does she speak with in the actual story, but when she does speak it often feels misplaced and off compared to her in other games. Players that havenít played other Metroid games wonít be thrown off by her speech as those that have played other games. Same will certainly be said about some of her reactions throughout the story, and may upset veteran players of Metroid more than those that havenít played it. Never the less some of her actions seem awkward at best, but they certainly donít butcher her character to a whiny little girl. She only has momentary lapses of weakness and even then she picks herself up and proceeds to kick some major ass. Samusís narration overall is fine but certainly needs more handling in the writing department, often words seem forced or usual, often giving some emotion when it shouldnít or not emotional enough. As well itís not clear why all the narration is done in the past tense and is often confusing.
Most of Other Mís characters in the game are rather static and weak as a whole, as they are not explore well enough, or not at all. This is both good and bad, good because it adds a bit of mystery to these characters and stops them from being annoying, but bad because they wonít have any emotional impact on the player through out the story, and are easily forgot with a few ďmemorableĒ characters. Adam is a pretty effective character through out and the story effectively leaves an impact on him specifically, he is the only clear expectation, although this may be due to the connection with Fusion and the Manga series then the game itself.
I'd love to hear the story behind Anthonyís hair.
Samusís character in Other M will always be a mixed reaction. Its understandable why, so many Metroid players have the idea that Samus is a strong and powerful heroine that doesnít show her emotions. And Other M wants to humanize Samus to players that donít want to see that. And while some may not care as much as others do, its something that was unwanted to begin with. Does Other M break Samus as a character? No, it doesnít. It just shows her at times in a weak state and thatís unusual for any gaming hero. Other M does make up for this by having Samus get back up afterward, but they certainly need to watch more carefully how they write the favored heroine next time.
Other M has two different stories being told at the same time, Samusís time in the galactic federation just before she left, and the main story, what is currently happening on the Bottle Ship. Both intertwine and flow nicely, giving enough time between game play and cut-scenes to where it still feels like a game with a story instead of a story with a game, although the beginning does drag out quite a lot with exposition. Samusís origin story is well done and fits well amongst the rest of the Metroid seriesí canon. The main story keeps it interesting enough for the player to progress and keep guessing throughout the game. Itís filled with some interesting plot twists and well-timed moments that make it simply awesome.As well there are a lot of hints and call backs to Metroid Fusion that tie nicely together with Other M. Many returning bosses make excellent appearances in the game as well. However most of Other Mís original bosses are very lackluster compared to returning boss characters, most end up just being the first appearance of an enemy that will appear throughout the sectors. As well the last boss and ending of the story are abrupt and disappointing, although that could be easily explained by further playing through the game, itís still disappointing none the less.
The main problem however is the lack of nonverbal communication in the game. Itís understandable that Nintendo wants to use their new toy, voice acting, but not everything needs to vocalized. A clear example of this is a beginning cut-scene that shows Samusís rather deviant attitude toward authority is explained. Often she would give a thumbs down on any mission briefing compared to the other soldiers that would give a thumbs up showing their approval, while Samus wants to show her disapproval and understanding with the mission with a thumbs down. In this scene she wants to show Adam that she approves of the mission assigned to her and tells Adam ďUnderstood Adam, no objectionsĒ while it would have been far more effective if she gave a thumbs up instead. Itís just one example of the lack of nonverbal communication in this game, and it sticks out like a sore thumb. Although as the story progress nonverbal communication does improve quite a bit, but itís not has present or powerful compared to previous Metroids.
The story, ultimately, is well presented and interesting, although most of the characters and non-verbal communication is severely lacking in any detail,but it is at least a presentable story rather than a horrible one. Older fans will most likely be displeased at the characterization and plot itself, as it nudges its way into a series that just didnít need it to begin with, but it provides a suitable outing at the least.
Scheme for Other M is a simple one, hold the Wii-mote sideways like a NES controller. While in 3rD person view the player can maneuver Samus around and explore areas, as well as using Samusís current beam on enemies in this way. Pointing at the screen switches Samus into 1st person view. In 1st person view Samus canít move, but can fire missiles and scan certain objects.
While its nice to see a mix of 1st/3rd views the first person view is still very buggy and really feels like a useless tact on. Often in the middle of battle its easier to just do everything in 3rd person then to switch over to 1st person and use a couple of missiles to dispatch the current enemy. This is due to several reasons, for one switching from 3rd to 1st person view is not a smooth process, it often takes about a second or less to switch views, then when Samus is in that current view the player must find their pointer, which a lot of times goes flying off-screen because the player is in the heat of battle. This can cause a lag of around 3-5 seconds in battle, which could mean that the player could miss hitting their target or unable to avoid an upcoming attack because they were stuck in 1st person view. There is also an auto lock-on feature which is nice in 3rD person view, but horrid in 1st person. Often players will aim for certain target such as a hive that produces enemies, but the auto target ďknowsĒ better, and switches targets to the enemy that came out of the hive, wasting missiles. It can be every frustrating and annoying, especially when the player has very few missiles.
Another feature in 1st person mode is scanning. Scanning is a useless feature in Other M, unlike Prime, but in Other M only a selected amount of things can be scanned, and most of those things that can be scanned arenít easy to tell if they can be scanned. While it may not seem like itís a big deal, Other M often forces the player into a locked first person view to look for something on the field, and can not proceed till said object is found and scanned to further the plot. While itís an interesting feature, and idea, it plays out as very annoying, leaving some players stuck in that view for 20 or more minutes just looking for something to scan to advanced the plot. As well the scanning itself doesnít do much to begin with. Scanning will give info on the vulnerable areas of walls or various obstacles that can be broken down, showing the player that a missile is required or a power bomb or anything else Samus uses to bring it down. As well when scanning enemies the most the player will get is a health bar at the top , and only then if itís an enemy boss.
Its like whereís Waldo but with the plot! Can you find it?
While 1st person view has a large amount of flaws to it, 3rD person view is rather polished in comparison. Controls are simple and easy to use just like a NES controller. 1 is to jump, 2 is to shoot or hold 2 to charge Samusís beam, A is for morph ball mode. Itís fairly easy moving Samus around in combat and often fun. Many times the player can go in for a kill shot, and move toward the enemy performing a variety of moves that end up killing or severally damaging the enemy. Many kill shots are fun and easy to use and can be used as a sort of speed tactic if a player is going through the game again if s/he wants to end the battle faster.
Not everything works well in 3rd person view, mainly concentration. Another useless feature in Other M and one that screams out that if it ainít broke DONíT FIX IT! Why say this? Well, normally in most Metroid games enemies drop health or missiles, however in Other M it brings its own means of healing and restoring ammo. concentration. Now the concept itself seems nice, replenish health and ammo at will, but the way its used is too annoying to be actually useful. In order to use concentration the player must hold the Wii remote vertically, not to be confused with pointing at the screen, then the player must press and hold A. Sounds easy enough? Right? Right? Well remember that heat of battle moment? Players arenít exactly calm when playing, so often a player will try to press A to quickly before the Wii mote is fully vertical, this causes morph ball mode, which, in a dire battle the player wonít want to begin with. So now the player lost sometime in the current battle, a battle which does not pause for the player. When the player actually uses concentration it takes quite a bit before itís finished. Ranges from around 10 seconds or so. Now during any battle itís hard enough to get 10 seconds alone without moving, now trying it with enemies that constantly attack the player makes it hard to pull off concentration. This is understandable though because otherwise it be a broken mechanic, but it also adds much unneeded stress to the player.On top of this, concentration can only replenish health when Samus health bar is in the red, making extremely less useful. Really concentration is a horrible mechanic that doesnít belong in any game to begin with, itís rather cheap concept to begin with and was fully unwanted or needed in any metroid game, and would have been much better if Other M staff just stayed with enemies replenishing health and ammo.
remains, for the most part, the same, thankfully. Despite the overwhelming amount of cut-scenes and clunky controls Other M provides what it is supposed to do, be FUN. Rarely is the player forced to be in first person view so the player can just rush and play in 3rd person, and the times the player needs to be in 1st person are often short almost enough to not notice how truly awful the mechanic is.
I said almost.
Exploration is still a big part of the game, but it does fill a lot more constraint compared to other metroids, most likely because itís on a space station, something Fusion suffers from has well. Both games counter this well with bio-environments, but in the end itís still a space station, and in this regard it doesnít feel open. Looking for item expansions is just as fun as any Metroid game though, and often can be found without much difficultly, thanks to the maps menu system which displays items as blurs of blue.
Bosses arenít that great in Other M however, but they could easily have been. I mean this in the regard that original bosses in Other M felt like a chore. Really most bosses are just enemies that appear in later sectors. Other M has about 3 original bosses itself, however they didnít leave a mark compared to other bosses in the series itself, and will most likely be forgot. But Other M counters the idea that the team werenít idiots when it came to Boss Design with the bosses that make a reappearance with in the series. The way they handle all the returning bosses is wonderful and makes it feel like a waste with the original ones. They all have an amazing presence and just feel epic. Even Ridleyís fight will redeem the scene before it, and I will say that it was the most fun I had fighting Ridley, or at least on par with a 15% run in Zero Mission. As well the secret boss will give even Super Metroid fans a squeal and glee for when they see the boss. The bosses do have a big flaw though, they cut through Samus like butter! Itís understandable that bosses do more damage to a player but the amount Other Mís inputs gives careless players a run for their money. Other M demands alert players, and punishes those that arenít, and while its nice to have a challenge, it really just feels like a cheap way to make a boss hard.
People afraid of purple dragons that breath fire, wish to kill you, and canít die? Those people exist?
Items in Other M are rather unique. Instead of looking for Samusís weapons which usually happens in all metroid games, Samus starts out fully equipped, but as the game begins Samus decides to not use her items and weapons because she wants the approval of Adam, her once commander in the galactic federal, in order to gain his trust so she can assist in their mission (and no folks not her boyfriend, seriously, I can not stress that enough). While it is a new way to handle item and weapon unlocking itís rather stupid at times. The Varia suit for insistence is not unlocked till after Samus goes through most of Sector 3, which has heat damaging environment. Itís just idiotic that anyone would go through such a place without proper protection just because they were told not to, Itís the one time throughout the game that Samus not using features in her suit are not fully understandable or explainable to why she just doesnít use her equipment and it sticks out like white after labor day. Idiotic timing aside, a number of times throughout the story this does provide for some rather intense battling and make some rather nice moments with in Other M, so it does more good than harm, but if only by a fur long. Mainly itís a welcomed change of pace to other Metroid games, and should be fine tuned to make it better and more reasonable in later games. Itís at the very least better than searching for the same weapons over and over again.(Iím looking at you, Zelda Series!)
Most items in the mainstay of the Metroid series makes an appearance. Grapple Beam, Speed Boost, Power Bombs, Wave Beam, Ice Beam, the list goes on. The main items are all accounted for and present. Other M doesnít bring any new items to the table, other than the rather noticeable addition of an acc. charge. The acc. charge is a welcomed addition to the Metroid series, and a useful addition it is. Acc. charge does what it says, Accelerates Samusís charge, while minimum it makes a wonderful difference and would be great to see other Metroid games have it instead of just more missile expansions. Other than the Acc. Charge, Other M doesnít bring anything to fresh to the table and thatís fine, Metroid has enough weapons and gadgets that will entertain anyone. But it does feel like it merely settles for whats there, than to pursue what could be, simply enough, it plays it safe.
The extra modes in Other M provide for some replay value and game mechanics. In theater mode the player can watch Samusís Story from the beginning to the end like a movie, this probably wonít start any movements but its a nice little extra and not completely useless, even for those that hate the story. Theater mode provides some short cuts during boss battles and other areas that players may not have know about, many of which would be quite handy for speed running. Gallery mode provides for an extra incentive to get all the items, but its more so just there to reward the player then to provide entertainment. Then there is Hard mode. Yes, hard mode is back, and well yes, its hard. But the way that it makes things hard is somewhat annoying than hard. In hard mode the player is forced to do a zero percent run. That means no expansions, no charges, no energy tanks, (Samus Only, final destination) and while it does provide a challenge, it feels forced. Why must the player be forced to do such a thing? Shouldnít that be an optional thing to begin with (or at least a low percentage run). Really it feels artificially hard, and itís not really hard by design, just hard because the player canít make any mistakes. Plus it requires use of Concentration which should never be forced on a player because its the worst mechanic in the whole game.
In its whole, Other Mís game play is fun. Controls hinder any kind of gameplay from being stellar or out of this world but all the major elements of a Metroid game are here. Exploration, item hunting, and fast paced combat. But Other M wonít be getting any style points for originality, it plays it safe in that regard.
is nice in Other M. The game isnít the prettiest little thing ever, but the cut-scenes certainly give off that impression. The scenes themselves are wonderful to look at and feel like some sort of CGI movie people would see in theaters. What really makes presentation lackluster is the in-game graphics.
The atmosphere in Other M just isnít polished, Iíd go so far to say that the original Prime had a better looking environment and feel than Other M. The art direction of the atmosphere and graphics just isnít up to par with the prime series. Which is a shame to because Prime 3 was one of the most beautiful games on the Wii, but Other M just dropped the ball on this one. For a large part of it, it just wasnít unique. Everything just felt too generic and bland. It just didnít stand out or leave the player with the impression that it was more than just a generic space station which is a shame because Fusion was able to give its space station such a unique feel to it. Other Mís environment is simply generic, safe, and done more times than a hillbilly can count, when it could have been so much more, has shown in various cut-scenes.
Character and Enemy designs in Other M are horrible. Iím just going to out right say that there was nothing unique about it, it was overly generic and didnít even stand out.(sounds familiar) Anything that did stand out was already designed before this game ever game out, referring mostly to Ridley, Metroids, etc. Anything that returns was given a wonderful make over for this game. In fact they are the only good designs throughout the game. Everything else sucked.
Really aside from cut-scenes, Other M provides mediocre graphics with bland design. The only designs that stand out are characters/enemies that were designed before this game, and if enough time was actually thought into art direction they could have made character/enemy designs so much better. Otherwise it just comes off as generic.
Never seen this before, yep, very unique!
in Other M are pleasing. Typical sounds in Other M still give Metroidís overall theme well, with bits and pieces of Samusís suit making sounds to the screams of monsters Samus fights. Voice acting never gets to the point of annoying either, although it certainly will test the waters with some players, but it by no means will stop a player from playing Other M.
Much of the original sound track is orchestrated so itís of the same quality as Super Mario Galaxyís music, although not as praised. Itís wonderful to hear through out and pleasing to the ears. It flows well with the pacing of the story and game, complementing each other quite well.It does an especially great job with the more intense scenes. As well Other Mís ďRidleyís ThemeĒ turns out to be THE version so far, and that alone could account for how well Other Mís music is.
Voice Acting in Other M is overused. It seems Nintendo was having a little too much fun with voice acting. Samus seems to constantly give her thoughts about everything, which is simply unneeded, sometimes things go better unsaid. She isnít exactly a chatter box, she rarely says anything to other characters, but she does think a lot, and thus talk directly to the player a lot. She often goes into thought and self-reflection, which certainly gives off a new vibe to Samus, but again itís rather unwanted. It would have easily been better if most of her thoughts were not actually mentioned or in text. Thus rather than giving the actor power over how Samus should feel and talk, the player would. But it simply wasnít done, and the audience is forced to either like the voice of Samus or not. This is obviously a lot of pressure for a voice actor to have, and frankly she does do a good job, but thatís just it, its good, not great, although some of the blame can be set on the writers. And not everyone will like her acting, but players will simply have to deal with it, which overall, is a shame.
Other characters, such as Adam, and his crew, and those that Samus meets along the way do a decent job of voice acting. No one really does a great job nor a horrible one, itís just rather average, which is a bit of a shame. Again I rather put this on the writers because sometimes the acting can be great, but a lot of the wording throws it off, and for what the actors do it is at least decent. For Nintendoís first real outing of voice acting it was fine, but with a big fat needs improvement sticker on it.
; Metroid Other M is fun despite the forced story, and horrid 1st person controls, and still manages to provide simple Metroid play and exploration.
+ Fun returning boss battles
+ Retains Metroid play style well
+ 3rd person view play is fun and fast paced
+ Music is wonderful
+ Cut-scenes look pretty
- Canít skip cut-scenes first time through
- 1st person view has horrible controls
- Concentration is useless
- Overall graphics are bland and uninteresting
- New direction will not please most veteran fans
Metroid Other M retains 3/5 Metroids
Total Time Played: 17:50:26/ Game completed.
Previous games in the series played: Prime, Fusion, Prime 2, Zero Mission, Prime 3, Pinball, Super Metroid
Review scale can be found here