I recently picked up a copy of Metroid: Other M for Wii; I’d always heard players and critics complaining about it, so I’d deliberately avoided the game altogether.
However, when I spotted what looked like a near-enough new copy in my local CEX for just £2.50, I couldn’t resist. And you know what? I’m really glad I took the plunge.
Though it’s a game for Nintendo’s now-ancient Wii console (which was never cutting edge tech, even when released), the cinematic cutscenes are nonetheless very impressively done – even now – with the only issues being their sometimes interminable length and the cringeworthy dialogue. They demonstrate the high production values and care that clearly went into producing the game, at least from a technical standpoint.
Unfortunately, the control scheme is very awkward. Utilising a single Wii remote without a nunchuck attachment, players hold the controller horizontally to control Samus in third-person mode through the levels, but can also switch to first person mode by holding the remote vertically and aiming it at the screen; in this way, players move between the classic third-person exploration style and the more recently established first-person gameplay style seen in the Metroid Prime series.
Though awkward, it’s not too much of an issue when you’re only doing this while exploring the environment with smaller antagonists, poking around in first person mode to find secrets or aim at specific points in the level. Where it does become a major issue is when you’re tasked with taking down a boss; when there’s a larger, more persistent enemy attacking, it’s less than convenient to switch between modes and target where you need to without any issues.
I noticed a similar complaint popping up whenever I spoke to someone about Other M too: that Samus’s character is weakened by what transpires in the game. I’m not yet that far into the game, but this does already seem to be occurring, with an odd situation arising which sees Samus requiring to be given permission to use suit upgrades by another character.
Though far from disastrous, Other M’s issues do mean that it falls far short of the classic status that many other Metroid titles have attained. For the price I paid for it, it’s incredible value and well worth a shot. It’s not difficult to see why it received such a frosty reception upon its original release however.
Which means that, though far from essential for anyone other than Metroid completists, Metroid: Other M is most definitely worth picking up now that it’s available at such a cheap price; just be aware of its issues going in. It’s a shame; with a more suitable control scheme and a better script – along with a more respectful treatment of the legendary Samus Aran – Metroid: Other M could have been a classic too.
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