You play as Samus Aran, famous intergalactic bounty hunter. After returning from her mission to wipe out the Metroids and Mother Brain on the planet Zebes, she picks up a distress signal from the "Bottle Ship" and sets off to investigate. Within the ship she discovers a group of Galactic Federation troops and a wide range of menacing creatures on the loose, the kind of situation Samus knows all too well.
Story Introduction and Premise
Okay, first off I would like to apologize if this comes off more like an angry rant, now on to the review.
Metroid: Other M is the first game in the series to feature heavy usage of cutscenes. and it DOES NOT WORK.
If I had to describe the writing in this game with one phrase, I would use "Really bad anime", the cutscenes are long, and they WILL start to irritate you very quickly. The game relies heavily on Samus to deliver exposition, and I do not think good writing involves having the protagonist repeat to the player what just happened on the screen moments before.
The most complained about aspect of the writing in this game is how the character of Samus Aran was handled. Having the distinction of being one of the first, if not the first female protagonist in gaming history, her character is regarded as a certifiable badass, smashing through hordes of enemies intent on saving the galaxy from hostile forces, even if it ends with her death. And what does she become in this game? Dull, childish and blindly following orders from her former commander. Also she repeats the word "Baby" a million times during the course of the game (A fun drinking game if you liked alcohol poisoning is taking a shot everytime she says baby)
In this game, Samus only activates powerups when Adam (the leader of the Galactic Federation unit) tells her to, which leads to several stupid events during the course of the game. Being forced to run through a lava room without the Varia Suit until Adam decides to finally let her use it while Samus loses health at a steady pace is just stupid. Also, when Samus inevitably meets Ridley, she just loses it and has to be snapped out of it by one of the soldiers. At this point, Samus has met and defeated Ridley twice already, and she just breaks down when meeting him in this game? why?
Other games in the series like Super Metroid and Metroid Prime immersed you in their game worlds, and they did not have to rely on cutscenes to do so. I didn't care about any of the characters in the game or what was happening, while Metroid Prime gave you scannable objects that detailed a far more interesting story than the plot of this game and did not feature ANY supporting characters except for perhaps the boss creatures. Such a shame the writing is so bad, because I am not against the idea of Samus having a larger talking role and I think it would be a good idea for future titles, I just think the depiction of her in this game is awful.
The game plays like a 3D sidescroller with moments where you can swap to a first-person view to fire missiles or observe the environment. Samus has a few new moves in this game, she can dodge or perform finishing moves. The finishing moves are a nice addition, but you will come to rely on them heavily while taking down tough enemies. The staple Metroid gameplay element of hunting for items is still here, but your ability to explore where you please is severely limited, this game forces you down a linear path (even more so than Metroid Fusion did) which is quite disappointing as exploration is such a crucial element to the gameplay of the other titles in the series. The overall gameplay just doesn't hit the mark that Super Metroid and the first Prime game hit.
Graphics and Sound--Production Values
One of the things that Other M nailed was the graphics, this game is one of the best looking titles on the Wii. the sound design and soundtrack are also satisfying (the soundtrack containing remixes of classic Metroid music tracks) but the voice acting falls short. Samus sounds monotone and the other characters don't sound any better, as if the voice actors resented having to read their dialogue (I can't really blame them)
In conclusion, unless you seriously love the franchise and want to play every Metroid game out there, it's probably best you spend your money elsewhere. You could also watch this 2 hour video compiling all of the cutscenes, with added commentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMI1-DDklqE&list=PLC63A602826B0DADA
What did you think of this review?