Metroid: Other M is a game with great controversy. To cries of sexism and awful storytelling, the game has hit some nerves with a lot of people. But fret not, your GoNintendo Metroid expert is here today, after nearly two months to give you his fair and biased opinion on the matter. So where does Other M stand on the Metroid totem pole? A gigantic disappointment that will haunt the series for years to come? Or will it be the new age of freshness?Needless to say, after 3 outstanding Metroid Prime games, Metroid: Other M is a bit of disappointment. With promises of an epic backstory and story-driven game added to the classic style of Metroid gameplay, we're left with an action game is that empty of many of the series' classic trappings, and a befuddling story with questionable voice acting and a portrayal of a main character that has been held in high regard for so long that leaves us wondering if this is all there is or was she really that bad to begin with?Let me start with an analogy. To me at least, Metroid games are like fine wine. You sip them, savor them, take your time with them. They are satisfying and fulfilling to the last drop. Metroid: Other M on the other hand feels like a beer. You chug it, and you're done. You're satisfied afterwards, but you're not full, so you keep going at it over and over again until you have a massive hangover the next morning. That's not to say it's a bad game, but it's a different kind of feeling that you'll probably end up regretting later.It mainly comes down to the fact that Other M provides top notch action and gameplay, it fails to provide many of those old Metroid traps: A traditional Metroid soundtrack, path-finding, a near perfect difficulty curve, and a great sense of atmospheric balance. The first two I mentioned are pretty much non-existent. You may think you're path-finding early on, but you'll find out you were supposed to go that way. There are some classic Metroid tracks in there, but for the most part, the soundtrack is unmemorable, except for one song near the end which is really good. The difficulty in this game starts out really tough, but mainly comes from the hybrid control scheme. After you pick that up (roughly 90 minutes or so) the game gets progressively easier as time goes on. There are a plethora of save rooms and checkpoints that recharge your health and missiles. In addition, the atmosphere seems to be missing a lair of polish. While it looks pretty, you don't get that vibe like you do in other Metroid games.Exploration is mainly kept to finding Missile Tanks, E-Tanks, E-Tank Parts, E-Recovery Tanks and Accel Charges. Missile Tanks are the most common, but due to the Concentration mechanic, you should only be fine with 20-30 missiles at any time. This really hurts the exploration aspect of the game, and should've been cutback in order to keep it up to snuff. Also, since Missiles are relegated to first person only, you'll rarely use them, which is another hit against exploration.Metroid games haven't been known for their combat, but Other M definitely has the most polished system of the bunch despite a weird setup. Most of the classic Metroid power-ups return (Speed Booster, Screw Attack, Grapple Beam, etc.) and they all feel excellent to handle. If there's one thing the game did right, it's this. However, another new mechanic to the series, the Sense Move, makes the game ridiculously easy once you know how to use/abuse it. Since it provides no drawback unlike Hyper Mode in Corruption, it sort of breaks the combat system after a while. However, the boss fights are pretty awesome, despite them being brief at times.As far as the story goes, Other M was supposed to delve into the background and tragedies of Samus Aran, as well as introduce a few new concepts to the series. Now while it does provide some background and new concepts, the tragedies and a lot of her background are missing in action, and would've provided some much needed depth to the game, including the history she has with a certain villain, and how she came to be where she is today. The storytelling in the game is mediocre at times, but most of the time is just plain awful. Long expositions on unimportant things while important things are left meandering in the background for you to hopefully pick up over time. At the end of the day, removing everything but the concepts/ideas from the story is your best bet to keep some stability about the whole thing. The voice acting doesn't help things much either.Which brings me to the big one: Samus' portrayal in Other M. To me, the portrayal of our fair hero made her out to be extremely weak and a tad bit whiny, but the last part only happens in a couple of key areas. Samus throughout Other M's story does not show any strength at all, and leaves you wondering whether or not this is the same bounty hunter that has bested Mother Brain twice, two Queen Metroids and Dark Samus twice. It comes off as baffling writing and makes wonder if the "father of Samus" thought that making her weak in cutscenes but strong in gameplay was the right way to go (Answer: It's Not!). There are some glimmering lights of hope though, but they are few and far between I'd say.Other M has definitely strayed very, very far from the herd of its' Metroid brethren. By focusing on a more story-based, linear experienced it seems to have alienated a lot of its' core user-base. By trying to get more casual, it has alienated the gamers who love challenges. By doing what they did to Samus, they seemed to piss off everyone else. However, for this last one, it doesn't seem like the other half of the story is complete, but it is a far more interesting one. Other M isn't a bad game. In fact, it's not even the worst Metroid game to play today. It's just different. If it had more time to add some of those classic Metroid trappings, it'd be a much better game. That's not a bad thing, and it's still better than the majority of games out there today. Just don't go into it expecting miracles.Metroid Other M can be completed in 8-10 hours on your first playthrough, with up to an additional 5 hours to get 100% and unlock Hard Mode. You cannot skip cutscenes on your first playthrough.
No one has commented