Metroid: Other M Playtest: A Double Take

By Ishaan . August 29, 2010 . 6:04pm

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I’m going to be completely honest: for the first hour and a half — and only for that duration — Metroid: Other M felt, to me, like an awful, awful game. Right from the introductory screen — which is about as yawn-inducing as you can get — it feels like something’s off.

 

Both Super Metroid and Metroid: Zero Mission had fantastic title screens, and that’s part of the Metroid legacy. Zero Mission’s in particular is memorable to me for the way the title theme starts out with a fantasy-like enthusiasm before slowing down, stopping, then changing into the creepy Metroid chime. It gave you a real sense of what to expect in how it blended a sense of nostalgia and endearment to the character of Samus and her ongoing story with the sci-fi creepiness of the Metroids themselves.

 

By comparison, Other M’s title screen, which simply loops the game’s version of the Metroid chime over and over again with the logo displaying alongside, has no feeling. There’s no effort to create any sort of anticipation for what comes next.

 

Then again, perhaps this is for the best, because Other M isn’t the Metroid you’re used to. It isn’t intuitive right off the bat, it isn’t paced as well as other games in the series are, and most of all, it’s hard. No really. It’s hard. And I mean repeatedly-smacking-your-Wii-remote-against-your-thigh-in-frustration-before-you-realize-it-really-hurts hard. From this standpoint, Other M comes across as a spectacular disaster, given producer Yoshio Sakamoto’s desire to create an intuitive action game that anyone could pick up and play.

 

We’re all well-aware of Sakamoto-san’s insistence on using only the Wii remote to control the game. This is where the real problem arises. Overall, the control scheme is fantastic, and in general, I love 2D Wii games that have you hold the remote sideways. The problem is, trying to move diagonally in 3D space using the D-pad tends to kill your thumb pretty quicky. What’s more, it isn’t as responsive as one would like either. Ease the pressure off the pad ever so slightly, and Samus won’t move an inch.

 

It’s a real test of thumb endurance and when just the act of moving is difficult, it tends to put a bit of a damper on your experience. After all, Metroid is traditionally known for its butter-smooth controls.

 

But that’s not all that was expected of this game. Aside from intuitive controls, we were also promised “the ultimate Metroid.” Maybe we’ll get that game someday, but Other M is most certainly not it. What it is, is a bold and daring experiment that could very well contribute extremely positively to the series — and to action games in general — going forward. Unfortunately, Metroid: Other M sacrifices some of the series’s trademark elements to accommodate this new direction.

 

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Other M’s level design is nowhere near as impressive as either the 2D games or the Prime games. In this regard, it’s comparable to Metroid Fusion, which was a much more linear experience. In fact, the concept of the Bottle Ship on which the entirety of Other M takes place is very similar to that of the BSL space station from Fusion. The only difference is, the Bottle Ship is designed with 3D movement in mind.

 

None of the areas on the ship are particularly memorable. Like the BSL labs, the ship is divided into sectors. Similar to Zebes, each sector represents a different climatic environment. You have your lush grassy area, reminiscent of the Brinstar jungle. You have the lava-filled area, which is based on Norfair. You have the snowy area, similar in design — but not in function — to the Phendrana Drifts from Prime. And while the artistry isn’t bad, it won’t wow you the way that Prime’s art-direction did. There are no moments like the one in Prime when you first enter Phendrana and find yourself gaping as your eyes adjust from the scorching red claustrophobia of Magmoor to the wide-open, pure-white snowscape above it.

 

Artistry isn’t entirely to blame, however. The main reason the Bottle Ship’s sectors don’t really make an impact is due to a lack of any sort of memorable music to associate with them. Kuniaki Haishima is a talented composer, as the game — and his resumé for that matter — demonstrates on rare occasion. However, a large portion of Other M’s areas are deprived of music altogether or suffer from out-of-place low-key compositions, leaving you with no “feel” to remember them by.

 

This tends to rob the game of any sort of mood — and the mood is the one cornerstone of Metroid’s appeal that has never been done away with in any game before this one. It makes a much greater difference than you would expect, and it’s a reminder of just how important appropriate music is to any form of entertainment.

 

Before we move on, let’s re-visit the controls for a moment.

 

Movement aside, Other M features two very neat tricks called the “sense move” and “lethal strike” (or the “overblast,” depending on the enemy). The sense move works as advertised. You wait for an enemy to fire a projectile at you or try to attack you physically, and press any direction on the D-pad, and Samus performs a slick dodge that puts her out of harm’s way.

 

The problem with the dodge, though, is that it’s overused. Throughout the majority of the game, your primary tactic for dealing with enemies is going to be charging up your arm cannon, dodging all over the place like a maniac while they wail on you, and letting loose with your charged beam as soon as their attack ends. At the start of the game, especially, this is infuriating, because you aren’t entirely used to dodging and enemies like to lunge at you in groups of three or more. Constantly.

 

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It feels horribly unfair during your introduction to the game, and the fact that the enemies are unrelenting means it can be hard to learn on the go. If you’re expecting a Nintendo-like learning curve, my single word of advice would be: “don’t.” Other M, from start to finish, can be a brutal game. I don’t care to count how many times I died in the first few hours alone during my first playthrough.

 

The other move (there are all sorts of “Other Ms” in this game) is the lethal strike, or the overblast depending on the enemy. This is performed by weakening an enemy to the point that they’re either stunned or temporarily disabled, and it gives you an opportunity to perform an impressive melee attack to do big damage, either by running up close or jumping onto them.

 

These moves are the polar opposite of the dodge. During the game’s opening hours, you won’t have the slightest clue how to use them, even though the game keeps recommending that you do so. Every enemy has a different telling sign that the melee moves can be used, and it takes time to get used to looking for it. To assist in this regard, in the heat of battle in early areas, a well-meaning prompt will appear, signalling to you when you can perform the lethal strike. Only, this “prompt” is a square box in the corner of the screen with multiple lines of text telling you how to perform the move. Trying to actually read this prompt will often be your undoing. There had to have been a better way.

 

Regardless, as unintuitive as the lethal strike and overblast initially are, once you get the hang of it, they’re a tremendous amount of fun to perform on the various enemies. They really do add something very special to the combat and I’m glad they were included.

 

But wait! No praise yet. We’re still talking about the game’s shortcomings. Just a little more until we get to the good stuff. I promise it’ll be worth it.

 

Let’s talk pacing. Metroid games are known for their fantastic pacing. Some attribute this to there being no story. But to those people, I say, “Hey, Prime 3 and Fusion both had stories and they’re both paced superbly.” No, Metroid’s pacing is built upon “changes” in the games. Changes in music. Changes in area design. Changes in your own abilities. The act of constantly moving from one place to another, never stopping, always witnessing some sort of change.

 

Other M’s pacing, however, sometimes dies by the hand of odd design decisions.

 

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Every now and then — and thankfully, not often — the game will switch to an over-the-shoulder perspective, a la Resident Evil 4. I’m not quite sure what the point of this really was, as, if it were meant to somehow feel immersive or invoke a feeling of anticipation, it fails remarkably. Again, D-pad controls get in the way and Samus moves (or plods, rather) like her Power Suit is crafted from the heaviest allow known to man. It doesn’t feel good in the least and it makes sections that you need to “walk” through feel horribly slow and frustrating. Turning, too, is a pain.

 

One would understand if there were some sort of change in the mood to accompany this shift in perspective, but there isn’t. No creepy music (aside from a single instance); no ominous growls from an invisible enemy; no subtle cues to make you feel like something bad is going to happen and the game wants you to experience it up close. It really is quite puzzling as to why this was implemented at all with none of the finer details that would have made it effective present.

 

What I don’t understand, as is the case with a lot of Other M’s design, is how this was allowed to make it into the final product. You don’t need to be a critic or a longtime gamer to immediately recognize that the over-the-shoulder sequences are atrocious. Or how they could be fixed — ie; by either allowing for analog stick control, removing the over-the-shoulder bits entirely, or at least making them more meaningful in the context of the game’s events.

 

The same goes for odd choices like locked doors that you can’t open because Adam, who at various points in the game will “authorize” the use of different equipment, won’t let you use that super missile early on. And while I was willing to let that one pass, I shook my head in disbelief when I spent about 20 minutes gunning my way through a large portion of Sector 3′s lava-filled caverns, constantly taking damage from simply being there, only to have Adam authorize use of the Varia Suit after I had gotten halfway through the area.

 

Another offender in the pacing category is the concept of instant deaths. I won’t fixate on this for too long. Suffice it to say, instant deaths are in the game at certain points, and they suck. To Other M’s credit, checkpoints and savepoints are handled very responsibly, so you’ll never find yourself replaying a large portion of the game due to an untimely death, but it does kill the pace.

 

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And last, but not least, are the moments where the game forces you into first-person mode and requires that you point the cursor very accurately at “something” on the screen that Samus is supposed to be looking for. At one point, I spent 45 minutes scanning a room before I finally locked on to what it was that the game wanted Samus to “see”.

 

It was during one of these moments that I nodded to myself in comprehension of Other M’s design. It seemed to me that the Metroid: Other M in the designers’ minds and the Metroid: Other M that’s on a disc are slightly different products. I can’t help but feel that the theory and the execution behind this game are farther apart than they should be. Many of the game’s shortcomings are the direct result of an attempt to make you feel closer to Samus as a player, and to make the game accessible. And while those are certainly worthwhile goals, the way they’re handled here is a bit of a mis-step.

 

Now, you’ll notice I haven’t mentioned anything about the story yet. Wait, wait…we’ve been talking about Other M’s negative aspects all this while, and there’s been no mention of story?

 

Truth be told, that’s because the story isn’t all that bad! I quite like it. I didn’t feel like the story got in the way of the game, and I actually looked forward to viewing the cutscenes and FMVs, both of which look drop-dead gorgeous. Hands, faces, eyes…everything is animated so beautifully and so perfectly. Other M, in its own unique way, is a fantastic exhibit of just how good a game can look when you put a little effort into it, regardless of hardware specs.

 

The story itself isn’t particularly inspired. In fact, any Metroid fan with a lick of imagination has probably brought it up in a “wouldn’t it be cool if…” conversation with a friend. I’m sure there’s even a Metroid fan-fic or two out there with more or less the same plot as Other M. The voice-acting, as we already know, isn’t stellar. And the Galactic Federation troopers, for all the stress the trailers placed on them, are little more than foils — save for Anthony and Adam.

 

Here’s the catch though. Despite these flaws, Other M throws you an awesome curveball at some point in the game, and this alone makes the story worth experiencing. To say when or what would be a spoiler, so that’s about all I’m going to mention on this front. Additionally, a certain scene in the game — you can probably guess which, even if you haven’t played it — truly did move me, and it caught me completely off guard. The interactions with the Galactic Federation troopers, too, were moments that I looked forward to constantly, and the portions of the game where you learn just what Other M’s plot is really about were a welcome change from the scant story of past Metroids.

 

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By the end of the experience, I found myself admitting that I probably wouldn’t like Samus to go back to her silent ways now that she had a voice. On some level…somehow…Nintendo and their FMV partner, D-Rockets, succeeded in making me like the way Metroid: Other M approaches Samus as a character. The monologues can get a little cheesy, as can the complete lack of subtlety in places. I also questioned some of the liberties the game took with Samus’s “fragile” side in places.

 

Overall, however, I love the game’s approach to story, and I feel like it contributed positively not only to Samus, but that it has the potential to contribute positively to Metroid as a whole, going forward.

 

And really, this is what Metroid: Other M is all about, and why, despite all its flaws, it’s well worth experiencing. This is the sort of thing that Zelda fans have been asking for, for ages, and that they’ve never gotten. A game that, while far from perfect, dares to do something radically different. A game that makes you feel like the series you love so much is far from being out of creative steam, and gives you a glimpse of the immense potential available for tapping in the future.

 

While Other M feels less like a Nintendo game and more like a Team Ninja one, it’s hard to deny that this has its own pros. Several of them, in fact. What Other M loses in terms of the Metroid vibe you’re used to, and the fantastic sense of 3D space that Retro Studios pioneered with the Prime games, it makes up for with its combat.

 

A couple hours into the game, once you’re past the initial mediocrity, accustomed to the controls, and getting into the groove of the combat; something changes, ever so slightly. You notice that the scales have started to tip in your favour, if only just a little. All of a sudden, the game isn’t kicking your ass the entire time. Instead, it starts to feel more like a tug-of-war. The game pulls and you pull back. Taken by surprise, the game pulls harder, and you’re forced to do the same.

 

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Play a little further and, all of a sudden, everything just “works.” You find yourself charging through areas at full speed, pulling off the most remarkable-looking moves with ease, and the same enemies that were a major pain in your rear until just an hour ago are far more manageable. This is the one thing that Other M does better than any other Metroid game — yes, even the Primes. It makes you feel like you’re really learning and powering up the more you play, not just in terms of upgrades but also in terms of skill.

 

I mentioned earlier that part of the reason the opening hour of the game is so brutal is because the enemies tend to feel relentless and cheap. The other part is that you’re essentially stripped of all the Power Suit’s functions by Adam, and each one really does feel like a significant addition to your strategic options once you start to reactivate them.

 

Not only does every single new beam upgrade make you feel significantly stronger, they also help speed up the pace of the action. This works out incredibly well, as, where most games tend to get slower toward the end, Other M keeps getting faster and better the more you play. At her best, Samus moves like greased lightning. Even more so once you acquire the Speed Booster, which is my favourite item in the entire game. There’s a real sense here that the development team knew exactly what they wanted to do with the combat, and they’ve pulled it off beautifully.

 

This is made clearer by the switching mechanic from third to first-person, which you’ll rely on a lot once you’ve got the basics of the game down. It works remarkably, and learning to find and make use of opportunities to fire your missiles in first-person mode (you can only use them in first-person) is one of the best aspects of the game. It’s a real gamble and adds a layer of strategic depth that no other Metroid has had. Nearly every single enemy encounter in the game feels meaningful, and that alone is no mean feat.

 

In general, the spectacle of Other M’s combat is something you need to experience to understand. Little things like the animation contribute much more to the experience than you would think. I was very impressed by the fantastic job Team Ninja’s animators did with Samus’s body language. Not once did even the subtlest action in combat look out of place. She has a plethora of different animations and reactions to every enemy in the game, and they all look stunningly convincing and stylish.

 

Charging up an Ice Beam and freezing an enemy’s feet to the ground looks and feels great, but what feels even better is following up by vaulting onto its back, shoving another beam down its throat, and flipping off of its dying corpse onto the back of another enemy to administer the same treatment. And you’ll find yourself presented with the opportunity to pull these tricks off over and over again. Without a doubt, Other M has the best combat of the entire series, and that’s saying a lot.

 

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Boss encounters, too, are fascinating experiences. While you make use of the same arsenal of moves and weapons to deal with each one — missiles, sense move, lethal strike and your beam — the way you implement each of these into your approach makes a great deal of difference. At one point, I spent about eight tries trying to take a boss down using charged beams and super missiles, only to eventually discover that sticking to poke attacks with the regular beam was the best tactic for taking him out. Thanks to the variety of moves and the remote-switching mechanic, Other M’s bosses can be very, very unique.

 

Truth be told, there was no single event or feature or level that ultimately made me decide I liked the game. What led to that decision was the overall experience, pros and cons included. Following this, one last test remained — I wanted to see how the game felt on a second playthrough. This is because the strength of Metroid games lies in the fact that they get better each time you replay them.

 

In Metroid games, your first playthrough tends to serve as a tutorial of sorts. It helps you accustom yourself to the game. During the second playthrough, once you know the ins and outs of the underlying design and the enemies and the extent of Samus’s own abilities, you can start to experiment. But more importantly, you feel like you’ve actually learnt something and that you’re significantly better at the game, and this is the greatest reward of all.

 

And so, I hopped right back in and replayed the game to see how it held up. The results were fascinating. No longer did the first two hours feel frustrating or cheap. No longer was I dying over and over as I struggled with the controls. I was also prepared for the instant death sequences, so they didn’t constantly catch me off guard. My run through Sector 1 — the Jungle — looked far more stylish and graceful than it had the first time around, and I was actually enjoying it immensely.

 

What’s more, the game allows you skip cutscenes once you’ve completed it, so you won’t have to deal with those again if they bother you (although I chose to rewatch them). I was very pleased.

 

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One last point before we wrap this up: I mentioned earlier that the sense of 3D space from the Prime trilogy is absent in Other M. So are the puzzles. What is present, however, are the hidden items. Lots of them. In my first playthrough, I was shocked to learn I only completed the game with 42% of the items. That’s a lot of leftover missile and energy tank upgrades and Accel Charges (these make your beam charge faster — very handy).

 

Metroid: Other M was never advertised as “Metroid 5″ and it’s just as well. It doesn’t feel like a mainline Metroid game; more like a “gaiden,” which is rather apt given who Nintendo partnered with to develop it. The story feels like a slice out of Samus’s life rather than another urgent mission that requires her to save an entire planet (or three).

 

Would I call Other M the “ultimate Metroid game”? No, certainly not. All things considered, it isn’t as good as any of the Prime games in overall execution. However, if one were to look at it with an open mind and evaluate it based on its own merits, it’s a fascinating beast of an experiment. The blend of ranged and melee combat and the ability to switch between first and third-person are something that the industry is probably going to learn from and refine for years to come.

 

The insight into Samus’s character, despite presentation flaws, is most welcome, and hopefully, Nintendo will build upon this further in the future. If Other M is the basis of a yet another new direction for Metroid, we’re off to a great start. All that remains now is to figure out how to preserve the atmosphere of the series while building upon the framework established in this game.


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  • Guest

    Holy hell thats long. Im gonna finish it I swear but from the first few paragraphs I’m gonna say your opinion = Bad Metroid, Good Game? It was my prediction after reading your pre-Playtest last night. *continues reading

    • http://www.carpefulgur.com SpaceDrake

      Basically. It isn’t “really” a traditional Metroid game – but on its own merits, it’s still very, very good (once you get past the opening hour or so, which I kind of suspect was done earlier and they never went back and polished). And Ishaan rather has a point here – mixing up the Metroid formula and trying to experiment with it isn’t a *bad thing*. Experimentation is good. Experimentation is (part) of what this industry needs to survive. After being accused of stagnation, you can’t say that Nintendo didn’t try something different this go-round.

  • Happy Gamer

    LOL i shouldn’t have read review on 1up and saw this..i had such high hopes for this game. i knew it would be very diff from prime but i been hearing alot of “complaints” which is not a bad thing.

    i have been playing the trilogy and will not play M until i finish the 2nd and 3rd.

    but knowing some things i don’t think i will mind either.

    I think i will enjoy this game regardless.

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

    Darn this didnt help, lol. Again with Metroid I find myself dying to experience the story but put off my the things such as difficulty and odd design choices (forced 1st person moments, instant kills, controls). But this made it seem like the story is amazing of sorts and Samus voice fits.

    Is there an easy or casual mode (one button automatic mode)

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

      Those things are a problem the first time around, yea. Second, not so much. There’s no easy mode, but you can unlock a Hard mode. :P

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

        Darn no easy mode?! People like me will have such tough time getting through it. Thanks for these lenghty thoughts though, guess Ill put this game on my list of games to get this holiday season.

        Hm it would be my first Metroid game ever…

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

          First?! I wouldn’t recommend starting with this one then. A lot of the fanservice (and there’s tons of fanservice) will be lost on you. Get Zero Mission for the GBA first. :)

          • MisterNiwa

            I agree. You can’t start without the real Metroid Sugar.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aarachnid-Malik-Davolcanese/1548060424 Aarachnid Malik Davolcanese

          Yeah, considering this is a very heavy-story game, I wouldn’t make this your first Metroid game. Like Ishaan said, start with Zero Mission. It’s a remake of the original Metroid with extra original content as well. I haven’t played Other M yet, but from what I gather, it may be better to play Fusion before Other M, as well, even though it takes place chronologically afterwards.

          For the record, in case anyone cares, I’ve played every Metroid game [except Other M, and I should be playing that soon] and Fusion is my favorite. It’s a more linear game veiled behind an open map, but I really liked everything in the game. The bossfights are awesome and the way you get your powers makes the most sense of all the games, I think

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

            I really liked some of the stuff they did with the SA-X in Fusion. The way she stalks you around the BSL can be really creepy the first time around. And I really liked the way the game ended. Leaves so many possibilities open for Metroid 5. :)

  • Kris

    Wow, Other M has sounded like an insane experiment ever since it was announced. That said, it’s interesting to hear that it’s (kind of) paid off. Regardless of whether I’ll love it or not, I think that that kind of curveball deserves to be rewarded. Can’t wait to play it when I’m back from Tokyo.

  • shion16

    Ive decided to buy Metroid Trilogy before this one

    • Happy Gamer

      i did this too and man i really really regretted not getting it long ago when it was abundant. its very pricey online. i was ortunate enough to get a mint copy, 99% perfect one for same price as new. plus 3 dollar shipping. its really worh it tho.

    • Happy Gamer

      oh also, the controls alone make the game 1000000 times more fun. i played thru first game on cube way back in 2002. i cannot begin to explain how much more awesome it is with the wiimote. i never played 2nd and 3rd for some odd reason…it happens to me sometimes even when i know the games are gonna be goood i just don’t pick it up due to time etc. wutever distraction.

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

        It’s awesome for right handed people maybe. I can’t play it without classic controls. MP3 was therefore the worst Metroid game ever for me… well until this one probably. ;)

  • andref

    So far I have only read the review from gameinformer which was a smorgazboard of negativity and read IGN’s which was like looking way too much on the brightside. This is a good review, lot’s of detail and explanations of what was liked and what was not liked. These are the types of review I like to see even if it isn’t always convenient for reviewers to put so this much detail into their writings

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_37LGLDUAOLAYVF46BDOHLBPVKA Vinh

    It was interesting how [censored]. That was a fun twist [censored]. My favorite powerup in the game was also the Speed Booster. Nothing beats Shinespark jumping through hallways to speed up backtracking.

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

      Sorry! I had to edit your comment. That’s a MASSIVE spoiler, and I’m sure a lot of people will be ticked off if they see it. :)

      • Code

        Thanks x_x; I might not be buying day one, but if anything this mysterious plot point everyone keeps mentioning, is definitely going to drive me to play this at some point! I’d hate to see it spoiled too soon~!

  • http://etherealtech.wordpress.com/ lex_21

    This was without a doubt, one of the best reviews I have read. Not just for Other M, but all games in general. Though I had a feeling of dread while I read the initial section of the review, the way you tied everything at the end of the article made me even more excited for this game.

    It seems as if you wanted to get past the bad stuff as soon as possible to explain why Other M really shines. All things told, this game looks like a blast from start to finish. I’m also glad you didn’t give the game a score – it seems like scores are simply not representing Other M the way they should.

    Anyway, fantastic review. I can’t wait until Tuesday.

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

      Thanks for the praise! I’m glad you liked it. I spent a good portion of the weekend working on it. :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aarachnid-Malik-Davolcanese/1548060424 Aarachnid Malik Davolcanese

    Extremely well-written playtest. I thought this was written much better than the reviews from many of the “main-stream” sites. I’m glad to hear this experiment paid off in the end. Part of me always feels bad when designers try something new and it fails horribly so they never try anything new ever again, and this merging of genres (TPS and FPS) was really a revolution of its own.

    I’m really hoping for a new 2D Metroid, though. 3DS perhaps?

  • Code

    Excellent! Loads of information, and honestly going back to re-watching some of the footage I definitely catch some of the things that’s been mentioned, and I now understand the abundance of “flailing”, is the dodge mechanic which chances are that looks a whole lot slicker when you’ve had a few hours with the game to master dodging, but early on it’s going to look a little messy. Although I can’t say I’m buying right now, but it’s an interesting title to watch and see how it does, it’s taking a risk with the Metroid formula, and trying something fresh, particularly when it comes to plot. In general I’ve always wanted to see Nintendo themselves push and maybe take greater risks with there titles when it comes to story, but still sometimes you gotta bring new people to the table to get change happening. Plus at the same time as much as I enjoyed Prime in the end, I’m glad it’s done, I love 2D Metroid, and 3D first-person Metroid was stellar, but it’s time to move on.My only wish from everything I’ve read and seen was that Samus reflected a more hardened personality, the closest approximation to how I imagined her personality to be would have been more akin to The Boss from MGS3.

  • Happy Gamer

    From What I read Ishaan, in the end, you are a gamer, you enjoyed the game, and it was fun! :)

    playing prime triology almost done with first. 2nd and 3rd incoming, other M on pre order for pick up. gonna be a metroidathon for next few weeks for me LOL

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

      Haha, are you playing the Prime trilogy for the first time? You’re in for some of the best moments in gaming. Oh, and don’t let anyone tell you Prime 2 sucks! :P

      • Happy Gamer

        haha, actually i played the 1st on the cube way back but didn’t finish it with maybe 3 artifacts left due to save game curruptions :(

        playing it again now with wii controls its even more fun!

  • malek86

    “In this regard, it’s comparable to Metroid Fusion, which was a much more linear experience.”

    Urge to kill… rising…

    Anyway. It does look like the good outweighs the bad, but I’m not that ready to forgive linearity and spotty controls. I will probably pick this up eventually, though not at full price.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aarachnid-Malik-Davolcanese/1548060424 Aarachnid Malik Davolcanese

      Yeah, it’s like a reverse Castlevania situation, which started linear and then became more open in later games

  • gatotsu911

    “What I don’t understand, as is the case with a lot of Other M’s design, is how this was allowed to make it into the final product.”
    This is presumably because Sakamoto was granted Protection from Editors (TV Tropes!!) for the project, and soon he may (hopefully) regret it.

    Also, you mention a second playthrough; does this game have multiple difficulty levels. That would be very helpful to know.

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

      100% completion unlocks the Hard difficulty, which is a little…different…from before.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aarachnid-Malik-Davolcanese/1548060424 Aarachnid Malik Davolcanese

        Different how? Is it like in Ninja Gaiden Black (coincidental comparison) where the harder difficulties yield different enemy types at each encounter, i.e. you face harder enemies earlier on than normal or you face a whole new set of enemies not encountered in easier difficulties? Or is it like most games, which is annoying, where you take more damage and enemies have more hit points i.e. the lazy way to make a game more difficult?

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

          There are no items in Hard mode. :P

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aarachnid-Malik-Davolcanese/1548060424 Aarachnid Malik Davolcanese

            hahaha Wow. That’s going to be fun

  • http://twitter.com/nikochanr3 niko

    I don’t think (and i bet a lot of you once playing it feel the same) it’s a hard game at all. The first hour or so you are getting used to the controls, but it’s not like died so many times, and I doubt you will either. I have seen several reviews which all it hard and i’m at a loss. Demon Souls is HARD. Ninja Gaiden was hard. This game is unituitive.

    • Guest

      Disagree. This game is not unintuitive its just challenging like Ninja Gaiden.
      Ninja Gaiden/Metroid: Other M are challenging. You have all the necessary moves and weapons at your disposable and its just matter of skill. Everything feels fine you just gotta get better at it.

  • kariohki

    I’ve played most of Zero Mission and recently beat Super Metroid because I had this on preorder. I hope it’s not TOO difficult…I’ll probably be waiting for guides before I start playing XD

  • Ren

    The thing I really noticed on this game were the details. Like how suddenly the CG cutscene I was watching became a normal one and I didn’t even noticed, then how it suddenly became playable, how the models, textures and lightining are superb(aside from the water and the mirrors on the female restroom wich in a strange turn of fate can’t reflect Samus. But details, right), and how the low battery indicator aligned with your visor on the first person view.

    I also liked how I wasn’t really afraid of dying after it happened the fist time, since I was always taken to somewhere near where I died. I’m sad to know that I probably won’t have time to continue playing until next week. Well, at least more great time killers until I confine myself to Pokemon B&W for the next month. Playing the japanese version first is always the best with Pokemon.

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

    That screenshot of Samus with the 3 Haze/Halo Space Marines is the worst crime ever committed in Video Games… it’s on par with killing 10,000 puppies. Nintendo should be ashamed and commit seppuku immediately.

  • http://twitter.com/Fish_Head Maxon Foster

    I feel that this review does not deserve the praise that it is receiving. Your review shows a clear lack of understanding of old-school Nintendo, what this game is supposed to harken back to. This idea of “Nintendo Curve” has only shown up in the last few years. There’s a reason that “Nintendo Hard” is on TV Tropes. Nintendo games used to be hard, with little to no tutorial. The author has clearly never played a Super Nintendo as using “The D-Pad to move in a 3D space” was difficult for him. I don’t the observed game flaws or successes, however I feel that all comparisons and contrasts drawn are done by a person who holds the Prime Trilogy in the highest esteem and had never completed any other Metroid game, with the exception of the two GBA games, both of which were created as tributes the previous 2D Metroids on the NES, SNES, and GameBoy.

    Learn what you’re talking about before you talk about it.

  • Scallion

    I hate fanboys so much.

  • Nathan

    Your review is about the most complete review that I have read about the game – I have read 24 reviews so far. Who would EVER think of replaying a Metroid game? Apparently not many reviewers played this game a second time because you’re the first one to mention that the movies are skippable on a second play through. Congratulations on a job well done.

    Just to add my two cents. After reading that many reviews I have reached the conclusion that a) I need to play this game to come to a decision, and b) I am probably going to like it. I do like the Prime series by the way. I have also read most, if not every, English interview that has been done with Sakamoto and company.

    The one thing that has been made vary clear in all the interviews is that, for Sakamoto, the way Retro, Miyamoto, and Tanabe chose to reimagine the Metroid series in Prime was a completely off his radar. So any comparisons between Other M and Prime are probably more in the minds of fans then in the minds of the Japanese directors, producers, etc. In some ways in would be interesting to imagine what the reaction would have been if this game was released before the Prime series. As it is we need to go into it acting like Prime was a different take on the same character as leave it at that point.

    One big thing that has come out of the reviews is that it will be very interesting to read reviews from Japan, because this game’s overall approach sounds very much like the story is heavily grounded in the Japanese culture.

    For example, Samus’ way of relinquishing her powers to Adam’s decisions is a very Japanese way of showing that she still respects Adam; not necessarily that she is caving into some masculine vs feminine power struggle. We Westerners do not have this mentality in our culture, so we make – what in my opinion – are statements that completely ignore that fact that the West may have one interpretation of Samus and what it means for her to be a bounty hunter but the Japanese may understand the character and what that all means a little bit differently. It maybe would have come across better to Western eyes if instead of Adam’s character being a man the CO was a woman.

    This game may go down in history as a Japanese game that for some odd reason – aka the character is more popular in the West than in the East – actually came out in the wrong place first.

  • crunc

    This review has gotten me even more interested. And with Kmart having the crazy deal on it ($20 gaming coupon with purchase and $20 off Metroid Prime Trilogy or some others when purchased together), I think I’m going to go stop at the kmart across the street from work that use to have plenty of copies of Trilogy left. Hopefully still. I’ve never really played any Metroid game yet. I tried Fusion and didn’t like it much at all, though. Mainly because of invisible paths you just had to blindly search for. It sounds like maybe this game doesn’t do that kind of junk.

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