Metroid Game-by-Game Reviews: Metroid: Other M

Never meet your heroes... or your heroines.

Review by Jeremy Parish, .

Japanese game development hit a rough patch soon after the arrival of high-definition consoles. For various reasons, Western studios turned out to be better poised to deal with the realities of a more technically taxing game console. Even the hardware itself reversed decades of Japan-vs.-America balance, with the Xbox 360 coming out of the gate strong in 2005; the revered PlayStation family's third entry took years to catch up after an abysmal false start.

And then you had Nintendo. Nintendo side-stepped the whole mess entirely by defiantly not going high-def. The company girded itself to do battle with its competitors' bold dives into HD technology by remaining contentedly in the graphical kiddie pool. The Wii shouldn't have worked, with its underpowered processor and a graphics chip capable of nothing better than EDTV resolution. Yet consumers flocked to its intuitive interface, reasonable price, and engrossing software made by developers who could afford to produce games on smaller budgets and therefore take creative risks that were quickly proving impossible on other consoles.

The Wii represented a brilliant example of a company finding success by paving its own road. For a while, Nintendo appeared unstoppable, as their puny Davids—the Wii and the DS—raced sales circles around the competition's Goliaths. Of course, we ultimately would see that Nintendo didn't so much side-step the rough transition into HD gaming so much as delay their own growing pains a generation. The Wii U would force Nintendo to deal with that bumpy upgrade in due time and prove the company no less fallible than its peers. In hindsight, we should have seen Metroid: Other M as the writing on the wall.

Has any Nintendo first-party creation experienced such a radical plummet from hotly anticipated announcement to reviled castaway as Other M? When Nintendo announced it at E3 2009, back in the days when they did the same full-scale E3 press conferences as their competition, you could feel the electricity in that stadium full of fans and press. The Prime games had been great, but Metroid hadn't seen a proper new entry in seven years; by the time Other M launched, Metroid Fusion was eight years old—the same age that Super Metroid had been when Fusion shipped. It was more than time.

Ask a Metroid fan about Other M now, however, and you'll have trouble finding even a hint of enthusiasm. The game has its fans, but they're few and far between. By and large, Other M went from giddy anticipation to uneven reviews to collective fan revulsion in short order. Time hasn't been kind to the game, and it's yet to experience any sort of critical rejuvenation or revised fandom upgrade to ragged-cult-classic status. Other M, quite simply, is the least-loved game in the Metroid canon... or it was until Nintendo announced Federation Force, anyway.

The kicker? Other M actually isn't a bad game at all. On the contrary, it turned out to be a pretty solid action game, with an emphasis on quick reflexes and brief, intense sessions of combat. The problem, then, is that while Other M succeeds as a pure action game, it's more or less garbage at being a Metroid game. It goes through the motions of grafting an approximation of the Metroid template onto a nimble reflex-oriented melee combat game, but at every turn it betrays an utter failure by its creators—including Metroid and Super Metroid designer Yoshio Sakamoto—to understand what part of the Metroid experience fans actually respond to.

Here is a Metroid game in which progression doesn't revolve around Samus Aran's steady empowerment. The series' tradition had always been to drop Samus into a situation, underarmed and underpowered, to allow players to acquire the weapons and skills necessary not only to take on the bad guys but also to unlock the environments around her. Yet in Other M, Samus has most of her skills available from the beginning. Somehow, though, you can't go anywhere you like whenever you choose; the game still has a traditional, Metroid-like flow in that most areas remain inaccessible to you. This time, however, the freedom to move forward only becomes available once Samus is given permission to do so.

As part of a wildly misguided attempt to reveal the history behind Samus' interaction with the computer intelligence Adam in Metroid Fusion, Other M attempts to showcase Samus's history with the real Adam Malkovich. Here, he acts as her commander as she accompanies a Galactic Federation space marine squad as a sort of private military contractor. Much of the game world—another space station full of simulated environments, like the one in Fusion—remains closed to Samus and to player not because the tools to move into them remain undiscovered but simply because Adam hasn't yet given Samus clearance to activate those tools. You literally spend most of Other M handicapped because of the story's arbitrary rules. You can even wander into superheated zones before you're allowed to activate your heat-resistant suit upgrade; Adam will let you die rather than turn it on. Because, after all, being an effective commander means letting a mission-critical asset die rather than lift a rule before such time as the plot requires it.

In other words, Other M takes the least-loved aspects of Fusion and doubles down on them. The greatest complaints about Fusion among Metroid fans have always concerned the artifice of its structure and the hard boundaries enforced by the Adam A.I. At times you almost feel like Other M was an attempt by Sakamoto to prove that Fusion's design was in fact great and wonderful, doubters be damned.

In practice, it comes off as a terrible misreading of everything that made Super Metroid great. Other M carries forward the general chain of progression as in previous Metroid games, as Adam allows Samus to unlock her usual set of skills as the situation demands, but otherwise this adventure feels nothing like its vaunted predecessor. Super Metroid left players alone to unravel the mystery of Zebes, steadily empowering them with new skills and options as they advanced.

Other M strong-arms you and scolds you for daring to stray from the mandatory path. Fusion did the same, but at least there its oppressive design served a ludo-narrative role: You were meant to feel helpless like Samus, so that once she restored her complete set of skills you could better appreciate her return to full power. Other M lacks any such metatext. You simply don't get to use your full array of powers because, well, that wouldn't fit the story.

And what a miserable story it is. The combination of the space station's gated, artificial environment with Adam's habit of barking orders at you gives Other M the distinct sensation of having been made of warmed over Fusion ideas—a notion reinforced by the eventual discovery that the Federation has not-so-shockingly engaged in a secret cloning program to study and harness the powers of the less-extinct-than-believed metroid species. Other M's story positions it as an interquel between Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion, and its recycling of the latter game's elements diminishes Fusion in retrospect by making its setting and plot redundant.

But far worse than that is what Other M does to Samus herself. Fusion weakened her physically, stripping away her powers and enfeebling her stamina and resistances. Other M weakens her as a person, as a character. There were promises before launch of the story revealing her "rich inner life," but in practice we see Samus reduced from a flinty, unstoppable juggernaut to a snotty child who cringes at the sight of a villain she's battled countless times before. Other M reveals more of Samus both through her present actions and via flashbacks to her days before becoming a bounty hunter, and neither paint her in a favorable, heroic, or interesting light.

It doesn't help that the plot Samus navigates here is a labyrinth of nonsense, involving a clone of Ridley and a secret simulated recreation of Mother Brain, both created by the Federation itself. Where early Metroid adventures felt like one woman's desperate fight for the fate of the galaxy, Other M casts players into the role of a meek tagalong for someone's else clean-up efforts prompted by a string of idiotic decisions by the government. It's not exactly inspiring stuff, and at every turn it serves to diminish Samus.

Other M manages to get only one thing right: Samus's combat skills. Nintendo roped in Koei's Team Ninja to infuse Other M with the sort of brisk, challenging combat mechanics that had made the Ninja Gaiden reboots such fan-favorites on Xbox. The game avoids continuing the series' tradition of 2D action games and first-person shooting in favor of 3D combat arenas viewed from fixed camera angles, with an emphasis on in-close combat that fluidly shifts between gunplay and melee strikes. The overall structure of conflict encounters honestly doesn't stray too far from Metroid's heritage, but the shift in the third-person viewpoint to a more top-down perspective changes the feel of the action considerably.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given Team Ninja's roots in Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden, Other M's battle mechanics place heavy emphasis on parries, counters, and reversals. Samus has to be light on her feet here, since enemies hit fairly hard; rather than soaking up damage as in other Metroid games, you instead use a "quick step" dodge button to evade foes and bide your time until you spot an opening. It's a fast, visceral take on the series that feels distinct, but nevertheless feels more faithful to 2D Metroid action than Metroid Prime's immersive combat.

Unfortunately, the clever combat mechanics can't make up for all the other ways Other M badly misses the point of Metroid. On the contrary, for all the battle design's moment-to-moment thrills, it ultimately undermines the overall workings of Metroid as well: The switch to a high overhead camera viewpoint greatly diminishes the exploratory element of the series. There's less opportunity to roam freely, to slip between cracks, to find hidden seams in the world. Discovery here is more likely to take the form of slow, zoomed-in, non-combat walking sequences. Or worse, to play out as point-and-click first-person scenes that force you to perform blind pixel hunts, often while racing a timer (failure amounts to a game over). What in the world were they thinking?

Well, I know what they were thinking: Other M represents Nintendo's first real effort to embrace the evolving shape of action games in the HD era. The rise of new-style third-person action games like Assassin's Creed and Uncharted, coupled with the struggles of Japanese studios and their more traditional RPGs and action games, spoke to a massive sea change in the medium and its audience. Nintendo tried to tackle this shift head-on by teaming up with a Japanese developer whose work had found its greatest success in the U.S., asking them to reinvent a long-running series whose most enthusiastic audience had always been Americans. On paper, the thought of Team Ninja tackling Metroid sounded like a sure win. Something went wrong along the way, though, and the end result was a far cry from anything Metroid fans could have wanted. Rather than rejuvenating the franchise, Other M nearly killed it.

While not a bad game in its own right, Other M is terrible at being Metroid. The slick combat system plays well but feels out of place in a Metroid game, while the story, pacing, and gating utterly miss the point of what Metroid has always been. Thank goodness for Samus Returns, or else this would stand as the final official statement on Samus Aran's adventures.

2.5 /5

Metroid Game-by-Game Reviews: Metroid: Other M Jeremy Parish Never meet your heroes... or your heroines. 2017-09-28T17:50:00-04:00 2.5 5

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Comments 29

  • Avatar for atrb79 #1 atrb79 5 months ago
    Gosh it sounds wretched. Way to ruin a badass character. I'm really liking how Samus Returns is completely solitary. Just you against the monsters and a vast, labyrinthine cave system.
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  • Avatar for Nuclear-Vomit #2 Nuclear-Vomit 5 months ago
    She's a loose cannon and cannot be trusted to use her full potential, unless I order her to. She does what a good soldier would.
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  • Avatar for ViewtifulJC #3 ViewtifulJC 5 months ago
    I'm glad this wasnt just complaining about the story like everyone else. I mean, yeah that's bad, but besides that its just not a good video game! Visually stale, dull linear progression, a braindead combat engine, numerous find the pixel sequences. Its a frustratingly tedious experience.
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  • Avatar for SargeSmash #4 SargeSmash 5 months ago
    I consider myself a fan. I realize it might not be what some Metroid fans wanted, but it's still a fun game, at least 4/5 material. I think it suffered from the same sort of backlash a lot of games occasionally do, a sort of dogpiling that makes it nearly impossible to recover from. I think it may be one of the few Nintendo-published games that I've seen rapidly drop all the way down to $5 in GameStop. It's most certainly worth more than that!

    But yes, a good bit of the story was dumb and contrived.
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  • Avatar for dard410 #5 dard410 5 months ago
    I actually liked this game, despite the story. As Jeremy says, the combat is fun. The graphics looked pretty good at the time and as a longtime Metroid fan it was rewarding to see so many iconic creatures rendered with what at the time were impressive graphics. I could ignore the parts of the game I didn't like, such as the linearity and story, because I found other stuff to like. Compare that to Fusion, which in addition to excessive handholding and a lackluster story, didn't have particularly engaging gameplay.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #6 MetManMas 5 months ago
    MOM definitely has some serious issues. The battle system's alright but anything relating to the story is flimsy at best, insulting at worst. I'm sure a big part of that likely has to do with cultural differences. We may not understand why Samus would willingly follow that idiot Adam's stupid orders but from a Japanese perspective Samus burning to death until C.O. Senpai gives her permission to use her completely harmless* Varia upgrade is A-OK.

    Of course, that doesn't excuse the sloppy plot. Some people may write off Samus pissing her powersuit at the sight of Ridley as PTSD, but I just think it's crappy writing. Between the manga and the Metroid 1 remake there's been plenty of opportunities to show Samus being afraid of Ridley for munching on her parents (that they didn't take) but nope, let's awkwardly shoehorn her being scared of the recurring boss monster into the game where she obeys Captain Blunderpants like an obedient li'l puppy.

    * Never forget, Adam justified Samus locking her upgrades with the Power Bomb's destructive force as the example. That Varia suit ain't hurting nobody.
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  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene #7 UnskippableCutscene 5 months ago
    I guess I'll have to play it myself some day, but I'm amused at how much of the criticism comes down to lore. Lore is the last reason I go to Nintendo games.

    I'm that guy that cringes and shies away from Zelda conversations when they go from "which boomerang did you like best" to the timeline (or worse yet, the timelines). In my head, Nintendo is still run by an ancient Lich-Man who thinks stories in video games are for nerds who should be reading books, and Howard Phillips is still inventing not-quite-canon explanations for glitchy game mechanics like Koopa shells that get kicked offscreen and never come back. Even the internet seems to understand, having birthed an inside joke of exalting "the rich, deep Super Mario lore" and obsessing over the details of Cappy and New Donk City.

    Suffice to say, story elements have never been Nintendo's forte, so people online have made a meme of ironically analyzing it to ridiculous depths. However, this particular Metroid is the first time I've ever seen a Nintendo game get docked THIS many points for dialogue and plot direction. My understanding is they attempted to give background shading to Samus, a character with very little dialogue outside of the Super Metroid opening, and it didn't align either with people's headcanons, old supplemental materials like Nintendo Power comics, etc.

    I dunno. Metroid fandom is just my least favorite part of Nintendo fandom. This is not saying the games are bad! Just the fandom is occasionally toxic as we've seen with Federation Force's debut, and I guess it's because they have the same issues of Zelda fandom (basically wanting more world-building from a company that spent two decades being rather non-committal about crafting a fiction and sticking to it) but with the added fanaticism that occurs when fans approach each new game in the series as the last one that they're going to get to play in their lifetimes. Metroid is always seen as this passion project that's eternally on life support, which makes the players take ownership of it even harder.

    As for the opening question, whether a first-party Nintendo game ever fell from grace so quickly, do you even have to ask? StarFox Zero wasn't even that long ago.Edited 2 times. Last edited September 2017 by UnskippableCutscene
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #8 MetManMas 5 months ago
    @SargeSmash The gameplay's not bad, but personally, I also found it not to be good enough to make up for its other failings. Of course, I've played Ninja Gaiden Black and consider it the high point of Team Ninja's career in making non-Musou action games, so...yeah.

    That said, I wouldn't have minded Team Ninja trying their hand at another Metroid as long as the pixel hunts were axed and Sakamoto was locked up in a shed out back. There's certainly room for refinement.
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  • Avatar for dard410 #9 dard410 5 months ago
    @UnskippableCutscene, I think if you played it yourself you'd understand the fan reaction a bit better. It's one thing for a Nintendo game to not provide any lore as in Mario. Unfortunately, what Nintendo did in MOM and Fusion was to make an unsatisfactory lore an integral and large part of the game. This isn't simply a matter of a brief cutscene at the beginning and end of the game. The unskippable cutscenes and sloppy writing sometimes go on for minutes at a time. The games draw your attention to the story, in a way few Nintendo games ever have (Skyward Sword is the only other first-party Nintendo game that even comes close). This makes it all but inevitable that players would pay more attention to plot holes, bad writing, and sexism in the story.Edited September 2017 by dard410
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #10 MetManMas 5 months ago
    @UnskippableCutscene What@dard410 said. This isn't just a game with dumb cinematics, this is a game that put a huge priority on its dumb cinematics, often at the expense of the passable gameplay. Made 'em unskippable (the first time) too, and implemented "find the hidden object" bits and the odd behind the back sequences that are only used for real time cinematics and slow things down to a crawl.
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  • Avatar for notimportant #11 notimportant 5 months ago
    Is this the end? These have been fun. Thanks, Jeremy. You should do Mega Man, Mario, Zelda or some other classic retro franchise in the future.
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  • Avatar for Funny_Colour_Blue #12 Funny_Colour_Blue 5 months ago
    So quick question: Tecmo also did that Rygar remake for PS2/Wii, (the one with the britney spears look-a-like) I played a bit of that and It felt a lot like a Metroid game would feel like if Metroid was a 3rd person action game.

    ...So does this play kind of like that Rygar? or what?

    I kind of, sort of, want to pick this game up, if it does.Edited September 2017 by Funny_Colour_Blue
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #13 MetManMas 5 months ago
    @notimportant There's still the spinoffs, Metroid Prime Hunters and Metroid Prime Pinball. They're both pretty different from the Metroid norm though (the former's a multiplayer versus shooter with a lackluster single player mode shoddily taped on and the latter is of course pinball), so that's likely why they haven't been reviewed yet.

    Federation Force already has a review since it came out last year.
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  • Avatar for LunarFlame17 #14 LunarFlame17 5 months ago
    I’m the type of person who tends to like the dark horse installments in beloved franchises (Final Fantasy XIII, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, etc), so I fully expected to love this when I finally played a few years after it came out. But it is SO BAD. Ugh, I hate it so much. This review is spot-on. It’s a decent action game but a terrible Metroid game. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of action games, so it didn’t take me very long to completely give up on this one.
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  • Avatar for DrCorndog #15 DrCorndog 5 months ago
    Other M's story is bad even by video game standards, but the game itself is very fun. Amusingly, completing the game unlocks both the option to watch all the cutscenes as a movie, and to skip them completely on a second playthrough. Guess which feature I used.
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  • Avatar for jeffcorry #16 jeffcorry 5 months ago
    Like many others here: It was an okay game. But when you've played Super Metroid and Metroid Prime...
    Other M just can't keep up. I didn't really get annoyed by Samus though...seeing as she started as a rookie with Adam, it was somewhat understandable that both of them would fall back into that relationship. Not saying it's a great thing, just I can see how it would happen.
    Adam should have trusted her more though.
    Really though, rt does seem like quite a digression for such an awesome character.
    Great review.
    I will probably play this again sometime...
    Will I finish again though?
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  • Avatar for Vonlenska #17 Vonlenska 5 months ago
    I kind of liked Other M, too. At least, I did have fun with it and I don't hate it. If the cutscenes were skippable on a first playthrough (or just not so strongly emphasized), I think it'd be more well regarded. A problem with a lot of MOM's flaws is a gap between good ideas and serious stabs at executing them well. A story driven Metroid with adventure game elements is a cool idea--but when the story is reheated Fusion fanfic and the adventure aspects are ridiculously lazy pixel hunts, well...

    It's interesting you see MOM as an "interquel," Jeremy. Given how similar it is to Fusion, I read it as a totally separate "canon." At the end of the day, I seriously don't care, but in my head there are 3 distinct Metroid "timelines":

    • Metroid > Metroid 2 > Super Metroid > Fusion
    • Primes
    • Other M

    Not that any of that matters, but the progression from Metroid to Fusion is kind of interesting for being direct rather than (as with every other Nintendo franchise) thematic sequels. Super is even both!
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #18 NiceGuyNeon 5 months ago
    I bought it once the Wii was at the end of its life, but I haven't really felt the need to open it. It remains the one Metroid game I don't have a desire to play. Maybe I'll dabble in it later, but with my backlog, and the quality of the games in said backlog, Other M may be on the backburner for quite some time.
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  • Avatar for chiptoon #19 chiptoon 5 months ago
    I get the criticism of the narrative, and especially elements of the characterisation. But I love this game. It's one of my favourite Metroids.
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  • Avatar for Irvyne #20 Irvyne 5 months ago
    For my initial experience, the moment-to-moment gameplay was fine. Not Super Metroid quality, but mostly fun. The only thing I hated was how switching to first-person made you a complete sitting-duck for enemies to attack from the sides and behind. It was a cool concept in how to use the Wii-mote in an interesting way, but it just didn't work well.

    One thing I can say about it - it's quite possibly the best-looking game in the entire Wii library. SD resolution aside, the graphics look great. I was also initially excited at the prospect of full cutscenes expanding the universe that had only ever been hinted at before. But yeah... Would have been better to just leave it to peoples' imaginations. It's awfully written and just dumb. Samus deserved much better writing and character development than this game gave her.

    And as Samus Returns has just shown, she's a much more engaging character when she doesn't say a word.Edited September 2017 by Irvyne
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  • Avatar for SpoonyBardOL #21 SpoonyBardOL 5 months ago
    I paid full price for this game when it first came out (plus shipping!) and that's 60 bux I'm never getting back.

    I feel mostly lukewarm on the game's combat. It's fine, it could even be interesting at points, but it wasn't consistently good enough to have any hope of overcoming the game's bad points. And hoo boy, were they bad.

    Everyone trashes the Ridley scene as being the game's cinematic low point. And make no mistake, that entire cutscene is terrible. But it's not the worst part of the game's story.

    Everyone overlooks a scene that came later. The scene where Adam literally shoots Samus in the back in front of Sector Zero, briefly leaving her vulnerable to a Metroid before saving her. What follows is a scene of exposition setting Adam up for a big damn heroic sacrifice, but the entire damn time Samus, in her Zero Suit no less, is on the ground writhing, gasping for air.

    Bad enough that scene set Samus up as being so careless as to allow a Metroid to get so close to her (clearly overcome with FEELINGS because of The Babby) she was incompetent enough to let Adam get the drop on her and shoot her in the back. And then to top it all off, a character most of the audience despises gets to have his big heroic moment come hell or high water, and it comes as he stands, pontificating over Samus's prone, vulnerable form. Y'know, after he shot her.

    It was utterly vile. I despise that scene.Edited 2 times. Last edited September 2017 by SpoonyBardOL
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  • Avatar for Outrider #22 Outrider 5 months ago
    @dard410 If they ever port the game to a new platform I hope they offer an option to play without any of the story elements. I think the core gameplay is good and I still think the game looks pretty dang good, so I do think it's worth playing.
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  • Avatar for Ralek #23 Ralek 5 months ago
    @UnskippableCutscene I think most people, myself included, indeed don't play 'traditional' Nintendo games (the likes of Xenoblade might be a different story to some to a certain degree) for the story and/ or the plot.

    I think there are two things you need in mind though. The first is characterization. Even if you don't care much for the plot or story, chances are that you do care about the characters, and how they are portrayed, if only indirectly and in small details.

    The second is atmosphere. Atmosphere can be created in a multitude of ways, but more importantly, it's never just one thing, it's never *just* sound, or visuals, or whatever. It's by nature a very holistic concept.

    What I'm trying to say is, that by ADDING story, you will actually have a significant impact on the characterization of beloved characters, and/ or the atmosphere in the game. Furthermore, if you present that story in an obtrusive way, this effect can potentially become devastating.

    I'm no expert on Other M, I only played very little of it, and that was ... hell, I don't even remember exactly, but it has been quite some time. What I do remember though, was that I felt like the 'Metroid atmosphere' was largely gone. Too many people were running around, too many people were talking to me, the sense of isolation that permeated previous Metroid games was no longer prominent. The tone was changed, and imho not for the better.

    The same goes for Samus. I don't really need Samus to talk, hell, I don't really want Samus to talk. I have a picture of her in my mind, as a character that was shaped by how she was portrayed in previous games, and by providing actual details and exposition about there, by 'fleshing her character out', so to speak, that picture gets invariably destroyed (same reason I'm not that fond of the Harry Potter MOVIES - love the books though).

    It does not really matter, whether those elements were executed well (at the time, I didn't feel so), but rather that I felt that they went against the fundamental core of the series. As silly as it may sound, Samus always was a kind of a bad ass character to me: the strong, independent, driven woman, surviving against all odds in a hostile world - yeah yeah bring on the pathos :-) Still, she also seemed incredibly lonely and vulnerable for some reason. She was very different from the mainly emotionally invulernable and macho male characters seen in more-or-less comparable games in the medium.

    Metroid was special because of the character of Samus and because of the atmosphere. Not JUST because of that, absolutey not, but also because of that. Other M - among other things of course -took that away by adding story.

    TL;DR: The quality of the story is not the issue, but the fact that one was added at all, in a rather obtrusive way no less, that is the problem to me. It screwed with a great atmosphere that permeated previous games, and it more-or-less undid a great character, that was always portrayed more by her interactions with their environment than by exposition. You could infer alot about Samus by the way she acted - it was actually a great example of the most basic principle of all visual media: Show, don't tell! Other M - in my view - tried to fix what was not broken. It deserves quite a bit of the hate it gets for that reason.
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  • Avatar for jmsebastian #24 jmsebastian 5 months ago
    If the cutscenes could have been skipped, it would have eliminated about 80% of what I didn't like about the game. It's always frustrating when games don't let you skip scenes. It's just a lot worse when the scenes you have to watch are from Other M. Other M is why I hope Sakamoto has nothing to do with Prime 4. He's proved he can't be trusted with his own series.

    Now, if we're talking about how Other M plays, it's pretty enjoyable. I found switching between first person and third person mode to be a bit jarring at times, and I do wish they had pushed the puzzle elements of using first person mode a bit more. As it is, it feels a lot more like a gimmick than a well thought out integrated mechanic. It's useful in boss fights, of course, especially the last one, so it's not terrible, by any means.

    I still look forward to the day Nintendo tries a 3D Metroid game that's in third person again. It seems like a no brainer to me, just make it a bit more Tomb Raider and I think you've got a winner. As it is now, Other M is the only thing we have, and its design is a lot closer to 2D gaming conventions than 3D.
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  • Avatar for AndreasStalin #25 AndreasStalin 5 months ago
    Other M is the only Metroid game I have played and I kind of liked it, but I guess it helps that I have not played any other games in the series?
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  • Avatar for camGSV #26 camGSV 5 months ago
    I love Metroid: Other M.

    This is not to be contrarian to the spirit of the article, nor to the well discussed popular opinion on the game. I played Other M immediately after it came out, and while I don’t recall exactly why, I can confidently guess it was a combination of a desire to play AAA games on the “casual-friendly” Wii and the fact that Team Ninja was developing it. Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox is one of the best games ever made, one that holds up remarkably well to this day, so I was eager to give Other M a shot.

    I loved Other M for how well it played. I’m a fan of close-quarters combat systems, and Team Ninja managed to infuse Metroid with mechanics so repetitively interesting that it became the highlight of the game, which I can’t say of other Metroid games. The game was also beautiful to look at, so I looked forward to exploring and revisiting locations. I loved my successful attempt at beating the game 100%, which meant at times figuring out where an item was in the 3D world by looking at the 2D map, which wasn’t always easy, yet consistently rewarding for the more hidden power-ups.

    The above dominated my experience of Other M, so clear issues with the character portrayal of Samus, and the weak plot device used to block her abilities did not affect my enjoyment of the game. I was indifferent to these issues.

    Additionally, the game’s different “feel” did not bother me. Metroid Prime is still, by far, my favorite game in the series and simply one of the best experiences I’ve had playing a game. The appeal of being alone in a quiet yet harsh world with the environment telling the bulk of the story has yet to be matched anywhere as efficiently as MP did. Yet, I was completely fine with Other M being a gorgeous, continually entertaining action game. It’s similar to how I feel about Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I am a huge Metal Gear nerd, and I loved the frenetic action of Rising to the point where I’m nearly begging for a sequel, yet its being a Metal Gear game was its least appealing quality.

    Like everything else, your mileage may vary based on taste, mood and what experience you bring with you.

    I would not call myself a “fan” of the Metroid series, though I highly respect it. I played Metroid on the NES as a kid, but it never had a lasting appeal to me. I somehow skipped Super Metroid during my many years of SNES-playing, and when I played as an adult, I enjoyed it but not much beyond that, and thought “I would have liked this game a whole lot more had I played it when it first came out.” It’s a similar opinion I have of Chrono Trigger - it’s alright.

    I then played Metroid Prime, and as I mentioned it was a masterpiece. I skipped MP2 as what I heard of it did not excite me, and I stopped playing MP3 after a more cinematic intro put me off from what I was looking for: More of the same lonely experience of the first Metroid Prime. At some point later, I played Zero Mission and Fusion, and enjoyed them both just fine

    I’m interested in playing Samus Returns, but I’m in no rush.

    Make of this what you will.
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  • Avatar for unoclay #27 unoclay 5 months ago
    Jeremy said: “Ask a Metroid fan about Other M now, however, and you'll have trouble finding even a hint of enthusiasm. The game has its fans, but they're few and far between. “

    I’m not being a fanboy for the sake of it, but there could be some kind of confirmation bias going on here. As a fan of the game (NOT THE STORY BUT THE GAME), I tend to find that whenever I admit to people that I enjoyed (and 100% ) Other M, I immediately find other people confessing that they did too.

    Am I suggesting, anecdotally, that more people liked than hated it? No. But “few and far between” isn’t how it feels to me. From my viewpoint, its more like “the media narrative is that Other M is widely hated” , but in reality, it’s closer to a 50/50 split. A divided gaming nation, if you will. ;’]
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  • Avatar for Suzusiiro #28 Suzusiiro 5 months ago
    @AndreasStalin Yeah, Jeremy sums it up pretty well in that it's a decent action game but you probably couldn't make a worse Metroid game if you tried*. But if you came into the series from a vacuum then that's not a problem.

    *yeah there's Federation Force, but at least that game didn't completely destory Samus' character
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  • Avatar for perpetualgrimace #29 perpetualgrimace 5 months ago
    I saw this game on sale for $5 at one point. I decided that I'd rather have $5.
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