|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Team Ninja / Nintendo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 31, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Metroid is an odd series when you think about it. It has one of the most recognizable video game characters in Samus, and yet, before playing Metroid: Other M, I can honestly say the only things I knew about her was that she wears a suit and she is indeed a she.
This may be because I only played the 2D platforming Metroids, steering clear of the first-person shooter (FPS) outings, as they didnt have the same appeal. Either way, Metroid: Other M goes out of its way to showcase Samus not only as a suit of armor bent on destroying enemies, but as a person, with feelings, thoughts, and a history. Whether this works or not is up to individual interpretation, however, when comparing Samus in this title to my previous knowledge of and experience with her, I have to say this game does a good job of humanizing Samus and expanding the universe in which she exists.
The story of Metroid: Other M takes place directly following the events of Super Metroid. After Samus was saved by the baby Metroids sacrifice, she took some time off in order to recover. After she had finished healing, all the while continually thinking about the baby Metroids death, she receives a distress call nicknamed Babys Cry which leads to her a Bottle Ship. Aboard this ship she meets up with some Galactic Federation Army folks from her past who are also there to investigate the distress call. As you can probably imagine, something bad is going on aboard the ship, causing Samus and her past acquaintances to team up in order to get to the bottom of it.
The setting for the game is a bit of a copout, but it works incredibly well. One would think that being aboard a ship would make the game an endless series of metallic rooms and corridors. However, the Bottle Ship is capable of simulating different terrains and climates, making it the perfect setting for a game that wishes to have a large variety of backdrops. Sure, there are still plenty of metallic rooms and corridors, but there are also rain-drenched forests, barren deserts, and even lava fields. The large variety of environments is definitely welcome, as each generally presents its own obstacles, such as the heat from the lava continually damaging Samus when in close proximity.
However, this leads me to one of my biggest disappointments with the game. While the Metroid series typically has you beginning the game underpowered, with few abilities, and gradually reclaiming them throughout the course of the game, it is handled poorly in Other M. Most of the time, your lack of powers is explained by saying your suit has been damaged or something else somewhat believable, however, in Other M, you have all of your abilities to start with but cant use them until the Commanding Officer of the Galactic Federation authorizes them. Seriously, would you continue to take damage from heat if you had the ability to stop it, even if it hadnt been authorized yet? Nope, and there are several instances in the Other M where youll need an ability but the game wont give it to you until youve been tortured a bit first. Still, this setup will be quite familiar to fans of the series.
As I stated earlier, I wasnt really a fan of the FPS Metroids, which has left me without a proper Metroid game to play for quite some time now. Thankfully, Other M is essentially a love letter to fans like me, taking the Metroid series back to its traditional formula. While not strictly a 2D side-scroller, the majority of the game maintains that feel. The camera follows Samus, generally giving you a wide view from the side but can change depending on the situation. When walls get in the way, they simply become transparent, giving the player a decent view the majority of the time. There can be some issues where an enemy will get behind you, making you shoot off screen to engage them, or some objects will still manage to obstruct your view, however, for the most part, the camera works well.
In an odd, but not unexpected move, youll play Other M using only the Wii Remote. Holding the controller as you would an NES pad, youll have the ability to direct Samus with the D-pad, jumping and shooting with the buttons. This works much as you would expect, almost exactly as it would on the NES or SNES. However, due to the three-dimensional nature of the game, when you fire your weapon, your shots will generally seek out the closest enemy to where you are aiming. Unfortunately, while this works much of the time, youll also frequently find yourself questioning why your shot didnt go towards the enemy you were intending it for.