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REVIEW: Metroid: Other M

The Metroid series makes a return with the help of Team Ninja. Check out the review of Metroid: Other M

Gameplay

Largely different from previous Metroid titles. Acrobatic maneuvers, melee attacks, riding on the backs of aliens. Madness I tell you!

Audio

Very few memorable Metroid tunes but lots of memorable Metroid sound effects. Also, Samus talks... a lot.

Art and Animation

Some of the best art and animation on the Wii and it all moves at an incredibly smooth frame-rate.

A Metroid game made by the people who make Ninja Gaiden. It's like a dream come true. However, the minute I received my copy from Nintendo I was instantly hit with a large chunk of reality. I had horrific thoughts of the masochistic game difficulty that Team Ninja is know for putting in their games. I saw myself throwing my Wii Remote out into my backyard in a fit of rage. I saw the smug GameStop employee snicker at me as I paid for a replacement Wii Remote; he knew I couldn't beat Metroid: Other M. I don't know how, but he knew! My fears raced even faster in me when I turned on the game and found that there wasn't an option to choose the difficulty setting. The game was made with only one difficulty! Aw crap! I prepared for a serious butt-whipping. And then... my fears were put to rest. It was a challenge, but it was approachable. The difficulty grew as I played, but only gradually as I progressed through the game. I was having a good time without a hint of rage. It really is a dream come true.

Metroid: Other M will have you blasting aliens, venturing through a huge map that spans through levels of various atmospheres, item hunting and gaining new weapons and devices to progress through obstacles in typical Metroid fare. On top of all that, you got the acrobatics and awesome control of a game that is vintage Team Ninja. Most of the game is played in 3rd person but you also have the ability to switch to 1st person by pointing the Wii Remote at the screen. You'll use the 1st person mode to aim, investigate and use specific weapons. It's responsive and useful without the implementation of mindless waggle, thank God, but the fact that you can't walk when you go into 1st person mode leaves you completely vulnerable to nearby enemies. This is one of the 2 big problems I have with Other M (as for the other problem, you'll find out about that one a little later). Item hunting is a little different this time around. You won't hear a tell-tale sound when you are near an item like in the Prime games. However, when you clear a room of enemies, your map will show you blips revealing the location of items in that room. Every once in a while you will come across a hidden item that didn't show up as a blip on your radar. Then you realize that they only tell you where some of the items are, not all of them. This is a welcome challenge, it's great that this game doesn't take you by the hand and walk you through. It's actually a challenge not unlike the SNES days.

There is an elaborate story that puts this Metroid together. Other M takes place right after the events of Super Metroid for the SNES. The story goes into the details of Samus' origin; about how and why she first chose to become a bounty hunter. Beautifully rendered cutscenes play out the story. The cutscenes are of much higher quality than the graphics in the gameplay; you can bet that watching them will bring you back to the days when all games used to use FMVs. The story also introduces characters which are a part of Samus' history. The various personalities of the characters tend to fall into typical categories; you got the stern but devoted commanding officer, the enthusiastic yet generic team-mates and the hearty, jovial guy. As far as our main heroine goes, Samus can actually get pretty darn dramatic at times. Touching back on the gameplay for a bit, you start off with nothing and gain abilities as you progress. However, unlike other Metroid titles, such as Metroid Prime, instead of starting with nothing or rather losing your abilities and having to regain them back, in Other M you have access to all of your abilities but are forbidden to use your abilities by your old commanding officer. WHAT!? (and there it is!) I can understand having my devices destroyed by a crash landing onto the planet or something like that but you're telling me that I actually have access to all my abilities but I need permission to use them? Often times you will be on the brink of death and this guy will radio you a split second before you get killed and give you permission to use an item to save yourself. So you're saying that I can't even use my items to save my own life unless he says so!? The progression of item use could have been handled much differently than this.

Metroid: Other M sets out to do what it intended to do. To create an outstanding title by making use of the talents of a sensational development house. Team Ninja has made a revolutionary game in Other M. Now I know that everyone uses the word “revolutionary” quite loosely nowadays but Other M really is just that. Team Ninja took a big risk; they took a great game franchise and did something totally new without ruining it. Metroid: Other M is fantastic. The story might not be that great but the gameplay more than makes up for it. If you own a Wii you have to own this game.

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