advancestrat's Metroid: Other M (Wii) review

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Very fun, despite minor flaws.

  
Before I get too far into this, I'll just get out of the way right now that I've only recently gotten into the Franchise thanks to Metroid Prime Trilogy coming out for the Wii, and as far as the mythology goes, what I know about Metroid's history has been told to me through what is revealed in the Prime series, as well as the very convenient trailer for Other M that summed up the plots of the original games.  Metroid: Other M is thus my first real chance to play a more traditional metroid game, even if it's not exactly how it was back in "ye days of old".
 
The first thing I noticed with Metroid: Other M is that it is certainly much more story-driven then past games were.  The Prime series isn't exactly an epic drama, and I know that the original games didn't give much story updates either between the intro and the death of Mother Brain.  In Other M though, Samus will jump in every so often and go into her thoughts about the situation she is in, and it extends far enough that parts of gameplay are explained because of the story.
 
The most obvious way that is seen is how her suit unlocks its abilities.  Other M does not start off with you, yet again, having all your abilities at the start only to lose it after 10 minutes and having you go out and find all those abilities again in time for the end game.  Upon meeting up with old military friends, she'll decide to team up with them to deal with the problems you'll find on the ship, and will wait for authorization from the commanding officer to be able to use them.   Instead of making you go out and find them, the abilities will unlock usually right around as you need them.  At least, it usually unlocks right as you need them. There are a couple spots where I've felt like banging my head into a wall at the timing of when an ability was authorized for use.  For example, having the commanding officer wait to unlock the Varia Suit AKA Heat Shield until Samus has spent 20 minutes burning through her health due to extreme heat followed by rising lava.  It's a minor annoyance in the long run, but there must have been some way to explain little things like that in a less headache inducing way.
 
The real star of the game is the control setup.  No nunchuk required, as you spend most of the game holding the Wii Remote like it's an NES controller, and running through the game in mostly third person control.  Pointing to the screen will allow you to focus on an enemy to fire missiles at it, and to help you look around for solving puzzles.  It takes some getting used to, but after a few fights to get used to it, I found it easy enough to switch from one view to another, although finding a good time to perform the switch was more often the tricky part.  There is also an Auto-aim function that I found works very well, with the only problems really coming up if you had a couple enemies the same distance away from Samus and trying to get it to pick one enemy or another.  I've rarely had an issue with it that couldn't be solved simply by sidestepping to one direction or another first.   
 
 To go along with how agile Samus has become compared to the Prime series,  you can also perform some Fatal Strikes that you can perform on a stunned enemy that really show off her acrobatics, usually followed up with a plasma gun against the enemies skull, especially fun the bigger they are.  The dodging mechanic is also rather interesting, although it does take some getting used to.  If you can master being able to dodge enemy attacks, you can quite easily have Samus dance all over the place around enemies avoiding one attack after another.   
  
Although there isn't nearly as much item grabbing thanks to how abilities unlock, there are still plenty of missile expansions to find in the game, along with energy tanks and energy tank parts.  However, thanks to the concentration mechanic that allows you to recharge your missiles quickly whenever you run low, you can probably complete a large majority of the game without ever having more than 15 missiles available at a time.  Except for boss fights where you might have less time to be able to recharge, and thus may find it helpful to get those extra shots, you're likely only going to want to go after them if you are planning on getting full completion of the game.
    
Even with a few minor issues, Metroid: Other M is still a very fun game.  There are lots of puzzles to find and solve, all the standard metroid lands to visit, plenty of abilities to unlock and utilize, and more enemies then you can shake an arm cannon at.  I'll be waiting to see if Team Ninja is given reign over another title in the Metroid franchise .

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