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Metroid: Other M (Wii) Review

Review for Metroid: Other M on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Metroid is one of Nintendo’s many prestigious franchises, though one that has had more success in Western markets than on the company’s home turf. During a healthy upbringing on the NES, SNES and Gameboy variants, it quickly established its combination of action with addictive platforming. Romping into the GameCube era, Nintendo entrusted the franchise to Retro Studios, who transformed the 2D sidescroller into a first person action adventure while keeping the core of the gameplay mechanics intact. Now, it seems Nintendo have made the unlikeliest of partners in the form of Team Ninja, most well known for their Ninja Gaiden series, to bring the latest instalment to the Wii; Metroid: Other M. Does this coalition work? Or will Other M be a title to cast into the depths of space? Let’s take a look at the heroine’s latest journey...

Metroid’s timeline can often be complicated, with many games (such as the Prime sub-series) taking place before the events of other games regardless of when they were released. Other M’s story takes place immediately after the events of Super Metroid, but don’t worry if you are new to the series, as players are quickly brought up to speed courtesy of a rather beautiful, albeit long, cut scene to set the tone of the game. This dumps us neatly in a sparkling clean training room where Team Ninja’s influences shine through in the new gameplay mechanics. Instead of the Prime series’ focus on the first person perspective, Other M hints towards a bygone age of sidescrolling Metroid; however, you are free to move around in 3D space, not just left and right, whilst the camera adjusts to give you the best optimum view possible. Through this use of perspective, the game takes on a much faster pace when moving, shooting and, oh yes, close quarters combat. All this is done with the Wii Remote held sideways, which may not be the preference of a lot of people. It takes a little getting used to (the D-pad can dig in after long hours of play), but all in all it works. However, Other M has another trick up its sleeve in terms of control: rotate the Wii Remote so it points at the TV and your view switches from third person to first person to allow individual targeting of enemies with missiles, as well as finding objects of interest. Whilst this may seem initially fiddly, it is done with a fluidity that allows accurate shooting in intense situations, with enemies slowing down momentarily as you switch views to allow the player to get their bearings with the crosshair.

Screenshot for Metroid: Other M on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Controls aside, Metroid: Other M is one of the most background- and story-heavy Metroid titles to date, featuring lavish cutscenes that give Samus the backstory and the voice that she has always needed. Following a distress signal, ‘Baby’s Cry’, Samus ends up on the bottleship which seems to be deserted. However, it quickly becomes apparent that she was beaten to the chase, as a group of Federation marines have already set down to operate in the vicinity, including Samus’ old commanding officer and father figure: Adam Malkovich. From here on out things get interesting and, without giving too much away, Samus will encounter many old foes and enemies from her 2D outings in the form of Zebesian Space Pirates, which were thought to be extinct, as well as many other monstrosities. Players of past titles may get a little nostalgic at times with the wealth and familiarity of enemies that Team Ninja have managed to cram onto the disc, and that’s not mentioning the fact that big bosses return in full strength for our heroine to take down. To make the range of foes as varied as possible, Other M has incorporated the wealth of environments that the Prime games featured into the bottleship. Team Ninja have envisioned snowy worlds as well as lava coated surrounds to bring the Metroid universe to fruition, and it doesn’t look half bad either.

In true Metroid fashion, there are many, many power ups scattered throughout the bottleship for the player to acquire. These are in the form of the standard missile and energy expansions, but also new items such as charge accelerators that allows Samus to charge her plasma cannon faster, as well as energy tank parts and E-Recovery Tanks. As enemies don’t drop health when they die any longer, Samus relies on save stations to replenish her shields, but thankfully when her health drops low, Samus is able to focus her energies and regain some health. Recovery tanks first increase the minimum health that this can be performed at, as well as how much health is restored once focus is over. The only catch is that you must find a space to do this in the heat of the battle as it takes a few seconds to recharge, which adds an element of difficulty to the title. On the side of weapon and suit systems, Samus has all of her equipment at her disposal from the start, but you have to be authorised to use them as and when you need them most by Adam. This prevents the game from being too easy at the start, but also keeps the player anticipating what comes next in the forms of beams and suit abilities, and what’s more, you know that they are all there, ready to be used at some point.

Screenshot for Metroid: Other M on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

However, that is to not to say that Metroid: Other M is without fault; as with most games, it has its fair share of niggles and hindrances. First off, whilst the camera angle is good the majority of the time, it doesn’t swing round when you are coming back down a corridor, for example, making it impossible to see if any enemies are there. Thus, you have to blind fire and rely on the targeting system to make sure foes are dead. This is also increasingly annoying if you can’t see a hole in the floor, for instance, and you end up dropping somewhere you didn’t want to. The graphics can look a little ropey at times. With the majority of environments presented cleanly there is the odd area where the textures don’t quite hold up, leading to some bland places. Alongside this issue, the frame rate isn’t always stable; with increasing environmental features and enemies, a bit of slow down is noticeable in places, but it isn’t problematic. Whilst Team Ninja have managed to keep the loading to a minimum at the start of the game, you may occasionally encounter a ‘now loading’ icon as you approach a door, something that the Prime games were riddled with. This does only happen a very small number of times, and only tends to occur if you are charging through the levels.

What is slightly upsetting, however, is that Team Ninja are renowned for making tough nail-biting, hair-pulling games, and their philosophies appear to have been betrayed when taking the standard difficulty into consideration (the only mode available until you have completed it 100% to unlock hard mode), as enemies and bosses seem relatively easy to take down. This may also be the fault of the dodge move which, even though you have to be vigilant about using it, can make you pretty much invincible if timed correctly, and it’s also possibly the fault of the linearity of the title as a whole; you’re never unclear about your next destination. That’s not to say that it’s a walk in the park, just that it pales in comparison to the normal level of difficulty on other Metroid titles. Granted, the harder difficulty is much more challenging and on par with Team Ninja’s other games, but you can’t chose that mode from the off, which is disappointing.

Screenshot for Metroid: Other M on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Metroid: Other M is a solid game with an absorbing story that many games seem to lack these days. Team Ninja’s influences are very apparent throughout the entirety of the title but it is all pulled off fluidly and doesn’t feel out of place at all in the Metroid timeline. It has some niggles and occasionally falls short compared to previous titles, but simultaneously it excels in other areas; ultimately it all works together, giving the complete experience. It’s all there, and fans and newcomers to the series alike will be happy with the enemies and environments that are incorporated, as well as the brilliant accompanying musical score that puts a twist on retro tracks, as well as throwing some new ones into the mix. There is plenty to do after the story is finished and even an epilogue chapter, and once that is all done and dusted, players can try their hand at hard mode which can be seriously unforgiving in places. Whilst the initial consensus that Nintendo teaming up with Team Ninja and Temco was an odd pairing in the making, they have made an excellent game that puts all doubts in a compression chamber. This is definitely one of the best games to hit the Wii this year.

Screenshot for Metroid: Other M on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

It’s all there: impressive and nostalgic enemies, fast-paced and classic Metroid platforming action.

Graphics

Everything looks very pretty and sharp but there are some parts that don’t quite hold up in terms of textures. The cut scenes are very well done.

Sound

The music sets the tone perfectly, though it isn’t as immersive or memorable as the Prime games’ scores.

Value

With plenty of power ups to find to achieve to get that vital 100%, and a sweet epilogue chapter, there is a fair amount to do. Then you can challenge the unforgiving hard mode...

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

Metroid: Other M is certainly a different take on one of Nintendo’s prestigious franchises, but it works well to the point of being one of the most immersive and story-heavy Metroid games to date. Though it has some shortcomings, they are easily overlooked. It’s perfect for fans and newcomers to the series alike.

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26.09.2010

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Developer

Team Ninja

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (31 Votes)

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

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Did you read the IGN article about how the story and cutscenes are actually a bad thing? I don't own Other M, but some people hate how it changes Samus from strong, idependent woman into an insecure girl.

One of the main objections is the whole;

Samus has all of her equipment at her disposal from the start, but you have to be authorised to use them

thing.
Samus is so blindly obidinate that she would rather die or fail her mission rather then use an ability she already has but hasn't be told she can use.

Thus over the whole game Samus is being rather submissive rather then independent and she never really earns anything herself other then the right to use ability's she has done dozens of times before.




( Edited 26.09.2010 13:02 by Darkflame )

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Yeah, to be honest, the idea of Samus having to obey orders on when she can use abilities rather than outright losing them puts me off playing a bit...doesn't seem right and feels like it would weaken the character. Regardless, I will play it before the year's out.

Thanks for the review, Cal. Smilie

( Edited 26.09.2010 13:23 by Mason )

Staff Member

Great review. It's nice to see that there are still people who don't complain about the story and give it a good score. I've seen some give it really bad scores just because it destroyed their image of Samus being a female Master Chief(lol). If they'd know the backstory of Samus then they would have understood the story in Other M. The ability thing and maybe some parts are a little bit weird but if that puts someone off playing it then that person can't be helped, really.

Other M is still on my Wishlist for this year.

 

Bought it, completed it, loved it.

It's my next RE4, really. I'll probably end up playing through it LOADS of times ;p

~Getting on C3's massive tits since 2K5.~

The way I see it is that Samus knows she could blast through that space ship quite easily with her full abilities, so doesn't think twice about following his orders and restricting them. She also follows his orders because she wants to work as part of his team to help discover what is going on. He's also the only person in the galaxy that she would ever take orders from because he's treated her like a daughter since she was orphaned and she has the utmost respect for his judgement and opinion. She also has a lot of emotion in her over the fact that she's distanced herself from one of the only people in her life she's been close to.

Regarding the bit with Ridley. I'd poop myself if I was confronted by him, after I'd already defeated him several times before and he still comes back for more. He's like a recurring nightmare in her life that she just can't escape from. Smilie

Trepe said:
The way I see it is that Samus knows she could blast through that space ship quite easily with her full abilities, so doesn't think twice about following his orders and restricting them. She also follows his orders because she wants to work as part of his team to help discover what is going on. He's also the only person in the galaxy that she would ever take orders from because he's treated her like a daughter since she was orphaned and she has the utmost respect for his judgement and opinion. She also has a lot of emotion in her over the fact that she's distanced herself from one of the only people in her life she's been close to.

Regarding the bit with Ridley. I'd poop myself if I was confronted by him, after I'd already defeated him several times before and he still comes back for more. He's like a recurring nightmare in her life that she just can't escape from. Smilie

Finally someone with the same view on that as I have! That's the way I saw it - After already being confronted with Adam, whom she cares for, and after losing the baby whom she also cared for, she has to be confronted by that PoS yet again.

~Getting on C3's massive tits since 2K5.~

 

 

Modplan Man said:

 

 

Cutting out the action and the drama of the game is bound to make it look boring! And you've got to remember that these scenes are spread over several hours of gameplay, so she's hardly talking all the time.

Her voice is rather monotone, but this is a woman who spends most of her time in solitude roaming the galaxy, so she's hardly miss sociable is she.

Trepe said:
Modplan Man said:

 

 

Cutting out the action and the drama of the game is bound to make it look boring! And you've got to remember that these scenes are spread over several hours of gameplay, so she's hardly talking all the time.

Her voice is rather monotone, but this is a woman who spends most of her time in solitude roaming the galaxy, so she's hardly miss sociable is she.

Good points, but I give you not too long before some guys like SuperLink come in and dismiss them Smilie

~Getting on C3's massive tits since 2K5.~

Metroid: Other M is. E-P-I-C. I LOVE it and I simply can't understand the connection people are making with Samus being a bratty, wimpy child instead of the heartless badass character they've imagined her as all these years.

Maybe even more so than that, I can't understand the problems people are having with the gameplay and the controls. They're ridiculously intuitive and very simple.

Game OverThinker-Metroid: Other M Response to the Fans/Critics

...'nuff said.

Chance favors the prepared mind.

The problem is the idea is she is submissive, I dont think anyone is thinking Samus should be "heartless". Strong, silent and independent would have been words I'd call Samus before now.



( Edited 26.09.2010 20:09 by Darkflame )

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Senior ModeratorCubed3 Member

As the writer of the review, I didn't feel it necessary to mention per se her voice, background with said characters or how she should act, because my view of Samus has always been a relaxed one (much as we love the series) in so far as that we knew next to nothing about her previously. If you watch MechaG2's link above (Smilie btw) it pretty much sums up my thoughts. And if I had mentioned my own personal view (e.g. The voice suits/doesn't suit her) then I would/the review would of been completely ridiculed. I left it out to try to prevent this kind of disagreement.
Sure, she may have uttered some words in Brawl as a taunt but she's still the same character, and the voice for me grows after a while in Other M. And tbh, its a good immersive story that I haven't (and didn't quite expect from this title) experienced in quite a while. It's actually refreshing to learn about her past regardless of how its done, and I'm glad Team Ninja/Nintendo have gone out on a limb with this one, regardless if anyone thinks its japanisation, its not, its just a different way of portraying a much loved character. And honestly, the divide is as stands above that some people like it and some people don't. Like all games. Do all heroes have to be completely heartless? Do you think she would of saved Aether and the Luminoth if she was heartless? (among other examples) Sure, she blows shit up, but its to save the galaxy.

You also have to remember that this is the first game where she has had any form of contact with humans within a game.

( Edited 27.09.2010 00:57 by Echoes221 )

Oh, I guess all of the male soldiers who are also following Malkovich's orders are also submissive, and the game is sexist toward men too, right?

From what I've read and seen of this game, it isn't the following orders that make Samus's character weak, as much as it is the crying, whining, complaining, and breaking down in front of enemies she's killed many times before already. But the soldier following orders bit is just stupid. Soldiers follow orders. Other M is nowhere NEAR the first game to feature a female soldier taking orders from a male senior officer.

NNID: crackedthesky
My blog, mostly about writing: http://davidjlovato.wordpress.com
R.O.D. (guest) 27.09.2010 12:19#15

Personally for me the game makes samus more human.....somewhat like fusion....she has a deeper edge to her...love the game.

Staff Member

Good review Calum, you got straight to the point with the game and didn't hover about the cutscenes like many other reviews of the game I've seen/heard, definitely considering getting this.

I think I'll get the game for Christmas as I have too many games to play and so little time to play them because of Uni.

Stuart Lawrence
Follow Me on twitter :: @Stulaw90 || My Youtube || Backloggery
NNID: Stulaw

Have the game but it will have to wait for it's turn since I have to take care of others before. Still have some games I bought in 2009 that I've yet to start.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I've made my views on the game clear in the past. The gameplay is brilliant, the controls work but they could be better and they take a while to get used to...

As for the cutscenes and plot, they take motherfucking huge melodramatic cutscenes to explain a plot that's really incredibly simple. It's unnecessary, and the characterisation is inconsistent with the rest of the franchise.

Nothing anyone says is going to make me believe otherwise. I'm not saying it's sexist in the slightest, I'm saying that Samus' portrayal almost contrasts how she is in the rest of the franchise and even the official (and canon) manga.

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

Think about it from a psychological perspective. Samus is an orphan who has dedicated most of her adult life to hunting those that hurt her, but she isn't a hard-ass, she's a broken, psychologically damaged person desperate for the approval of a parental figure, who has spent most of her life suffering in isolation.

Really, Samus should be batshit crazy and have a space ship full of cats.

Add me on anything. I'm always looking for new friends/opponents/town visitors/chances to appear more popular than I actually am.

Where's the whole "They made Samus so submissive!" notion coming from? Malkovich was her superior officer and she obviously had to follow orders while she was in the service. He was one of very few people she allowed to get close and I think it's safe to say no one else was as important to her as Adam. Only he knew of her past (not even Higgs knew) and she obviously loved him very much. So, considering that and the complicated history they had, I also believe nobody else could stir the same emotional response from Samus the way Adam did.

Lynk said:
Think about it from a psychological perspective. Samus is an orphan who has dedicated most of her adult life to hunting those that hurt her, but she isn't a hard-ass, she's a broken, psychologically damaged person desperate for the approval of a parental figure, who has spent most of her life suffering in isolation.

Precisely.

Lynk said:
Really, Samus should be batshit crazy and have a space ship full of cats.

I LOL'd so hard I choked on my coffee. X-D





( Edited 27.09.2010 19:17 by MechaG2 )

Chance favors the prepared mind.
Senior ModeratorCubed3 Member

Lynk said:

Really, Samus should be batshit crazy and have a space ship full of cats.

I laughed so hard I rofled and inhaled a malteaser accidentally... Smilie

Where's the whole "They made Samus so submissive!" notion coming from? Malkovich was her superior officer and she obviously had to follow orders while she was in the service.

Why? Why did she have too?
Samus has always been portrayed as independent, almost a loner before. Why does she suddenly "have to follow orders" - especially when the orders are not to use equipment she has used dozens of times in the past, for no good reason, and risk death in the process.

It doesn't make sense from either a story or character perspective.
She has lost her independence of thought. Its turned her into a soldier - which she just shouldn't be.

Samus isn't one to mess about and needlessly disobey, but neither should she be one to follow orders when they make no sense.

but she isn't a hard-ass, she's a broken, psychologically damaged person

Sure. Nothing wrong with that at all.
But you can be inwardly damaged while still being totally in control and able to stick up for yourself, and point out when others are making wrong decision.

Oh, I guess all of the male soldiers who are also following Malkovich's orders are also submissive, and the game is sexist toward men too, right?

Well, they are soliders...Samus shouldn't be a generic soldier like the others.

But, for that mater, if they also all had equipment that Samus has, then it would be also stupid for them not to use it in a life or death situation too.
(although arguably, given they have no experience with that equipment, there is at least more reason for them not to use it)

None of it is sexiest though, its just contrary to the characterization of the rest of the series and plot-wise its very contrived.

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@Darkflame: I was actually referring to when Samus was in GF military service in her younger years. Not the events in Other M. She had to follow orders back then.

Samus still takes orders from GF brass here and there when they contract her for missions as a bounty hunter. So she obviously still has some ties with them. However, I don't see Samus' actions in Other M as "losing her independence and a return to being a GF soldier". If it wasn't Malkovich leading the GF forces on the Bottle Ship, the situation would've been much different. She wasn't contracted for it in the first place, and because it wouldn't have been Adam in command, she wouldn't be taking orders the way she did. It's all contextual. You have to consider their past. Which was long, complicated, and of course, there was the terrible event that influenced her to leave his command. And, like I said before, she obviously loved Adam very much. Him suddenly re-entering her life caught her off guard. I think she started looking for some form of reconciliation and before she knew it, she was trying to prove herself to him. Again. After all the years that passed by since she'd seen him last. If it was anyone else, their orders wouldn't have mattered.

I see the events of Other M more as an exception than the rule simply due to the unique situation Samus was in. We've never seen her in this kind of predicament, interacting with people she was very close to and hadn't seen in years. People whom she painfully cut herself off from because of a specific tragic event. Plus having been rattled from a recent tragic event in her own life. The baby Metroid sacrificing itself to save her shook her in a way she couldn't anticipate.

As far as her being in control, she absolutely was for the most part, but like I mentioned above, I still believe the unique circumstances of this specific mission, and the recent events in her life influenced her in areas she thought she had overcome. It's funny how emotions you think you've over written or locked away can resurface and overwhelm you when reconnecting with someone you've had a turbulent past with. Especially, someone who was extremely unique and had a close relationship with. Like how Adam was to Samus (and to a lesser extent, Anthony). Suffering from PTSD only exacerbates the problem even further.

( Edited 28.09.2010 19:45 by MechaG2 )

Chance favors the prepared mind.

Honestly, I prefer the cutscenes over the gameplay. True story ._.

The whole game seems to have relied on the storyline to pull it through. Would've been better if Samus hadn't... gone from super strong lady to grieving 'mother'. She seems sort of OOC from the past couple Metroid games.

The gameplay's alright; but I don't find it 'fast paced' (but that might be because I haven't gotten too too far into the game'. Also, I don't have a problem with it, but using only Wii-mote can be a little strange IMO.

I think the game's alright, but I think it has solid problems that need to be ironed out.

The Lord of Up (guest) 06.04.2011 00:39#25

The way I see it is that Samus knows she could blast through that space ship quite easily with her full abilities, so doesn't think twice about following his orders and restricting them. She also follows his orders because she wants to work as part of his team to help discover what is going on. He's also the only person in the galaxy that she would ever take orders from because he's treated her like a daughter since she was orphaned and she has the utmost respect for his judgement and opinion. She also has a lot of emotion in her over the fact that she's distanced herself from one of the only people in her life she's been close to.

Hear hear!

I think a large part of people feeling that Samus was mis-characterized was due to them knowing Samus from the games, but not knowing ANYTHING about the canon manga backstory. I read it, liked it and it explained a ton.

/DISCLAIMER: I haven't played Metroid: Other M yet. /#DISCLAIMER

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