When Metroid: Other M was announced at E3 in 2009, I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was that there was going to be a new Metroid game that was not a first-person shooter. For years, I waited for another 2D-style Metroid game and it appeared that I would get my wish. Even after it became obvious that the game was more 3D than 2D I was still excited to play it.
When the game was finally released, most of the reviews were negative and I ignored them. However, I hesitated and rented the game instead of purchasing it and I’m glad that I did. Unfortunately, Metroid’s return to third-person wasn’t anything I hoped it would be.
After playing the game, I have very few good things to say about it. The game looks great and I enjoy the auto-aim system for basic attacks. When all you’re doing is running through 2D corridors the game plays great. Aside from that, the game is a mess.
Much of the game is 3D, but you have to control Samus using only the d-pad. This becomes problematic when you need to jump on top of enemies to execute special moves or when platforming is required. The controls suffer more due to the first-person mode that is activated when you point the Wii remote at the screen. This works great when you just need to look around, but switching back and forth quickly in combat is disorienting. You must switch to first-person view to use missiles, but you cannot move in first-person. In combat, you’re stuck in place as enemies attack you.
Outside of combat, you will periodically be forced in to first-person view seemingly random times. When this happens, you must find a certain important object before you can continue, but you aren’t given many clues about what you are looking for. I sat for several minutes trying to figure out what to point at the first time this happened. I finally had to look it up online to continue playing at all.
If the controls aren’t frustrating enough, you’ll also be turned off by the story and the way Samus is portrayed. For years, gamers have assumed that Samus is a bad-ass bounty hunter, but Other M portrays her as something completely different: a whiny, overly emotional child. You will constantly be listening to Samus’s inner-monologues that do nothing to make her seem like the bounty hunter we thought she was.
I really wanted to enjoy this game, and I did my best to give it a fair chance even though I found the controls frustrating, but the game just isn’t fun. It is by far one of the most disappointing games I’ve played in a long time.