Metroid: Other M

Published by Nintendo, Developed by Team Ninja

Genres: Action / Shooting / Platformer (1 players)

US release date: Aug 31st, 2010 | EU release date: Sep 3rd, 2010

Metroid: Other M review

Any objections, Lady?

Andrew Gray wrote this game review.

Review written by
Andrew Gray

September 5th, 2010

Metroid: Other M has been controversial, to say the least. Differences to the core Metroid gameplay, along with a third-party developer have alarmed and alienated fans. Now that the game is finally here, does it deliver or stumble in conveying Samus Aran's latest tale?

Other M is markedly different from previous Metroid games, not the least of which in its approach to storytelling. As usual, Samus intercepts a distress signal, this time from a seemingly abandoned Bottle Ship. The signal also attracts the attention of a Galactic Federation Marine group who include Samus' longtime friend Anthony Higgs, and her father figure Adam Malkovich, elaborating slightly on their already established relationship from Metroid Fusion. Whereas other Metroid titles had a bare minimum of story to keep the action going, Other M instead relies on quite a few CG cutscenes. Though the game's beginning features a stunning recreation of the final battle in Super Metroid, things slowly go downhill from there.

Metroid: Other M screenshotWhile the overall story is fairly good for a Nintendo developed title, the actual telling of the story stumbles due to poor writing, acting, pacing, and the distinct feeling that this story has been done before. In fact, the majority of this story already has been told in Metroid Fusion, with nearly every major part of the back-story already having been established in that GBA title. Not only that, but the 'ship exploration' premise and what Samus ultimately discovers aboard the ship are nearly identical to everything found in Fusion from instigator to consequence. The overall villain of the piece comes off as lame and unoriginal, especially since you don't actually get to fight them at the end of the game. Players expecting a terrific yarn will be disappointed, though they will get quite a bit of Metroid fan service.

The actual game itself is slightly different from nearly every 'classic' Metroid title, yet feels like a direct sequel to Metroid Fusion. The overall gameplay consisting of exploring areas, fighting enemies and gaining new abilities remains the same, yet there are a few changes to the formula. Similar to Metroid Fusion, the game is quite linear, with objectives being given to accomplish rather than having the player simply explore and discover things at their leisure. Other M is not, as initially believed by many, to be just a 2D action/adventure in the vein of Super and Fusion. Other M incorporates 3D movement similar to a typical third person title like Team Ninja's own Ninja Gaiden titles. In fact, combat is remarkably similar to Ninja Gaiden, with a similar emphasis on speed, killing strikes and dodging. Thankfully, Team Ninja has seen fit to ensure that Other M isn't nearly as difficult as one of those titles. For the most part, combat takes a bit of a learning curve to get used to, but is fun and fast. Naturally, exploration and item collection are emphasized. However, because missiles can simply be recharged after a few seconds, collecting missile tanks seems largely unnecessary and skilled players don't require many energy tanks either, a surprising difference for a Metroid title.

Apparently trying to take inspiration from the Metroid Prime series, Other M makes it necessary for players to switch between third and first person perspectives; the first person view is necessary to open passages, combat certain bosses and enemies, and be able to use missiles in general. Some players may find it difficult to adjust to the constant switching between views, especially with how the game deals with these perspective issues. Rather than having first person be the area directly in front of the player, it is instead the area facing from Samus' front. Normally the game is played with the remote on its side i.e. the 'standard' NES style control, but pointing the remote towards the screen is required for first person mode. This may result in many frustrated players who have but a few seconds to fire a needed missile into an enemy and find themselves unsuccessful. Those who have a good sensor bar setup and reflexes shouldn't have much of a problem using the first person view after a small learning period, it still remains an issue and shouldn't have been necessary to play the game. The player is also occasionally forced to play as Samus in a combat-free, over the shoulder view similar to Gears of War and Resident Evil 4. These sequences are apparently for 'cinematic flair' but severely impact the game's pacing and just feel irritating.

Metroid: Other M screenshotTeam Ninja proves their technical expertise with this game, as the graphics in Other M are stunning. CG cut-scenes aside, the art and scenery are exceptional with quality similar to and almost eclipsing the Gamecube Metroid videos from Spaceworld 2000. Samus is especially well detailed thanks in no small part to excellent animation, and longtime Metroid fans will be startled at the amazingly accurate transitions of certain creatures and enemies into 3D. The environments are mostly colorful and well detailed, but occasionally can cover up hidden passages in an undesirable way. To that end, it may be necessary to play the game in 480ip with a component cable. Without it, the game can be incredibly blurry and dark.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the sound. While the music and sound effects are exceptional, there is barely any music whatsoever and sound effects cannot carry a game. The voice acting runs the gamut from average to terrible, once again reinforcing the belief that Nintendo should not add voice acting to their games. Samus' actress in particular sounds robotic and lifeless in most scenes, with the only standout actor being for Anthony. Two baffling questions arise from this; the first is why Nintendo couldn't have gotten Samus' original voice actress, Jennifer Hale, to reprise her role in Other M. Hale has far more experience than Jessica Martin and would most likely have been a better choice for the role. Also, why couldn't players have been given a choice to hear the Japanese language track? The Japanese version had the English voices, so why not?

Other M features a near metric ton of fanservice as well. Not only is much of Samus' backstory explained, we also see things referenced by the Metroid manga such as Samus' fear of Ridley but not of Mother Brain. Almost every enemy type is taken from either the original Metroid and Super, and more than one boss is taken from both the console and handheld titles. Players also finally get a glimpse into Ridley's species, and more of what may have been going through Samus' mind during Metroid Fusion.

Metroid: Other M is a game that while different from the original Metroid titles in certain details, is similar in spirit to the series' best. It may not be the 2D Metroid sequel many wanted, but it is nonetheless a fun game and at least worthy to be in the Metroid pathos, story aside.

78%

Gameplay: Gameplay score: 8

Graphics: Graphics score: 10

Sound: Sound score: 5

Lifespan: Lifespan score: 6

User comments

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Jake said:

Pathos? Is that supposed to be "pantheon," maybe? That's a pretty big stretch, I know, but I can't think of any other word even slightly similar to "pathos" that might fit in that sentence.

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Austin said:

This is second last in the timeline, right? Then why is Samus a whining little girl? She's meant to be one of the biggest bad asses in gaming and after destroying millions of creatures and a few planets, is now the right time to have emotional moments?

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Eric said:

I second Jake. If that isn't intended to be "pantheon", then I have no idea how that one got malaprop'd.

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wiiboy101 said:

Girly feelings = gay over the top feminine rubbish = gay. Too many cgi cut scenes = like sony. Metroid is about outside the suit not inside the suit. Sean malstrom's rants about this are true sako at Nintendo is an idiot, MATERNAL FEELINGS get the hell outta here with that. That's how many feel about this game.

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wiiboy101 said:

A game about some womans feelings no thanks, what's other m 2 about, her periods? NO THANKS.

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SuperManlyDude said:

It's a very good game. I don't see why everybody is so worried about it. I've beaten one-hundred percent of the game, I've been playing since the first Metroid, and I consider it more true to the originals than the Prime games, although those were good in their own right- Other M is everything Metroid is supposed to be and then some. Anthony Higgs rules.

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wiiboy101 said:

Currently playing it, a gift from my girlfriend. I was guna leave it but I have it now. I've just gotten wave beam and moving towards boss battle on the lift thing, the criticism surrounding the maternal feelings and the gay story are justified, it's not metroid it's silly, totally lacking in any talent story wise, but I do like the 2d/3d gameplay ideas and fp view ability and the fast action and fighting. But it's too easy and un-metroid at times, the ideas behind the game are very cool but story and feminine thing is just dumb, give me a other m / prime 1 and prime 3 hybrid game with more metroidy feeling - I would love that.

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Oria said:

Before getting the game I was very worried about the story but expected the gameplay to be satisfactory. I was wrong. The gameplay is about as bad as the story. The level design is boring, hallway after hallway filled with poorly designed enemies (like those icegoats or those bland lava puppets) and ridiculous invisible walls. The main elements of Metroid (exploration, isolation and backtracking) are gone and replaced by heavy handholding, a silly story and extreme linearity. The authorisation mechanic is simply ridiculous. In any other Metroid game, finding the varia suit makes you think: "great, now I can go explore those hot areas". In this one you already have it but aren't authorized to use it until you already traversed more than half of the hot areas. When you finish the lava sector, you find an elevator to sector 2. Adam tells you not to use it. Advance 2 rooms and you find yourself at an impasse. What happens then? Adam calls you again and tells you to go back to that elevator. Can you spell filler? Looking for missile upgrades used to be one of most addicting parts of Metroid games. Every time I got any new item (like the high jump or the grapple beam), I'd backtrack and try the new move everywhere to find more missile upgrades or health tanks. In Other M, they managed to suck all the fun out of it. How? 1) The exact location of an upgrade is indicated when you clear a room of enemies. 2) You don't need missile upgrades since you can recharge missiles at any time. Which is a good thing because: 3) Missile upgrades now give you a whopping 1 (yes, that would be one) extra missile. 4) Backtracking is usually impossible as the game locks and opens doors in a scripted manner, to guide you where it wants you to go Other minor complaints that only bother me because I'm a big fan of the series: Shooting the doors. I know it makes no practical sense at all, but it has been a part of every Metroid. It is as integral to Metroid for me as jumping on enemies in Mario games. Health pickups. I don't want to have to save or lower my health down to 25 to be able to heal. I want enemies to drop health and missiles, as they always have. "Baby" Before and after Other M, the baby was a hatchling, or a larva. Samus felt no motherly feelings towards it at all. She even turned it over to Federation scientists. We all know what happens to baby animals in labs, and so does Samus. That doesn't make Samus a monster either, as Metroids are barely sentient, artificially created and hugely aggressive creatures. She went down to its home planet, exterminated its entire species and then turned it over to the Dr. Mengele of space. But now she "wuves" it. Does anybody see how it doesn't fit? Ridley. The badass space dragon is now a voracious Furby? And then it turns into a giant, fluffy, purple duck-thing? How about putting Kraid in a dress and a pink hat with flowers? I just hope the bad sales show Nintendo what a mistake it was leaving Sakamoto in charge of an important series like Metroid. The pattern is very clear: Metroid and Super Metroid, Gunpei Yokoi, the real father of metroid (and the Nintendo ten billion barrel) as a producer, Sakamoto as director, great games. Metroid II. Yokoi as director and producer, great game. Metroid Prime, made by Retro, produced by Shigeru Myamoto and 2 others, some input by Sakamoto, great game. Metroid Fusion, directed by Sakamoto, produced by a fairly unknown, less infuential Takehiro Izushi, Metroid standards start to decline. Metroid Other M, directed, produced and overhyped by Sakamoto, no big producer to keep Sakamoto's ambitions in check, terrible shadow of what Metroid used to be. I'm glad the sales are bad for this one and I'm proud to have contributed to them by purchasing the game used on eBay. Nintendo will not get a single cent from me until they restore this amazing series to its former glory. Keep Samus alive by holding on to your money.

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Oria said:

Oh no, wall of text. I divided it all in to neat little paragraphs. If anybody wants to read this in a more organised format, send me a mail, I have it in a word file.

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robert kenny said:

I played Metroid Other M, it's one of the best games I've played in my life. Oria what the hell are you smoking, the gameplay in Metroid Other M is outstanding.

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Ymmit said:

I agree with robert kenny, I'm on the last boss and it is freaking HARD! Finally a chance for all you noobs out there. Plus not many cutscenes just very long ones. Oh and ridley is really hard at some point.

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Chrysalis said:

I have no desire to play this game whatsoever. I saw the horrid cutscene of Samus breaking down and turning into a terrified child in the presence of Ridley. That is not the Samus I played growing up. As Southpark put it, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg "raped" the character of Indiana Jones with that new film "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". It would appear Metroid Other M has done the same thing to Samus. It has reduced a once prosperous franchise into dribbling, sensitive, hand-holding anime weeaboo garbage. It has no place within the canon of Metroid. The character (or lack thereof, which is just the way I liked it, thank you very much) of Samus deserves better. We, the devoted fans and followers of this series, deserve better. Please do not fail us in this way again Nintendo.

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robert kenny said:

I expected to find Metroid Other M to be horrible judging form all the crappy reviews, but then I played it for myself boy was I ever wrong it's one of the best games on the Wii that I've played so far, sure it butchers Samus' character but it's still an all around fun, enjoyable and challenging (especially on hard mode) game that's receiving way more crappy reviews then it truly deserves.

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Gentlemen said:

Mr. Robert Kenny what you have said just proves that the Wii just has an inadequate library of games nothing more. They could have made a new game instead of destroying an established character.

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robert kenny said:

Gentleman they didn't destroy Samus' character, they just made her a bit more human - do you have any idea what she's been through.

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hardcore said:

There's a difference in being human and being infused with Chozo DNA, and as silent as Samus has always been- making her speak is perhaps the most out-of-character thing you can do to someone's personality. Samus' silence has been a part of who she/he was from day 1. That reassuring cool and toughness you don't EVER see in most female characters. Which sets her apart and above the regular. Also, I'm not sure who is responsible for developing the storylines and games for this series, but it seems that this is indeed some anime weeaboo wannabe bullshit. Most of the action and motion capture just 'reeks' with japanese cues, and the voice acting is just as equally as stiff. But I guess the die hard fans who have been following and buying the entire Metroid franchise are supposed to bend over and just take up the nether region.

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hardness said:

PS. Sakamoto? I swear I heard that name before in some random japanese h-flick. I tell ya, h-mags, h-films, h-games, h-anything is LLOOAADED with faptastic fanservice. And this has tainted the very fabric of many japanese productions, regardless how 'harmless' it may seem. Somehow I feel Mr. Sakamoto is largely responsible for the meeker, more sentimental, emotionally sensitive and now (h-caption) emotionally vulnerable Samus. Which is a loaded crock of "Baby" particles. Strange though, the game itself was largely enjoyable from a non-Samus-oriented perspective. Just take out the fact you're playing as Samus Aran and you can enjoy it.

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