Metroid: Other M
by Crono Maniac

WARNING: ENTIRE GAME SPOILERS AHEAD!!!




To say that I love Metroid would be an inadequate description of my affection for the series. The word "Love" gets tossed around far too often and for far too minute of reasons to paint an accurate mental picture of my devotion to Nintendo's sci-fi masterpieces. However, being at a loss for a stronger word in the English language, it will simply have to suffice. I. Love. Metroid.

So, before I divulge my feelings on the latest entry in the franchise, let me provide some context by explaining my positions on the various other games in the series.

You see, I grew up with the noble Super Nintendo. Born too late for the NES, but too early for the advent of 3D, my formative years were spent with Super Mario World, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Mega Man X, Castlevania 4, Final Fantasy 4, Chrono Trigger, and, of course, Super Metroid. Best. Childhood. Ever. I'll save you the rundown of the lengthy list of reasons why Super Metroid is one of the best games of all time, and just be content to tell you that its my favorite non-Square game ever and that the atmosphere is so thick that I was too scared to play the game alone for years.

Several years later, I got a Game Boy Advance, and with it, Metroid Fusion, which I've beaten God knows how many times and it still hasn't even begun to get old. Following it up was the definitive example of a proper video game remake, Metroid Zero Mission, the best original game on the GBA, which I certainly don't say lightly. The game also happened to include a copy of the original Metroid, which I played, beat, loved, and is now one of my favorite NES games. After I discovered emulation, I finally got to finish off the set with Metroid 2: Return of Samus, gaming's most sorely underlooked gem.



The 2D Metroid games are the most consistently high quality games I've ever played, without a single game I'd give anything less than a 10 out of 10. I beat each of them at least once a year, and every gamer owes him or herself to play through each of them at least once. And then came Metroid Prime.

Now, I like the Metroid Prime series. With the exception of Hunters, they're all excellent games. The original even manages to equal the grandeur of the 2D titles, and really feels like Super Metroid in first person, which is about as big as compliments come. Prime 2 is the only Metroid game I haven't finished, but from what I've played, it seems to be the weakest in the trilogy. Nintendo still hasn't gotten the dual world gameplay right since Link to the Past (though Silent Hill has it down pat), and Prime 2 is no exception. Prime 3 controlled fantastically, but a lot of the powerups were lame (hyperball springs to mind), the atmosphere was a lot weaker than the first's, and the level design felt a little stark, though not to the degree of Hunters' thank God. I'd enjoyed the Prime games, especially the first one, but I was definitely ready for a fresh take on the franchise. And then one day during my Monday/Wednesday/Friday ritual, I happened upon this...



Ho-leee sheeit. I read the news article from the comic just to be sure what I'd read was true. A new Metroid was announced at E3 2009! Details sprung forth. 3rd Person! By the guys who made the awesome new Ninja Gaiden! Trailers were watched. Pants were shat. Then, the gaming network fell silent as no new information dropped. I passed the time by wondering what "Other M" meant.



Finally, a whole painful year later at E3 2010, a release date was set. August 31. The waiting grew more agonizing every moment.

Eventually, the day finally arrived. I rushed over to a locally run game store the day it came out to pick up my pre-ordered copy. They hadn't got the shipment yet, so I had to wait there for about an hour. Then they got it. I gave them my fifty dollars without a second thought, and dashed home to begin. The cover glistened and gleamed from the passenger seat. I arrived home, tore off the packaging, put in the game and began. In two sittings, I'd finished.

The Actual Review

After that agonizingly large introduction, you may be anxious to know about how I actually feel about the game. As I found out in the coming days, Metroid: Other M was the most divisive game I'd played since Chrono Cross. The internet ran amuck with various jokes and minor memes at the games expense. My opinion? Well, here's what I think.



IT'S

FUCKING

AWESOME.

Alright, now that I've pissed at least half of you off, allow me do so even further by stating that not only do I think this game is awesome, but that its better than Hunters (obviously), better than Corruption (less obviously), and probably better than Echoes. I will say that it's not as good as the first Prime or any of the 2D games, but that speaks more for those games' quality than for Other M's. Obviously I wouldn't make such outrageous statements if I felt that I couldn't back them up, so allow the gamut of qualifying statements to begin.

Gameplay

Let's start with the biggest point in Other M's favor. This game is simply a blast to play. Amazing control, perfect camera positioning, excellent combat, long lost powerups brought back from the grave , and the best boss battles in the entire series make this game absolutely marvelous to behold.

Control

One of the key elements of making a good game is in a fun and intuitive control scheme, Super and Zero Mission being the best examples in the Metroid series. In Super, moving Samus was like a ballet, with running and jumping controlling perfectly, almost like Samus was weightless, and bomb jumping and walljumping being immensely fun to use once you'd mastered their steep learning curves. Zero Mission made movement more fast-paced while making jumping of the wall and bomb variety easier to execute. Both games were a dream to play and control. How does Other M stack up?

The player first experiences the control scheme during the game's tutorial where a scientist with evil looking glasses gives you instructions on how to use your various abilities, the first being basic movement. It's very reminiscent of Zero Mission, with Samus dashing about at a brisk pace, and wall jumping being made even easier to pull off. It even leaves those little outlines behind you like Zero Mission did, originally ripped from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

The whole system works perfectly with the D-Pad too, the lack of an analog stick being something many people scoffed at before its release. The reason 3D D-Pad movement didn't work in, say, Super Mario 64 DS was that Mario 64 depended on moving around in 360 degrees, and Mario's speed altered depending on the level of tilt with the analog stick, which were both awkward to map to an eight direction digital button pad. In Other M, Samus only moves in eight directions, at a constant speed, which works far better than any analog stick would have because of the type of game Other M is trying to be.

Think of the difference Mario and Mega Man. In Mario, the majority of the game's challenge is in the platforming, with killing enemies being secondary to dodging. Therefore, Mario is given more complex movement physics, with acceleration and friction, as mastery of the platforming is the player's primary purpose. In Mega Man, however, platforming is often secondary to the myriad other challenges the games present, enemies, timing puzzles, and bosses running most rampant. To fit this, Mega Man moves at exactly one speed and stops the instant the player releases the D-Pad. Mario is a game where you run and jump, while Mega Man is a game where you run, jump, and shoot. So, if you think moving at one speed and only in eight directions is to Other M's detriment then a) consider that Other M is also a game where you run, jump, and shoot, and b) actually play the game, because if you don't think it works you probably haven't.

This all segues nicely into the rest of the game's flawless control scheme:



Hell yes. So simple and intuitive you could map it to an NES controller. What was the last third person action game you played that could've been mapped to an NES controller? I know I'm not the only one that misses the days where you running, jumping, and shooting only took two buttons and a D-Pad. Consider this: in Metal Gear Solid 4 you have to hold the left trigger, hold triangle, and press the right trigger to shoot. In Metroid: Other M, you press B 1 to shoot and A 2 to jump. You press Start to pause, you press the A button to change into the Morph Ball, and you dodge and move with the D-Pad. Team Ninja seems to be alone in realizing that games control better when controls are simple, and for that, I applaud them.

Camera

One of the reasons Samus controls so fluidly is because of the game's camera, the single best camera in any third person 3D game I've ever played. I never once found myself struggling to see anything in the entire game, and it did so without taking the weakling way out of mapping the camera to the right analog stick. The camera is always exactly where it needs to be, and you don't need to keep you're finger on the right analog stick the whole damn game for it to do so.

Another wonderful effect the camera gives off is when it views the game from an almost 2D plane. The environments are always fully 3D, but the camera positioning makes the game feel like a sidescroller in many segments. It's kind of like what Mega Man X7 tried and failed at, but you're never forced into the 2D plane and can always move around in all directions. To go with this as well as the lack of an analog stick, while running down curvy hallways, Samus will often automatically curve with the walls as she runs, adding further to the all together tight, fast-paced controls.

Combat

So, Samus moves fluidly, but that wouldn't mean much if combat was a chore (hello, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time). But, thankfully, combat is just as fun as the rest of the control scheme. Third person shooters generally need some sort of lock on mechanic to hit other enemies (Mega Man Legends, Syphon Filter, any projectiles in 3D Zelda), or else shooting becomes a slow process of stopping, pointing, and aiming (Metal Gear Solid). Since we're playing on an NES controller however, they decided to free up the buttons it would take to work in a lock-on feature by having every shot Samus fires automatically aim towards any enemy even vaguely in front of her. What, you ask? Samus aims automatically? Then what do I have to do? Well, since combat is so fast paced and frantic, not worrying about locking on frees up the player to focus on the other aspects of combat, such as the dodge move.

When Samus is about to get hit by a beam or an enemy, tapping any direction on the D-Pad causes Samus to dash away from the attack. If you have the fire button held, dodging instantly gives Samus a full charge shot to release at the enemy, or often fire point blank into their skull. It may be a little overpowered, but it helps make the player feel all the more awesome while still maintaining. Combat becomes a frantic barrage of attacks to dodge while focusing on picking off the numerous swarms of enemies as you dash about, and the chaos just makes it all the more enjoyable.

First Person Elements

The final element of Samus's control scheme is the much-touted and much-scoffed first person perspective, where pointing the controller at the screen causes the game to revert to a first-person perspective like the Prime games. This is the perspective in which you fire missiles, which are necessary for some bosses and making killing enemies a lot easier. As with many elements of Other M, this sounds awful on paper but works in practice. It doesn't work quite as flawlessly as the rest of the control scheme, but generally it serves to contribute to the combat's overall franticness while still keeping the player perfectly in control. It's also used to look around for items, solve puzzles in the environment, and giving the player access to a more detailed look at the environment, all tasks the first-person mode accomplishes with gusto. And since Sensemove still works in first person with a wiimote flail, you can still dodge away from upcoming attacks, once again contributing to the wonderful "Awesome factor" that makes the game work so well.

Control Conclusions

Now, I'm not the first authority on third person action games, so I'm not the first person to come to in regards to how one third person action game stacks up against others. But, from my experience, I can honestly say that Metroid: Other M has the best control scheme of any I've ever played. Controlling Samus has never been this much fun, especially not in 3D. Combat is fast-paced and fun. Even the first person mode works excellently. Few games can boast that just running around in a room is fun, and Other M is one of them. Oh, and did I mention that the Space Jump and the Screw Attack are no longer castrated and the Speed Booster makes it's first 3D appearance ever? Yeah. That's nice.

Setting

The game may be a blast to control, but Metroid has always been most well-known for its expansive nonlinear environments. Super Metroid and Metroid Prime dropped the player onto an enormous planet to explore, filled with monsters and bosses, and hidden passages that the player could explore at his leisure. The Metroidvania is inseparable from Metroid, and if the game doesn't have a huge, wide open planet to explore, it can be assumed to have failed.

Except no. That's fucking retarded.

HUUUUGE Digression

Metroid, since its inception, has continued in two mutually exclusive directions: the Metroid 1 and the Metroid 2. Metroid 1 had a gigantic world with monsters, bosses, secret passages, and hidden powerups the player could search for at his leisure. The isolation gave the game immersion and atmosphere that was unlike anything else on the NES. Everyone loves it, and for good reason.

Metroid 2 is different. In Metroid 2 the player is not free to explore, as the world is (key word here) arbitrarily limited. Lava arbitrarily blocks your progress until you kill enough Metroids, and then it recedes. It ceases to be about exploring a giant world with one single overarching goal (killing Mother Brain), and instead becomes a series of levels with multiple goals in between.

The fact is, Metroid 2 is a linear game. And that is not a bad thing.

Super Metroid took the Metroid 1 formula and perfected it, making the world, enemies, bosses, and powerups more interesting and the world infinitely more immersive and atmospheric.

Metroid Fusion didn't continue in the direction established by Super. Instead, it took the Metroid 2 formula and added something missing from the previous games: story and characterization. It also became more goal based, turning again into a series of linear levels blocked by arbitrary limitations (in this case, locked doors.)

Alright, looking at the two, it's obvious which one is better. Metroid, Super Metroid, Metroid Zero Mission, and Metroid Prime are better than Metroid 2, Metroid Fusion, and Metroid Prime 3. But here's the thing. The latter three are still amazing games. Linearity isn't bad if the game is still fun. See: Mario, Mega Man, Contra, Half-Life, Bioshock, etc., etc. A non-linear progression and a sense of exploration and adventure can make a game great (one of the many wonderful qualities of Minecraft), but linearity in and of itself doesn't make a great game bad.

The main point is that Metroid: Other M is one of the most linear games in the series, and that shouldn't be the death sentence many pronounce it as. It's certainly not Final Fantasy XIII linear, and there are still plenty of moments where you're forced to explore a hefty chunk of area, along with multiple exits, deadends, loops, and all the stuff people equate to Metroid; there's just not as much of it as in Prime or Super.

It's a Metroid 2 through and through. The levels are still limited by totally arbitrary pools of lava locked doors, but it doesn't matter. The environments are still fun to explore, the combat is better than ever, the atmosphere is still there (though not quite as palpable as Super and Prime), and the boss fights are fantastic. Metroid: Other M is a linear game, and I don't give a damn. It's still fun, and that's what matters.

Oh yeah. The boss fights.

Bosses

I mentioned that Other M's bosses are the best in the series, and I wasn't kidding. The game is balanced between some truly enthralling original battles alongside some nostalgia-feeding rematches with some of the 2D games most interesting encounters. Here are some examples:

Fune and Namihe


Sort of a retread of the Botwoon battle in Super Metroid, Fune and Namihe are giant worms that leap in between holes in the wall trying to shoot at you and crush you in their jaws. The difference is that in Super Metroid you don't leap on Botwoon's head and shove a charged shot down its throat.


Goyagama


Goyagama tries to hit you with lava and smash you with its hands. You kill it by freezing its arms in place, running up its arms to latch onto and fire into his head while he thrashes around in the middle of a lake of lava.


Vorash


Another awesome lava battle, Vorash is a giant lava fish the size of a small building who leaps around trying to eat you. How do you kill him? By dragging it onto land with the grapple beam, sticking your beam in its mouth, and charge shotting it to death.. I cannot emphasize enough how cool this feels ingame.


Ridley


Ridley's back, surprise, surprise, and he's purple again! Hooray! You'd think Zero Mission and Prime's black Ridley would be cooler, but I guess purple just suits him best. He's an incredibly engaging boss battle (though it's hard to top fighting him in freefall in Prime 3), and this incarnation boasts what might be the best version of his main theme yet. Have a listen.


Nightmare


Gravity-altering bosses are always interesting, and the Nightmare is just as fun and challenging as he was in Fusion. You actually fight him twice, once before and once after you unlock the Gravity Suit. Looks like a didn't need to be disappointed about him not having a maskless phase...


Queen Metroid


One of the best bosses in the 2D Metroid, and one of the best bosses in video games period, finally gets the deluxe treatment in 3D. Serving essentially as Other M's final boss, the Queen's 3D treatment doesn't disappoint in the slightest. The first phase is a blast, and the killing blow, where Samus grapples herself into the Queen's mouth, rolls down into her stomach, and oneshots her from the inside with a powerbomb is one of the most viscerally satisfying moments in the entire series (even if it does screw it up a bit by not revealing that the powerbomb is unlocked before you roll down, probably causing the player a couple of confused deaths.)


Closing Thoughts

The game's certainly not perfect. Some of the game design choices are aneurysm-inducingly idiotic, mostly single moments like the infamous elevator shaft, the aforementioned not telling you your powerbomb is turned on before you roll down the final boss's stomach, and every single fucking one of those point-and-click screens (trust me, just use a walkthrough if you're having any sort of trouble, they're not worth it). But, for the most part, I don't care. Like I said, these are single moments that won't be any trouble on my no doubt numerous future playthroughs. Nothing, with the exception of Super Metroid, is perfect. Judging the game on its own merits, it kept me sufficiently enthralled to beat it in two sittings, and it really is just fun.



All you out there who've been put off by the internet naysayers really should give the game a shot, and I look forward to any future games in the Metroid series from Team Ninja.



















































OH FUCK THE STORY.

Goddamn it, Metroid: Other M. You had so much going for you, and then you pissed off the rest of the internet and myself with all those fucking cutscenes. Ugh. Well, here we go. Other M's story.

Well, to be fair, Other M's story isn't what's really at fault. Often times, the most important part of storytelling is the telling part, not the story itself. An animated film or show tells its story through three mediums: art, sound, and writing. One of these Other M does well, while the other two it flounders so absolutely magnificently as to gain the ire of what feels like the entire goddamned solar system.

Well, let's start with the good.



Metroid: Other M endears itself to me pretty much right off the bat with its absolutely beautifully rendered intro cinematic. The game lovingly recreates the final battle of Super Metroid (tied for first place in my mind with Zelda: Ocarina for best Final Boss fight ever) in glorious 3D. One thing about this game is that the prerendered cinematics are positively gorgeous. Every time a prerendered cutscene pops up, I watch slack jawed at how just how great everything looks. Cutscenes (and gameplay for that matter) using the in-game graphics look great too, though not quite up to the already very high level of Prime 3, and Samus's character model looks fantastic. Team Ninja really hit it where it counts in the visual department.

Other M semi-succeeds with its excellent soundtrack, but sadly it suffers from what I like to call Xenosaga syndrome. The music is great, but only when it's there. For most of gameplay, the game is perplexedly silent, though the shrieks of the many enemies you utterly brutalize do serve to relieve the aural monotony. To be honest, the lack of music didn't bug me all that much, but it is a little vexing for a series with as high a reputation for excellent music as this one, and with all the nostalgia-tripping the game is doing with its bosses, I wouldn't have minded a few nice Brinstar/Norfair remixes.



And then the bad. First, and most immediately obvious is the voice acting. Most of the characters are fine, but Samus's voice actress is, without hyperbole, blitheringly awful. She delivers every single line in the exact same dull monotone. She singlehandedly ruins every single scene, including that intro I love so much, with her every line hitting the ear like an off-key note. It's horrendous, and I can't believe Team Ninja screwed up so hard. Retro Studios hired Jennifer Hale to voice Samus in the Metroid Prime games, a woman with something like a hundred voice acting credits, to play Samus when all she ever did was grunt. Why would Team Ninja hire some no-name no-talent bimbo for Samus's first speaking role ever?!

The worst part of Samus's speaking role is that most of it would still sound bad even from a good voice actress, which segues nicely into the second major problem in the games presentation, the writing. Not the story, we'll be getting into that later, but the dialogue. Samus narrates constantly which only to serves to exasperate the voice acting problem, as well as being redundant and sometimes insulting the player's intelligence. Samus we'll often narrate events the player has already easily figured out, and somebody clearly never told the writers to show not tell. And what does "Mother, time to go" even mean? Is she the mother, or is it mother brain? Go where? Does she mean "Mother Brain, time to die" or "Alright Samus, time to go and kill Mother Brain?" What does it mean?! What?! BLEH!



But I digress. Poor voice acting and writing didn't stop numerous PSX-era titles from being great, and I think Samus gets better as the game progresses because I found myself getting angry less and less as the game went on, though perhaps I was just being desensitized. Nintendo is just getting into the whole "telling good stories" thing anyway, and they need practice like this that everyone else got in the 32/64 bit era. The thing that makes the crappy storytelling much more of a deal breaker than Silent Hill or Mega Man X4 is that it comprises such a larger part of the game. Something like fifteen percent of this game's eight hours are cutscenes, and it really serves to disrupt the otherwise amazing game.

On the other hand, the story itself really isn't all that bad, by video game standards anyway. It's ahead of Halo by a wide margin, it's just that Halo doesn't suck nearly as much at telling it's Starship Troopers-knockoff story as much as Other M sucks at telling it's Alien-knockoff story. The whole subplot with the traitorous space marine was interesting and made up for the lack of isolation with a sense of overwhelming paranoia. If the writers hadn't seemingly forgotten about it by the end of the game, it could have bzeen even more compelling. I actually kind of liked Anthony Higgs, it's just that he got trampled under Samus's bullshit. A Mother Brain-type android going through an identity crisis when her "mother" seemingly abandons her? That's some cool stuff. If the game had been an hour or two longer, I feel like they could have fit all of this stuff together into a semi-intriguing narrative, voice acting and writing be damned. But the game ends right when the player is pumped for a big climax and just sort of fizzles out. The second ending the player can earn after the credits roll helps a little, but I feel like the game had so much more to offer.



And now its time to address the two main elephants in the room. First is the powerup system. As you've probably heard, Samus deactivates all of her upgrades at the beginning of the game, and doesn't turn them back on until Adam gives her authorization to use them. This means that the game feels a little frustrating at times because of certain situations where Adam should clearly give Samus her powerups but doesn't. And this has people flipping their shit.

You know what? Team Ninja tried something new. And in some ways, it's more compelling than the traditional "Now I need to go through the fire room up ahead. Oh look! I just happened to find a Varia Suit upgrade that just happens to perfectly function with my Power Armor and allows me to go through this area I just happened to need to go through." The scenes near the end where she no longer can contact Adam and just starts activating her powerups when she needs them are actually pretty funny, too. And you know what else? It doesn't even matter. No matter how annoying it is that Adam doesn't activate the Varia Suit, it's essentially identical to just happening to find it when you need it. It is a purely cosmetic change and really shouldn't matter as much as it seems to.



Second is Samus. Apparently, Samus in Other M is going completely against her characterization in previous games as being a stoic loner who never emotes, is fiercely determined, and regularly kicks ass and chews bubble gum, except she's all out of gum.

This. Is. Fucking. Retarded.

Samus isn't stoic. She's just one-dimensional.

If you think I'm talking out of my ass here and that Samus is actually a well-developed character, than try this little thought experiment. Play though any of the first three Metroid games, and, the whole time, pretend Samus is a robot. Pretend the instruction manual to all three games read "Go stop Mother Brain/kill all Metroids, the Federation sent Samus, a hyper advanced android who would finish all tasks at all costs." Go ahead. I'll wait.

You done? Any contradictions to that statement whatsoever? If you said yes, you're either lying or you picked Metroid 2. Samus's sole act of characterization in the entire original trilogy occurred at the end of Metroid 2.



That's right. The only establishing character moment for this "stoic badass" is that she refused to complete her mission because she couldn't resist the temptation to play mommy to the planet-killing monstrosity.

Other M Samus isn't a blasphemy against gaming's precious heroine. An emotional Samus with motherly tendencies is an approach that could have worked. All it would have needed would have been writers who knew which end of a pen to write with and a voice actress who didn't have half her brain missing.

Team Ninja went against expectations, which might have been for the better. If they'd listened to the fans who'd formed a detailed characterization of Samus based off of precisely jack shit, all we'd have would be another goddamn game starring another goddamn clone of one of the worst goddamn characters in modern gaming:



If you can look me in the eye and tell me that you wanted Samus to be another generic badass space marine that's infested the next-generation game culture, then, quite frankly, fuck you.



Actual Closing Thoughts

Metroid: Other M leaves me feeling incredibly divided. On the one hand, the gameplay experience is absolutely phenomenal, barring a few "What the hell do I do here" moments. But on the other, its attempt at storytelling is so totally embarrassing and downright unpleasant that it fails at even being campy, and ends up just being incredibly tedious. The story and Samus's characterization are nowhere near as bad as the fandom seems to think, but that matters little when the writing and voice acting make all the cutscenes a veritable chore to slog through.

But, nevertheless, I'm inclined to be kind to it. Metroid: Other M represents something that's at a dire shortage in modern games; willingness to take risks. Gaming needs developers who are willing to experiment, and as production cycles grow longer and costlier, fewer people are willing to make something that isn't all but guaranteed to sell. Risks are what gave us the masterpieces of the GameCube era. Let's turn Metroid into a first-person shooter. Let's cover Hyrule in water. Let's take the survival horror out of Resident Evil and turn it into an action game. Team ICO's entire design strategy is taking an idea that sounds utterly ridiculous like making the entire game an escort mission or a boss rush and somehow making it work. Metroid: Other M may not enthrall nearly as much as ICO or Shadow of the Colossus, but it's worth playing through because what does work works really, really well, and there really isn't anything else quite like it.

Nintendo could have just repeated Metroid 1 over and over and over, but they didn't. They chose to keep the fans reeling by never allowing the series to stagnate. I've seen people criticizing Zelda: Twilight Princess for just being Ocarina of Time in brown-o-vision and then bashing Metroid Fusion for "straying too far from the series' roots." Fusion could very well have been a better game if they'd merely refined Super Metroid (see Zero Mission.)

But they've only done it a total of four times (Metroid, Super Metroid, Zero Mission, and Prime) in over twenty-five years, and one was a completely different genre. If that's all Nintendo ever did then Metroid would cease to evolve and gradually slide out of relevancy (see the -vania half of the Metroidvania for a good example.) Mega Man 9 is a fantastic game, and Sonic 4 will probably be a lot of fun, but neither are going to appear on many "Best Games Ever" lists. You can only drop the player on a rock and tell him to collect missiles, energy tanks, morph balls, morph ball bombs, long/charge/spazer/wave/plasma beams, and screw attacks so many times before it gets stale, and I commend Nintendo for holding back. I'm not saying I wouldn't like more, but dropping a new "traditional" Metroid every six or seven years ensures they're always the masterpiece we expect and never feel stale, and is far better than flooding the market with seven identical games (still talking about Castlevania if you're wondering) in just a decade.



Metroid is still relevant because Nintendo keeps shaking things up with huge risks, and Other M is a risk that, for the most part, pays off. Metroid: Other M is really fun, and its numerous flaws do draw away from that. But it's worth your money. It's worth your time. It's not a game worth a perfect score, it's not a masterpiece, but it is something worth defending.



A damn good game.






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