The other M or: How I met Samus Aran

Water drips from the ceiling of an icy cave. It is freezing cold. The only sound I hear is a splattering sound as I walk through the door.
I am in Sector 2 of the Bottle Ship now, trying to track down a strange creature. And I still do not get what I am doing…

Metroid: Other M is the one thing I currently play, after I finished the campaign in StarCraft II. I finished the game earlier today, with the shaky feeling of sadness.
I just don’t understand what went wrong here. Who to hate for some of the more bad gameplay decisions the developers made. Team Ninja? Nintendo? Sakamoto?
Don’t get me wrong, the game is very good. Well made and all, but it just is not as good as it could have been.

I can forgive them for the bad voice acting. I mean, it all starts with the story, which is good and all, but it’s exceptionally bad in its delivery. It almost feels like as if Sakamoto wanted to do something else and during the end he realized that this game should fit into Metroid canon and thus he had to change the ending.
And since I heartily dislike the regular Japanese way of storytelling (sans Fullmetal Alchemist, which are masterpieces of storytelling) I can understand that it is just damn hard to have good voice acting with a script that is as silly as the one for Other M.

Do not confuse story with storytelling. I like the plot of the game, the setting and the twists. I just hate the way the story progresses. The bad voice acting does not help. And while the cutscenes look impressive and are filled with a lot of cool scenes, the narration just plain and simply sucks.
Like the game’s first person sequences.

I loved the Prime Trilogy. The Metroid Prime Trilogy is probably one of the best game sets every created. Everything shines in those games.
In Other M you do have first person sequences. But they are badly executed and just plain stupid. Not only do they disturb the pace of the game, they also are badly designed. Half of the time I found myself standing there dying because I was not able to target the right enemy, or had no idea what to do at all. And all those “find secrets to progress” sequences are horrible. How is one to know you have to check out a tiny piece of green slime on a green floor with lots of green slimes lying around?
They guide you through the game on your hand with an arrow pointing exactly where you need to go but they can’t tell you: “Check out the green slime over there.”?
That’s bad design. And it only gets worse later in the game. Nobody knows how to trigger the final cutscene. All you do is stand there in ego mode and shoot unkillable creatures. It may take ten seconds to five minutes to trigger the final cutscene. But you don’t know what you did to trigger the cutscene – it just happens.
Best guess is you have to point at something somewhere but I just didn’t for the life of me find out what it is I had to point at. After dozens of failed attempts at survival (some lasted up to ten minutes) all of a sudden after twelve seconds the cutscene triggers. WTF?

Even worse, there is no way you can replenish your health in those first person modes. You also can’t really evade attacks, only in a few selected instances. So what to do when you face a boss, can’t evade his attacks, can’t charge up on health and missiles but the boss keeps hitting you harder?
This reminds me of that boss battle in the end, where a large yet familiar creature swallows you. And you are supposed to know that at this exact moment you get the power bombs and you have to plant one inside the creature’s belly or else you die.
But nobody ever told you that you now have powerbombs. You just have them.

For a game that aids you through the entire time you play it those segments are frustrating. At least tell me I have the power bombs. Or let some enemies drop health just in case I DON’T have those 8 seconds time to recharge my health. Also, what’s with the energy parts? Zelda much?

Last but not least: Why hire a full orchestra if you’re not going to have music in your game anyway? Just for those cutscenes?
I mean, you have space stations, sand, lava, ice, water, plants, ent dinosaurs, dragons, undead ghost aliens and traitors in this game and all you hear are some silent ambient noises in the background? Seriously? At least give me a piano every now and then…

Now, all rants aside, the game STILL is GOOD. Especially if you finished the story mode (because then you don’t have to do all those annoying things. You can explore freely without that stupid arrow thingy and you can play the way you want, without forced cutscenes or first person sequences.

I personally do not regret getting the game. I enjoyed it a lot. It is fun. It is just sad to see so many missed opportunities. Here are my two cents:
Sakamoto: Write the plot, give it to David Hayter and let him write the script.
Team Ninja: Leave the first person sequences out.
Nintendo: Get Zack Snyder for cutscene direction.
Sakamoto: Tell your composers to do actual music.
Team Ninja: Actually tell the player when he got a new upgrade.
Nintendo: Get REAL Voice actors!
Everyone: Buy this game. It’s better than I make it sound šŸ˜‰

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3 Responses to The other M or: How I met Samus Aran

  1. Shane Skekel says:

    I don’t know if you’re going to read this, but I agree completely except for one thing: Zack Snyder. I mean, why him? Why not get Newgrounds’ top directors such as Matt Hunter (Gotham Heat), Doug Sauncy (Keegan’s Truck), Em Kaah (Goldilocks), Jesse Simpson (The Undead), or Daniel Sun (Red Moon)?

    • Ezekiel Rage says:

      I read this šŸ™‚
      Its simple: Zack SNyder has a very stylized, almost videogamey look about all his movies. Truth be told when I wrote this article Man of Steel was nowhere to be found yet but the point still stands. To me its abut the look of the visuals in a situation like this. It does not mean that there are not other talented people out there^^

      • Shane Skekel says:

        Good point, and two things worth bringing up:
        One: I found this site from the Wii Homebrew Wiki.
        Two: I am also a Newgrounds user, although I’m taking a break from NG.

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