Monday, September 13, 2010

Metroid: Other M - Review

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    I'm adding reviews to my blog, all revolving around technology and entertainment. My first quick review is for a recent release, Metroid: Other M, exclusive to the Nintendo Wii.

   With the Metroid Prime series completed, this is the first Metroid game on Wii to start a new story. I tend to think of it to be more like 'The Diaries of Samus Aran'. It is entirely from her perspective and the game is filled with cutscenes consisting of her inner voice explaining lots of story, usually relevant to what's going on around you. Pretty much everything about the game is very reminiscent of just about any decent anime. Still, the story is a must-experience for all Metroid fans.
    The graphics are pretty good. I tend not to weigh this too heavily. I'm one of those 'graphics aren't everything' people. I would much rather have a great game with a low quality appearance than a poor game that looks nice. Whatever type of gamer you are, the graphics in this game definitely look great.
    The game play is set as a third person side scroller, but there are times when you need to jump into a first person view to interact with objects or use missiles. You cannot walk around in first person, however. This is where game play seriously differs from some recent predecessors. Overall the game is a great balance of old school meets new school. Think original NES Metroid with 3D graphics and some added game play features.
    Getting through the game varies from too simple to too tough. Most of the complaining I'll do comes from the fact that you need to have a very sharp attention to detail while playing. Often times, you need to notice a tiny 10x10 pixel area or a small object, switch, or morph ball hole that is too burned into the background. So the issue is not on the player's specific attention to detail, but the games. I played it on a smaller 20" LCD monitor. This is always fine for Wii games for me, since there isn't a drastic difference between that and HD. Still, this could be aiding the problem so I accept that and perhaps you need better tech to play Metroid more efficiently. But believe me, you can go into a room of the game and get stuck there for an hour until you realized there was a morph ball hole tucked away behind a superfluous corner of some broken object. In addition, the enemies don't seem to necessarily ramp up my experience. They are either pathetically simple to defeat or require a few minutes of your attention with no in-between. Some will take a single shot from your trusty cannon while others require multiple charge shots. Then there are 'tough' enemies and bosses. The harder enemies are a pain to kill. Most of them require some other mechanic than shooting to defeat, which is fine. It just takes a while. The ones that do require excessive shooting just feel like a waste of time, precious time that you could be using to continue the story!
    Samus has quite the arsenal this time around, too. I think the developers did a great job bringing in some cool new gadgets and ideas. First of all, you don't switch between your weapons like you have in previous games. They simply stack on top of one another. So gaining Ice Beam and Wave Beam causes both affects and a huge damage boost. The Screw Attack returns as well. Once you unlock it, it lays waste to anything you touch - which is nice when you're on the go. Normally, Samus gets the tech knocked out of her in the beginning, causing you to have to find it all again. I admire the design teams breaking away from this, but the way they did it was kind of elementary. Samus is being a 'good girl' and listening to her friend and boss, who asked her not to use her awesome weapons and far superior arsenal in the beginning. Then one by one, he gives the okay. Who in their right mind would not use a super missile on the first few bosses to end it, instead of jumping around for thirty minutes hacking away with single shots?! Ugh. Could have used improvement.
    Anyway - everything else about the game is pretty awesome. From stunning visuals and decent game play, this game is amazing. If you are a Metroid fan, don't skip out on it! If you aren't, this game still delivers some cool action, but maybe check out some game play footage or try it out first.

    There is a lot more I'd love to say about Metroid: Other M, but I wanted to keep this to a minimum. I'll have it out with recent titles I pick up from the store, but I wanted to talk about something and I'm still playing around with Samus.

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