Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Metroid Other M: Mixed Opinions

Written by pikaby

A new Metroid game. This should have been awesome. This should have been hyped up to galactic proportions, up to the same level as a new Mario or Zelda game. This should have gotten Nintendo fans pissing in their pants and keeping their watchful eyes on the internet every second of the day, drinking in every last new detail they can before the imminent release date. Came it did, but it passed without a fangasm-induced hurrah. At all.

In fact, the last few months leading up to Other M's release was approached with much cautious optimism. Fueled by the excitement generated in the eye-popping trailer in E3 2009 and the interesting collaboration with Team Ninja, it was something that couldn't go wrong. However, much as fans wanted to like the game, there was always something holding them back. Was it not attractive enough?

Ultimately, dig a little deeper and there were a lot of things that worried potential buyers. The controversial control scheme, for example, which forced you to play with the Wiimote on its side, using the D-Pad to control Samus' movement. It might hark back to the old NES days, but remember, that was pure 2D. Other M is a 3D world. Movement feels restrictive when you see the 3D world before you but you're only allowed to move on one plane. Then, aiming. Shoot Samus' arm cannon while in third-person mode and it'll automatically zero in onto an enemy, instead of allowing you to aim at whichever enemy you wanted to hit. This saps a lot of fun out of killing enemies, because for me, I want to feel like I'm actually doing the killing instead of the game doing it for me.

Thirdly, the first-person mode. This brings back fonder memories from the Prime era, but you're rooted t the spot and not allowed to move. And know how the Wii always has at least a second of lag when the sensor bar is trying to detect the infrared sensor emitted by the remote when you suddenly switch from a sideways position to pointer mode? (sometimes the pointer ends up upside-down on the screen too) I haven't played Other M yet, but with this being the Wii's usual way of working I'm not going to expect much difference or reduction in pointer lag.

The game came out finally on August 31st without the usual fanfare you'd expect from a major Nintendo release, especially a game that was so eagerly awaited for just a year ago. As previews and gameplay videos rolled in the hype died down. As the game was released the critics gave it a drubbing. What should be a triple-A game didn't turn out the way it should be. Gamespot's 8.5/10. G4TV's 2/5. And many other reviewers were torn on whether they should give Other M the benefit of the doubt and score it higher just because of the momentum it still has after last year's flashy show, resulting in a mixed bag of 6's and 7's. Main complaints were of course aimed at the control scheme, but also the story which Nintendo worked so hard on, with the issue being Samus' new whiny, weak girl personality and bad dialogue.

I'll have to get the game and play to judge for myself if Metroid Other M really is all it's cracked up to be, but from all the early signs of mediocrity, it doesn't seem to be living up to the high standards this year set by the unprecedented Galaxy 2. Heck, I even forgot about the Other M launch center. But again, wait for N5S' test play for our final verdict.
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