Combat mixes all these styles of play, with Samus regularly needing to switch between running and gunning, first-person shooting, bomb-laying, puzzle-solving (read: shooting a switch) and the odd bit of melee combat. Early enemies are easy to tackle, requiring little more than repeated firing, but tougher baddies demand far more competent skills. Samus can dodge incoming attacks with well-timed presses of the d-pad, and perform special finishing moves - leaping onto the backs of monsters and fire charged blasts into their heads
In general the combat is excellent, with Samus leaping around like a gun-toting Ryu from Ninja Gaiden, but when the game more or less forces you to use the first-person view mid-fight, things get a little clumsy. Samus will aim in the direction she's facing, and it's very easy to accidentally switch from third-person to first-person and end up facing a wall instead of the enemy. Aside from the scanning sequences (which on occasion require you to find bizarrely-placed objects), Other M would have been a better game without the first-person gameplay. This would have allowed the developer to include Nunchuck support, in turn giving you analogue control in a 3D world. As it stands, it's akin to controlling Mario in Galaxy with the d-pad. It's not perfect, but isn't as much of a problem as I initially expected it would be.
Problems associated with the storytelling and first-person gameplay can be forgiven, as the rest of the experience has been expertly crafted. The classic mechanic of slowly gaining new abilities and weapons, allowing you to access previously locked-off areas, is present and correct, although the way certain abilities - such as a speedy run that lets Samus charge through walls and leap across chasms - are seemingly turned on at will by the commander in charge is somewhat odd. It's fair enough as a gameplay mechanic, but makes little sense in terms of the story, as these abilities would have been very handy earlier on.
Boss battles are often spectacular, taking place regularly throughout the campaign across all the game's locations. You'll generally have to target a weak spot numerous times before performing a deadly strike, but some of your foes take genuine gaming skill to beat. Despite the space station being devoid of other human life, there's barely a dull moment as Samus tackles wave after wave of nasty beasts or leaps around to traverse the complex structure.
Wii games often fail to dazzle visually, but Other M does what it can with the hardware to create a well-realised environment. It's often a little drab, but that works well to help create a brooding atmosphere. While the space station is generally a metallic grey, holographic technology has created jungle, lava and snow scenery that is up there with the best we've seen on Nintendo's little console. It's perhaps not quite as spectacular as Metroid Prime Corruption, but compared to the plethora of other titles released every week, it's in a completely different league.
Metroid Other M is one of the most accomplished action games on the Wii, but it's let down slightly by some clumsy controls and awkward storytelling. These issues are by no means game-breaking though, with the classic Metroid gameplay, Team Ninja-style action and 3D environments combining to create an excellent entry in the franchise.
VideoGamer.com Score8 Score out of 10
- Classic Metroid feel
- Great third-person action
- First-person combat is clumsily implemented
- Storytelling isn't great