Metroid: Other M (Hands-On) (Wii) Preview

By Adam Riley 10.03.2010 16

Review for Metroid: Other M (Hands-On) on Wii

Samus can finally talk, and boy does she have a lot to say. Metroid: Other M takes the series in a whole new direction as Team Ninja seeks to create a ”cinematic gaming experience”; Nintendo’s words, not mine. From the off, the importance of storyline, dialogue, cut-scenes, and so on, become abundantly clear. Overkill? Well, when Ms. Aran starts rambling on about a feeling that ‘still pierces her heart to this day’ in yet another mildly tedious monologue, it does get a bit much. Does she really need to talk about her feelings all the time? Perhaps not...Does it have any negative impact on the actual gameplay, though? Certainly not!

The storyline of Metroid: Other M sits comfortably at the conclusion of the SNES classic, Super Metroid, putting it after the Metroid Prime series’ timeline. The game opens with a CG cut-scene that recaps the events of Super Metroid’s finale in which Samus is saved from defeat by Mother Brain when a baby Metroid sucks on her face for a bit. Pretty standard stuff. From that, you are shoved into a tutorial/training room where some guy with big curly hair and glasses (i.e. clichéd scientist) talks you through all the moves and controls.

The tutorial itself works marvellously well, explaining away the transition from first-person to third-person viewpoint, a key new feature for the series. Also, somewhat surprisingly, it works bleeding well. When playing the game ‘normally’ as a side-scrolling SNES/NES-style third-person romp, you hold the controller sideways (NES style), running around with the D-Pad. To get into first-person mode, simply point the controller at the screen (Wii style). This is blindingly simple and crucially useful, especially if you need to take on a large number of enemies. It certainly takes a bit of getting used to, but after a couple of attempts you’ll be switching between first- and third-person like some sort of crazed bounty hunting professional.

Screenshot for Metroid: Other M (Hands-On) on Wii

After messing about with the tutorial mode and being treated to a few more cut-scenes and slow-moving plot moments, you get to move about the game proper. Bolting down corridors, flipping, shooting and randomly turning into a ball at your behest has never been so much fun. Added into all the next-generation-like gloss and sheen there is a great retro feeling to things that adds a real ‘gamers’ game’ feel to Other M. There is a really tangible sense of Nintendo trying to push the series and shoe-horn it in another direction, thanks to the influence of Team Ninja, no doubt. However, whilst there is certainly a lot of change, the game does still feel like a true old school Metroid title.

I’ll leave it to Adam to waffle on about the rather large and terrifying boss, ending my impressions with a bit about how the game sounds, seeing as Nintendo felt that was very important. So important, in fact, that we were forced to play it wearing super-sexy headphones. The voice acting, whilst terribly scripted in places, is pretty damn good, whilst the music is suitably epic and cinematic. It all adds a definite ‘next-gen’ feel, as mentioned earlier, and whilst it might not be HD or whatever, it is certainly trying to be glossy and polished. A bit like a Hollywood blockbuster with a Nintendo twist, I suppose. There is certainly a lot about Other M that really impressed me.
- James Temperton, Features Editor.

Screenshot for Metroid: Other M (Hands-On) on Wii

James is not the only one that was impressed by Metroid: Other M, though. Being a long-term fan of the Metroid series as a whole, even though I considerably enjoyed the Prime series from Retro Studios, there was always a hunger that was never quite satiated, especially after having tasted the delights of recent 2D iterations, Metroid Fusion and Metroid Zero Mission on the Game Boy Advance. Hearing of Tecmo’s Team Ninja involvement initially threw up images of some strange combination of stealth action with a buxom Samus Aran in a bikini. With Tomonobu Itagaki no longer head of the section, though, suddenly there was a major element on insecurity about what the final outcome would be. Thankfully, the series’ creator, Nintendo’s own Yoshio Sakamoto, was keen to do a pure 2D Metroid product on Wii, yet his team (in his own words) ‘didn’t have the know-how or the experience to develop something for 3D.’ This project is Sakamoto-san’s vision of tying together the story of Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion as much as possible, whilst expanding Samus Aran’s personality, as well as revealing her past and how it has made her into the person she is today. Yousuke Hayashi and his Team Ninja colleagues have been brought on-board to bring Sakamoto’s dream into reality.

With Sakamoto-san acting as Producer, many of his colleagues that worked on the 2D Metroid titles being involved, Team Ninja and their new leader Hayashi-san grinding away behind-the-scenes whilst also chipping in with new suggestions, and long-term Tecmo collaborator, D-Rockets handling the cinematic elements, apparently the group, named ‘Project M,’ consists of around one hundred people. From the first section of the game we had chance to play (twice, the second time a much lengthier spell than the first thanks to Clare Turner and Sarah Head at Nintendo UK), this united force has gelled very well indeed. James has already covered the gameplay basics, but I will reiterate that the transition from side-scrolling action to the Metroid Prime-esque viewpoint was indeed extremely seamless, taking only a few minutes to acclimatise to.

Screenshot for Metroid: Other M (Hands-On) on Wii

After leaping around in general, learning how to dodge incoming enemy fire at the last second, shooting using the auto lock-on feature in side-scrolling mode, launching missiles in the first-person view and being shown how to do the classic wall-jump manoeuvre, Samus Aran’s task is to follow the team of soldiers through a maze of dark, dank corridors, acrobatically trying out the various moves you should have by now committed to memory (suddenly Ms. Aran looks like she could feature very well in Ninja Gaiden…). The biggest test, however, comes in the form of an early boss encounter. It also showed how there is the potential for Samus to work alongside the computer-controlled troops. Faced with a giant monster, dangerously swishing its long tentacles around, no regular weaponry seems to have any effect. Not long into the battle, though, missiles are unlocked and players are given the chance to dash around in the side-on mode, dodging flailing limbs, waiting for the team to freeze the creature, before flicking into the HUD mode to blast away the tentacles, one-by-one, finally focusing on the head to cease its reign of terror. Since it is one of the earliest battles, gamers are hardly challenged, yet its purpose it to further familiarise them with the combined control set-up, highlighting how fluid they truly are.

Upon defeat of the monster, another lengthy cut-scene kicks in before Samus is tasked with restoring electricity to the building you are currently in. This is where the solitary Metroid experience of old really commences, with players encouraged to take their time, exploring every nook and cranny, uncovering deviously hidden holes to squeeze into whilst transformed into Morph Ball mode, bouncing from wall-to-wall in narrow passages in order to scale heights originally thought to be completely inaccessible, and working their way towards item and weapon upgrades by generally trying out the range of moves available. Fans of previous outings will feel right at home, whilst the extra inclusions will hopefully be enough to attract newcomers to the long-running franchise. Metroid: Other M definitely justifies its standing as one of the most anticipated Wii releases of 2010!
- Adam Riley, Senior Editor.

Screenshot for Metroid: Other M (Hands-On) on Wii

Final Thoughts

Usually a mish-mash of gameplay styles can turn into somewhat of a disaster, with neither approach being given the attention as it deserves during the development process. Thankfully, though, the amalgamation of ideas from the series’ creator and the newfound support from Team Ninja appears to be working, with the overall project coming together very nicely indeed without any apparent hiccoughs. Metroid: Other M is deservedly one of the most anticipated Wii games of 2010!

Developer

Team Ninja

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (33 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

My God... I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS!! Ohhh, Samus...

Smilie

Chance favors the prepared mind.

Is the transition from 2d to 3d to same as paper mario?

Flapper!

Set before the Prime series? But the Prime series is set before Super Metroid. I think this game takes place just before Fusion.

Anyways the control scheme seems pretty good, can't wait for this game.

michaelt 976 (guest) 11.03.2010#4

this game will rule!!!

Yeah, the Prime series is before Super Metroid so this game is after the Prime series too.

Yea from what ive read its set between Metroid 3 (Super Metroid on the SNES) and Metroid IV (Fusion on the GBA)

Should I buy the game?

I have never played any Metroid game. Ever.

I love NSMBWii but didn't like Mario Galaxy.

I never made it out of the tutorial for Splinter Cell Double Agent. (Just couldn't figure out where to go, what to do, or how to do it.

Fire Emblem and NSMBWii are my favourite games. Pokemon, Advance Wars, retro games like Dig Dug, Galaga are what I like to play.

Should I spend $60 on this game?

Look unto me in every thought. Doubt not. Fear not.

One thing I noticed was that it says the developers are Team Ninja, when really Team Ninja are only working on the graphics and CGI.

The developer is Nintendo's Metroid team, the bunch who worked on Super and Fusion.
And yes, it's set after Super Metroid, before Fusion.
Timeline goes:
Metroid - Prime series - Metroid II - Super - Other M - Fusion

( Edited 11.03.2010 13:37 by Lyra )

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

BlueRocks said:
Should I buy the game?

I have never played any Metroid game. Ever.

I love NSMBWii but didn't like Mario Galaxy.

I never made it out of the tutorial for Splinter Cell Double Agent. (Just couldn't figure out where to go, what to do, or how to do it.

Fire Emblem and NSMBWii are my favourite games. Pokemon, Advance Wars, retro games like Dig Dug, Galaga are what I like to play.

Should I spend $60 on this game?

Yeah, you should, it doesn't matter if haven't played any other Meroid games. This games is probably going sum up what's happened in the other games so far.
Plus it's a 2D side scroller with 3D parts in it so the learning curve won't be that hard. It's going to play similar to a retro game so yeah I recommend it.

I'm abit sceptical with the whole talking thing. Been such a long time with a non-talking Samus. But I guess change is needed to go further with the series.
Maybe it's also be the opening for other mute protagonists to start yapping. Smilie

The game looks awesome atleast!

AdamC3 (guest) 11.03.2010#11

Lyra said:
One thing I noticed was that it says the developers are Team Ninja, when really Team Ninja are only working on the graphics and CGI.

The developer is Nintendo's Metroid team, the bunch who worked on Super and Fusion.
And yes, it's set after Super Metroid, before Fusion.
Timeline goes:
Metroid - Prime series - Metroid II - Super - Other M - Fusion


James' part has been changed to say 'after' the Prime games.

Also, my part about the development duties is sourced from an interview with Sakamoto and Hayashi last year, so it's correct...

Oh what a year to be a videogamer. Between all the releases for Wii, DS and PS3 this year it will be the NES era of excitement for me all over again.

Yeah, my bad on the timeline error. I'm not that hot on my virtual histories...

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...
Elrinth (guest) 16.03.2010#14

Who cares about the timeline, seriously?Smilie

The game looks great and I'm looking forward to try it.Smilie

You know, I was excited for this at first, then I cooled. But I am VERY excited now. This looks really, really good and a whole lot of fun.

Currently Playing: Super Mario Galaxy, Wario Land: Shake It, A Boy and His Blob, Little King Story Pre-Ordered: Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid: Other M
lol (guest) 11.01.2011#16

yes if you like any battle games like call of duty dis is a good game

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