Metroid misses the mark

Nintendo has finally unleashed the next game in the Metroid series of video games, Metroid: Other M. This new installment in the series offers a few changes, including a brand new kind of game play that’s different from previous games such as Metroid: Prime. However, there are the familiar aspects of the game that will remind you of the Metroid series. This joint venture between Nintendo and Team Ninja is a new step into a different kind of game play in the Metroid series.

Metroid: Other M takes place after the events of Super Metroid. Samus has narrowly survived the Mother Brain attack in which a baby Metroid saved her life and gave her the power to defeat the Mother Brain. You arrive back at the star base to be examined and deemed perfectly healthy, while reminiscing about your experiences on Zebes and the destruction of the Metroid.

Samus’ next mission is to investigate what’s known as the “Bottle Ship,” a ship that has not been heard from in some time. Samus arrives to find the ship empty and runs into her former commander and squad in the Galactic Army. Samus then joins their effort to investigate what happened with the ship and to bring it back online.

While roaming around on the ship, you’ll find your regular set of monsters that are mutated organisms that the crew may have been researching. You’ll be asked by Adam (the commander) to go around restoring power to the ship while fending off some pretty big creatures. They can give you a run for your money and take a little strategy to be able to properly fend them off. The tiny monsters that run around remind you very heavily of Super Metroid and give you a feeling like this is the next step in the game series.

The biggest change in this game is the inclusion of both a third-person and first-person mode. The third-person mode is similar to a side scroller in many situations (also reminiscent of Super Metroid) and the first-person view is a throwback of previous games such as Metroid: Prime. However, one does not choose which mode to use throughout the game. In certain situations, one must use either one depending on what needs to be accomplished.

First-person mode is meant to be more of an investigative mode. You look around trying to find clues as to where to go, where to shoot a missile (having unlimited missiles is nice) and what an item is. The game is meant to be played a majority of the time in third-person, in which you can only shoot plasma charges (charged or non-charged).

Fans will find the familiar ball mode prevalent in this game as it was in the previous Metroid games. There are many secret passages to be investigated in this mode. Certain paths in rooms will need to be navigated around and certain obstacles will need to be destroyed with the simple ball bomb. It’s a fun game play mode for both those familiar with it and new to it.

There are a few parts of the game that will turn off any gamer that isn’t familiar with the Metroid series. The first is the control scheme. This game is played completely with the Wiimote without a nunchuck. Third-person mode is played while holding it horizontally, while first-person mode is played while pointing the Wiimote at the screen.

After playing the game for a few hours, I still wasn’t used to the awkward style of holding the controller. As a player coming off Metroid: Prime, I saw it as an interesting change and decided to stick with it rather than putting it down, however, frustrated newcomers will probably not like the new style.

Another gripe is that the game is admittedly pretty easy. While running around in third-person mode (where you’ll spend almost seventy percent of the time) you can mindlessly press the one button (shoot) and kill everything effortlessly because of auto-aim. There’s no way to turn this feature off.

As one of those people who like just playing games to get through them, I enjoyed it, but those looking for a challenge will be severely disappointed. The boss battles are easy enough to only require enough strategy to know when to shoot missiles.

If you can get past the shortcomings of the game, it can be a very enjoyable experience. Metroid: Other M offers a different style of game play along with a familiar environment and weapon selection. As you play the game, you start to feel more immersed in the story as well as Samus’ past. The game is a refreshing addition to the Metroid series and Wii lineup and it will surely please those familiar to the series of Metroid games.