Metroid: Other M screenshot
Metroid: Other M screenshot

In the early stages at least, there's an oozing sense of menace aboard the good ship Bottle. Along with the gloomy-yet-beautiful graphics, the game's soundtrack plays a pivotal role in establishing this tense mood. Samus is more than powerful enough to deal with the minor threats that come her way, even when the enemies arrive en masse, but there's a constant feeling that something really nasty is lurking around the next corner. The voice acting is really decent from what I've heard so far, but there's certainly some truth to the idea that the game works best when you're on your own. Fortunately, that seems to be pretty much all the time.

There's a nice sense of pacing too, dividing your time between acrobatic platforming and twitch-happy battles. The latter seems to handle really well - even when it comes to the new elements. Tapping the d-pad at the last minute before an attack allows Samus to dive out of the way, landing on her feet with cat-like agility. More controversially, she's also able to perform close-up executions on certain enemies - and yet even these brief cinematics somehow fit the Metroid vibe. Samus has always been a bit of a badass, and even if she's a bit more fancy with her techniques now, she still exudes this vibe of focused, introvert professionalism.

If there's going to be a sticking point with Other M, it's going to be the perspective switch, and the associated control issues. For the most of the time you'll be controlling Samus from a third person view, with the Wii Remote held sideways. While the d-pad is understandably a lot twitchier than an analogue stick, movement generally works very well, while a slight degree of auto-aim ensures that shooting remains simple and un-fiddly. However, if at any time you should aim the Remote directly at your TV, you'll suddenly switch to first-person. You can pan around and inspect your surroundings, you can blast enemies or lock onto them and toast them with rockets, but crucially the one thing you can't do is move around. If you need to re-locate - perhaps because some kind of massive alien wants to turn your entrails into a funky hat - you'll have to flip to the other perspective. In the heat of a battle this back-and-forth can be a quite disorientating, and since the game hasn't been exclusively designed with a third person view in mind, you'll occasionally find yourself dealing with unhelpful camera angles, running or shooting towards dangers that may or may not lurk off-screen.

It's a concerning situation, because history is littered with games that were scuppered by dodgy camera setups. For the time being, however, I'm willing to give Nintendo and Team Ninja the benefit of the doubt. I've not yet encountered anything that suggests the switching will be a big problem, and on the other hand I've seen an awful lot that convinces me that this could be one of the best Wii games in recent memory. It looks great, sounds wonderful, and has an atmosphere to die for - so for the time being at least, the members of Team Smiley can count me among their ranks.

Metroid: Other M will be released on September 3, exclusively on Wii.

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bencrosaby's Avatar

bencrosaby

I'm not looking forward to Other M that much purely on the basis that it's different from what I started out with with Metroid Prime and therefore, to me, this game is just a spin-off and will merely test the waters of what Nintendo can achieve with a different developer and a proper full blown storyline. I've never touched the 2D series but I've always found that the key to the Metroid atmosphere has been the loneliness. I just hope Team Ninja can recreate that atmospere with the said full blown storyline.
Posted 00:00 on 04 August 2010
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls

After their E3 conference they can have my promotional services for free, because god damn they deserve it.

That, and Shattered Memories only got a 78 metacritic... I mean what the hell, do the press really hate Wii that much? I know 78 is 'above average' and all that lark, but it's not even in the top 150 games released in 2010 on aggregate...
Posted 22:35 on 03 August 2010
Jamin's Avatar

Jamin@ Woffls

You on Konami's payroll or something these days dude?
Posted 22:31 on 03 August 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Yeah I did.
I was like the only person in the World who loved Mario Kart Double Dash
Posted 22:04 on 03 August 2010
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls

Mario Galaxy is calling you :D Did you have a Gamecube? Because if not then that's another few dozen titles still worth picking up.
Posted 21:59 on 03 August 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

This is annoying.
I really want a Wii now...
Posted 21:54 on 03 August 2010
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls

Yes. And buy Silent Hill Shattered Memories while you're at it :D

Sort of looking forward to this, but I don't care much for Team Ninja's pedigree. I think a lot of people hate the idea of giving a character to Samus, it's probably akin to giving Gordon Freeman a voice, wife and pie preference. I think it's a good thing, because Metroid wont be around forever, and they've yet to explore the character in this context so Nintendo might as well take a shot and reinvent the franchise again.
Posted 21:51 on 03 August 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Is now the time for me to a buy a Wii?
God damn it.
Posted 21:35 on 03 August 2010

Game Stats

Release Date: 27/08/2010
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Action
No. Players: One
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 1,949 32
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