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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

Other M: The plot-driven game

Nintendo’s classic stable of franchises is not known for its gripping narratives. Mario beats Bowser, Link beats Ganon and so on. Metroid has perhaps the tightest storyline of all Nintendo’s products, so we’re excited to see such great attention paid to Other M’s plot. It begins with a direct shout-out to Super Metroid, then whisks Samus off to a gargantuan space station (called the Bottle Ship) in response to a distress call. Once there, she runs into her former commanding officer, Adam Malkovich, and his team of Galactic Federation troops.

Initially, it looks like Other M is going to sport an ensemble cast, as you’re introduced to each of these team members by name. However, after an hour of tagging along with them, you’re all sent your separate ways and the larger plot kind of stalls. It’s just Metroid as usual – isolation and room after room of tricks and monsters. Then suddenly the team is back. Then they’re gone again. And what about that distress signal? Or Samus’ past relationship with Adam? Focus people, focus!


Above: A corpse kicks off the mystery of the Bottle Ship, but both the group and the mystery are replaced by other characters and other mysteries

This makes the first four hours of Other M quite a trying time. The combat isn’t clicking, the exploration is almost nonexistent and the story is sagging. Even Samus’ voice acting is disconnected from any sense of emotion, yet she’s spouting emotional words about Adam and her past. It’s hard to get involved when the heroine’s own voice can’t seem to muster any enthusiasm.

But then, almost in an instant, the story hits you with two really cool twists and starts pulling together disparate plot threads from Metroid, Metroid II, Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion, making for an honestly kickass final third of the game. The last few hours are so flat-out amazing, from the escalating story to the authorization of Samus’ powers to the lengthy, gorgeous cutscenes, that it’s a travesty the beginning and middle are so middling. Hell, there’s even a post-credits mission, and that 30 minute excursion is cooler than 75% of the game.


Above: As the series’ primary antagonist, obviously Ridley is in Other M. But how and why he’s here is a great part of the story

In those last hours, it starts to feel like the game we were meant to play all along. The combat gives way to standard Metroid blasting, and the Bottle Ship is wide open to explore. But prior to that point, it’s just not as exciting, interesting or engrossing as Nintendo as any of the Metroid games it references. It’s also hard to justify why the whole game is played with a d-pad – Nintendo introduced the analog stick with the N64 because it knew d-pads weren’t ideal for 3D games. If you’re going to make a 3D world, just use the damn analog stick, don’t try to tell us holding the Wii Remote sideways is a sign the game is “for the hardcore.”


Is it better than...?

Metroid Prime ? No. Prime was a truly revolutionary step for the series, dragging it from the 16-bit days into the 2000s with cutting edge graphics and some of the best level design of that console generation. Even little things like the map (and controls) are better implemented in the Prime trilogy. Other M is a decent game with a handful of real problems – Prime was almost always astonishing.

 


Metroid Fusion ? No. Both lead Samus from point to point and shed some light on her as a person, as well as feature Adam Malkovich in a father-figure role, but Fusion did it with a thicker atmosphere, genuinely creepy scenes and a plot that changes our space faring heroine forever. If you skipped Fusion for whatever reason, get on it.


Super Metroid ? Of course not, but that’s to be expected. This is widely held as one of the greatest games of all time, so it’s a bit much to ask the same of Other M. It’s still a fair comparison to make, however, as Other M is a direct sequel to Super Metroid, and the same director (Yoshio Sakamoto) is at the helm. Given the potential on display with Other M, it stands to reason the next 2D game (on 3DS, perhaps?) could finally eclipse the SNES classic.


Just for you, Metacritic!

Other M divides its attention among too many viewpoints and gameplay styles to nail any one of them. Thankfully, the entire game soars so high in the closing moments that it ends up a must play for franchise followers.

Aug 27, 2010

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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