Metroid: Other M Review
I give Nintendo a lot of credit for going all-out in terms of story and presentation. Other M is one of the first Nintendo titles to put such an emphasis on storytelling, and the Metroid franchise is better for it. The game presents beautifully crafted cutscenes (some in-game, some CGI) to help the story unfold in a coherent manner. But every once and a while, the story can get a bit cheesy. Some of Samus Aran’s lines in particular are a little too Emily Dickinson for me. Still, Other M does a nice job of presenting a complex, emotional story. Samus Aran is finally a humanized character - someone with depth and a past.
The plot takes place aboard a giant, floating ship stationed in space (called the Bottle Ship). Aran receives a distress signal and boards the Bottle Ship, looking for survivors. It’s different from the normal Metroid alien planet, but the Bottle Ship works out nicely. There’s a lot of variety in the environments, with some rooms designed to resemble planets.
Other M definitely takes on the Metroid staples: exploration, weapon upgrades, a feeling of isolation, missile expansions, health upgrades, and more are all front and center. I love how the game shows where items are located once you clear the room of enemies. A small blip will appear on your map. This doesn’t make the game any easier, just less frustrating, After all, it’s less about knowing where the items are and more about figuring out how to get to them.
All of these presentational luxuries would be pointless if the gameplay wasn’t up to par. Fortunately, it is. The negative reviews I’ve read have criticized Other M’s controls… and to be honest, I don’t understand why. The game plays very nicely. It’s amazing just how much you can do without the nunchuck, and I give Team Ninja credit. Other M, like all Metroid games, is about powering up and becoming stronger with time. Although the whole authorization approach to power-ups is a little strange (squad commander, Adam Malkovic, needs to authorize you to use your weapons), it ultimately works. By the end of the game, you feel unstoppable.
The gameplay mechanic of switching in and out of first person is genius. I was hesitant at first, thinking it could feel clunky and unnecessary, but it adds a whole new level of depth to the game. My only problem with the gameplay is pulling off the final moves. Jumping on top of enemies isn’t always as responsive as it should be. Also, some of the enemies are really powerful. Other M isn’t an easy game. You’ll find yourself dying a lot more often than in the Prime Trilogy.
Other M ends in an interesting way. Not to spoil anything, but it gives great incentive to go back and keep playing. I won’t say any more, except this: Other M might be the first Metroid game where I actually achieve 100% completion.
Metroid: Other M has taken a lot of risks. Nintendo has completely changed and streamlined their franchise, and I’m glad they took such liberties. Other M doesn’t top the Prime franchise… but let’s be honest - can anything? Nothing can really live up to the memories and hype associated with Retro’s trilogy. Nintendo is a smart company, and it’s best that the Prime series ended on such a high note.
It’s now time for the Metroid franchise to move forward. It has, and Other M is proof. So go do yourself a favor and get this game.