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Metroid: Other M – Impression

September 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Note that I have not finished the game yet, so this is just an impression, not a full review.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

I love Metroid, so this is not going to be an unbiased review. And Other M is definitely a Metroid game, there’s Samus, of course, all signature weapons and abilities, a combination of fighting and puzzle gameplay, large boss monsters, Ridley,  scavenger hunt for items, basically all ingredients. A pity Team Ninja forgot that to cook the meal. They were clearly greatly inspired by Super Metroid, but where Retro took the formula and adapted it for a widescreen experience in the Metroid Prime series., the new Metroid copies most things while making also use of the Wii’s gimmicky controls. The visors and beam switching from Prime are gone.

While the Primes had some problems themselves they did innovate and turn the sidescroller in a 3D experience. Exploring and navigating through the huge world was not always easy and scanning occasionally got tedious, but it all added to the feeling of the lone explorer trying to figure out what was going on and then set things right. Samus never said anything, but who would have expected that she would be this uncertain and insecure now she is voiced in Other M? After slaughtering so many planets full of evil and vicious monsters one would expect she has some backbone, but even the sight of Ridley petrifies her now suddenly. Prime did fine in telling a story with bits of scans and visual storytelling, but Other M is just filled with fully voiced exposure, while reducing the exploring aspect of the game.

A pretty flimsy plot has you joining up with your old Galatic Federation commander and his squad to check out a military science facility. Commander Adam has some serious history with Samus and while he wants her on board, he forbids her from using most weapons before he authorizes it. Yes, where all other Metroid sequels have a convoluted crisis scene in which you lose all special abilities, this game, you got everything, you are just not allowed to use it up to the point that you are taking damage from heat for a section of the game while you have access to the protective Varia Suit. Where I can understand that caution should be used with using the extremely destructive items like the Power Bomb and the wall passing Wave Beam (there could be survivors on the other side), not using full protection and things like the grappling hook is just plain silly.

The story is also forced on you. There is no freedom of movement, all wrong routes are locked for most of the game and if there is something to scan, the game actually forces you to stand still until you have found the right pixel on the screen. If you cannot fight, you start moving very slowly suddenly.

The control scheme deserves its own paragraph, because it is a nice idea. You are normally in side view /3D oversight depending on the location, but by turning the Wii remote to the screen, you get a 3D view, but you cannot move, only turn. This is the only view from which you can shoot (super) missiles as well. And this is the only control scheme, meaning you have to use the horrible d-pad on the Wiimote to move. In a time of analog sticks on handhelds, a modern game forces you to use the worst controller possible, which is just baffling. One of the reasons I have not finished the game yet, is that the d-pad simply hurts my thumb after a while (yeah, it got soft from using analog sticks for the last years). The view switch is also pretty unresponsive making certain battles more difficult than they should have been (but Other M is easy anyway).

Perhaps the control scheme forced the creators to make the game easier, because this is an easy game both in terms of puzzles and boss battles. Compared to the Primes it is very easy.

First impression: Other M is with all its ugly parts still a pretty entertaining game, but it does not reach the quality standard we can expect of a Metroid game.

Categories: General Gaming Tags: ,

Rusty!

September 8, 2010 Leave a comment

No real post this week since I am on holiday. I did have time to play a bit this evening…

After not playing for just two weeks, my Starcraft II skills have rusted, which is faster than I would have expected. I still know what to do, of course, but everything just goes a bit slower.

I have also learned not to try new strategies at this point (I still follow SC2 news during the holiday and some ideas seem so nice to try myself), because that is not working out now!

Lots of practice to do next week!

Categories: Starcraft II Tags: