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Metroid: Other M starting to feel like a Team Ninja game

We recently posted a hefty preview from NGamer UK that spoke quite highly of Other M’s unique mix of Nintendo-minded gameplay and Team Ninja’s penchant for balls-out combat. This contrasts our very first exposure to the game, which at the time felt fairly barren and had some really awkward controls. Now, having spent an hour in a more action-packed area of the game, we can reconcile these two disparate views and say we’re finally starting to see the magic.


Above: Expect more fights than ever before

That first session focused on the spectacle and story, with a lot of CG cutscenes and (so-so) voiced dialog between Samus and the team of space marines she bumps into. The hallways were plain, the puzzles were light, the D-pad controls felt wrong for a 3D game and the entire concept of isolation was missing. In other words, not a great start for the next big reinvention of Metroid.

Thankfully, this week’s demo jumped us to a point where Samus is all alone on the staggeringly huge Bottle Ship, a craft so large it contains everything from metallic hallways to lush jungles, vibrant streams and other seemingly outdoor environments. Each, of course, is filled with bugs and baddies that want to crack Samus open and feast on the goo inside.


Above: Like these armored plant-lizard things, for instance

Confronting the myriad beasties is where the Team Ninja influence is truly felt. A battle with two cloaked lizard-men felt more like an evasive, sci-fi Ninja Gaiden than the comparatively clunky Samus found in Metroid Prime. Just before an enemy is about to strike, tap the D-pad in any direction and she’ll zip out of the way in a cartwheel of green exhaust, which also happens to fully charge your arm cannon. Before long you’re swaying in and out of danger, returning split-second blasts and then running up to the dazed creature for a showboating finishing move. She can also hop onto a stunned enemy and deliver a hugely powerful attack called “overblast,” which comes in handy against the more resilient monsters. It’s simultaneously bizarre and exhilarating to see Samus behave like this, weaving through enemies with previously unseen grace.


Above: A rather vicious end, delivered by a classic Nintendo character

The only oddity is the visor view, which is activated by pointing the Wii Remote at the screen. While inside the visor, you can lock on to enemies and fire devastating missiles (a great way to soften them up for a lethal strike) or hold B to initiate a free-look mode that points out areas of interest. Nothing like the scan visor from Prime though – it’s fairly basic and only makes note of things you can interact with, plus affixes you to the ground while the rest of the world keeps moving. Maybe it means strategic use is necessary, maybe it means this is a questionable way to implement the visor at all. We’ll have to see.


Above: Visor mode lets you look around, but you’re locked in place while here

In short, the most recent hands-on reinstated a sense of excitement for a game we were previously concerned about. The controls seem to gel over time, and the worry of Samus being surrounded by Federation troops was lessened when, after an hour of play, we didn’t bump into one other person.


Above: There sure were a lot of things to kick though

There are still some issues that can only be answered with a full review, namely how all these different parts come together. The combat is definitely fun, but is it fun for hours? Will there be new moves a la Ninja Gaiden? Is the D-pad destined to irritate as an input device for a 3D game? Will the balance between Team Ninja’s action/story and Nintendo’s old-school feel balance itself?

We’ll know it all very, very soon.

Aug 5, 2010

Topics

Nintendo

24 comments

  • SCRubS77 - August 6, 2010 11:42 p.m.

    My only Metroid experience is playing the first one on Wii, through WiiWare or whatever. I am still very excited for this.
  • GameManiac - August 6, 2010 3:59 p.m.

    Don't count your haterades before you drink them, Brett. I have high hopes for Other M.
  • pin316 - August 6, 2010 9:56 a.m.

    @db1331 - perfect time to buy a gamepad....or just an old gamecube controller - probably get one well cheap! quite excited for yet another new feel to Metroid - loved the prime games (still play on the GC every so often), so quite excited to see what's new. Just hope that they don't sacrifice anything from the platform/exploration aspect just to make the combat that bit more tasty - there are hundred's of standard action games out there - this defintely needs to keep that Metroid feel to it.
  • VaneTrago - August 6, 2010 4:47 a.m.

    @crumbdunky You said it the absolute, absolute best.
  • Defguru7777 - August 6, 2010 4:44 a.m.

    I'd always thought of Samus being fairly agile. Wouldn't you have to be to grapple and screw attack all over the place?
  • crumbdunky - August 6, 2010 12:03 a.m.

    Controls will be shit and it'll be the first Metroid I fail to love with every ounce of my being. There's simply NO need for it to have no other control input, the visor view seems tacked on for extra awkward on top of using THAT D-pad all the time and all the Gaidenesque moves seem to water down the image of Samus that's been fostered over the years and doesn't fit with the suit or her characteristic fighting capabilities of yore. I'm still UNER worried that I won't like tis and Metroid is what kept me gaming at the time when it nearly disappeared from my life so the series is important for me-more important than any other truth be told and I really don't like what i'm hearing so far. Hope I'm wrong but I'm gonna rent first(Damn Ninty and the no demo BS on Wii Connect-FFS is it `1982?). I'm all for change(my issue with recent Halo games has been the lack of moving on)but it still has to FIT and has to make sense(which this controls scheme just fails on both counts)and a lot of this either jars or smacks of adding difficulty through control input which is always the bastion of the stubbornly thoughtless developer than cannot be arsed doing it through proper means like enemy AI or sodding gameplay. Add in the fact that holding that Wiimote sideways is as comfy as stroking your genitalia with a frikkin cactus and you see why I'm a bit concerned. Praying I'm wrong, doubting I am(and more so every preview).
  • garnsr - August 5, 2010 10:56 p.m.

    Hand-to-handMetroid doesn't sound right. At least, that's how the screens look.
  • TheWebSwinger - August 5, 2010 9:35 p.m.

    Aww c'mon it'll be good.
  • grappler51 - August 5, 2010 9:04 p.m.

    The control scheme seems kinda weird but I'm still gonna get this cause Samus kicking shit is just that awesome!
  • Cyberninja - August 5, 2010 8:29 p.m.

    and once again recaptcha fails and gives me a double comment
  • Cyberninja - August 5, 2010 8:26 p.m.

    i will just need to try this game for myself before i buy it
  • Cyberninja - August 5, 2010 8:26 p.m.

    i will just need to try this game for myself before i buy it
  • gamingfreak - August 5, 2010 8:24 p.m.

    I'm still iffy on this game. Being able to be an agile tank sounds awesome but having only the Wii remote as the controller and using missile's in only first person, I don't like.
  • 510BrotherPanda - August 5, 2010 7:33 p.m.

    Even if the missiles are a lot more powerful, why does the counter only look like it can hold 99 max? What ever happened to the usual 250 limit? I hope it's not Itagaki Hard, too. Or Mario Galaxy 2 Hard. I this a sign of being a wuss?
  • Haxorz - August 5, 2010 7:22 p.m.

    Eh, better be a bit more classic shit than new. All the fighting is nice and all but it you go to far from it's roots it might just fall into the other game bin....
  • Phazon117 - August 5, 2010 7:11 p.m.

    Looking forward to this gem!
  • nuno004 - August 5, 2010 6:50 p.m.

    this is badass and who cares if it's different from the old as long as it's good and it is
  • abbottfrizzell - August 5, 2010 6:19 p.m.

    I hope it's grand.. OOO i hope.
  • RebornKusabi - August 5, 2010 6:05 p.m.

    I really want to like this, but honestly the controls of it will make or break it for me so I plan to rent it first. However, Samus Aran beating the shit out of enemies with her armored up hands do sound quite enticing to me!
  • Felixthecat - August 5, 2010 5:49 p.m.

    It looks better than when we all saw it a year or so ago IMO. I think it looks pretty great though, even if it is Metroid, and doesn't fit in with the classic Metroid feel, I think it could end up being a very good game. However, as others have stated, I'm slightly "worried" about the first-person view. We'll have to wait and see though, there isn't that long to go really.

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