Metroid Other M, one of the most divisive games in the franchise. What can I say about a game a lot of people have an opinion on? Probably nothing new but whatever. Now this was a game developed by Team Ninja and Nintendo, Ninja Gaiden has great action and difficulty so you think it could have been a match made in heaven, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t one made in hell, it is divisive for a reason. Now I will save my thoughts on the story for last, I wanna talk mostly about the gameplay. Because I play Metroid for the gameplay. Well for one thing the control scheme is odd and yet ingenious, only on a Nintendo console could a game have controls like that, for one the Wii Controller, you do not use the nunchuku, so You hold it like an NES controller like you do on the virtual console for NES games, but here you take advantage of the motion controls, you do the infamous waggle to restore health and missiles, you hold it like tv controller to aim as a lot of wii games. Now this when it worked was intuitive and fun, emphasis on when it worked. It was a big problem for me, I would have a hard time going into first person mode, I had to make sure the sensor was in the right place. Sometimes I would go in it by accident when I was trying to heal and vice versa.
Now as for the combat, it can be fast paced and fun, the problem for me is it really felt like I just had to hold the defensive stat and just spam shooting and charge blasting when I dodge. The one time this really worked for me was the fight with Ridley, now that was awesome and the one time I feel like the game got it right, shame it happens at the end of the game because if all the bosses had been like this, I would have enjoyed it more than thinking, Oh it looks cool but this is kinda this game in a nutshell, looks cool, but not a lot of substance. The progression is linear, moreso than Fusion was and Fusion had the excellent SA-X horror parts. While this had point and click stuff shoehorned in. Now I do not mind that initially, but when it just stops mid scene and expects you to know it is point and click it gets annoying, at least you get used to it but still an annoyance for me. Then there is a scene out of Crash Bandicoot where you run from an avalanche…..Works in Crash, in Metroid not so much. It actually bothered me, it didn’t feel like something from Metroid. Honestly a lot of this game doesn’t have that feeling of loneliness you get from past Metroids, I mean back to what I said about linearity, you cannot even go back to explore when you get new items. Sometimes you can kinda but areas get closed off for no real reason.
Now for the story, just wow at this mess. Now I never really cared about what people’s ideal Samus was and I thought things were overblown and I still do for the most part but there is a lot of truth to it. For one Samus’ voice actor can barely emote, she sounds so stilted and boring. The main villain, the twists, the cast all were bland to me. The traitor subplot was annoying and Samus’ nickname for him was dumb. Samus screaming the baby gets annoying and all the monologues from Samus get tiresome. Do not get me wrong, the cutscenes look great, especially for a Wii game. It looks top notch and hard work went into that, if only the voice actors did the same and emoted more and the writers tried to not make a bland story about another corrupt military. Now I will say this without getting into Spoilers, what happens to Adam was the one scene where I genuinely felt anything, I felt for him and for Samus and her helplessness. But in a game where she was helpless too often it would have meant more to me if this had been the one time she had been vulnerable. Her being traumatized by a being she fought and killed a few times and has come back to life already to me was just for drama. The mother daughter story between the not so subtle women with the MB initials didn’t work and Melissa Bergman was just a whiny child and get that might have been what they were going for but she is so underwhelming and a few of the twists with her I saw coming a mile away.
Overall I have to say this is a game that does not know what it wants to be. It struggles to find an identity, is it a metroidvania game where you explore? Is it an action game? Is it a cinematic focused game? Well it is a jumbled mix of a lot of genres. Now do not get me wrong, it is nowhere as bad as some people say, it is very playable and has moments of brilliance that makes you wish they lasted longer. For what it is, it is a fun game, now if they had not made it metroid I think it could have been more liked, with Metroid you have certain expectations and this game fails to evolve anything in the series, everything it does gets done better by other games in the series. I think if you go in with low expectations and take the time to get used to the controls you can have a fun time. But this is a very flawed game and I understand now why it is so divisive, the bland story, making Samus annoying and weak, lack of exploration, too linear, there are great things in this game when they work, but sadly it is often too little, too late. I think they had good intentions but missed the mark on what was great about the series and made a game that for me at least is not the worst in the series but a low point that I feel Samus Returns almost rectifies, now I hope Metroid Prime IV can bring it back to the heights the first Prime brought it back to.