Metroid: Other M is a game I have been eagerly anticipating since it was announced at E3 2009.  The game takes place shortly after the events of Super Metroid and starts out by showing a cinematic of what took place at the end of that game.  Players are then given a tutorial on how the game works, since there are a lot of new elements here.

In Metroid: Other M, players control Samus Aran, the games protagonist, in a third person view by holding the Wii Remote sideways like an NES controller.  From this position the D-Pad moves Samus around and the 1 Button fires your arm cannon. If a player holds the fire button, Samus can charge up a charge shot that will fire when the button is released.  If players then tilt the Wii Remote and hold it in your right hand, as you would if playing Wii Sports Resort Bowling, you are given a first person perspective of what Samus sees.  This view allows players to look around their environment.  Also while using this first person view players can lock onto enemies and then fire missiles (the only way you can).

She also has other abilities while playing in the third person view.  Samus can now dodge enemy attacks by pressing the D-Pad in the direction you’d want to doge in right before getting hit.  This technique can get even more useful if the player is to hit and hold, the fire button right after dodging because when this happens players will then have a full charge shot ready instantly.  Samus also now has the ability to jump on, and thus grapple, with enemies to do a special attack.  In addition to this, when enemies are weak and close to dying, Samus can usually run at them while charging up a shot and perform a Fatal Strike.  These look completely bad ass and feel great to pull off.  Samus, of course, can also still morph into her morph ball form by pressing the A button and can drop bombs and jump in this form.

Once the in game tutorial is completed players then learn that Samus has heard a distress signal from a distant Galactic Federation space station named the Bottle Ship and has decided to go investigate.  As soon as she arrives on the Bottle Ship she runs into her former Commanding Officer, Adam Malkovich, who has a squad of Galactic Federation Soldiers there with him.  Adam is unable to explain to her why they are there ,since it’s against Galactic Federation policy to tell these things to an outsider such as Samus.  However, she is able to assist them in their mission and decides to do so.

It’s at this point in the game that Samus decides to take orders directly from Adam.  In doing so Samus can only use the equipment that Adam has authorized her to use.  She has all of her suit and weapon upgrades already, but can’t use them unless Adam says so.  While this may sound dumb, you learn that this is how it works for everyone under Adam’s command and thus is probably the ways of the Galactic Federation.  Samus is just trying to fall in line.  At different points in the game Adam will allow Samus to use more of her equipment to help her explore.

Metroid: Other M really starts out at this point.  Unlike other Metroid games, Metroid: Other M feels much more linear.  You are told to go to certain points by Adam and you do what it takes to get there.  The problem here is that the exploration aspect of the game, which Metroid is famous for, is then really limited.  This is because doors are often locked forcing players to head directly in a specific direction.  I found this to be somewhat of a problem because after obtaining the order to use different abilities from Adam, I often found that I couldn’t go back to certain areas in the game that would let me obtain upgrades.  It wasn’t until near the end of the game that I was able go back and get many of these items and if I were able to get some of them earlier, it seemed to be purely chance that the game would let me backtrack through those areas.

Also, unlike other Metroid titles, there are no energy or missile drops from enemies.  The only place to get more energy is at Save Stations that are positioned in many areas throughout the game.  The game felt as if it were designed to have players get from Save Station to Save Station and try to do so by surviving.  To make things a bit easier though, Samus can Concentrate by pointing the Wii Remote up vertically and holding the A button.  If this is done while Samus doesn’t have max missiles then after a few seconds her missiles will be completely restored.  Also, if a players health is dangerously low it will replenish some of it.

Metroid: Other M is more of an action game than a traditional Metroid game and there is nothing wrong with that.   The story seamlessly combines with the action and compels players to continue onward and really gives players the sense that they are on the Bottle Ship trying to complete  their mission.  The game also features many intense boss and mini boss fights that are also part of the story.  These fights can often just pop out of nowhere really adding to the great sense of action and excitement within the game.

Many Metroid fans may be wondering if there is any true Metroid feel to this game and I will say, yes.  The part of the game that feels most like Metroid is when looking to obtain upgrades.  These upgrades, such as Missile Expansion packs, are hidden within rooms and require the player to really observe the environment and use their abilities to obtain them.  Many of the available upgrades require some good thinking on the part of the player and definitely feel very Metroid.

Metroid fans may also be wondering if Metroid: Other M has the sense of isolation that the other Metroid games are known for.  The truth is that even though there are several other people on the Bottle Ship, Samus often finds herself alone and doing things on her own.  Yes there are times when you run into others, but without ruining the story I will say that as the game progresses players will begin to feel more and more alone as they try to complete their mission.  The isolation is here!

 

One thing I would quickly like to touch on is the music within Metroid: Other M.  I really wasn’t impressed with most of it. In fact I probably wouldn’t recognize most of it if I heard it again because it was really just  background music that gave off only a slight atmospheric sense rather than a traditional Metroid soundtrack.  I am a bit disappointed in this sense since the music in other Metroid titles is very memorable to me and aside from a few tunes in Metroid: Other M, it just didn’t stick.

Metroid: Other M really should not be someone’s first Metroid experience.  The game has many references to past Metroid games and may confuse players in this sense.  Metroid: Other M really goes into Samus Arans’s storyline and deep into it’s own story with the use of many cutscenes.  I personally would rather a person play a more traditional Metroid game before going into something like this, so they know what a Metroid game is really like and wont get confused by the storyline.

In closing Metroid: Other M is a really fun game but it may not be the game Metroid fans were waiting for.  With that said, I do think that anyone who is a fan of the Metroid series, or would just want to learn more about Samus Aran as a character, should pick it up.  This is a great action game with some elements of the Metroid series thrown in and it shouldn’t be overlooked.

Here’s the rundown:

+  Intense
+  Learn Much About Samus as a Character

-  Too Linear
-  May Upset Metroid Purists

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Metroid: Other M was developed by Project M and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Wii.  The game released in the United States on August 31st, 2010 with an MSRP of $49.99 USD.  The copy used in this review was purchased by the reviewer.  The game was played to completion on Super Fanboy difficulty mode.