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First Impressions: Metroid: Other M

Posted by James Newton

Hit me baby, one more time

As stunning as Retro Studios' Metroid Prime Trilogy undoubtedly is, we still fondly remember Samus Aran's formative years, and particularly the seminal Super Metroid. It seems we're not the only ones fond of this piece of the bounty hunter's history however, as Team Ninja and Tecmo's take on Nintendo's sci-fi franchise kicks off straight after the SNES classic ends.

Beginning with a lengthy rendered intro that shows Super Metroid's climactic Mother Brain battle in stunningly detailed action, the story focuses on the power given to Samus by the baby Metroid, and its eventual destruction. Samus's character, though still a kick-ass bounty hunter, is fleshed out with strokes of regret and loss: she responds to a "baby's cry" distress call from a nearby vessel in the hope of finding answers. What she finds instead isn't something we'll spoil for you, but Metroid fans will certainly enjoy seeing some of the backstory to series characters and situations.

The game itself controls NES-style but even the side-on sections are fully 3D, enabling you to run around your opponents instead of just into and over them. You can change to first-person view at any time by simply pointing at the screen, and this allows you to fire missiles as well as scan important areas. The transition is quick and feels intuitive, but as you can't move in first-person mode it feels disorienting for Metroid Prime fans and slows the pace down from the action sections.

One thing to be said about Other M is that when it's good, it's very enjoyable: the classic blasting action feels very satisfying, and being able to use charge beam, morph ball and wall jump right out of the gate is a big plus, setting a high pace at first. There's still classic Metroid exploration included though, with secret passages hiding the usual upgrades and save chambers. It definitely looks and feels like a Metroid game, and the traditional sound effects and musical cues are present too, yet it manages to make it feel refreshing by offering fast-paced action - with good timing you can dodge attacks with a graceful bound and counter-attack for critical damage, giving the action a slick and very cinematic feel. The first boss is a good example, with a combination of scripted and organic gameplay creating something very new for the franchise.

There are still some kinks to iron out with this latest Aran adventure, mainly in the consistency of the interface and simple navigation issues, but the action is solid and enjoyable. Hopefully Team Ninja can tighten up on this impressive start and create the killer Metroid game everyone's hoping for.

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User Comments (51)

JakobG

#1

JakobG said:

This game has the most unique controls ever.
Can't wait to play it.

TKOWL

#2

TKOWL said:

Uh-oh. I personally don't think it's gonna be what we expected anymore, according to your synopsys.

KiroX777

#5

KiroX777 said:

is the fps part different than the current wii metroid game? i loved the controls in that, but maybe it will be fixed in the final version. anyway its good nonetheless

DazzaAdmin

#7

Dazza said:

I have to say I came away liking this a little more than James (not that he disliked it particulary). The flip between 2D (which you can move up and down within like Paper Mario) and 3D works really well.

The only thing I found a little hard to get used to was that 3D mode is only really for shooting on the spot (like a gun turret), so to answer KiroX777, it's not really that similar to Metroid Prime series were you have free movement.

30 mins hands on didn't feel like long enough for me to get to grips with all that was going on really, the controls felt a bit clunky to begin with.... however near the end I felt much more comfortable with them.

The cutscenes (which are plentiful) are very impressive, heck they even look HD! Some of the best looking stuff I have seen on the Wii to date.

Certainly one to keep an eye on as if you weren't already convinced :-)

JamieOStaff

#8

JamieO said:

Whoa, these impressions have definitely got me even more hyped up for this. The way it follows on from Super Metroid, the mix of controls/modes and its fast-paced blasting action sound completely great.
It is shaping up to be an inventive take on the series. Cheers Prosody and Dazza. :)

aaronsullivan

#13

aaronsullivan said:

The point-for-3D is also for examining the environment closer and finding secrets, not just shooting.

I'm most concerned about the auto-aiming in the 2D view. :-/ If you move into and out of the screen using up and down on the control pad, then there is no pointing up or down to shoot up and down. Every once in a while I can imagine that I'd want to shoot the enemy above me or below even though it's further away than one at my level.

Stoked about the running/jumping/shooting at high speeds that was missing from the Prime games for the most part.

I also miss the art direction from the Metroid Prime games. It's fun to get the Japanese-style stylization for a change, too, though. Even if it feels a bit more fake. It's an even trade off for me there, I think.

There's a lot missing from this report that you can find elsewhere, partly about how Samus' abilities are limited and added on at the start. It's a bit different and clever, at least at the beginning. Hopefully, the exploring gets nice and deep and rewarding later in the game, too.

Can't wait. The best part is that this is SIGNIFICANTLY different from any other Metroid game yet seems to really respect all the others. Keeps things fresh, which is hard to do in these franchises that keep pumping out sequels.

I still want a nice fully 2D wiiware version of Metroid II in the same vein as Metroid Zero Mission. (I actually want to play Zero Mission on a big screen without digging out my game boy advance expansion to my Gamecube, too. lol.)

RaylaxStaff

#14

Raylax said:

How come there's no trailers or gameplay vids of this game from the media summits yet? Nintendo got a lockdown on video releases of it? Especially given that it was playable, normally the gaming media sites like IGN record themselves playing through it and show the vids.

Regardless, this looks like it's shaping up to be something spectacular. Hugely looking forward to it. Love Samus's younger self too, awesome hair :D

aaronsullivan

#16

aaronsullivan said:

Oh, I just realized that a Metroid II game could be really appropriate because of the story focus on the baby metroid in this game. It's SO hard to demand another Metroid game from Nintendo in light of this surprising release, but I sure want to.

aaronsullivan

#19

aaronsullivan said:

Yes, the new Samus look finally has some character. Just about the only true misstep in the Prime games was how generic and uninteresting Samus looked under that helmet. This game could really deepen the character. I like that, too.

aaronsullivan

#20

aaronsullivan said:

I'm sure we aren't seeing more footage because Nintendo is just being careful not to overshadow Mario. In the next few weeks Nintendo fans will talk about Mario Galaxy 2 and tell all their casual NSMBW fans about it. I bet you we get some more stuff on Metroid in a month or so. I'm already sold, though. The challenge is to wait until we crack it open at home.

That_Guy_from_Faxana

#22

That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

Personally I think the controls sound interseting in a good way. Shooting enemies at a higher altitude shouldn´t be much of a problem, you´ll just jump and shoot just like in the old games. and if it´s on a too high platform, you aim and shoot. I´m very excited about this one! Although Samus should have brown hair like in the NES ending ^^

bro2dragons

#23

bro2dragons said:

i like the sound of the mix of control. do i think they should have gone with a wiimote/nunchuck style so you can move in first-person? yep. do i trust that Ninty and Team Ninja know what they're doing. you can bet your left arm i do. i'm looking at this thing here to be the videogame highlight of my summer.

Popyman

#24

Popyman said:

How fast can you switch between first and third person? If it only takes like, a second, this game is going to be amazing.

DazzaAdmin

#25

Dazza said:

@Popyman You switch between 2D and first person mode in the blink of an eye. Simply point Wiimote at screen and the view changes just like that

Popyman

#27

Popyman said:

@Dazza: Sweet! I really don't know why some people are bashing the not being able to move in first person, thing. Sounds like it's only there to get in quick, well aimed shots, and then back to running, jumping, and rapid shooting.

Highlar

#28

Highlar said:

While I'm very excited for this game, and I think the control scheme is unique and could be a blast to play...I have one concern about it. Is it awkward, shifting your grip on the Wiimote from 2 hand button control to the first person view? Or does the view in 1st person still use the 1 and 2 buttons for actions? I've been trying to imagine what it would be like, thumbs on D-pad and 1/2 buttons...then having to shift the grip to the middle of the Wiimote to swing quickly into first person and use A/B buttons...then dropping back to sideways control and shifting buttons on the remote again. Does it take away precious seconds to shift around, or does it seem to flow smooth and natural from 1st to 3rd person? Not the time it takes to shift views...but how smooth and natural does the control shift feel to the hands?

Ren

#29

Ren said:

the quick switching sounds really awesome, I think thats what'll really set this apart from others. I don't think a shooter should have to bow to the modern FPS standard, but to be able to quickly jump to that view for exploration and some fast blasting would still be undeniably fun without sacrificing the platformer style that all us classic Metroid fans have been waiting for. The scanning in the prime games was a nice feature that added some depth so it'll be nice to retain that element of depth in searching even small environments.

I imagine there'll be some people that are going to take this idea as trying to be both and be upset with the on-rails nature of that mode, but I see it as just icing on the cake because it's ulimately NOT a FPS and shouldn't be taken as such. There really isn't any way you could do both with full movement or one of the modes would be too limiting and it would just be strange; i.e. if you have full movement in 1st person why would you bother with the side view? If the side view allows you to get everything you need fast, why would you go into 1st person and slow it down? If you have both and give them distinct advantages and it's quick to switch it's perfect.
I can see how it's better to keep the video's under wraps a little since there may be more tweeking of that stuff too, but it sounds like they did an awesome job adding a new feel with classic touches.

Mandoble

#30

Mandoble said:

So they finally ruined the game completely, again another 2D 1989 weirdness with 3D looking . Past 3 Metroids were outstanding, I cannot understand this change.

morphballer

#31

morphballer said:

Wasn't Other M a tentative title when we first saw it? Do we know if the game has an official name yet?

BlueFlameBat

#32

BlueFlameBat said:

So does this take place between Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion or is it a new scenario after Super Metroid?

Caliko

#34

Caliko said:

Why couldn't they use the nunchuck for third person/2D movement?? That way when you turn to first person you can move around?? What if I want to shoot a giant alien between the eyes and he moves forward to attack me?

I'm concerned this won't work. I guess I need to play to understand.

KrazyKain

#35

KrazyKain said:

I dont like the sound of already having morph/charge and whatever else at the beginning, but lets be honest.. samus cant keep loosing them EVERY TIME...

grenworthshero

#37

grenworthshero said:

I'm certainly happy with the new Samus. I always hated the way they made her look in Zero mission and beyond aka Zero Suit Samus. She didn't look like a ditzy, busty adult magazine model in the original Metroid Prime game, and I'm glad they changed her image to something more suitable to her character again.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#38

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Intersting control scheme. Reminds me a bit of Super Paper Mario Wii but obviously this control scheme has its own uniqueness too.

Sounds quite awesome actually. Thanks for the impressions. A potential all time great

The_Fox

#39

The_Fox said:

You know, now that I think about it her boobs are way too small for a Team Ninja game. I guess I'll have to get used to it. Her hair still looks stupid, though.

brandonbwii

#41

brandonbwii said:

I don't feel you elaborated enough on the flaws. You pretty much said the game wasn't perfect and ended your synopsis. I want details man, DETAILS! What's wrong with interface and navigation?

suburban_sensei

#43

suburban_sensei said:

This article has me SO excited for the game now. The fact that it seem's old school, yet you point at the screen to fire missiles in FP-mode...that sounds really fresh.

Supermegaman

#44

Supermegaman said:

These controls seem pretty funky... hopefully they work out and live up to the hype.
Anyway, horray for the new metroid! :D

hylianhalcyon

#45

hylianhalcyon said:

I'm not sure how I feel about this game. I've read in other impressions that you switch into morph ball by pressing A, which sounds awkward. I also read that the voice acting for Samus is emotionless. On the flip side, apparently you can dodge around enemies while in 2D mode. So while in 2D, you can still take advantage of 3D. I kinda like the idea of switching between third and first person. So as long as it feels Metroid, I should like it. So I can't wait to try it out.

Twilight_Crow

#46

Twilight_Crow said:

It sounds great! imo. The controls are interesting and different; and I always wanted to know what Samus thought about the "little" metroid sacrifice. I can't wait for this game, it will be my birthday present for sure ;).

BulbasaurusRex

#47

BulbasaurusRex said:

@Faxanadu As I understand it, Samus has canonically always had blond hair. The NES color palette just doesn't have a good yellow.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but from the impressions I've read elsewhere, I think the screenshots of Samus we have are from flashbacks of her military days. If that's true, it's a relief, because I personally would hate for Samus to cut back on her beauty by cutting her hair after Super Metroid.

This game sounds really awesome!

Token_Girl

#48

Token_Girl said:

Sounds like a really great game. If the controls are tight and work well, I think this setup sounds really fun. I still can't quite envision how it will all work smoothly, but I'm really looking forward to seeing this game in action.

Capt_N

#49

Capt_N said:

@That guy from Faxanadu: Typically, on the Nes, sprite color changes were used to signal the player about the status of their character(s) . In (the original) Metroid, acquiring certain item(s)(not gonna spoil it for people who haven't played it), would allow the Samus sprite to change color when said item(s) were activated Playing the game in another particular form would reveal that Samus had blond hair, & was also a brunette, depending on whether certain items in your possession were activated, or not. Then, in Super Metroid, Samus is a blond again.

Furthermore, I may not have noticed if what I'm about to say was otherwise, but I long ago noticed that during the Nes-era, most main Nintendo females were redheads, or brunettes, while definitely the characters were blond in all the artwork.

As for Other M, the controls will hopefully be flawless. & if not, this may spawn a sequel that improves on any flaws. For now, this, Galaxy 2, & DSi XL for my b-day this summer. :)

Slapshot

#50

Slapshot said:

Im investing in my 2nd Wii this year for sure. Team Ninja = Greatest Developers ever and this one game is the reason Im purchasing my 2nd Wii.... hopefully Nintendo can get me a sweet black Nintendo Wii Console!

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