SirBryghtside Reviews: Metroid: Other M

METROID: OTHER M

Now with more pretty pictures!

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The Metroid series has always been an interesting one - while all the other branches of Nintendo, like Mario, Zelda and Pokémon have been churning out the same thing with a couple of spin-offs every other week, Metroid has always been the one which has dared to go beyond the bounds of the generic. Their latest offering is no exception, and is definitely one of the most original games I've ever played.

The problem is, originality isn't everything.
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I'll start off by going over the gameplay, because this was definitely where the game succeeded the most. The intuitive system of the WiiMote flick to change from third to first person view was a stroke of genius, as it introduces something that not many games manage to, or even think to achieve - making the controls themselves a part of the experience. Whether you're frantically switching the perspective during a boss fight, or delivering the final blow to a downed enemy, this element just works, and never feels clunky. The rest of the combat is just plain fun - most of this comes from three features - Sense Move, Lethal Strike, and Overblast[1]. These moves take a while to master, but once you have, the fights become visually stunning and incredibly fun sequences, each of which you can approach in a different way. The boss battles are similarly epic, although sometimes you can feel a tad distant from the gameplay, watching Samus pull of all the moves without you really doing much. The non-adjustable difficulty level doesn't help this, either - it is a very easy game, almost ridiculously so, most notably at the end when literally jumping on any enemy will kill it. Weirdly though, these issues feel surprisingly minor, and the combat is definitely the best part of the game.

The rest of the gameplay varies in quality - the puzzles, while usually being very easy to solve, do give you a vague feeling of satisfaction after imagecompletion. However, the game is totally linear - it sacrifices any sense of freedom it could have had, the devs throwing invisible walls in the most inappropriate places they could find, and holding you by the hand everywhere you go. The only part where you have any freedom is after the main story has ended, but it ends up as a bland pick-up grab - it doesn't help that the pick-ups are almost totally useless anyway (who needs more rockets when you can restore them on the go?). However, the most irritating part of the gameplay comes with the forced changes of perspective that crop up everywhere - for example, walking through certain doors throws you into an over-the-shoulder view, where Samus walks incredibly slowly, the worst part being when it switches you into first person perspective, making you search for something when there is no indication of what it actually is that you're supposed to be searching for. In spite of all this, though, the gameplay is incredibly captivating, and is definitely the best part of the game overall.

Now, onto the storyline. Unless you've been living under the internet equivalent of a rock for the past few weeks, then you'll know about the ongoing controversy on how they ruined Samus, how it's a misogynist nightmare, how it's turning her into Princess Peach... but I'm going to do my best to avoid this for the duration of this review, because, to put it bluntly, it's a load of over-inflated nonsense. Truth is, the storyline wasn't sexist, character destroying or anything.

It just sucked.

imageThe bulk of the game is based in a 'Bottle Ship', where there are a three different biospheres, one Forest, one Ice, and one Lava, which is actually quite a cool part of the game, with detailed scenery everywhere, but the constant reminder that it is an illusion. Samus explores these with a group of 6 or 7 marines, and there's a neat little assassination subplot, which I must confess had me hooked. So, there's a lot of good general ideas, but that's not what matters - what really matters is the delivery. The general storytelling in Other M seems to be occasionally interesting parts in the main plotline followed by excruciatingly long and boring backstory, which is almost completely unnecessary. For example, in one scene Samus is listening to her orders, when it goes into the 'deep', 'meaningful' 'significance'[2] of the fact that she puts her thumb down instead of up. There are three major problems with this - one, it is almost entirely random and needless, two, it breaks up the gameplay for about twenty minutes for you to watch the same scenes repeated in a cutscene, over and over, and worst of all, this same formula is repeated throughout - most noticeably at the end of the game when you have to sit through an even longer cutscene, only realising that you'd defeated the final boss half an hour ago when the credits roll. That's not to say that the story isn't interesting - because it could have been - but the way they put it across, cramming a whole novel's worth of plot into a short game, only portrayed through cutscenes, even skipping over the assassination subplot (arguably one of the story's strongest points), just didn't work. At all.

To wrap it up:
Metroid: Other M is a game that mixes original gameplay elements with awesome action sequences to produce an amazing gameplay experience all round. Had it not been for the painfully bad plot, this game would have been almost perfect - but the storyline really does get in the way of what is, otherwise, an epic game. But it really is worth your time to experience the gameplay of Metroid's latest offering - and it's a short game, so I'll finish up with one final word:

Rent?

[2] Note the heavy use of inverted commas

Very nice review. Short enough to be appealing, long enough to be informative. You're specific without giving spoilers, and the whole thing just flows very nicely.

My confusion is with the "Rent?" Why is there a question mark? And further, as this is clearly a shortened idea that I'm expected to be familiar with, what's the rest of it? "Rent before you buy"? "To rent or not to rent"? Perhaps with the minor change: "...so I'll finish up with one final thought: Other M is worth playing but not worth buying."

Or something, if that's not your precise condensed opinion.

It's an incredibly minor gripe, though, and all in all I enjoyed reading your review!

Savant Crime:
Very nice review. Short enough to be appealing, long enough to be informative. You're specific without giving spoilers, and the whole thing just flows very nicely.

My confusion is with the "Rent?" Why is there a question mark? And further, as this is clearly a shortened idea that I'm expected to be familiar with, what's the rest of it? "Rent before you buy"? "To rent or not to rent"? Perhaps with the minor change: "...so I'll finish up with one final thought: Other M is worth playing but not worth buying."

Or something, if that's not your precise condensed opinion.

It's an incredibly minor gripe, though, and all in all I enjoyed reading your review!

Thanks! And the question mark was there to show it was a suggestion, I guess... it makes sense in my head...

Glad you enjoyed it!

SirBryghtside:
Truth is, the storyline wasn't sexist, character destroying or anything.

It just sucked.

I think this is what most people are missing in the whole argument, including Bob, the story was just God awful.

I DEMAND TUPPERWARE!

haha :P great read man, really enjoyed it. Well done on the pictures too my friend, soon writing will consume your life too :D

domble:
Well done on the pictures too my friend, soon writing will consume your life too :D

You make it sound so much less horrifying and painful than it really is.

Oh and Mr. SirBryghtside, very good review.

Finally! Someone who didn't totally freak out about this game and was able to appreciate the good parts of it. You're right about the story: it could have been good, but the delivery ruined it. Great review!

Stranger of Sorts:

domble:
Well done on the pictures too my friend, soon writing will consume your life too :D

You make it sound so much less horrifying and painful than it really is.

I know, right? Fucking consonants!

domble:

I DEMAND TUPPERWARE!

haha :P great read man, really enjoyed it. Well done on the pictures too my friend, soon writing will consume your life too :D

I guess I should've seen that coming :P

And thanks to everyone else for your support - but I'm not sure what to review next D:

 

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