I am a huge fan of Samus Aran. I have been for years. I played every one I could get my hands on, from the original Metroid on through time. I loved Metroid Prime, the whole trilogy. I started playing The Other M earlier this week and I’m not sure how I feel. The graphics are beautiful, the cinematics are amazing, its like the entire intro to the game is designed to reward the long time Samus fans and enlighten the new comers. I sat there, watching the opening cinematic and it was like one of my geeky little dreams come true. The cinematic opens with Samus hanging in midair, suspended from a metroid while fighting Mother Brain. Its the ending to Super Metroid, but instead of being rendered in cute little SNES spirtes, its beautifully done in 3D, and along with the fight, you get Samus’s thoughts.
That’s one of the things I found interesting about this game. For the first time, I get to hear what Samus is actually thinking. In Metroid Fusion, she had brief moments of thought, but this time she spends a lot of her time thinking and remembering, at least towards the beginning of the game. While its kind of neat, Samus talks way, way too much and has far too many flash backs. But that’s only for the intro, once Adam sends you off on your mission, there are only periodic check-ins.
I think the main thing that bothered me about this game is that periodically, in the middle of combat, little boxes would come up to show me how to use special attacks. I admit, jumping on my enemy and blasting a charge beam into their head is pretty awesome, but I don’t need to be reminded how to do it every time I come up against an enemy who needs it used on them to die. And since this is also the mechanic used to teach new special attacks, you can’t really ignore the little boxes, even when they’re about to get you killed.
The control scheme for The Other M is completely unique. Its an odd combination of isometric third person view and first person view based on the orientation of the Wii mote. My main complaint about the controls is that I really really liked the Metroid Prime controls when it was ported to the Wii. Moving the Wii mote to aim and using the nunchuk to move made me really happy, it was like I was Samus. Now? Autotargetting, and really awkward camera angles. They should have just stuck with what they had before.
So, Metroid has always been a fairly on-the-rails game series. What this means is that its very linear. I need x-y-z suit accessory before I can go here or I need to unlike this color of door, etc. This is the first time its ever felt that way. Normally, I feel like there’s a reason for the convoluted puzzles required of me. This time, I’m following the orders of a very annoying commanding officer, listening to flashbacks and still jumping through hoops but now I don’t even get to aim my gun myself.
Have you ever played a game and been completely torn whether you’re actually enjoying it or not? That’s where I am right now with The Other M. I’ll certainly give them that young Samus is really attractive and the story is compelling. But at the same time, the controls are subpar and Samus talks too much. I’m a good half an hour to an hour into the game and I’ve only just gotten into what feels like a Metroid game. It has a weird combination of the old style of 2D gameplay that I grew up with and the 3D gameplay that I loved from the Prime Trilogy. Its an awkward combination and I’m not entirely sure they got it right. Overall, I’m sad to say that Metroid : The Other M only rates a 3 out of 5 hearts.