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Avatar ImageGamer Limit Review: Metroid: Other M
By: | September 9th, 2010 | Wii
Review |Wii

For over a year now I’ve been asking myself, what is Metroid: Other M?  Is it a side-scrolling adventure similar to the original games, or is it a first-person adventure/shooter like Metroid Prime?  Even though I’ve played through it, I still can’t definitively answer that question.

What I can say for certain is Metroid: Other M feels like a Metroid game I’ve played before, but also feels like something completely fresh and new.  It’s a bold new take on the series that some people will find refreshing, and others will find frustrating.  Unfortunately, most will probably fall into the latter category.

Metroid: Other M follows in the footsteps of all its predecessors by bringing a little bit of each of the previous games into the mix for an all-encompassing Samus Aran experience.  There are side scrolling segments, first-person shooter portions, and a couple of familiar boss battles. And of course Samus’s entire arsenal of weapons and suit power ups makes its return.

The control scheme also harkens back to all the older games.  During the side scrolling/third-person 3D segments, you hold the Wii controller sideways and use the D-pad to move, the 1-button to fire, the 2-button to jump, and the A-button to transform into a ball.  To enter first-person mode, which you can do at any time, you simply point the controller at the screen, similar to Metroid Prime.  In this mode you use B to lock on and A to fire, but you can’t move your character except to look around.

Unfortunately there are a lot of problems with this new control scheme that can cause major headaches.  First of all, while the game is mostly a sidescroller, it’s played in a 3D plane you must move around in, which is not the easiest thing do using a D-pad.  There were many moments where I wish I had the precision and control of an analog stick.

The first-person shooter controls have issues as well.  It can be very difficult to lock onto the desired targets if a lot of enemies are on screen at once.  Panning the camera is also a painstakingly slow process, making it impossible at times to keep up with fast moving enemies, adding an artificial level of difficulty to the game.  I would prefer if I never had to go into FPS mode, but doing so is the only way to fire missiles and solve multiple environment puzzles.

Not only are the control schemes themselves poorly executed, but switching between them can be extremely aggravating.  When you are in the middle of an intense boss battle that constantly requires you to switch between the two modes of play, it can be difficult to transition from holding the Wii remote sideways to pointing it at the screen.

What’s really confusing is most of these control issues could be eliminated if the Wii nunchuck were utilized.  You could then use the analog stick to more precisely control Samus in either mode, and simply press the Z-button and C-button to switch between modes and jump.  I don’t understand why the developers didn’t adopt this simple approach instead of coming up with the convoluted control scheme implemented now.

Another problem is since the D-pad is used to move your character around in the 3D space, you don’t really have control over where you aim.  The game deals with this by auto aiming at targets in the direction you’re facing, but this feature does not always work as you intend.  When there are only a few enemies on screen it works great, but when there are tons and you are trying to hit a specific enemy, the AI has a tendency to choose the wrong target.  This gets annoying fast, and can cause intense fights to end badly.

One thing that is very different from all the previous Metroid games is that the enemies do not drop health or missile refills.  You can only replenish your health at save stations, though missiles can be refilled at any time by pointing the Wii-mote up and holding the A button for a set period of time.  If your health gets extremely low, you can also use this method to refill a little bit of your health meter.  Unfortunately you can’t be hit the entire time you’re holding the Wii-mote up in the air, otherwise you die.  Having no health refills makes the game very difficult, but this is offset by the inclusion of more save stations.

Another major difference between Metroid: Other M and all its predecessors is its attempt to include a deep and meaningful story.  You’ll find out more about Samus Aran in the 10 hours you’ll play this game than in all the previous games combined.  You would think that finally discovering more about the galaxy’s most kick-ass bounty hunter would be a good thing, but you would be dead wrong.

For decades I’ve thought of Samus as a cold, calculating killer who looks danger straight in the face and rushes in with guns blazing.  Instead I discover that she’s actually very fragile, emotional, and even a little whiny.  There’s one scene in the game that completely showed a side of her character that made no sense to me, causing her to come off as weak and mentally traumatized.  I’m not sure I’ll ever look at Samus the same way again, and that’s not a good thing in my opinion.

Not everything about Metroid: Other M is bad though.  For starters, the game has more style and flair than all the previous titles, and it boasts some of the best action sequences experienced in the series.  The boss battles are also numerous, challenging, and extremely intense.

I should mention that the visuals are absolutely stunning.  Sometimes I think that Nintendo secretly unlocks a little more graphics power in the Wii every time a new first party game comes out, because I didn’t know the system could produce graphics this good.  Samus has simply never looked better, especially in the CGI story sequences.

Metroid: Other M is really a mixed bag of tricks.  The developers decided to try out a bunch of new and different ideas, but they aren’t all executed properly and they don’t all meld together well.   The biggest hurdle holding it back is the poor gameplay, which could be solved with a better control scheme and a more accurate aiming system.  I could do without the emotional story as well, but some people might enjoy it.  What I do know is Metroid: Other M feels like an experiment into what a Metroid game could be, and while some will love it, others will downright hate it.  I would recommend that even the most hardcore fans rent it before making a full-blown purchase.

Rating Category
8.0 Presentation
Samus has honestly never looked better. The 3D camera is especially used to infuse a level of style and flare not previously seen in the series.
How does our scoring system work?
4.0 Gameplay
The convoluted control scheme is one of the most aggravating things about Other M, which could easily be solved by utilizing the nun-chuck.
5.0 Sound
While the soundtrack and sound effects feel right at home in a Metroid game, the voice acting is horrendous. To put it bluntly, Samus should have never opened her mouth.
7.0 Longevity
At only 10 hours in length, the game is a bit short compared to the Metroid Prime games. There's is an epilogue though, for players who want to go back and get a full 100% completion.
5.5 Overall
While Metroid: Other M is infused with a dose of style and flare the series has been lacking, the horrible control scheme and overly emotional story ruins the whole experience, making the game extremely aggravating to play.

  1. I know a couple friends of mine are going to rage over this, but to me it seems like a fair analysis. Keeping to a usable control scheme is quite possibly the most critical portion of game development, and if Nintendo decided to run wild and took themselves off-road, well, that sucks.

    I’m really trying to get my head around the uselessness of the Nunchuk, which is pretty much one step down from standard on the console. That by itself is an unbelievable gaff. What were they aiming for anyway?

    Oh … and you’re not the only one who doesn’t like whiny heroes. For a one-woman army such as Aran, I almost expected Heroic Mime status.

  2. I can understand how the gameplay could irritate some gamers, but for me it helps add to the experience of playing as Samus. You point when she does, you hold the wimote up to charge as she holds her arm up. It creates a cool experience that I enjoyed a lot. As for the auto-aim sort of controls, it’s part of the 2D metroid experience. If they’re gonna make the game sorta retro, I think this is the way to go.But to each his own.

    The one part I do have beef with is with the portrayal of Samus. I don’t know why anyone wants to see her (or play her as) a stone cold kiler. The back story adds a much deeper sense of lonliness and badassery to her previous efforts. She’s a person with a messed up past, trying to sort shit out and facing insane odds along the way (and not just overcoming them, but really destroying them). We have enough boring, stonecold murderers in gaming… why can’t Samus be different than the boring Lara Crofts without being called whiney and lame?

    Anyway… I’m nearing completion and have loved my time with it. Would definitely recommend playing it before forming opinions on it. I went in hesitant (i don’t like Ninja Gaiden) and was very surprised by it.

  3. I was nearly in tears at how exciting this game looked when I was sitting at the announcement at the Nintendo press conference.

    The actual execution, not so much. It’s just so damn polarizing: either way you look at it, that’s not something a Metroid game SHOULD be.

    Every game in the series is stellar in its own way (yes, even II). Hilariously enough, you have one agreement, and one disagreement in the comments section here. It should be a clear cut “good game”, and I feel like it’s a wasted opportunity – great review!

    • avatar Saniye

      Posted on Superb! Generally I never read whole ailectrs but the way you wrote this information is simply amazing and this kept my interest in reading and I enjoyed it.

  4. avatar Libor

    I don`t know what happened to my beloved series, but this review is very, very accurate (even if it`s hurting). Super Metroid, Metroid Prime 1,2,3 were (and still are) great and Shawn exactly pointed out why this game is such a mess. I still do NOT understand the control scheme and if I can NOT (after 4 hours of playing) properly control my character, something is terribly wrong. Not to mention Samus – she is the exact mirror of contemporary society – whining about past, relationships and her baby. I do not know about you, but I`m gonna play Metroid Prime Trilogy for the third time.

    Good luck next time, Nintendo.

  5. avatar Origence

    This article is a piece of worthless words put together. The game is getting scores around 8-9 by the serious people because is not a perfect game but it has an incredible mix of retro and fresh and the gameplay is fun and challenging.

    I also would prefer the game was played with nunchuk, but for comfort reasons. Holding a wiimote sideways is far from the most comfy controller in the world. The control is perfectly tuned and polished for the way the game it’s played. One can easily see this game has a ton of work on polishing the control and semi-automatisms that run behind to make it work.

    We also have to remember 3rd person view games control take much more effort than copy-pasting Doom.

    • avatar Felicity

      I think the colsest I’ve ever gotten to a speedrun DVD was considering a purchase of the Ikaruga Appreciate run. And that was just because Ikaruga is hardcore.But now you’ve got me thinking about Metroid. Hm

  6. avatar bayLor

    Sorry to tell, but reading that review shows hella lot of subjective views. I mean giving 5.0 to Sound while saying the effects and music is great just cause u dont like the voices they chose (and the voices are great in my opinion).
    I never had any problems with the controls, though I admit that using the nunchuck would have been better options. But I think they sticked to remote to have that oldschool flair.
    When you say the graphics are best on Wii and there are no obvious bad things about the presentation, why it ends up with 8.0 there?

    And finally the longevity score: Its ok to say its 10 hours for first completing ist but it takes longer – at least usually – to finish the 100% off the first time. And in addition Metroid is one of the games that used to become targets of speedruns so there is a lot of longevity in this game. I think 7.0 might be ok there but just the argumentation is what annoys me.

    For me personally I think Metroid: Other M is the best Metroid title yet but thats only my opinion. As objective as I can be I would give it 8.5 and up because of the stunning graphics, the deep story, the good character designs, the awesome gameplay itself and the implementation of all important Metroid characteristics available in game (like items, suit and enemies).

    • A review itself is inherently a subjective personal opinion.

    • avatar Rolien

      it for me. ;) Honestly, I cuodln’t finish the movie because it was so bad. The animation was over the top, the modeling was so-so, the sound was awful, and I don’t care if it’s become cannon but Samus’ zero suit is a travesty.

  7. avatar Ferahtsu

    Precision is as much of a requirement for this game as a bite from a fire ant. The only remotely precise action in this game is shinesparking up into a narrow vertical vent, which is simplified by markings on the ground that hint towards where to stop and jump.

    • avatar Oli

      it’s @alec3232No it’s childish becsaue it’s all colourful and gay.Only a 13 year old over sensitive fanboy like yourself would find it appealing.Opinions are formed to be expressed, to hold them in and let them fester is not healthy.I’m sorry if the truth about Mario gets you all upset. I think it’s best you just ignore all the criticism and remain a blind little fanboy. You’ll be happier that way.

  8. It’s a bummer that you didn’t like it but I think I’ll still end up buying it.

  9. This review is maybe a little harsh but honestly it also sounds alot like all the reviews I have seen from the major sites. Don’t forget guys, major sites and publications get in serious trouble when they give low scores on first party titles from a major company. Independent game sites? Not so much.

  10. avatar Sid

    ” There’s one scene in the game that completely showed a side of her character that made no sense to me, causing her to come off as weak and mentally traumatized.”

    Read the comic you twat.

    • No offense or anything intended here, but a person playing a video game that isn’t about a comic book character primarily shouldn’t need to read a comic to know what the story is. Samus may have had a comic, but it is fair to say the vast majority of metroid players either didn’t know that or never read it. Even then she does go a bit over the top in the game and I know people who have the comic who still agree with the reviewers statements.

    • avatar Jason

      Who the fuck has read the Metroid comic, you dipshit?

      Don’t expect people who have probably only played the games to track down some obscure comic or straight to DVD prequel so they “CAN MAKE SENSE OF THINGS”.

      Coming off like a douchebag there mate.

  11. avatar LegendLarry

    While I am not happy with Samus Voice either, I don’t think it sucks beyond compare(or justifies a 5.0/10 in the very good sound quality of the game) and I got used to it. It’s the main Reason why Nintendo didn’t want to voice over their IPs, because everyone has different Ideas of how their characters should sound like…

    I hope the reviewer is glad to have had a huge negative impact to gamerankings and metacritics score for being so ignorant to a pretty good game.

  12. avatar Ferahtsu

    Sounds like Shawn has only played the Prime series before this. Anyone who has played Super Metroid can recall the x-ray visor which, just like looking around in first person in Other M, pauses Samus’ movement to explore the environment for clues/hints. This website should have assigned this review to someone who knows their Metroid.

    • I have read almost a dozen reviews of this game… they all complained about the controls and not being able to move in first person.

    • avatar Ferahtsu

      I take it a lot of gamers out there didn’t get creative and kept their left hand on the d-pad while in first person in order to readily dodge any incoming attack.

    • To dodge in FPS view all you have to do is point the wiimote off screen before getting hit. I haven’t had a problem with that way of dodging, but I have a newer remote and keep the batteries charged. Maybe older/abused remotes or ones with low batteries have issues with that. I dunno.

  13. avatar Different Take

    Wow…. I dont think I could possibly disagree with this review more.

    I guess I just want a more onjective review and this one is incredibly subjective… With that in mind, I dont find this a ‘bad’ review, as the reviewer plainly states how subjective it is and that others may love it. I have to give kudos for that.

    But a think some people need to see from the perspective of someone who can actually play the game…. not just stumble through it.

    The controls are absolutely flawless. You can do things with this game that players havent been able to do in game for decades. Since the analog stick replaced the d-pad.

    But, like what also hasnt been done for decades, it actually demands skill, but it has some smart unobtrusive compensations, brilliantly deciding areas it SHOULD assist the player, with this amazing common sense AI. If the path twist and turns a little bit, all you have to do is hold forward and Samus will adjust, circular room? Samus will follow the path of the circle until you deliberately break out of it. Same with objects in samus’s way that are only hip height, she simply steps over them. Really fantastically implemented system.

    The controls HAVE to be this precise and flawless, as its this precision that your skill is going to have to take advantadge of if you want to make it through the unlockable hard mode, where there are no collection powerups. You have one energy tank and ten missiles and thats it.

    The game plays exactly like the 2d metroids in 3d. Every trick you used to do back in the day you can do here. It really surprised me in just how bad it put the primes to shame with playing like metroid in 3d. I used to think the primes were so different because it just simply wasnt possible to have the same kind of game control in a 3d game and the primes were as close as it was going to get.

    But other M matches it exactly. The platforming is lightning fast, with the digital directions giving perfect consistent responses. Theres only 8 directions, its really not that complicated. You cant get this kind of response with something like analogs, there is a reason no 3d game has ever matched the precision of a 2d platformer before.

    You can literally create your own combos in combat.

    You can jump over a baddie, turn around fire off a charged shot, press jump again to go back to the spin jump, jump off a wall, land on a baddie, do an overblast, point at the screen, then fire a missile before ever hitting the ground.

    These are precise controls. They just demand skill like games used to. You HAVE to LEARN how to play, because its new, its not like the games weve been playing the same way for fifteen years now, where you can pick any random game from a genre and already know how 99% of it plays because you know the genre. Its new.

    As for the story. Yeah, it fills out Samus’s back story rather heavily, 90% of it is in the every beginning though.

    But most metroid fans, people who care enough about the story of metroid to follow it, found out about this side of Samus a little over a decade ago when the creator of the franchise authored a 2 part metroid comic book, this story is based off of that book, and even makes references to it that werent actually shown in the games cinematics (Like how Samus got kicked out of the military for the events of the first metroid (ans the events leading upt o it)… She knew she could get away with it…), and how she has ptsd from the space pirate raid pillage and murder of everyone and everything sho knew when she was three. Ten years is a long time ago. Were not really surprised.

    But the story and the way it is told is VERY Japanese. And like you said, not everyone will like it.

    But something that bothered me is how you call people with mental conditions weak. I know this wasnt an insult, and I know it wasnt on purpose, it was just a feeling expressed in ignorance. But let me assure you, as a war veteran I know many people Who suffer from PTSD, this is not something they chose to have, it is not easy to live with, it is not easy for the people who live with them, and they are not weak. They still spend months and someof them YEARS in active combat. And even if you DONT have PTSD, spend enough time in it, crap starts to build up, wear down on you. Your number will come. Sooner or later, everyone has their turn with the shakes. Getting the shakes doesnt make you weak, and not getting them doesnt make you strong. Thats just lucky or unlucky. Weak and strong comes into play with what you do after you snap out of it.

    Coping with a disorder like PTSD and STILL fighting, thats a portrayal of a person who is strong.

  14. avatar Eric

    The gameplay is ok. I liked the story and the graphics. But this game has many flaws.

    1 -The items. Adam unlocks them for us and later Samus decides to unlock it herself at certain moments of the game …. fail. Give me an upgrade when I kill a boss and I’ll be happy…. and dont forget my music

    2 – The doors. Some doors turn red just because developpers didnt want us to go through them for no reasons. Many times I wanted to go back to grab a missile expansion but I couldnt because the door was locked. What’s the meaning of this ? In real Metroid games when we cant enter a place its because we dont have what it takes to go further and when you can you can go back whenever you want, that’s it.

    3 – HP and Ammo. Pathetic…. Infinite Missiles and in intense fight u cant recover HP unless you’re lucky by not getting hit…

    4 – The end doesnt make sense at all.

    Team ninja ruined this game. This is by far the worst Metroid game of all time. Hardcore fans will agree with me.

    • avatar Celina

      Posted on Ooh, a rteflceive headsweats hat! Hmm, a running favorite? I like my Nike capris. Perfect for not-too-cold and not-too-warm days!

  15. avatar Tminusfun

    How exactly did this game have more style than the others? The enemies and level designs were both boring and felt quite monotonous after the first boss. Far from the lush, interconnected environments and foes of Super Metroid (heck, even Metroid 1 and 2 with their use of negative space to give the impression of an oppressive alien atmosphere were much better. The art direction was just horrendous, and all the characters looked like dead-eyed dead or alive rejects with an extra helping of uncanny valley “realism”. What happened to the cool, stylized Samus design in Super Smash Brothers Brawl? That was perfect!

    Why were all these monologues necessary? Samus already had a character, sure it was never fully revealed to the audience, but it never needed to be. She always had a consistent set of traits. She’s always been portrayed as stoic, but she’s had a consistent characterization throughout the series. Soparing the hatching in Metroid 2 and donating it to science in Super Metroid demonstrated her compassion. And don’t forget that she was visibly saddened by the destruction of the Chozo Temple at the end of the first Metroid Prime game, and mourned the deaths of her fellow bounty hunters at the end of Prime 3. She’s always been shown as a strong and compassionate character, who certainly wouldn’t break down in front of Ridley and need a token black sidekick to save her. That characterization via her actions, not to mention the backstory-via-scans in Prime, were a much better way to tell a story in a Metroid game, and it worked.

    Part of her appeal was her quiet mystique. She was as alien and haunting as the landscapes she explored. Now she’s just a crybaby who whines about her problems like every other female main character. The problem isn’t that they gave her a character, but that they gave her a character that contradicts everything that’s been built up and made her cool in the first place.

    For all the talk about how it’s “evolving” the series, there’s nothing new about Other M’s gameplay. It’s really just a dumbed down Ninja Gaiden without camera control. Auto-targeting is dodgy, and switching to an immobile first person perspective is just jarring, especially when then game forces you to do a pixel hunt and scan for some obscure clue in the background.

    I think it’s more than fair to compare If Nintendo really wanted to make a next gen Metroid, then why not take advantage of the nunchuck?

    The exploring feels tacked on, and there’s no sense of “iceberging” like there is in 1, Super Metroid, or Metroid Prime. Now you just follow painfully linear directions and maybe go to a bonus room. The level design is also pretty bland, and it isn’t helped by the boring ambient sounds. Combat is also a chore, especially when you kill all the enemies by jumping on them and shootting their heads, and don’t forget that you can’t use your missiles without that awkward first person switch. And because of regenerating health, there’s no real tension to the fights.

    What upsets me is that people are praising these just because they’re different from the other Metroid games, and calling it “innovation”. Nintendo didn’t innovate with Other M, they borrowed well-worn elements from other 3rd Person 3D action titles and diffused some Metroid elements within them, at the expense of a richer, more idiosyncratic experience that is synonymous with the name “Metroid”.

    I refuse to believe it’s because the traditional Metroidvania formula is stale. Shadow Complex, the recent Castlevania titles, and scores of popular indie games like Cave Story and VVVVVV prove that you can still create an exciting Metroidvania without unnecessary change and still deliver riveting experience. This was Nintendo’s chance to give Metroid a return to form after the linear nature of Prime 2 and 3, and they blew it.

    This game is a mess, from the sloppy controls, to the uninspired art direction, soundtrack, level design, enemy choices, and acting.

    • avatar Libor

      Tminusfun:

      Your reasons are perfect and I completely agree with you. And I will not praise a game only because it has written Metroid on the box. As a game it is a mess with few good ideas (I really liked over-the-shoulder view and with proper controls it could have been great)….

    • avatar Jensen

      What’s up with What’s up with people caoplmining that SMG2 or COD sucks? If you haven’t played them yet then stop arguing over it. I have them both and they’re awesome. Besides it’s all a matter of opinion Your all arguing about VIDEO GAMES!!!(Which I admit I’ve done before) It doesn’t make you any cooler.

  16. avatar tehwonderful1

    Haha I knew it Nintendo is The worst.

  17. avatar bryanald

    Some of you need to realize that there are a lot of us out here who really do actually enjoy this game and genuinely rating it highly. We will see more consensus in months to come, I’m sure, but for now the (for the lack of a better word) haters seem to be in the minority. All the so-called ‘reasons’ given to justify negativity seems to stem in the reviewer’s preconceptions or insistence on a certain control schemes, which the majority of us seem to get along just fine. It is true that a review is inherently an opinion, but sometimes I wish there was a greater emphasis on investigative approach rather than predominantly a subjective one.

  18. avatar Ferahtsu

    Beating this game on Hard won’t earn you anything. They, oddly, excluded the bonus final boss in hard mode. I wonder how many people recognized the various bosses that were recycled from previous (REAL) Metroid games.

    • avatar Yeah

      Well, there was Phantoon from super, the metroid queen from II…. which was actually a dna clone of the baby metroid from II (now we know why it didnt follow the same evolution as other metroids, it was special, it was a queen hatchling)….. so double points multiplier bonus activate!!!, Nightmare in a far more deserving battle than the one we got with him in fusion, and, well, Ridley of course.

      Just enough for some awesome fan service, one from each previous real game in the series…

      Metroid = Ridley
      Metroid II = Metroid baby grown into the queen.
      Metroid III= Phantoon
      Metroid IV= Nightmare

      Beating the game on hard however, DOES unlock something…. It unlocks every acheivement and every trophy on every game for the 360 and PS3.

  19. avatar Mikey Gordon

    This review is so biased.

  20. avatar a

    And this is why not everyone´s opinion one the internet must be taken serious

  21. avatar Luisk

    There’s not bad games… there’s only shittly gamers…

  22. avatar Ashley

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