Friday, 15 October 2010

REVIEW: Metroid: Other M

Metroid: Other M
[Wii] [Nintendo/Team Ninja]
Nintendo and Team Ninja's highly experimental new Metroid game hit our shelves more than a month ago with mixed reactions. Some reviewers rated the game really low for a first-party Nintendo title, while others gave it around 8/10. In the end, Other M got an average score of 7.9 on Metacritic showing that the game is clearly one of the most marmite Nintendo games ever released. So, do I love it or hate it? In short, yes, I do love Metroid: Other M. While it's not quite up there with most other Metroid titles, I still reckon it's an extremely high-quality game well worth a place in your Wii collection. Why do I love it though? Read on and find out...

Nintendo first announced the latest Metroid game back at E3 2009 and it gained a hell of a lot of hype, becoming one of the most anticipated announcements at that conference. Since the Prime Trilogy was completed, a new Metroid game was inevitable and Nintendo made the wild decision to work on it with Team Ninja, branding it Project M. Throughout development, Team Ninja have introduced many ideas to the table, which clearly show. Some of these new ideas don't quite work, which could be why Other M received such a mixed response. Other ideas fit Other M well, such as a nice mix between third and first-person gameplay. You play the game with just the Wii Remote on it's own, with the ability to switch from a third-person perspective to a helmet view simply by pointing at the screen. It works very well and Team Ninja should be applauded for bringing this feature to the Metroid table. On the other hand, some of the new ideas sort of ruin the experience a bit. There's some really iffy sections in the middle of cutscenes where Samus Aran is stuck in first person view and cannot move, which tells the player that he or she needs to track down a hidden object in the scenery. These sections are terrible, as there's no outline to scannable objects making it take absolutely forever to find these items. Thankfully, there's only two or three of these throughout the entire game, but with that in mind it surely would've been easy to drop them. Another controversial new gameplay element introduced by Team Ninja is the recharge system. There are no health packs this time, instead being replaced by a system where the players are allowed to recharge health themselves. Before you get too angry, this can only be done when Samus is very low on health and has reached a critical status. It also takes a little while to recharge the health bar, and you can only fully charge a one energy tank (at first). I like this idea and I reckon it works well, especially in the game's plentiful and tough boss fights where you need to find a safe time to recharge, getting the adrenaline pumping.

A ton of concept art went into the development of Other M, and these superb images can be unlocked by snagging more and more items
Of course, Other M as a whole is very new for Metroid. The game is played in a 3rd person perspective, and could be considered 2D in 3D, except you can move in and out of the screen. It revolutionises Metroid in the same way that the Prime games did by offering something new and fresh. However, Other M is very similar to the 2D games in terms of formula, bearing a lot of resemblance to the last 2D Metroid game; Fusion for the Game Boy Advance. Much like that game, Other M's setting is split into several 'sectors', each offering a different type of locale. In one sector you could be running and blasting around in moody and deserted spaceship corridors, and in another sector you could be blasting aliens in a fiery, burning landscape. It's very hard to believe, with the game's setting being a spaceship, but it's a very weird place in general. I won't spoil anything though.

Other M may revolutionise the Metroid formula by mixing gameplay styles, but it still resembles the 2D game the most.
There's a much more diverse story in Metroid: Other M, and it's arguably one of the best aspects of the game. The amazing in-game and CGI cutscenes tell the game's tale with absolutely amazing amounts of quality. Seriously, this stuff is definitely up the with the Metal Gear Solid series in terms of cinematics, and believe me, Other M is packed full of 'em. The story follows on directly from the SNES's Super Metroid, in a spectacular re-telling of that game's ending. Samus is battling the massive Mother Brain, and after her escape she finds herself unconscious at Galactic Federation HQ. After doing her report and leaving in her starship, she receives a distress call from a remote part of space know as a 'Baby's Cry'. This distress call is coming from the mysterious Bottle Ship, where the game takes place. Shortly after her arrival, Samus runs into a squad of Galactic Federation marines, including her old CO Adam Malkovich (any people who've played Fusion will surely recognise that name) and one of her colleagues, Anthony Higgs (a very likeable man indeed) back from when she worked under the Galactic Federation herself. Samus and Adam have a rather shakey relationship, due to a certain 'incident' but she decides to join the squad for their safety. Following orders from Adam, Samus now has to help the other team members investigate the Bottle Ship and find out who exactly sent the distress call. That's all I'm saying, but things get increasingly more complicated and interesting later on. I'll leave you guys to find out what happens.

Samus's human side is shown off a lot more in Other M, thanks to full voice acting
While Other M's story is very good, the game is a bit short. I clocked the end credits at about 8 hours which is a decent length for any normal game, but for Metroid it's a little too short. After all, previous titles in the series have lasted ages, especially the original Prime. However, there is still the option to go for 100% and try to snag all the items, as well as a side-quest after the end credits to get stuck into, but once you've done all that you've seen everything Other M has to offer. Obviously though, with such a great story and such awesome gameplay it's hard not to revisit Other M (as I am doing at the time of writing) allowing for more hours to be clocked before you finally leave the game alone. If you're planning on just buying the game, rushing through it in a quick blast and not bothering with any of the other stuff then I'd recommend a rent, but if not you should definitely try to play the game in concentrated blasts. As well as being a little too short, Metroid is also a little flawed in the difficulty aspect. I wouldn't say Other M is easy, but it isn't hard enough for a Metroid game, making it much easier to rush through without many problems. Don't get me wrong, you will die a lot, especially during boss fights, but Samus respawns in the same room making it easy to just correct what you did wrong and advance. These flaws and the minor control issues take a few points off Other M's score, but it's still a very good game.

Well, that's why I love Other M. I can see people feeling a little let down with the frustrating aspects of the game, and some will love or hate the recharge system, but if you push that stuff aside it's a very enjoyable experience. Recommended to any fans of Metroid, and hardcore gamers in general. Really great game. For now, over and out from me!


1 comment:

ZerosuitSamus2 said...

Really great review ^_^
I've still not bought this and wasn't sure about it, but after reading this I now know what to expect :) Written really well to :D