The Metroid series has always been about discovery. Even with the Prime trilogy making its debut on the GameCube in 2002, Samus Aran has always roamed different planets alone in an attempt to solve historic mysteries. Now Nintendo has once again taken the series in a different direction: Back to its roots and tributing Prime's first-person mantra–to help with this, Team Ninja (of Ninja Gaiden fame) has come along for the ride.
What's It About?
Metroid: Other M is the 12th Metroid game to be released in its 24-year history. The game immediately takes place shortly after the events of Super Metroid, on the Super NES, when Samus defeats Mother Brain with the help of the baby Metroid that she chose not to execute at the end of Metroid II: The Return of Samus on the original Game Boy.
The game is played mainly from a third-person perspective, with bits of first-person and 2D action thrown in for good measure as a tribute to the rest of the series.
Those who follow the Metroid story and timeline well should know that Other M is more storydriven than any other game in the series. For the first time in the series, the game features full-length cutscenes with spoken dialogue and intense self-reflection on Samus' part, rather than leaking smaller bits about Samus’ past throughout the gameplay like in previous Metroid games. From becoming orphaned, to joining a battalion of intergalactic warriors, to exiling herself from that army and becoming a bounty hunter, players will be enriched with the entire story of how Samus go to where she is.
Why Should I Care?
As far as gameplay goes, it's about what you'd expect from a 3D Metroid in third-person. In order to make the game feel more like a traditional Metroid, Other M is played with only the Wii Remote, meaning there's no analog control because the Nunchuck isn't even used.
Going into first person allows you examine certain areas for hidden secrets to uncover, but the problem is that you can't travel while in first-person. The game would've had a cooler Super Paper Mario feel to it, giving the game more possibilities, but it looks like Team Ninja didn't go that direction.
Mastering both third and first-person controls is vital for the game because Other M is the most challenging game in the series. The new focus on action forces you to think on your feet and use your best reflexes to survive, but sometimes being at your best won't be good enough because there may be times when you aim your remote at the screen only to find that you're still in third-person, getting killed by a bee. At that, the boss battles are as epic as ever. Don't let the first boss fight fool you, because the difficulty only rises the further you go.
To make things more unforgiving, enemies don’t leave anything when you kill them. There are no health orbs or anything of that sort to pick up. The only time you can actually heal yourself is if you find a Save Station. But to help amend this situation, you can also point the remote up in the air and hold 1 so Samus can regain some of her health and missile supply.
Though it comes as no surprise that Team Ninja came out with a lot of changes for the series, the game is still vintage Metroid. So for those of you who were worried about not finding Energy Tanks, Missile Expansions, or any other upgrades, there's no need to worry. The exploration factor is still intact.
What Makes Other M Worth My Money?
With the amount of shovelware that continues to be dumped on the Wii, it's good to know that Nintendo, itself, continues to come out with great material. Metroid: Other M is no different, and while it has its shortcomings, it's still as entertaining as a Metroid game should be.
Loyalists will probably be put off by the game's many (long) low-res cutscenes and the shoddy controls at first, but after about half an hour of play, the pacing starts to really pick up and the game really becomes a joy to play. The game is pretty hard and there will be times of extreme frustration after dying countless times, but as long as you can endure that, you're in for quite an enjoyable experience.