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Metroid: Other M review

AT A GLANCE
  • Badass finishing moves
  • Story escalates near the end
  • The last few boss battles are flat-out awesome
  • Combat is not skill based and gets old fast
  • First and third-person viewpoints don't always gel
  • Gameplay and story drag for several hours

Since its introduction last year, Metroid: Other M has been touted as several different things. Some promotional materials suggest it’s a brand-new take on the franchise, depicting Samus Aran as an ass-kicking, skull-crushing heroine with hot new moves from developer Team Ninja. Other days Nintendo claims it’s still the Metroid you know and love, full of hidden power-ups and long periods of total isolation – just you against the hostile environment. And there’s still a third angle that says Other M is all about Samus’ personal background, and the story will be the most intense, cutscene-filled extravaganza a Nintendo console has ever seen.

These three viewpoints are indicative of the game itself – it’s a collection of very different ideas sandwiched into one game that occasionally can’t pull them all together. It often feels like Team Ninja had an idea, and Nintendo had an idea, and neither game was fully realized, opting instead to mash together first and third-person views when one or the other would have sufficed. Make no mistake, Other M has a few outstanding, franchise-defining moments as it draws to a close, but overall it’s a bit of a letdown.


Other M: As an action game

Let’s begin with the most prominent addition to Other M, the thing that really sets it apart from the others – the Team Ninja-led action. Instead of simply blasting enemies to death over and over, now you engage them in a much more hands-on manner. Holding the Wii Remote like a classic NES controller, you press 1 to fire auto-targeted blasts (or hold to charge for a stronger shot) at enemies until they stumble. Once they do, Samus moves in for a flashy finishing move:


Above: A quick tap of the d-pad lets you dodge an incoming attack and instantly charge your cannon for a retaliatory blast


Above: With her enemy dazed, Samus moves in for the kill, Team Ninja style

Boom. Dead lizard. It’s startlingly cool to see a Nintendo character behaving so viciously. However, the actual combat mechanics never truly evolve, with no unlockable moves you’d find in any other Ninja Gaiden or God of War-style game. Yes, there are new weapons and abilities a la past Metroid games, but they’re more for exploration and item collecting, so they barely affect your combat strategy. Eventually you’ll start running past all the various creatures in search of your next objective or cleverly hidden power-up. And once you start avoiding the combat… well there goes one of the game’s biggest bullet points.

But that doesn’t make Samus’ acrobatics any less exciting. Here’s a small sampling of enemies and a couple of bosses to get the idea across.


Above: If only Other M could maintain this level of awesome

If you know your Metroid, you know Samus’ armament always includes missiles. In the other third-person (aka non-Prime) Metroid games, you’d hit Select or some other button to flip between beams and missiles – in Other M, you literally point the Wii Remote at the screen, lock on to a target and fire. The catch is that you’re unable to move while in this FPS view, so all the monsters can creep up on you, or fire back and knock back into third person, forcing you to line up the shot all over again. While some rather ingenious boss battles put this feature to good use, missiles are nearly pointless during a regular battle – a first for a Metroid title.


Above: Most of the game’s enemies are inconsequential, fast-moving critters. First-person view isn’t advised, as they crowd around Samus too quickly

The combination of repetitive combat that doesn’t require a great deal of skill and a largely unimpressive collection of enemies makes the action side of Other M a bit of a drag. If there were more emphasis on this aspect of the game, say with upgradeable melee moves or a wider variety of enemies that actually put up a good fight, it could have been as badass as the trailers would have you believe. Instead, we get a swath of ho-hum enemies and a handful of moderately tough monsters, neither of which require the kind of attention or reflexes the trailers would have you believe. It’s not until the end of the game that you’ll enjoy a couple of brilliantly laid out, highly demanding boss battles that pay serious fan service as well as make you wish the whole experience were that cool.

More Info

Available Platforms: Wii
Genre: Action
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Team Ninja
Franchise: Metroid
ESRB Rating:
Rating Pending
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending

88 comments

  • malcolmoujiaran - September 14, 2010 6:40 p.m.

    Nope, I do not agree with the review for many reasons. One, of many, is the switch from 2D to FPS is a "drag" as the author and others put it, but only when the player is playing smart or is being lazy. Good timing and creativity will yield bad ass moves from Samus when finishing enemies. One reason for this is that while in FPS Samus can also dodge an enemy's fire or attack. Nintendo and Team Ninja's collaboration works fine, nobody working on "Other M" ever said the game was going to be more than what people expect. We need to seperate Prime fans and Metroid fans, and address thier issues and expectations seperately. And don't forget to seperate people who have heard of about the Metroid franchise, but never played any of the games.
  • MaynardJ - September 9, 2010 4:46 p.m.

    I'm still buying it. Someday.
  • batmanboy11 - September 5, 2010 3:18 a.m.

    I haven't had a chance to play it for myself yet, but I've been watching my brother play, and from what I've seen, I'm not going to argue with the review.
  • onilosmada - September 2, 2010 4:19 p.m.

    I'll try it out, but i wasn't expecting anything spectacular. Hopefully Donkey Kong and Kirby are fun.
  • babyhenchy1 - September 1, 2010 9:29 p.m.

    @GamesRadarBrettElston The problem is that some people think that it sends a sexist vibe that Samus is seeking the approval of her former commanding officer and showing a lot of emotion. I haven't gotten that vibe yet but then again I haven't finished the game.
  • Guardian88 - September 1, 2010 2:31 a.m.

    If you want to know more about Samus's past, read the manga. The manga even tells about the very origin of Mother Brain and the reason why Samus hates Ridly.
  • philipshaw - August 29, 2010 2:19 p.m.

    Great review Brett. From seeing videos of this what you say about the game not gelling seems so true. I think I will just wait until this comes down in price and then get it. I don't get my student loans in until the end of September so I will get the game then if it has dropped in price,thanks for saving me money
  • cheezitmonster - August 29, 2010 1:22 a.m.

    I know that it a good game , but I think that what stopped it from being all it could be was team ninja. just look at their main franchises; Ninja Gaiden and Dead or alive, both known for their exploitatation in women. And you can see it in the game; they over sexualized her by having her outide of the power-suit for longer periods of time, and making her butt and boobs too big. They also made the most notorious bounty hunter in the galaxy an oversensitive cry-baby.
  • Crabhand - August 28, 2010 6:57 p.m.

    I'm sticking with my preorder, but I'm likely to sell it back to Gamestop after I beat it. I'm sure it will be fun, but I doubt I would play it again.
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - August 28, 2010 5:54 p.m.

    I'm happy to see so many people acknowledging that 7 is not a "bad" score. This isn't a "bad" game at all, it's a good game with a few flaws that will irritate people to different degrees. Personally I could never see giving this a 9 because of the reasons I outlined - but other people won't mind some of the stuff that drove me crazy, so there you go. I am perplexed by other reviews that say the story is the weakest link. It sure is in the beginning and middle, but if you're a big time Metroid fan and know the non-Prime games well, the story hits every fanboy button you could ask for. IMO!
  • Peloun - August 28, 2010 4:43 p.m.

    that low? Ima still get it
  • Imgema - August 28, 2010 4:38 p.m.

    I'm about 5 hours in the game and i pretty much agree with everything this review says. I am a bit disappointed but after reading this review, i can't wait to reach the final moments.
  • Grif - August 28, 2010 4:22 p.m.

    Well shoot, I was hoping for a great Metroid game, but now I think I'll have to pass. I'd rent it if I had time, but you know how limited time is.
  • GameManiac - August 28, 2010 3:42 p.m.

    Hmm... Meh, I'll still buy it, just not immediately. I'm still considering the Metroid Prime Trilogy before Other M, and LoZ:Twilight Princess before the MPT. But before all that, I want to finish Super Mario Galaxy 2 100%. (God I love that game.)
  • mahabat - August 28, 2010 3:16 p.m.

    haha just read the mp3 review and gamesradar i dont know if you remember, "This is the final prime game, however, and its easily the best, with a formula thats been tweaked and pruned to its most perfect point. Now please do something new before we all get tired of it." so I guess we have you to blame for this
  • EnragedTortoise1 - August 28, 2010 2:05 p.m.

    Gah, f*ck, another rental.
  • Jahbu - August 28, 2010 1:13 p.m.

    LOL...so people arent gonna buy the game now?...people really need to lighten up a bit!
  • Metroidhunter32 - August 28, 2010 11:39 a.m.

    *sobs*
  • Ultima - August 28, 2010 8:07 a.m.

    This is one one the lower scores on Metacritic so you may enjoy it more than the reviewer did. Some sites have given it 9/10. It currently scores 80 overall.
  • zer0hvk - August 28, 2010 6:49 a.m.

    @Gavo you, sir, know what you're talking about. METROID DREAD!!

Showing 1-20 of 88 comments

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