Metroid Other M Review: There are the good Metroid games, then there's that Other one... - Edward Roivas Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Metroid Other M Review: There are the good Metroid games, then there's that Other one...

Metroid Other M starts out with a recreation of the end of Super Metroid, with Samus being saved from Mother Brain by the infant Metroid. She wakes up on a ship, and it's revealed that this was a flash back to her "recent past". It's important to point this out because there is a common misunderstanding that Other M takes place at the start of the timeline, when in truth it's the second to last, before Fusion and, as I said, just after Super.

She soon receives a "Baby's Cry" distress signal, named so because it's designed specifically to attract attention - you know, because most distress signals are used to tell everyone you're fine - and heads to the source, the "Bottle Ship", where she encounters her old Galactic Federation CO, Adam Malkovich. He's at the head of a squad of GF Troopers investigating the Bottle Ship. If you haven't noticed due to the incredible subtlety, there's a theme of motherhood that's been somewhat blatantly written into the game. If you haven't noticed, Other M is an anagram for Mother and M:OM... Do I even need to say it?

She agrees to listen to his orders while there, and wait for him to authorize her Suit Upgrades before she uses them, because they don't want to damage the Bottler Ship. In practice, this is more or less a more realistic version of the old system of getting them from the stomachs of dead monsters, but it creates a few plot holes. It makes sense not to allow use of the Power Bombs or Super Missiles, but why can't she use her Varia Suit, Gravity Suit, or other upgrades not related to combat? There's an infamous "Hell Run", where Samus runs through a volcano, constantly taking damage, without turning on her Varia Suit (which protects her from heat related damage). Why? Adam didn't specifically tell her to. I can't decide who is more idiotic, Adam for not authorizing the Varia Suit, or Samus for having to be told to use it. 



Metroid Other M is more story focused than the rest of the Metroid games, and was made with the intent of fleshing out Samus' character. How well does this go? Not well at all, it contradicts what characterization she's had throughout the rest of the series (before you say "Samus never had a character", Metroid Fusion. In Fusion she defies orders, while in Other M she follows them even when they needlessly put her life in more danger than it already is) has numerous plot holes, and seems intent on making Samus appear to be as weak a character as possible. 
***SPOILERS***

There's one scene where she encounters Ridley, enemy she's killed seven times if you count the Prime games and the manga(The former is definitely canon, the latter debatable. Other M pretty much confirmed it by bringing PTSD into the games, which started with the manga), and she just freezes up in terror. To bring up the manga yet again, her parents were killed by Ridley when she was a child, so she's terrified of him and has PTSD - too bad this whole thing was resolved in the manga itself, near the end where she kills Ridley. Samus having PTSD actually could have been an interesting element of the plot, but they never mention it before nor after the boss fight, so it was nothing more than a way to add drama to the scene.

The writer seemed hell bent on making Samus appear to be as weak a character as he could. She is dependent on others, submissive, and is portayed as useless as others resolve take care of problems and she stands awkwardly in the background. The villain is killed by a squad of Galactic Federation soldiers, Ridley is killed by the Metroid Queen, Sector Zero is destroyed by Adam, and so on. It's simply impossible that someone like this could have destroyed planets filled with Space Pirates alone, or had the strength to kill three of her friends in Prime 3.

There's also a 'Deleter' subplot, about a traitor among Adam's men, killing the others and destroying evidence. Who is it? I have no idea, the game never tells you. They seem to completely forget about it towards the end of the game. You do have a boss fight against the Deleter, where his face is concealed by the forklift he's trying to kill you with, and I'm forced to wonder just how stupid this guy is. A planet full of Space Pirates didn't stand a chance, and he thinks a giant forklift evens the playing field?

You're not really given any reason to care about the members of Adam' squad though, with the exception of Anthony Higgs, a walking stereotype and easily the most likable character in the game, which speaks volumes about the others. Metroid Prime 2 did a much better job of making you care about the Galactic Federation squad on Aether, and they were dead before the game started.

Another... notable, moment in the story is when Samus is going to Sector Zero to destroy the Metroids that the Galactic Federation has been breeding. One escaped, and she was about to destroy it when she get's shot in the back by Adam, who she constantly goes on and on about as her father figure. Her Power Suit dematerializes (apparently Adam's Freeze Pistol is the most powerful weapon in the universe. Forget nanomachines, I need that freeze pistol) and she's left completely vulnerable. Right before the Metroid attacks her, Adam shoots and kills it with the freeze pistol. After all, shooting the most deadly creature in the universe as opposed to someone who has followed his every order and saved the universe repeatedly just wouldn't make any sense. He tells her that she can't go to Sector Zero, because the Metroids might be unfreezable, making them invulnerable. He goes in to set off the self destruct switch... inside Sector Zero.

Just think about that for a moment. Even though he believes the Metroid might be unfreezable, he shoots Samus first. If it was unfreezable, then his freeze pistol would do nothing to it, and they'd both be dead. Then he goes off on his heroic sacrifice because the Metroids might be unfreezable, meaning Samus couldn't destroy them, even though no one has seen an unfreezable Metroid. Last but not least, the self destruct button is inside the thing that it causes to be destroyed. 

*** END SPOILERS***

I could continue, but that's the majority of the stories problems. Well, in addition to long, drawn out cutscenes filled with the stating and restating of the obvious.

Something you'll use a lot in combat is the "sensemove", a dodge mechanic that is utterly broken. By tapping the D-Pad in any direction, you'll dodge attacks that are still meters away or attacks that were never going to hit you in the first place, and fully charge your beam for high damage. There were actually quite a few occasions where I got two sensemoves off a single attack, and they do nothing to punish button mashing, so you can just tap it as fast as you can and then you can dance around the enemies while blasting them with your fully charged beam. So that I could make a point in this review, at one point I turned my back to the TV and mashed the D-Pad for one minute. When I turned around, I hadn't taken any damage. 



There are almost no attacks that can't be dodged with sensemove, and one of them takes the enemy so long to use you can just use Concentration to regain your health every time it hits you. Or you can just jump over it to avoid it. On the chance that your button mashing skills fail you, you have 1 health survival and Concentration to fall back on.

One health survival allows you to survive an attack that should have killed you, leaving you with one health. This gives you extra opportunity to use Concentration. When your health is at 1/4th your number of Energy Recovery tanks, you can restore your health by holding the Wii Remote vertically and holding A. You're not even vulnerable while doing this; if you tap the D-Pad while doing this you won't move, but if an enemy tries to attack you you'll do a sensemove.

Concentration can also be used at any time to refill your missiles, making missile expansions useless. In fact, after a short period of time I started ignoring not only missile expansions but Energy Tanks; what drastically increases your health. Throughout the game I had 25%-50% less health than I should have, and the game was still laughably easy.

You can use missiles by going into first person mode, which means that you have to go from holding the Wii Remote sideways like an NES controller to pointing at the screen, which caused most of my few deaths. While in First Person mode you can't move. Speaking of movement, since Other M doesn't use the nunchuk, you use the D-pad for movement in a three dimensional space.



All of your upgrades are standard Metroid items without a single original idea to be found; You could argue that the Diffusion Beam is new, but it's a beam version of the Diffusion Missiles from Metroid Fusion.

The best thing about the game is the engine it runs on; The beam weapons all look bright and well done, the diverse environments and enemies are highly detailed, and it runs at 60 FPS without ever dropping in my experience.

The earlier mentioned First Person Mode isn't only used for firing missiles, it's also used in the pixel hunts. The pixel hunts force you into First Person Mode, and you can't move until you find... something. You're never given a hint as to what it is, and it's more frustrating than I could express in words. 

As for the exploration, there is none. It's a straight line, until the very end when you return and have already beaten the game. You'll often be locked out of back tracking to get expansions you missed, and one of the times you can will cause a game breaking glitch if you do.

So yes, it's a bad game. The only praise I can give it is that it's got good graphics and is dirt cheap, but for under $10 you could get The Conduit, Rogue Trooper, S&P Star Successor, Madworld, or Red Steel 2. All ranging from decent to great and all much, much better than Other M. But to end the review on a positive note, bad doesn't necessarily mean not fun (as it's fans who come up with awful arguments to defend it prove). To someone who's never played an action game before, the broken game mechanics wouldn't seem like a bad thing, and if you've never played a Metroid game then the story won't be quite as damning. So, I can recommend this game to anyone who doesn't care about story and has no experience with Metroid or action games. Anyone who doesn't fit into that Venn Diagram should pass.

3/10

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