I'm a gamer from the NES era and onward. I love pretty much all kinds of games with the exception of racing, sports, and bad games (obviously). I'm also the co-host on the weekly podcast HYPER KNEE (http://www.hyperknee.blogspot.com), which is almost 1 year old now. I aspire to be either a video-game journalist, or comic book writer (and currently working hard towards those goals).
Metroid Other M is the latest installment in the classic Metroid series since Metroid: Zero Mission for the Game Boy Advance in 2004, so I'm sure MOM's release is a long time coming for many Metroid fans, such as myself.
The game starts off with an amazing recreation of the final encounter with Mother Brain at the climax of Super Metroid for the SNES. This scene right here really sets the stage for the quality of the game from here on out. In the beginning, there are a lot of cutscenes, which really slows down the beginning, but once you take in the story and head out into the Bottle Ship to explore, things start to move at a fantastic pace.
The gameplay is really incredible, as soon as the controller is in your hands it really feels like classic Metroid, but with all new twists. For example, to aim at enemies with your missile's, you must quickly aim your Wiimote at the screen and lock onto your enemy and fire away. It takes a moment to learn, but once you get it down, it's a really simple procedure. It's also possible to charge your beam before aiming at the screen for when you unlock super missiles, you just simply use the 2 button instead of the A button, so that makes the process even more painless for later in the game. Aside from the aiming there is also the dodge technique Samus has called SenseMove. It works like a dream, a quick dodge and Samus auto-locks onto the closest enemy. This also auto-locks you in first person, so you can quickly dodge and dive into Samus' visor for a clean shot. On top of all this, there's also the Overblast technique's, where you jump on your enemy's head and fire a charged shot straight into there head, and the Lethal Attacks, which are pretty self explanatory, but if you need to know there pretty much flashy finishing moves that are always awesome to watch. The only things that are annoying are the three or four points in the game where they make you walk in an over the shoulder view for whatever reason, and the "Find a clue" first person parts where you can't progress until you find the clue. For me, these parts only took five minutes at most, but apparently there are a lot of people having problems with it. There is also the concentration system, which removes the annoying "go back and forth to respawning enemy's and kill them to recharge your health and ammo" with a simple but effective system where you hold the Wii mote up and Samus recharges her health (when it's really low) and missiles naturally.
Exploring the Bottle Ship is a lot of fun, even though the game is linear, at the end of the day exploration is exploration, even if you know what direction you're going, everything you're seeing is still new to you (unless you're on a second playthrough of course). The areas are polished and easy on the eyes, and everything fits nicely. All in all, the gameplay is superb with tight controls and amazing attacks and power ups. Speaking of power ups, they finally decided to stop making Samus' suit bug out and lose all her power ups in the beginning (which really made her suit appear to have some faulty design, lets hope they stop with that for good), and instead replace it with an Authorization system. It makes a lot more sense to me, considering she's following the orders of someone else and not just doing her own thing, she figures out of respect instead of going buck-wild and blowing the entire place up with super missiles and power bombs, she would wait for proper confirmation, like a soldier should! Kudos for the brilliant work around that bothersome issue with these games.
The graphics are equally as impressive, Other M is probably one of the best looking Wii games made to date, which is perfectly normal coming from the graphic obsessed developer's at Team Ninja. Samus looks awesome, the monsters are really sweet too, especially a lot of the awesome throwback monsters from Super Metroid and earlier games. It's great to see them all new in 3D. The cinematic cutscenes are also top notch, some of the best FMV work I've seen in a long time. For graphics, this game definitely goes above and beyond, and delivers the goods.
The story is also very interesting, not quite the best I've ever seen in gaming, but definitely stands well on its own. Samus receives a distress signal from a Galactic Federation ship called the Bottle Ship. When she arrives she meets up with her former Commanding Officer, Adam Malkovich and his team. Samus decides to co-operate with Adam and his team due to their past history, so she follows orders from him and that's how the game progresses, similar to Metroid Fusion, just minus all that annoying text every time you hit a save room. Instead, you get a small gold dot on your map that shows you the next area to go to, kind of like in Zero Mission. So, unlike earlier Metroid games and the Prime series, you won't be lost without a clue for hours on end, and thankfully can go through the game at your own pace and not get lost a lot. My only gripe is that at least with Zero Mission you did have some sequence breaking options if you wanted, but if you wanted it to be completely linear and follow the path, that was up to you as well, but lets hope we'll see sequence breaking in the sequel, right? I also have to mention I really like what they've done with Samus here, she's much more of a person than I've ever known, and it's nice to finally know the person behind the visor.
The music is very atmospheric as well, though it doesn't live up to the great tunes of Super Metroid (though lets be honest, its hard to live up to that), and quite frankly I'm just glad they didn't do a bunch of remixes of classic tunes to satisfy everyone. I'm kind of sick of hearing remixed Metroid tunes in these games, personally. I'd rather hear new music, even if it's not as great. It does what it must, it sets the tone and the mood of the lonely Bottle Ship, and that's all that matters. The music is original here, and solid. I also have to mention that playing with headphones is really awesome, the sound effects can be so appreciated when you can hear every single little one, from switching to the visor view, to the morph ball. If you have a headphone slot on your TV, I highly recommend it, the sound effects are great!
All in all, I would say this is a great step in the right direction for finally bringing classic Metroid to the third dimension, there are a few things that need to be worked out from keeping this game from reaching a 10/10 like it's brother Super Metroid, but it's still a great game all on its own. I think if Nintendo continues working with this formula, and improving upon it, their can easily be a new generation of great Metroid game's coming our way.
Fans rejoice! It's about time. Good work to Nintendo and Team Ninja on this very successful experiment, I'm looking forward to what comes next in the future progression of Metroid, and hopefully it won't be in six years from now like last time.
If Super Metroid is a 10/10, then this is easily a 9/10. Good stuff!