What do you say to that?
Metroid: Other M is an abomination. It's truly amazing just how systematic this game is about going through the Metroid franchise and significantly damaging each game one after the other. This game seems to take perverse pleasure in rewriting previous scenes to make them subscribe to a different vision. Fusion is hurt the most, but the other games each receive some measure of Other M's absolute disgust for the franchise.
And nowhere is this made more evident than by its treatment of the protagonist. The very idea of Samus Aran is methodically dissected, so that every aspect of her character can be properly and fully annihilated in turn. Her boundless courage is absolutely murdered by her behavior towards a beast she fought 7 times prior. Her independence is crushed under the yoke of co-dependence towards Adam Malkovich. The unstoppable force that brought low entire specieses now can be taken out with a single gunshot. The ultimate warrior who happened to be a woman becomes the female object of the ideal sexist father/daughter relationship, and she likes it that way.
Where once there was a strong, iconic protagonist, all that remains is the empty husk of a character. The true "Other M" is the Metroid that leeched the life from Samus Aran, leaving only a Samus-shaped statue in its wake.
The game's best aspect is its gameplay, and even that is only mediocre. Basic locomotion is pretty tight, but the combat system is a mixed-bag of modern, 00's style action games that take control away from the player in exchange for cool-looking moves. The overarching gameplay is antithetical to basic Metroid design principles; no Metroid game strays as far from the Metroidian ideal as this. The game disrespects the player as often as the story disrespects Samus. Which I suppose has the effect of putting the player in Samus's shoes effectively.
The game commits crimes against even the most basic principles of storytelling. The use of language is so bad that it should be used as a textbook example of how not to write. Characters spontaneously know things that they haven't been told. The game is poorly directed, preferring flashbacks and monologues to active storytelling. The voice acting ranges from stiff to Ent. Visually the game is technically pretty yet boring. Not even the music achieves a level of quality, ranging from blaring and blandly orchestral to boring and banal.
The plot is terribly structured; the story has many plotlines, several of which are unceremoniously dumped the moment their purpose is served. The "main" plot is so anemic that the villain's plans and motivation have to be info-dumped at the end. The characters never grow or evolve; it even has entire scenes designed to remind you how characters have not grown. It tries to have a theme of motherhood, but it comes and goes, never really being established. And even when it is used, the game has nothing to say about the concept besides giving it a thumbs up.
This game is basically Metroid: Fusion, with all of the good parts stripped out and all of the bad parts magnified. Samus monologues a lot in Fusion. Well, you ain't seen Samus monologuing till you've seen Other M. Does computer Adam seem a little overbearing, with his orders getting rather grating in Fusion? That's nothing compared to the living Adam ordering Samus into a fire area without her Varia. If you thought Fusion was linear, then hold on to your hats for Other M.
Did you like the atmosphere of being hunted by a neigh-unkillable adversary in Fusion? The clever way the game actually changed stage layouts without warning, giving the sense of a battleground environment against an implacable foe? Yeah, that's gone in Other M. The Deleter gets a single boss fight with zero buildup, and you never feel like he's a threat. And we go from seeing damage done to stages to the game simply sealing doors behind you to funnel you to different areas. If Fusion wanted to close you in, it would usually justify it by saying that something destroyed a door, or an X turned into an indestructible thing or something. This game just has Adam lock a door or not tell you to use something.
Indeed, I rather like Fusion, which is one of the reasons I hate this game so much. The relationship that was hinted at in Fusion is viciously stomped on in this game, going from a respectful friendship to Samus fawning over a guy who abuses her. The reveal of the GF having a Metroid breeding program is ruined by the existence of this game; Samus shouldn't even have been surprised. Other M even makes Samus's monologues in Fusion hard to read by reminding you of the constant monologuing from this game. Any praise Samus offers Adam in Fusion forces you to think about the asshole she's praising as shown in Other M.
Want to know what Metroid: Other M really is? It's fan-fiction of Metroid: Fusion. Bad fanfic often comes from an inexperienced writer trying to ape something that they don't really understand. They do it poorly, without grace or subtlety. Isn't that what Other M's gameplay is? The hyper-linear level designs are nothing more than Fusion's linear design only without the atmospheric elements that made them work.
The story is bog-standard for bad fanfic. It takes some undeveloped element of the main work and develops it. Badly. Adam is a classic example of a self-insert Mary Sue, and like most Mary Sue's, he overshadows the actual protagonist. Samus becomes far less effective and strong, being shown to be easily cowed and frightened by events. All intended to add "depth" to her character, but without any understanding of how to really do that or what to do with that depth. The plot structure is schizophrenic like many bad-fics, never able to focus on any one thing. And the story handles theme as though the author had no idea what that word means.
Despite all of that, it might not be a bad idea to search the game out and watch it. Why? Because quite frankly, my description of it cannot do it justice. It really is that bad. I had heard about many of the major problems before watching, but the reality was so much worse. I never imagined that the Ridley scene was as bad as it was, and nobody ever pointed out the fact that she never gets her revenge for it. You can only appreciate the "quality" of the voice acting by hearing it.
You can find videos on You Tube that show Theater Mode; there is also a good Long Play of it available. Neither have commentary, if that's what you're concerned about. However, if you don't like suffering alone (and I don't recommend that on your first outing), there's an absolutely epic Let's Play available. It's available on the archives. Slowbeef and Diabetus of Retsupurae (and Let's Play) fame took a look at Theater Mode, with the usually hilarious results. They managed to make even the Ridley scene tolerable.
The saddest part of all? This game may be the herald of the future for Metroid. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is ultimately the father of the series. While I'm grateful that the game didn't sell well (even in Japan, despite shockingly good Famitsu reviews), I don't know if that's going to be enough. Whoever gets to make a new Metroid game isn't going to be allowed to overrule or reject this game; Other M is canon now. The best they could do is try to stay out of its way and ignore it, treating it like Star Trek 5.
My biggest concern for the future is if they do what they did before: hand the license to someone else. Whether it's Retro again or some other studio, it doesn't matter. Because while they might do better, it's going to come back home sooner or later. And considering how much roughshod this game loves running over prior games, little-to-no respect will likely be paid to them. We would just be getting another Other M 6-8 years from now.
It's one thing when someone else takes a property and screws it to hell. But when the creator does it, there's little that can be done to fix it. Our best hope is that Nintendo recognizes that Metroid still holds value and that Other M was a failure. Thus, they'll keep future installments of the game out of his hands. Or at least provide greater oversight. How likely is that? Who knows.
Final number of times that Other M shat upon the Metroid franchise? Fifteen. On average, Theater Mode alone shit on the Metroid franchise once every 10 minutes.
That's a lot of shit.