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Metroid: Other M Review - Wii

7
Gameplay: 7 stars 7
Graphics: 8 stars 8
Audio: 7 stars 7
Innovation: 7 stars 7
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Introduction

Metroid is my series. When asked about favourite games of all time, Super Metroid is always my pick. Something about the exploration, platforming and item collection formula that has been perfected by the franchise just hits all of my gaming needs. Retro Studios pulled off a great trilogy of first-person games and won over all those initially hesitant about such a drastic change of perspective. Now it’s time to hand over the reigns to Team Ninja for a third person, more story-based game than have ever come previously. How does it rate to the series’ best?

Gameplay

Blending the first-person approach of the Metroid Prime trilogy with the classic 2D side-scrolling adventure of the early series was never going to be easy. Team Ninja’s solution was to put Samus Aran in a 3D world that is predominantly viewed side-on, but allowing the player to point at the screen with the Wii remote at any time to enter a first-person view. All the basics are accessible in this way, but to fire missiles or use grapple beam you have to point at the screen. As a result, you can’t fire missiles while platforming nor while in the midst of the new melee fighting, which is a notable detriment.

The side-scrolling view feels very Metroid, especially since you play with the Wii remote on its side in classic NES configuration. The camera does some very neat tricks, like following behind you as you run down a corridor, then gliding left into a side-scrolling 2D plane, and then again following behind you as you continue away from the screen. It also pulls back when you speed boost and Shinespark – an inclusion I was pleased to see make a 3D debut. The camera pulls out while you run down glass corridors to reveal the ominous silhouette of the ‘bottle ship’ that is the focus of the game’s exploration, or to show your tiny morph ball rolling around the exterior of a giant facility. It adds a great sense of atmosphere to a series that always prided itself on a sense of loneliness.

The trouble is that the first-person view is almost always an impediment to the fun. There are times when you are locked in and have to look around, pixel by pixel, to find the splash of green blood on the ground behind you that the game wants you to notice. You cannot progress until you find it, which took me nearly ten minutes and a search online. Ridiculous. Restricting certain abilities to that mode, like grapple beam, which could quite easily be a context sensitive button press in the normal third person view, is unnecessary. It has its moments, like in certain intense boss battles, but as the only way to fire missiles, it’s just a drag. And speaking of dragging, the pointer control isn’t even as good as Retro’s last game. It’s slow and finicky, and not easily used when in the midst of a fight. And let’s not talk about the bizarre over ...

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