Metroid: Other M
Posted 2 years ago By - Justin Arruda
I’d be willing to bet that when many of the Metroid fan insert their copy of Other M into their Wii, they’ll be doing so with at least a slight amount of trepidation. At E3 2009, the game was a surprise announcement hiding another surprise: Other M would be co-developed by Nintendo and Team Ninja, a studio known for its predilection to graphically intensive action. A curious choice for a franchise defined by exploration.
Even after the masterful Prime series proved change could be a good thing, many fans (myself included) were concerned Team Ninja’s influence might overpower the very essence of Metroid. Thankfully, I can happily report that not only were our worries unwarranted, but all future Metroid games can learn from what Team Ninja has brought to the property.
Combat has never been a priority in the series. When Retro Studios took over, Nintendo always maintained that Prime was a “first-person adventure” as opposed to “shooter.” Yet after playing through Other M, I don’t think you’ll want it any other way. Samus is one of the top bounty hunters in the galaxy. This is all the more impressive when you consider that at times it seems like she has the agility of the Tin Man. Team Ninja’s expertise shines through in Samus’ confrontations and shows us just how capable a hunter she is. The real beauty is just how simple it all is. Dodge and then blast an enemy with a charge shot, then follow it with a headlock that jams Samus’ cannon between their jaws only using the d-pad in conjunction with the 1 and 2 buttons. Mechanically, it’s a laughably simple solution. But in practice, it adds a refreshing change of pace.
At first glance, Samus’ new game doesn’t visually impress. The pseudo-NES presentation tricks your brain into ignoring just how sharp everything is. Doing some side-by-side comparisons confirms that Other M more than holds its own against other Wii titles.
Still, I wouldn’t say Other M is the best Metroid game out there. In my mind, it actually ranks in the lower end of the Metroid spectrum, though that speaks more to the standard of quality more than the faults of this entry. Exploring the environment is, as always, central to the game, but doesn’t quite feel as tight as in previous titles. It is expected that players will have to revisit areas with newly acquired powers in order to advance where they couldn’t before. However, when you’re sent past a new door only to hit a switch that will allow you to pass through another area you have to trek back to, it begins to feel like filler. Luckily, this is not a common occurrence.
Other M tends to feel smaller than preceding Metroid titles as well. I’m not sure if it’s the world map, the third-person view or the fact it all takes place on a ship instead of a planet. My adventure ended a little after 10 hours, and while that’s a good length, I was expecting it to last a bit longer. If you care to collect all the power-ups, you may get an extra hour or two. It could also be the result of Other M’s other major addition: a fleshed out narrative.
In the past, players would have to hunt out information in the environment if they wanted to know a bit more about the backstory. This time around, series director Yoshio Sakamoto wanted a prominent story. Not only a story, but Samus’ story. This means we get to know the character better than we ever have before. Other M takes place directly after the events of Super Metroid and follows Samus as she investigates a distress call from a nearby ship. Here we are introduced to a team of Galactic Federation troops, some of whom Samus recognizes. During the events that follow, we get to hear her inner dialogue about past events and relationships. Maybe it’s this self-reflection that contributes to the feeling of a tiny environment.
In any case, it’s something I’d like Nintendo to consider doing more of. Not only with Metroid, but with many of their franchises. If you’ve read our previews, you likely know the voice acting is mediocre and the writing can be campy. On the other hand, fans are always craving more information, and I feel like Other M really transports players into the universe. I’m not a huge fan of CG footage being incorporated in games, but I have to admit that many of the clips in Other M are gorgeous. Nintendo has a long way to go before it can compete with the likes of Bioshock in the storytelling department, but despite its missteps, this is a great first attempt by the company to hone those skills.
Metroid: Other M is a deceiving game. If it was a woman, you might expect it’s preparing to get married. It has something old, something new, and something borrowed. It attempts to simultaneously step backward, forward, and sideways, and it succeeds. Potential pitfalls lurk around every corner of this game, yet it manages to find the near perfect blend for a new and rejuvenating adventure that is absolutely worth your time and money.
Nintendo has once again proven that a new take on an old favourite can be a wonderful thing. Let’s hope they continue to apply that lesson elsewhere.
+ Immersive nature of narrative
+ Simple controls
- Campy writing
- Level design not as tight as previous titles
1 year ago :: (WiiWare) Zombii Attack
1 year ago :: Fortune Street
1 year ago :: Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, The
1 year ago :: Rayman Origins
1 year ago :: The Adventures of Tintin: The Game
1 year ago :: Disney Universe
1 year ago :: The Black Eyed Peas Experience
2 years ago :: The Conduit 2
2 years ago :: Mario Sports Mix
Download us here!
Game Junkies podcast and audio interviews
Release Date : 2010/08/31
System : Nintendo Wii
Publisher : Nintendo
Developer : Team Ninja
Category : Action
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10