Metroid Other M has big space boots to fill. Metroid has long been a beloved Nintendo franchise: the NES original set new standards in action platform titles and the 1994 SNES sequel Super Metroid is still spoken about in hushed, reverent tones even today. And let’s not forget the sheer brilliance of the recent Metroid Prime titles. How does Metroid Other M stack up when placed alongside such esteemed company? Read on to find out in this part of our Metroid Other M review.
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Metroid Other M review
Metroid Other M review: Story
Metroid Other M review: Controls
Previous Metroid titles have always been rated very highly by fans and critics alike, thanks largely to a reliance on intelligent gameplay and brilliant level design. Super Metroid practically invented the concept of the exploration-driven platform title and has since been emulated by other highly-esteemed titles, such as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
With the Metroid Prime trilogy it seemed as if Nintendo were taking a massive gamble, not only ditching the 2D viewpoint for a 3D first person shooter setup but also installing Western developer Retro Studios for the coding duties. As it turned out the risk paid off handsomely – so much so that Nintendo obviously felt confident enough to do the same with Metroid Other M.
Team Ninja is famous for the Dead or Alive series, which features big-breasted girls and extreme violence, but we were willing to give them the benefit of the doubt prior to experiencing Metroid Other M. Thankfully the end result is mostly great, combining blistering action with plenty of expansive storytelling, but sadly it never quite reaches the heights of the games that have preceded it.
First up, by fleshing out Samus’ storyline the developers have ultimately taken the edge off her previously icy character. Her sketchy past is something that lends Samus a sense of danger and mystery, but here all of her secrets are laid bare.
It also doesn’t help that Samus has the temperament of a self-indulgent teenager. In Metroid Other M she seems more concerned with wrestling with her inner-demons than tackling the massive xenomorphs directly in her firing range. In-between life-threatening assignments she’s just as likely to ponder her place in the universe than she is to think about how to stay alive, and this most definitely cheapens the character.
In previous Metroid games Samus had always been a silent protagonist, allowing the player to fill in the gaps and substitute her thoughts with their own. In Metroid Other M it is revealed that she has the voice of a mildly irritating drama queen, with her curiously emotionless delivery harming almost all of the cut-scenes she appears in.
Metroid Other M’s plot sometimes pushes the limits of believability. The manner in which you unlock Samus’ additional powers is particularly implausible. In previous games you would gain access to certain areas by picking up special items, but In Metroid Other M you’re told from the outset that Samus already has access to all of her powers – the only reason she doesn’t use them is out of respect for her new commander and former Galactic Army superior, Adam Malkovich. This plot device pushes the realms of believability to bursting point – expecting the player to believe that Samus would risk certain death just to avoid upsetting the chain of command is ludicrous.
Ultimately the faults which pepper Metroid Other M aren’t fatal on their own, but as they draw together during the length of the game they conspire to take the edge of this frenetic and otherwise thoroughly likable blaster. It’s still a wonderful title but when placed alongside the towering highpoints of this most illustrious of franchises, it ends up looking like a bit of a letdown.