Reviews: Metroid Other M
Consider the following....
I think it's best to go into this game blind. I really liked the gameplay. I found much of the gameplay to be intuitive, but it does have it's faulty moments. The auto target doesn't always strike the enemy you want it to, but I found the sense dodge aspect very satisfying to use. Any part which seems unforgiving is unforgiving because the situation is unforgiving. Understand that this game was developed by Team Ninja, makers of hard games. The main problem I have with this game is that it doesn't always feel like a Metroid game made by Nintendo, and it really wasn't. But that doesn't stop it from being a good game. Don't go in expecting problems or you'll just only notice the problems. Play the game and try to understand Samus's portrayal rather than just criticize it. I give it an 8.5/10
The Weakest Metroid Game, but Still Good
First off, I want to say that I agree this game is the weakest of the Metroid games. Does this really mean much? No, it's still a great game, it's just that in a sea of other great games, it happens to be the one that is the least great. The control was fluent, the story interesting, and, of course, Anthony Higgs, enough said- I think even the game's most avid detractors would admit this CMOA in one character was one of the game's main saving graces. In regards to a lot of the game's criticism, I disagree with a lot of it- Samus's monotone voice, for example, seems to primarily be when she's the narrator- when she's speaking as her actual character, she emotes a lot more. Lots of stories have that. In regards to the Story:Gameplay ratio, I find it's actually a pretty good balance- kind of like Metal Gear, though the cutscenes aren't that long, and that was a great series too. I think the main reason people rebel against that is that it wasn't what they were expecting from a Metroid game- and to be fair, it is pretty jarring, but it doesn't make the game bad- just different from what we've seen before, or are likely to see after. I could go on for hours about how people have reacted to Adam, but there's a word limit, so I'll just go ahead and say that I found his character a lot better than most did and move on. Ridley- I can see both sides of this argument, but personally, I think Samus's reaction is perfectly justified, and certainly not demeaning. Overall, what I see with this game is a game that really does break the mold quite a bit from previous games- it's a different Metroid game. It's unlike what has come before, and honestly, I think that's where most of the hate comes from. Again, straying towards a topic I could write a whole book about, but long story short, I think the game gets a lot of undeserved hate. While it is still the most underwhelming Metroid game I've played (haven't played 2 or Hunters,) and I would say that the game should go back to how it was before for the next game, that's mostly because the other ones are just that much better, and this one is, at the very least, an interesting experiment in making Metroid in another genre- it doesn't have to be anything more than that, and in that respect, it's a success- except for the pixel-hunting segments, I really did hate those parts.
Samus' Personality Killer
There isn't anything wrong with having a character with PTSD, but Samus either goes from emotionless robot to scared little girl, which is nothing like she was in other games. We saw in Corruption that she was cool, collected, but also distraught by killing her colleagues, without saying 1 WORD. She even had a semblance of a sense of humor, fooling Dane into thinking she was dead. Here's something we've never seen before: why couldn't Samus be optimistic, or a little playful at times, especially around her friend Anthony? We've never actually seen Samus smile or laugh before. I mean, of course she needs to remain calm and collected while on the job, but if there had just been ONE funny monologue, it would show players that she's not just a killing machine, but someone we might relate to. You could even let her have her PTSD, but don't let Ridley of all things be the trigger. This review doesn't have great format, but in conclusion: Other M was the first chance we would see our heroine reveal her thoughts, and the fact that the lazy script and terrible acting made her a death robot or a little girl that needed rescuing was infuriating because it was disappointing: I wanted to be closer to Samus and finally get to know her better, but this game stepped back her personality in every wrong direction.
So Bad, it's Horrible.
Everything in this game is the older Metroids carelessly mishmashed with some good and some annoying modern trends, all with Serial Numbers Filed Off. There are no original ideas, concepts or executions. All the items are the standard Metroid set, the enemies are ripped straight out of Super Metroid, and Other M just has no balls. The whole game is a sea of bland, gray, overly cartoonish textures not even worthy of being development placeholders, and the voice work is just atrocious and is begging for a re-dub by people who actually know what the fuck they're doing. Hell, even from a developer standpoint, the Concentration is simply an ascended debug mode! Everything in this game seems like a giant placeholder, so that shouldn't surprise anyone. Hell, the whole game may very well be a placeholder in the Metroid series timeline. I sure the fuck hope so. The presentation makes it blantantly obvious they rushed this piece of shit out. What happened to the classic Metroid perfectionism? The way the developers would never release a game until it was good and damn ready? This game had plenty of potential, and the people behind it were in the position to strike big on it. Too bad they had to focus on making a quick buck rather than making a good game, and they just dealt a serious blow to an already obscure and not-very-well-known franchise. Frankly, it's such a disappointment that if I'd touched on all my misgiving with this game (above is a twentieth of what I have to say), this review would be pages long and take hours to read. I honestly think this is a game to be learned from to avoid this crap in the future, and it's an embarrassment to the franchise as a whole. Strike it from the canon and make a better one.
It's Just A Bad Game
Since Metroid: Other M has nearly split the Metroid fandom in half, it's a bit hard to say anything about the storyline without being attacked by rabid wildebeests who are convinced that you either are a misogynistic idiot, or a firm believer in flat characters That said, Other M is just a bad game. The gameplay is bland, except in a few particularly stupid areas. Combat is rendered into a mess with the new "sense-move" technique, which makes Samus invincible as long as you tap the D-pad. To balance out this piece of stupidity, many of the bosses/enemies barely take damage from weapons. A particularly stupid case is the post-credits boss, which has literally zero strategy beyond "dodge-shoot-dodge-shoot." The missile system is also broken; to fire a missile, the player must switch to a first-person perspective by pointing the Wii-mote at the screen. The switch is slow and Samus is nearly immobilized while in this viewpoint, making it hazardous. The Metroid series is famous for its exploration elements, but sadly, Other M excised the majority of them. Doors lock behind you to prevent backtracking, items show up on the map to ruin any element of surprise, and branching pathways are either blocked or non-existent. You can forget about any sequence breaking here. After the credits, there is more freedom to explore the ship, but you'll still have to go through the entire campaign to get that privilege. Even then, there is little point to exploring. The levels are boring. The Metroid Prime games had levels such as a technologically advanced fortress filled with Tron Lines or a city in the sky. Here, we get the basic "Ship," "Lava," "Jungle," and "Ice" environments that were done better in other games in the series. The music is dull ambience and is too dim to hear at normal settings, in stark contrast to pretty much every offering in the series other than Metroid 2. The voice work varies from cheesy to just plain dull, and the script is laborious. You'll have to listen to every minute of it, though, since cutscenes are unskippable on the first playthrough. The amount of press begotten by Other M is undeserved. If this were not part of an established franchise, it would have been forgotten by now. I bought this game for retail price, but I still recommend not getting it for any value. There are better games to play.
Why does this exist?
No other game has made me this angry. If this wasn't part of such a critically acclaimed, consistently awesome series, it wouldn't have been so bad. Too bad it is. Let me say this: The gameplay is decent. The 2.5D style of gameplay, swapping back and forth between third and first person, it all works pretty well. It's not great, though. The game is very linear, unlike every other game in the series, and many conventions of the series have been removed. The bosses are all kinda "meh", and scanning sections are extremely vague. But overall, it's decent. But the gameplay isn't what ruins the game. It's the story. This game attempts to bridge the gap between Super Metroid and Fusion, and give insight into Adam Malkovich and Samus's relationship. Too bad it butchers it, along with the story of all the other games. The characterization is abysmal. Samus, instead of an independent, badass bounty hunter who does the right thing, is suddenly an inept, subservient waif with obvious daddy issues, obsession with Adam and the baby Metroid, and terrified of Ridley, whom she has killed multiple times and overcome her fear of already. Adam is a complete and utter asshole, who browbeats Samus whenever he gets the chance, actually shoots her at one point for reasons that aren't explained, and is never shown to be kind to her or worthy of her respect, and for some reason, Samus loves him and will do whatever he asks. He even has a meaningless Heroic Sacrifice to make him seem sympathetic and it utterly fails. It all seems like an abusive relationship trying to be portrayed favorably. The whole thing reeks of sexism, not to mention Samus's sex appeal being increasingly focused on for no reason. Sure, she's beautiful, but there are better ways to convey that than lingering shots of her posterior. And none of this was even Team Ninja's fault. It was all Sakamoto, a man who has been with the franchise for ages. Unbelievable. Plot holes abound, the writing is stiff and the voice acting stiffer, the story is boring and predictable, there is nothing good to be said about it. I recommend reading an article called Metroid Other M: The Elephant in the room. It sums up all the problems with the story with style. In short, this game is garbage, a blight on this great series, and as far as I am concerned, never happened.
So awful, it broke my console.
Metroid Other M was the worst game I've ever played. I know there's worse games out there, like Fester's Quest and Duke Nukem Forever, but no game has made me this furious. Unfortunately, I'd just be parroting other people's opinions, since I have many of the complaints. I'll just put them in quick bullet points. (SPOILERS)
- Authorization system is bupkis, leads to one of the stupid scenes (hell run, no Varia)
- Ridley scene. Despite the realism of PTSD, it doesn't fit how Samus reacted before.
- Both are symptoms that show a romanticized abusive relationship between Samus and Adam.
- Double-layer disc means some consoles have problems reading it (see below).
I Hate This Game
But I will try to put down all the reasons calmly. Keep in mind, this is just one man's opinion. First off, the controls. Using a d-pad to navigate a 3-dimensional space feels very awkward. 8 directions is not enough for me to feel in control. My ability to control how fast I move is also lacking. When shooting at anything besides enemies, the only way to get any semblance of accuracy is to use first-person mode. Switching views is relatively quick, but being forced to do it a lot is irritating. Fighting is alright. It's easy to dodge enemies (basically just spam random directions on the d-pad), and it feels pretty badass while you're doing it, and your shots seem to automatically lock onto enemies. The problem is that it takes forever. The enemies have way too much HP, and there's way too many of them. Maybe it's just that I got bored doing almost the exact same thing so many times, but I could swear that it took ten minutes to get through some rooms, and the entire time was just dodging and shooting. It gets a little more exciting with larger enemies that I can do all the fancy melee combat to, but those are more the exception than the rule. Battling in first-person mode, by the way, I found to be the single most annoying thing I've ever been asked to do in a video game. The story is, like with many people, the biggest problem for me. It makes Samus trusting the Federation in any capacity in Fusion seem incomprehensible. Samus is just as introspective as in Fusion, but her trauma and fear feels unnatural and not in agreement with past characterization. If you've seen the Ridley scene, you know what I'm talking about. Martin's voice acting doesn't help. Neither do the constant monologues. Especially not when combined. The explanation of Samus's inability to use her items is dumb. It started off making enough sense, with the whole "don't use power bombs because it would melt us" thing, but when she's miles away from any of her teammates and getting killed by a giant monster, it starts to fall apart, especially with items like the Varia Suit (which makes one wonder, why wouldn't Samus always have that on?). The worst part is that this stupid concept is brought up throughout the game, so you can never forget about it. Having a reason for Samus lose access to her equipment is a nice idea, but it was done better in Fusion.
'Disappointing', yes; 'Disastrous', no
There are a few things about Metroid Other M that deserve praise; there are also things that deserve a foam bat to the head. This game did an excellent job of translating Metroid's core play mechanics to 3-D; the result is a game with the freedom of movement of a 3-D game combined with the intuitive controls of a 2-D game. There are hiccups; the sideways Wii-mote controls are unneccessarily restrictive, most egregiously limiting use of missiles to the awkwardly-implemented first-person mode. Metroid's trope-making game flow, however, is not kept intact, with all exploration elements being surgically removed; the player is kept on rails right up until the end and power-ups are mostly handed to you as you need them. The lack of exploration elements, while not intrinsically bad, is incredibly jarring in a Metroid game as well as disappointing, considering the freedom to explore that usually comes as a result of upgrading to 3-D. There are a number of unneccessary elements that add little to the play experience and could easily be done without, namely the Focus mechanic, the aforementioned first-person mode, and the constant, infuriating Pixel Hunts (imagine Wheres Waldo, where Waldo is a dark green smear on dull green grass in a poorly-lit green room). The writing... meh. It's trying hard, and it fails just as hard. The doomed GF troops are too flat to really care about (excepting Anthony, of course), the villain was cool but would have been more effective if their backstory wasn't told via a flashback long after any chance of resolving things peacefully had faded, and Samus' new characterisation could easily have been explored more deeply. Her idolisation of Adam would be much less unsettling if we were actually shown more examples of him being a loving foster father, instead of a careless, controlling jerk; I'm sure they're there, but it doesn't work unless they're shown. What makes Other M disappointing is that it's easy to see how it could be better. The base mechanics are all there; remove the Pixel Hunts and tacked-on first-person mode, improve or excise the story, and give the player more freedom to explore, and you would have a Metroid to remember. Other M is still enjoyable, despite its flaws. I feel perfectly secure in holding out for a Surprisingly Improved Sequel.
A great game wrecked by incredibly foolish design choices
I want to say that Team Ninja did a great job with their Metroid game. They made a daring choice by adding major changes to the core formula, and for the most part their decisions work well. Interesting and varied new combat system that focuses on skill to avoid getting hit at all rather than energy tank/missile supply to burn through. A complete update of the classic bestiary making traditional enemies aggressive and challenging. Even the gas mines stop being passive. The graphics are excellent, the sounds nicely tense, and the gameplay fun. The government conspiracy and murder mystery provide a great background for the game. Unfortunately, the fate of Team Ninja's game is put in the hands of a dunce and a bad writer who succesfully suck far too much of the fun out of the game. Samus Aran's character is butchered so badly that it retroactively ruins her in the good old games, due to Sakamoto's insistence that this is the "true" version of Samus. So if you saw her as a capable warrior and confident loner in the past, you were just plain wrong. The self-doubting submissive you play as in Other M is the "true" Samus. Our heroine starts with all her upgrades, but willingly disables them all before even being told to by her hunky oedipus complex-generating superior. In fact, the guy never actually tells her to switch her powers off. He just says she can't activate them until his say-so. So switching off the Varia suit and refusing to turn it on until halfway through the lava level is entirely Samus Aran's choice and fault - the "true" character you've been playing as since the NES days. It gets worse. Cutscenes and action levels are suddenly broken up by pixel hunts that can last from thirty seconds to forty minutes or as long as it takes you to lose patience and check gamefaqs. Backtracking is frowned upon by the game, which is the most linear in the series, a title it inherits from the much-criticised Metroid Fusion. If you're expecting a Metroidvania, you'll be sorely disappointed by Other M. The music isn't. If you're not fighting a boss, you're not listening to music. If you're lucky you'll hear a few notes repeating in the background, but that's it. The Ridley theme is at least awesome as always. Metroid Other M. Rent it first and decide for yourself if the bad design choices wreck the fun. 5/10
Cool mix of old-school and modern ideas, but a bit flawed
It's easy to see why this is a contentious game. As for the story, I'll ignore that and keep this a gameplay-focused review. Does this maintain the essence of the Metroid games? Invisible walls are everywhere, so you soon learn you can't jump everywhere you think you should be able to. This means that trees and things that appear behind railings are simply background decoration, much like in the 2D Metroid games where you wouldn't even expect to be able to jump there. In fact, the level design and fixed camera is very 2D-esque, and accurately creates a feel similar to the 2D games. As does the auto-aim, which I feel works very well. Fighting still requires a lot of skill, but precision aim, like you'd get from 3D games, is taken out of the equation. It's all about dodging and avoiding attacks and using the right attack. As long as you aim in the general direction of the enemy, you should hit it, and I think that focuses the action nicely. Switching from third-person to first-person view by pointing the remote at the screen is a neat idea, but what I feel hurts it is that you can only fire missiles in first-person view, and missiles are either required, or very useful, for defeating many enemies and bosses. Since you can't move around in first-person view, this makes you just about a sitting duck while you try to quickly lock on and then shoot. I was able to do it just fine, but I don't feel it should have been necessary. While I enjoy the "shooting gallery" type feel of the view, I think it could have been done better. The game is rather linear, in a Metroid Fusion kind of way. You're told where to go next, but not exactly how to get there. There's some figuring out to do, and a lot of fighting. Basically, this is Metroid as an action game with thinking and exploration elements being secondary. I like the pace of this, and I also liked Metroid Fusion a lot too. For others, the exploration is the main feature of Metroid, and if that's the case, the inversion of importance of the elements will likely upset a lot of players. This game is an experiment in adding something new and fresh, something different, to the Metroid series. Did it work? Judging by the split reaction, Your Mileage May Vary, but I really like this game.
Other M: weakest of the metroid series by far.
I will start this by being fair. This would have been a great game if it had not been a Metroid title. If you play this and forget all about it ever being related to the franchise it is rather enjoyable. The story for many destroys Samus's character. She has all her items but is not allowed to use them until told she can by Adam her former C.O. While this makes sense for some things like power bombs, it makes no sense for things like your armor. Going through super heated areas four times before being told you can use the Varia suit is one of the crowning moments of stupid. Then there's the Ridley cutscene. Most people that read the manga of Metroid agree it's canon to the games and they know Samus already had her heroic BSOD moment, there's no reason for it now. Some argue the game is sexist, I just call it bad writing. Speaking of Ridley, the presentation of him we are given is also a major blow to his character with how he starts out, as well as how the space pirates are handled. You no longer fight crafty intelligent beings, but animals running off instinct. Gameplay works for the most part, but it does many things Metroid shouldn't. If people felt Fusion was liner, this is worse, being guided from Navigation room to Navigation room with little change to take alternate paths, the doors often locked behind you after scenes so you can't even go back to explore for pick ups. The final missile/energy count is low for this game, but you don't really need all that much anyways since the sense movement mechanic makes many fights cheep, it's all about dodging. There's also no item drops in this game, you recharge missiles yourself as well as part of your health if you're in the red, another new idea that breaks away from tradition. Also as of right now Other M contains a game breaking glitch involving a locked door that should be open. I won't go into details but search google for 'metroid other m glitch' and you'll get results. This is something I fully expect to be fixed. To sum it all up, if you hate change, you'll likely hate this game, if you are open minded, you might enjoy it.
"Awesome" for a game! "Meh," for a Metroid game
As a huge Metroid Fan, I can say with the upmost confidence that this is more or less the worst Metroid I ever played (I never played Hunters or Pinball [not that that counts]). But that doesnt mean its a bad game, in fact the game is awesome and very well done. It is what you would consider the worst of the best. It opens the door for many possibilities in future Metroid games, but this particular one blatantly ignores some of the traditions that made the series what it is today. The controls are smooth and easy to adapt to. Even the first person mode transitions without you missing a beat. Many hate this mechanic because you cannot move in first person mode, which I find the idea stupid, because if you could do that, you may as well do another Prime. The game even makes it easier on you, slowing the attacts and making the screen outline slower greener to let you know "You are about to get hit by an attack! Dodge that Mothafucker!" My only problem with this is that you cannot fire missiles blind, which DOES cause a problem in combat. Not only cant fire quickly enough, you may (will) target the wrong enemy. This is what made fights with enemies swarming everywhere frustrating. The game really breaks the base with the storyline and Samus's personallity. I found most of the story execution very well done, but what pissed me off was Samus's voice actor. YOU ARE FUCKING BORING!!! Samus never got happy, sad, excited, mad, or anything. She spoke like your college professor. You know, the one you fall asleep on. This left a very bad impression for the first time that Samus ever had full voice acting. The android had more personallity than Samus, which brings me to my next point, most of Adams team where very flat characters. we learn little about them, and thus, we care little for them when they are hurt. Try as the story might for Adam, I felt very little for him by the end of the game. The game is now an action game. which I don't mind, but its still Metroid, we need balance. Prime impressed me with its mind boggaling puzzles, this game i guess promotes brawn over brain. And whille the fights are the best in the series, the fact that they overwelmed the puzzles was a turn off. Unfortunatly I cant go much longer to talk about the music and the scenery, but but long story short this game could have been so much more.
A flawed gem of a game.
Hello, you may remember me as the guy who's been editing the article from the day it was created. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the game, aside from some flaws, such as the pixel hunts, and a moderate case of exposition dump at the end. The story itself, which has been recieving a buttload of complaints, is certainly no war and peace, but it isn't a damn turd either. The Controls felt natural most of the time, though El Pollo Loco's tail gave me fits (I actually surived that sequence first time out with 0 health), and I had some trouble Powerbombing inside the metroid queen The game itself did a good job of presenting a fun challenge, until the pixel hunts broke up and slowed down the gameplay. The environments, aside from some low-res textures, were all very pretty. Several bosses gave me fits for whatever reason, for example three of the incarnations of the lift boss simply served to frustrate, Ridley was a headache by definition (though that one can partially be blamed on me failing to note something), and the Metroid Queen was a headache to powerbomb the innards of Hundred percent completion proved extrememly difficult because some of the items require silly precise methods of getting at them. Overall I enjoyed the game, for what it was, a flawed gem. If I had to give it a numerical score it would be 8.3, largely because of annoying pixel hunting and really annoying bosses