A Preface To Our Metroid: Other M Playtest

By Ishaan . August 28, 2010 . 6:33pm

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Metroid: Other M is a game that I have personally been very, very excited for since it was shown off at E3 last year. Metroid is my single favourite game series ever, and when it came to our coverage, I wanted to do the game justice, not just for myself but for the extremely passionate following the franchise has in general.

 

As it got closer and closer to release, I found myself wondering how I would approach my playtest. What angle would I cover it from?

 

Despite the numerous previews throughout the course of this year, I still felt like I knew next to nothing about Other M until just three days ago. Sure, we knew how it would control and we had a vague idea of the story, but really, those are superficial facts. Taken out of context, they couldn’t, in any way, communicate the experience.

 

That’s the beauty of a Metroid title. Seeing it and playing it are two entirely different matters. Once I played it, I’d have it all figured out. No sweat. Or so I thought.

 

No, experiencing Other M for myself just made it harder to figure out how to write our playtest. And because of that, I found myself pushing further and further through the game in search of an answer.

 

And so I did. This is probably the fastest I’ve powered through a game, even for playtesting purposes. No matter how hard it got (and it is hard), and no matter how many times I died (a lot), I pushed on and on, taking breaks only to deal with things like classes and updating the site and sleeping…but never because I was frustrated. And trust me, I have a super-low tolerance for frustrating games.

 

So, before I post my thoughts on Other M, here’s something to chew on: throughout the majority of the experience, I didn’t feel like I wasn’t enjoying the game. And despite its flaws (of which there are many), I never once said to myself, “Metroid would be better off without this.” Because for every flaw Other M has, there’s enough of boldness in the game’s design to feel like it will contribute to the series in a positive manner.

 

Now that I’ve completed the game, I know how I’m going to playtest it. It won’t be a “should you buy it” piece. We tend not to do that at Siliconera and leave those choices for our readers to figure out.

 

Instead, I’ll try to tackle the game from two perspectives — first, as the “ultimate Metroid game” (because this is what we were promised) and then, as just a game being judged on its pros and cons. I don’t think there’s any other way to write about a game like Other M, which is so experimental, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.

 

The other thing I made it a point to do after completing the game was to play it a second time, not in its entirety, but at least for a couple hours so I could see how well it held up. In my book, the defining trait of any Metroid game is its replay value, and their tendency to be more fun when you play them the second or third time around.

 

I hope that makes the angle I’m approaching Other M from a little clearer. The biggest disconnect between a reader and a writer can be a miscommunication of perspective, and that results in people taking things out of context. I very much wanted to get that problem out of the way, first and foremost.

 

Hope you look forward to reading our playtest! It’ll go live tomorrow night.


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  • Code

    Looking forward to it >w<! Other M, I've generally approached by being cautiously optimistic, Team Ninja doesn't exactly fill me with confidence, and on top of it then the footage seemed to only make me question the game more. On one hand, I’d love a Metroid game that would take some risks, particularly with story, it was my greatest issue with Metroid Prime series, I felt by like Samus was almost impartial all of MP2/MP3 about what was happening, I had no sense of rivalry with Dark Samus. Samus busted a few planet’s worth of doors down and put three holes in Dark Samus’s chest and then went on to, I presume, a desk full of paper work, and then to an all too short shower scene — it always just felt like it was just another day. Other M though seems like it’s promising character and story, but gameplay looks very hit/miss, I love 2D Metroid and 3D Metroid, but this game just hit some weird feelings for me so I’m cautiously holding off, but I’m interested in what people have to say on it.

    • ThunderGod_Cid

      From what I’ve been reading, some people think that the single-Wii Remote play style is too restricting and it somewhat limits her abilities.
      And because of that most reviewers have knocked 1-2 points because of it. Now IF it had Nunchuk or Classic Controller support, I’m pretty sure we would be seeing higher 8s or low 9s.

      Now as far as adding depth to her character/universe I’m 120% behind any such endeaver.

      • Aoshi00

        Gametrailers and Cheapassgamer both rated it highly (and they’re not easy to please), so this “should” be $30 well spent. Amazon has a $20 credit, don’t think you can go wrong w/ that..

  • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

    I hope its thorough, it went from a must buy for me a “whats this garbage” in a matter of a few hours yesterday. :(

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      Don’t worry, I tried to cover all the bases while not giving away too many spoilers. Trust me, this is one game you don’t want spoiled. :)

  • Advent_Andaryu

    I really don’t understand why everyone is so suddenly against Other M now. It should not be compared to Prime in anyway, but more towards the classic Metroid titles.

    • http://twitter.com/The_9th_Sage Ian Chamberlin

      I have no idea. As I’ve said a lot lately, the Metroid fanbase is pretty much as bad as the Zelda fanbase (that is, unpleasable if all comments on the Internet are taken at face value). :P So far I’ve not heard anything that to me sounded like it would hurt my enjoyment of the game, so I’ll reserve any and all judgement until I have it in my hands in a few days. :)

    • Justinzero

      Because fantards have problems forming their own opinions.

  • http://vanilladice.deviantart.com/ Dice

    I’m sad people are comparing it to prime – I think the mix of both games an absolutely great idea!! (I was actually pretty sad when Prime was out for abandoning it’s awesome SNES roots – but it turned o.k. :)

    If 2010 surprise (albeit quiet-ish) hit, Nier, proved that a game can have flaws, but still come out brilliant in it’s own sense. Funny enough, “Gestalt” (the JP title for Nier) described the game best. And perhaps, if the game is as you say it is, perhaps Metroid M.

  • Guest

    I love not being familiar with this series so I don’t have all this mess of what a “real metroid” game is in my head. I hate when people say X games isn’t true X game. I’ve heard people say 3D Mario aren’t really marios and the next Castlevania is only Castlevania in name. Hmm. I’ll stop before this turns into a big wall and rant. Point is my experience with Metroid is Prime1 (5hrs) Prime 3 (Half-Complete) So I’ve jumped into this game and I’m loving it. Its still has a sci-fi setting and Samus still has all her usual power ups. I don’t see how this is less of a Metroid game then any other. The story is my biggest issues with reviews. Ok it sucks but how many games have actual good stories? 1%? It has cutscenes…ok…so does every other damn game and so far these aren’t any worse or longer than the usual story driven game.Damn too long. Nintendos is damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If a series stays the same its a rehash if they try and change it everyone flips out. Most people think its a bad Metroid game but still a good game and thats what matters. It’s still a GOOD GAME. God I hate myself for letting the internet get to me. -_-

    • Code

      Good god, I hope it’s higher then 1% I’d like to think I’ve played a good handful of games with excellent story telling x_x;; But from what I’ve been hearing and reading online, there’s definitely mixed feelings out there with this one. I think it’s less that it “isn’t a true Metroid game” and more so, some people just don’t wanna except it into Metroid canon because they just didn’t like it. I haven’t played it, but I can say I’ve experienced a couple games like this *cough*DMC2*cough* but what’s that matter, it’s there opinion.

      • Guest

        I’m not saying all games have bad stories it’s just they’re never you know super deep or anything. Im easy to please and I usually like most stories in games but you have these dudes reviewing this games and trying to compare its story telling to god knows what and calling it horrible. It’s not a terrible story its just another video game story. When the game tries to say something meaningful its delivered pretty bad/korny. So I get that complaint but the story as whole is not bad.

        As for the whole “this isn’t a Metroid game” its an extremely stupid and annoying complaint. Bioshock Infinite is another. “its set int the sky its no bioshock!”

  • MisterNiwa

    I am anticipating the playtest, Ishaan.

    So.. hurry up.

  • Kibbitz

    Ishaan,

    Did you enjoy it? I’m not trying to be pedantic, but I’m honestly not sure if not feeling like you’re not enjoying it is the same as you enjoying it.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      I enjoyed it immensely, but it took me an hour or two before I got to that point.

      • http://photovoltaik.bandcamp.com/ Ujn Hunter

        See… to me that right there is a deal breaker. If the game isn’t awesomely fun from the first 10 minutes, it’s not worth playing. Why make a game that isn’t fun until 1hr 30mins into it? That doesn’t sound like a “game” to me. Unless by “game” they mean Nintendo is playing a “game” with you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/AllenSmithee Samuel Smithee Bateman

    Good luck Ishaan. I expect it’ll be a great playtest writeup, out of our Metroid hero!

    I think I’ll shoot you a message sometime about my Metroid experiences, just for conversation. It could be interesting, or even enlightening! :)

    • Justinzero

      Like how you never finished playing the free (FREE!!!!!) copy of Super Metroid that I gave you :P

      • malek86

        He never finished Super Metroid?

        That won’t do, my good sir.

        • http://www.facebook.com/AllenSmithee Samuel Smithee Bateman

          I keep trying it, and the beginning is cool, but for some reason I always lose interest. I’m stuck in a place on Brinstar right now, and I can’t find a way out!

          • malek86

            Uhm. Do you like the Prime series instead? I know a number of people who are put off by the 2D Metroids while liking the 3D ones. Though for me it was the opposite (well, I did finish the first one).If Other M is a mix between the two sides, it might be interesting. I’m just put off by the idea of unskippable cutscenes. I really hate those. Believe it or not, they are the reason why I haven’t started Ninja Gaiden 2 yet. I’ve already seen the starting cutscene in the demo, so I don’t feel like starting the full game if you can’t skip it O_o

            (oh well, maybe I should force myself one of these days)

          • Justinzero

            Man up! …or in this case, Lady Up!

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            Don’t sweat it. Super actually doesn’t hold up all that well in this day and age in my book. I love the layout of Zebes, but Super’s floaty jump really puts me off. I can’t go back to it after spending so many countless hours with Zero Mission.

            I’d recommend finishing ZM if you can. It’s shorter, tighter and the controls are smoooooth. <3

  • Happy Gamer

    I’m usually all about changes and I have been gaming since 87. Mega Man for example went through so much changes, Castlevania, etc. as well.
    I don’t see why some people don’t like changes or evolution to a game. Even if it means straying pretty far from the original concept, that is usually not a bad idea. every metroid game I played (well i guess i should say Prime) after Super Metroid were very different obviously for one big reason, 3D. But they were fantastic games and retained alot of the spirit and feel.

    Most importantly, I think games should be FUN. And in many cases of long time franchises it is true.

    The only franchise I really officially am not excited to hear the name is Final Fantasy (fill in the blank). It has nothing to do with how far the series has strayed, although it did, but it is simply not fun anymore.

    Metroid and even Zelda, have always came back as fun games in general. I remember so many people hated CELDA…man i can’t imagine the fuss back then it was insane. I was like the only person in the store who thought itd be fun and felt the game looked charming.

    I will probably enjoy Other M, because well…i am a gamer and I love to have fun and it is probably a fun game.

    seriously i dunno what more people want in games. Artistic integrity and purity? I hate to leave this last comment but I am one of the people who believe video games don’t have to be art. Heck in fact I’d like it to be fun over art.

  • EvilAkito

    I can’t judge the game until I played it, of course, but based on all of the reviews thus far, I’m pretty weary. I never once thought that this game would surpass Super Metroid (and that’s fine, no game ever will), but after games like Hunters, Pinball, and Prime 3, I feel that it’s about time we get a Metroid game that really does stay true to the elements that made Super Metroid so great instead of a game that is yet another radical departure that, while fun, isn’t the game Metroid fans wanted.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sammy-Garner/100001015553430 Sammy Garner

    I just believe that the Metroid Fanatics out there r pissed off due to the fact that this is a hybrid game, meanin the side-scroller n FPS, and it isn’t holdin up to the first 3 PRIME games in its fulness. Mind u, this is series that went from SS to FPS now nintendo is combining both. So wut is the issue? THe prob is that the gamin era is SO~ stuck in the wack-ass FPS stage in gaming life that we can’t move on and enjoy new styles of play. (Killzone, Fallout, Borderlands, etc. just to name a few)

    Its a damn shame that we can’t experience a game that has it core element which it was famous 4(side-scrolling) and invited the gaming craze genre, (FPS,which I’m sick of), and bring sumthin new to the table for all to experience/enjoy/explore.

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