Review: Metroid: Other M for Wii
By Nick Rudenno
It’s been a while since I’ve sat down properly with an instalment from the Metroid series. Being a big fan of its platformer origins I have tended to steer clear of the last few iterations, which had moved away from the fast-paced, side-scrolling puzzler and adopted a first-person approach to the franchise. Most people would probably say at this point that they are all pretty solid games, but despite the good reviews I still don’t think they have totally refined the first-person shooter mechanics on the Wii. For some reason I don’t find waggling a Wiimote at the screen satisfying when it comes to these types of games, but with the launch of Kinect and Playstation Move just around the corner I should probably prepare for a barrage of waggling.
That said, I was hooked on Super Metroid back in the day so when I first sat down with Other M I was really hoping to return to those days of old.It’s worth noting at this point that if you are feeling nostalgic they have released Super Metroid on virtual console for the Wii, and if you have ever had the urge to tear around Super Mario’s home town as Metroid character Samus there is a great indy Flash game on the web called Super Mario Crossover. Well worth a look, just Google it.
Reminiscing aside, this game is somewhat of a return to its stylistic origins taking on a third-person perspective to control Samus around alien worlds. When you get past the long intro (that you can’t skip) you instantly come to grips with controlling Samus. Don’t get me wrong, the cut-scenes are quite well executed and do add some nice depth at times, but let’s face it, we all want to skip right to the action. Close followers of the series will enjoy the many cut scenes and narrative elements, which provide an in-depth look into the back-story of Samus. After receiving a distress call from an unknown ship, Samus goes to investigate and encounters not only a bunch of unwelcoming aliens but also some members of her old team, which trigger flashbacks and yep, that means more cut scenes. I couldn’t help but feel that maybe this was a shout-out to Hollywood – a Metroid movie on the horizon perhaps?
The game is fast-paced and the controls are an absolute breeze allowing for some really fluid and satisfying gameplay. For the most part you will be running through sections of the game blasting away aliens in the third-person view. This all works well as you auto lock on to enemies no matter where they are on the screen allowing for quick and easy button mashing mayhem. To mix things up though you can at any point in the game, aim the Wiimote at the screen and it instantly switches to a first person view. This can be a little awkward, but after a while can become really useful to pick off an enemy in the distance or an awkward part of the environment. You can choose when to switch to this view, but there are certain points where you are forced to in order to shoot a switch or look for clues. That’s right, Samus is a new age Sherlock Holmes. These parts can be a little annoying and tend to stem the flow of button mashing action, but luckily don’t occur that often.
At times the combat can feel a little rinse and repeat but the boss battles add some really nice depth and are no doubt the most engaging element of the game. Timing is a key in these sequences and provides opportunities where you need to combine all the acquired skills you learnt throughout the game. The first-person mechanic works well here and it can be really rewarding when you nail that final shot to bring the boss down.
The graphics are ok but nothing amazing, then again that’s not what the Wii is really about. The action and boss battles are rewarding and although the level progression can be a bit linear at times, the game is fun, free flowing and engaging. This game will please any fan of the series and no doubt quench the thirst of any action junkie, plus it’s inspired me to fire up some of the older games in the series. Now I just have to figure out how to plug my SNES into my HDTV.
3.5 Shacks out of 5.