X-Play review - 2/5: "the whole mess smacks of sexism"

#1 Edited by Apathylad (3067 posts) -

I usually try not to comment on other websites' reviews, but I've found X-Play to have been pretty baffling in their coverage of games. In this case, Other M received a 2/5, but what I found most puzzling is the complaints of the way Samus is portrayed. In this case, both the written and video review go off on a rant that there is a sexist portrayal of the character. Now, from other reviews I have read, I have heard no such complaints being brought up. Do you guys feel that it might be because most critics are male? I haven't played the game, but is it really THAT offensive and degrading to women as X-Play made it sound? 
  
Here's what I don't get: is seeing Samus as a vulnerable little girl any different than how emotional Bruce Wayne was as a child in Batman Begins
 
EDIT:  This thread is still going on? 
 
Okay, I'm just going to clarify a couple things. This Metroid review was written by   Abbie Heppe, not Morgan Webb. But, since the review was READ by Morgan I can see why there would be confusion. Also, many people are saying that the reason the game is sexist is that Team Ninja was involved with the game's story. I haven't confirmed this myself, but many people in this thread are saying that the story was written by Metroid's creator. So, just like the Wind Waker controversy, people are objecting to a portrayal of a character that the creator originally intended.  
 
You can see more discussion on the game here, and if you do, you'll see  that Abbie Heppe says she would have given the game a higher score if she wasn't as offended with the story. 
 
  

  
     
 
  
 

9/3/10 Update:  

 
G4TV had a discussion of Other M on there weekly podcast, further addressing complaints they had with the game. Abbie Heppe still doesn't like the game, and says it's the worst Metroid in the series (even worse than Pinball and Hunters, in their opinion), but then she also says that she thinks gamers should play it. She doesn't come off as arrogant in the podcast as she did in the review, which may be because the moderator encouraged discussion of the gameplay, opposed to the story. That being said, all participants on the show seemed in agreement with the review. While they do seem to pull back on the harshness of their review, I still found some of their complaints a little silly (Samus' regenerative abilities, when regenerating health isn't a new thing). Anyway, if you want to see the podcast, they start discussing Other M around the 21:00 mark. 
 
    

 

On Starcraft 2

 
X-Play goes off on these weird sociological tangents, and sometimes, they're just silly. For example, here's a complaint Morgan Webb had on Starcraft 2, which is the last review I read before this Metroid controversy: 
 
 

 I also want to mention a more personal problem with the game. I take issue with the holographic stripper in the background of every shot in the cantina. There are normal female characters in the game, but every time you go to one area of your ship, the only thing moving is an undulating hologram of what looks like a blood elf with a boob job. Maybe they didn’t expect women to ever play this game, but they’ve created a self-fulfilling prophecy. She’s distracting, completely unnecessary to the story or atmosphere, and makes me think that Blizzard needs to hire more women.     
   

That's pretty ironic coming from someone who has posed in Maxim/FHM/whatever. Anyway, even thought Starcraft 2 received a perfect score, you have to admit it's a pretty stupid complaint. 
#2 Posted by joey (987 posts) -

GOTTA KEEP IT CONTROVERSIAL.

Online
#3 Posted by thehexeditor (1404 posts) -

Truly, apathy is the strongest way to disagree with something.
 
So, X-Play.. I don't give a shit. :D

#4 Posted by eroticfishcake (7789 posts) -

I haven't played the game myself but from I gather from screenshots, the quicklook and word of mouth I've heard nothing about sexism in this game until now. Nintendo generally consider Samus Aran to be a strong female character so I'm sure they hope to keep it like this in Other M. Also, this is Morgan Webb were talking about, who seems to look for these type of things and then blow it up to massive proportions. Plus her voice is incredibly irritating.

#5 Edited by cap123 (2477 posts) -

I haven't played metroid other m but the starcraft 2 complaint is ridiculous, it's in a space truckers bar, and i don't see many women on board either. It's not like the gamer is wacking off to a little red lady in the top corner of the bar, or she's just there for the gamers enjoyment, it's there because it's perfectly sensible for it to be in that setting. 
 
Does she expect there to be a library of books there instead?

#6 Posted by Apathylad (3067 posts) -
@eroticfishcake said:
" I haven't played the game myself but from I gather from screenshots, the quicklook and word of mouth I've heard nothing about sexism in this game until now. Nintendo generally consider Samus Aran to be a strong female character so I'm sure they hope to keep it like this in Other M. Also, this is Morgan Webb were talking about, who seems to look for these type of things and then blow it up to massive proportions. Plus her voice is incredibly irritating. "
To be fair, Morgan Webb wrote the Starcraft 2 review, but not this one. This review was written by some woman I'm not familiar with, but has written for X-Play in the past. 
#7 Posted by eroticfishcake (7789 posts) -
@Apathylad: Huh. My bad I guess since it sounded a bit like her (in my head anyway). Still, doesn't change the fact that I think X-Play are saying something silly like this. I don't know. I'm just gonna ignore for now. Guess I'm going to feel better that way.
#8 Posted by paradox121 (317 posts) -

She mustve hated the club in Mass Effect 2 then if she found Starcraft distasteful.
And seriously? Metroid is sexist? The game with the strong female character who rarely has back up and other than her zero suit parades around in a hulking piece of armor with no hint of sexualisation? Wow.
If anything find fault with Mario. It has a helpless woman get kidnapped by a man every single game.
 
I hate that we're now in an age where people are offended by games. Sure some are explicit but in this case, it seems like shes digging a bit too hard for controversy.

#9 Posted by wolf_blitzer85 (5293 posts) -

 Sexist and unneeded, but man do my naughty bits feel tingly.
I can't watch the video since I'm at work, so I'm just wondering how Samus is portrayed for it to be deemed sexist? I always thought of her as this badass female bounty hunter that stripped down to her bikini if you beat the game in under 4 hours. Now that's a woman!
 
Fucking stupid.
 
#10 Posted by Warfare (1641 posts) -
@Apathylad said:

" @eroticfishcake said:

" I haven't played the game myself but from I gather from screenshots, the quicklook and word of mouth I've heard nothing about sexism in this game until now. Nintendo generally consider Samus Aran to be a strong female character so I'm sure they hope to keep it like this in Other M. Also, this is Morgan Webb were talking about, who seems to look for these type of things and then blow it up to massive proportions. Plus her voice is incredibly irritating. "
To be fair, Morgan Webb wrote the Starcraft 2 review, but not this one. This review was written by some woman I'm not familiar with, but has written for X-Play in the past.  "
Abbie Heppe .  
#11 Posted by Apathylad (3067 posts) -
#12 Posted by Make_Me_Mad (3113 posts) -

I wish we were back in the days where you only knew Samus was a woman if you'd beaten Metroid yourself.

#13 Posted by TheFreeMan (2712 posts) -

None of the other reviews I've read have talked about sexism in the game. I believe the 1up one did mention that it sorta ruined Samus as a character, but nothing about sexism.
 
Also, I haven't even played Starcraft 2 but the quoted section sounds pretty fucking stupid.
 
It's a holographic projection.
 
In a cantina.
 
Who cares? Really?

#14 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6320 posts) -
@Make_Me_Mad said:
" I wish we were back in the days where you only knew Samus was a woman if you'd beaten Metroid yourself. "
But think of all the wonderful porn you'd be denying the world.
#15 Edited by pectoral (124 posts) -
"I also want to mention a more personal problem with the game. I take issue with the holographic stripper in the background of every shot in the cantina. There are normal female characters in the game, but every time you go to one area of your ship, the only thing moving is an undulating hologram of what looks like a blood elf with a boob job. Maybe they didn’t expect women to ever play this game, but they’ve created a self-fulfilling prophecy. She’s distracting, completely unnecessary to the story or atmosphere, and makes me think that Blizzard needs to hire more women." 
 
 
This part is incredibly ironic coming from a woman who has posed in several men's magazines. 
#16 Posted by RE_Player1 (7526 posts) -

I hate when women don't like a game because it has a good looking protagonist or there are strippers in the game. YOU DON'T SEE ME BITCHING WHEN I'M PLAYING A GUY WITH PERFECT FEATURES, A SIX PACK, AND IS A SMOOTH TALKER WITH THE LADIES. It's a video game and it's supposed to take you to a fantasy world that you enjoy be it cutting aliens in half or hanging out in a cantina with some holographic ladies. I hope I don't come of sexist but that's just my gut reaction to these type of things. 

#17 Posted by Glak (578 posts) -

I'm just going to keep on ignoring X-Play
Although the sexism criticism was just stupid and silly

#18 Posted by Bucketdeth (8048 posts) -

This review makes me want fucking barf, almost every goddamn character in today's video game world is sexist. Most men has a 6 pack and a huge upper body while the females are petite with huge tits, WHOOP DEE FUCKING DO.
 
Fuck you Morgan Webb and your abnormally small nose.

#19 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -
@pectoral: Yeah, four other people already said that, dude.
 
As for this, I haven't played it, but I feel like these story elements might be taken out of context. I just have that feeling by the way it was explained.
#20 Posted by jkz (4058 posts) -
@RE_Player92 said:
" I hate when women don't like a game because it has a good looking protagonist or there are strippers in the game. YOU DON'T SEE ME BITCHING WHEN I'M PLAYING A GUY WITH PERFECT FEATURES, A SIX PACK, AND IS A SMOOTH TALKER WITH THE LADIES. It's a video game and it's supposed to take you to a fantasy world that you enjoy be it cutting aliens in half or hanging out in a cantina with some holographic ladies. I hope I don't come of sexist but that's just my gut reaction to these type of things.  "
While a lot of this crap is blown out of proportion, I wouldn't suggest comparing the portrayal of men in video games to that of women in video games. When it comes to presenting non-stereotyped, nuanced characters that don't fall into the "norm" (or what designers see as the norm), video games lag far behind most other media. 
 
There is a far different stigma attached to a man who sleeps around than there is to women who do the same. Yes, you could say that this points to deeper sexual imbalances embedded in our society, but at the same time, video games, as a media, try the least to fight such stereotyping.
#21 Posted by pectoral (124 posts) -
@Napalm said:
" @pectoral: Yeah, four other people already said that, dude.  As for this, I haven't played it, but I feel like these story elements might be taken out of context. I just have that feeling by the way it was explained. "
I loaded the topic when it didn't have any replies, and I guess I didn't read the last part of the opening post.
#22 Posted by paradox121 (317 posts) -
@Apathylad: Awesome.
Why is this the year of everyone claiming sexism?
I'm gonna write a review for Halo 3 stating that the game shows clear sexism against men. As a 19 year old geek I feel my gender was poorly represented in this game. 1/5.
#23 Edited by ComradeKritstov (693 posts) -

"2/5 cause sexist" 
 
lolwut how about you tell us more about why you didn't like the actual game and less about how the story might be offensive to feminists .

#24 Posted by FateOfNever (1855 posts) -
That...  That was stupid.  I couldn't take the score of 2/5 seriously after that video; being that she spends the ENTIRE time ranting and raving about how Samus is somehow being portrayed as a weak, pathetic, clingy woman now and that it's sexist.  It seems like it struck a personal chord of some kind that completely tainted her view of the game itself.  Who knows though maybe the game really is that way but honestly I doubt it's anywhere near as bad as she tried to make it seem.
 
On a side note - It's a night elf, not a blood elf in the bar and it's not sexist or any bullshit like that, it's a reference/joke to World of Warcraft.  For crying out loud.
#25 Posted by Icemael (6363 posts) -

lol. When 50% of a video game review is spent talking about sexism, you know the reviewer has nothing of actual value to say about the game.

#26 Posted by JJOR64 (19065 posts) -

#27 Posted by ComradeKritstov (693 posts) -
@FateOfNever said:
"It seems like it struck a personal chord of some kind that completely tainted her view of the game itself. "
@Icemael said:
" lol. When 50% of a video game review is spent talking about sexism, you know the reviewer has nothing of actual value to say about the game. "
My thoughts exactly.
#28 Posted by RE_Player1 (7526 posts) -
@jukezypoo said:
" @RE_Player92 said:
" I hate when women don't like a game because it has a good looking protagonist or there are strippers in the game. YOU DON'T SEE ME BITCHING WHEN I'M PLAYING A GUY WITH PERFECT FEATURES, A SIX PACK, AND IS A SMOOTH TALKER WITH THE LADIES. It's a video game and it's supposed to take you to a fantasy world that you enjoy be it cutting aliens in half or hanging out in a cantina with some holographic ladies. I hope I don't come of sexist but that's just my gut reaction to these type of things.  "
While a lot of this crap is blown out of proportion, I wouldn't suggest comparing the portrayal of men in video games to that of women in video games. When it comes to presenting non-stereotyped, nuanced characters that don't fall into the "norm" (or what designers see as the norm), video games lag far behind most other media.  There is a far different stigma attached to a man who sleeps around than there is to women who do the same. Yes, you could say that this points to deeper sexual imbalances embedded in our society, but at the same time, video games, as a media, try the least to fight such stereotyping. "
Yes I agree with you on the sleeping around example as society does frown upon women who have lots of sexual encounters but for this case Metroid is probably one of the few series that actually portrays female protagonist right right. The first Metroid game broke new ground because the entire time you played it you thought you were some kick ass space marine guy but in fact you were woman, showing that women can have action roles in video games. The reviewers main problem in this case was that she looks too good... I, along with other people might I add, would also look good my job was as physical and intense as hers, taking down monsters is no easy task. 
#29 Posted by TheCreamFilling (1203 posts) -

Samus is a woman, therefore she is sexist.

#30 Posted by TheHBK (5561 posts) -

I can totally see where she is coming from.  The stink of the story was felt in the Kotaku review, which from the sound of it, Totillo loved the gameplay.  And since it plays such a heavy part in it this time, I think I will take Webb's word for it.  I mean, the stuff she mentioned, weather or not it is sexist, is stupid... 
Badass Samus now cries about her dad 
She is super insecure in this game 
She can't use weapons because of this guy? 
You hold A to recharge... health and weapons?  This is a big one that is so un metroid like.  Sure FPS games have recharging health, but you dont get to just press a button, you have to get to safety.  And the recharging missiles, really?  That is retarded itself. 
 
Other issues, I see, the ground textures just look naxsty in every pic I have seen. 
Lets just take the sexist idea out, and those issues are still making the game worse.  Imagine having a movie of Star Wars where Han spends the whole time moping about his mom, or that he won't shoot greedo first because Leia would look at him funny.  Or that if he got hurt, Chewie would just show up and suck his dick so he could regain his health and a new blaster power cell.  Yeah, not cool. 
 
And now, I am really fucking scared that there is a montage or some cutscene in the game with that sappy rock music.  Oh god help us if that is the case. 
I feel like this is gonna turn out like FFX13.  My final verdict will be to hear what the guys have to say about the game on the next bombcast.
#31 Posted by trophyhunter (5800 posts) -

I agree with X-play on this

#32 Posted by Animasta (14719 posts) -

man, just realize that X-play is pretty crazy.
 
that said I do love sessler

#33 Posted by Lemoncookie01 (1642 posts) -

So strong female lead = sexism?

#34 Posted by Dany (7887 posts) -

I have never played a metroid game and from what I read and saw, she does make a lot of salient points, curious to check and see of any other reviews mention it.

#35 Posted by Amethyst (90 posts) -
@ComradeKritstov said:
" @FateOfNever said:
"It seems like it struck a personal chord of some kind that completely tainted her view of the game itself. "
@Icemael said:
" lol. When 50% of a video game review is spent talking about sexism, you know the reviewer has nothing of actual value to say about the game. "
My thoughts exactly. "
Same here. It's a shame that women (myself included) want to be taken more seriously in regards to gaming but the people these networks and sites choose consistently--and perhaps inadvertently--take steps backwards into a territory of the sweeping "girl power" generalization. This reviewer need to take a good, long look herself because if Samus Aran smacks of sexism then there's no way she'll make it through games without spewing all sorts of stupid, unnecessary vitriol like that.
#36 Posted by jkz (4058 posts) -
@RE_Player92 said:
" @jukezypoo said:
" @RE_Player92 said:
" I hate when women don't like a game because it has a good looking protagonist or there are strippers in the game. YOU DON'T SEE ME BITCHING WHEN I'M PLAYING A GUY WITH PERFECT FEATURES, A SIX PACK, AND IS A SMOOTH TALKER WITH THE LADIES. It's a video game and it's supposed to take you to a fantasy world that you enjoy be it cutting aliens in half or hanging out in a cantina with some holographic ladies. I hope I don't come of sexist but that's just my gut reaction to these type of things.  "
While a lot of this crap is blown out of proportion, I wouldn't suggest comparing the portrayal of men in video games to that of women in video games. When it comes to presenting non-stereotyped, nuanced characters that don't fall into the "norm" (or what designers see as the norm), video games lag far behind most other media.  There is a far different stigma attached to a man who sleeps around than there is to women who do the same. Yes, you could say that this points to deeper sexual imbalances embedded in our society, but at the same time, video games, as a media, try the least to fight such stereotyping. "
Yes I agree with you on the sleeping around example as society does frown upon women who have lots of sexual encounters but for this case Metroid is probably one of the few series that actually portrays female protagonist right right. The first Metroid game broke new ground because the entire time you played it you thought you were some kick ass space marine guy but in fact you were woman, showing that women can have action roles in video games. The reviewers main problem in this case was that she looks too good... I, along with other people might I add, would also look good my job was as physical and intense as hers, taking down monsters is no easy task.  "
No, I agree there, I was just addressing the "guy with a 6 pack" example you gave. 
 
I do understand one complaint regarding Samus, and that is that, from what I've seen of the game, she seems like a pretty blank slate. I feel like it's the same issue I'll have with Gears 3 (in that the Women are just made to be "like men", in attempt to make it seem more gender balanced). 
 
I always point to Elena and Chloe in Uncharted 2. They, like everyone else in that game, are incredibly good looking, and Chloe, in particular, is clearly sexualised at certain points in the game. In spite of that, the way women are portrayed in those games never appeared exploitative; nor did it feel as if the designers were trying a little too hard to make them seem "bad-ass", so as to avoid complaints. 
 
And now I'm going to dinner. This is a poorly written post, but I hope I get my point across.
#37 Posted by animateria (3259 posts) -

I'd have to agree with her in her review, though I think she made too much of a deal of being sexist.
 
The plot seems to remove all the mystery that made Samus an interesting yet badass character, and made her into an insecure girl that needs guidance and acceptance from her male superiors.
 
Essentially the story is there to make Samus look vulnerable like one would expect a stereotypical girl to be like, rather than humanizing her in interesting ways.
 
There are clearly ways to make her more human-like, with the whole baby Metroid thing, showing her emotional side. But the whole melodrama with some male superior just seems dumb.

#38 Posted by Dany (7887 posts) -
@animateria said:
" I'd have to agree with her in her review, though I think she made too much of a deal of being sexist.  The plot seems to remove all the mystery that made Samus an interesting yet badass character, and made her into an insecure girl that needs guidance and acceptance from her male superiors.  Essentially the story is there to make Samus look vulnerable like one would expect a stereotypical girl to be like, rather than humanizing her in interesting ways.  There are clearly ways to make her more human-like, with the whole baby Metroid thing, showing her emotional side. But the whole melodrama with some male superior just seems dumb. "
I agree
#39 Posted by Spoonman671 (4768 posts) -

Wonder why there aren't more female protagonists in games?  The fact that the most minute detail of a female character's portrayal can be misconstrued and interpreted as sexist probably has some input on a developer's decision to make their hero a male.  It only serves to perpetuate stereotypes.

#40 Posted by Amethyst (90 posts) -
@animateria said:
" I'd have to agree with her in her review, though I think she made too much of a deal of being sexist.  The plot seems to remove all the mystery that made Samus an interesting yet badass character, and made her into an insecure girl that needs guidance and acceptance from her male superiors.  Essentially the story is there to make Samus look vulnerable like one would expect a stereotypical girl to be like, rather than humanizing her in interesting ways.  There are clearly ways to make her more human-like, with the whole baby Metroid thing, showing her emotional side. But the whole melodrama with some male superior just seems dumb. "
I agree that the intent was to make Samus a more humanized, vulnerable character. However, she's bending that intention in such a way that makes Team Ninja's slip-up more malicious as opposed to being an honest mistake. I'm sure the developers didn't go out of their way to communicate an agenda of male dominance. Her following orders seems to be a victim of where it's sandwiched in Metroid's timeline and the completely inane mention of Adam Malkovich in Fusion.
#41 Posted by Icemael (6363 posts) -
@Spoonman671 said:
" Wonder why there aren't more female protagonists in games?  The fact that the most minute detail of a female character's portrayal can be misconstrued and interpreted as sexist probably has some input on a developer's decision to make their hero a male.  It only serves to perpetuate stereotypes. "
If a female protagonist is hot, the game she's in is sexist. If she has small tits and a nonexistent ass, it's not. That's basically how the people who complain about sexism in games think.
#42 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (3901 posts) -

The reviewer is completely wrong.  I don't know why any of you would think Team Ninja would make anything even close to a sexist game.  That's just not their style.
 
Seriously though, you can call this sexism, but I would think it more accurate to say that it's typical Japanese melodramatic bullshit that has NO PLACE in a Metroid game.  Either way, it sucks.  *rolls up newspaper*  No Japan!  That's Bad!  Bad Japan! 

#43 Posted by bonbolapti (1626 posts) -

I'm pretty sure that the fact she follows orders is because a higher ranked offical is calling the shots.
 
and she's also not an idiot.
 
I want to play this game and deduce further. but I think this chick tried a little too hard, writing her review.

#44 Posted by endless_void (703 posts) -

G4 tech tv is fucking trash.

#45 Edited by Tiwi (1401 posts) -

I don't doubt it's not the best game out there, BUT for one samus has ALWAYS been portrayed as a strong woman with a soft hart (srsly, anyone who played super metroid or metroid fusion will agree with me). There's been no overt characterizations of her before, so why is it suddenly an issue that she gets a PERSONALITY??
 
Edit: my bad It's metroid 2 not super metroid.

#46 Posted by ch13696 (4582 posts) -

I just started to play Metroid Other M and so far it's a good game. So far I'm beginning to think that these reviews are just copy and paste just like news stories. Once one person has a complaint, everyone else says the same thing. I have no problems with the controls at all and the fact she concentrates to regain her HP and missiles is because she gained powers from the Metroid. I mean so I think it's a Metroid, but I know she gains powers. Samus literally talks about it in the beginning. And so what if she doesn't want to use bombs and missiles in the beginning. If she wants to keep from having problems with the Federation Army then that's what she has to do. 
 
I'm telling you, you guys will like this game if you like Metroid games. So far I'm liking it.

#47 Posted by animateria (3259 posts) -
@Amethyst: 
Well as I've said, she's taking the whole sexist thing a bit too far.  Team Ninja just molded Samus' into a template that is expected in a Japanese heroine. Which incidentally has certain submissive qualities to the male counterpart.
  
And while I don't think Team Ninja did it on purpose, more out of ignorance, it's pretty sad to see Samus turn into a stereo-typical female character (And a very Japanese one at that).
#48 Posted by Kombat (2205 posts) -
@Bucketdeth said:
" This review makes me want fucking barf, almost every goddamn character in today's video game world is sexist. Most men has a 6 pack and a huge upper body while the females are petite with huge tits, WHOOP DEE FUCKING DO.  Fuck you Morgan Webb and your abnormally small nose. "
Again Abbie Heppe wrote the review, not Morgan Webb.
#49 Posted by TheHBK (5561 posts) -
@Lemoncookie01 said:
"So strong female lead = sexism? "

Watch the video, it is the fact that they took her from being a strong female, to a weak one who looks for the approval of her father and her male superiors.  Biggest crime is they took the traditional Samus loses all her weapons and has to get them back idea, and replaced it with this guy is the one who gives her permission to use them, when the Samus I grew up with would have been like, nah, son, I got this, gonna use my Wave beam if I wants to.
#50 Posted by Diamond (8634 posts) -

I watched the Gametrailers review and saw some of that.  That Samus wanted to be called a 'lady' by her superior really does weaken the character substantially.  "Tee hee, I'm a girl and I just want guys to like me!"

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