As a huge Metroid Prime fan, this Metroid title might very well not be for me. Other M takes the old-school Metroid games and tacks onto it the first-person Metroid Prime mode. Side-scrolling is back, in the awkward two-and-a-half dimensions well-known by N64 players. Basically, the game ends up being a clunky amalgam of a platformer and a first-person shooter, with what seems to be the story of an RPG.
Gameplay: A few of the logistics of the game have changed. For whatever reason, everything is now rechargeable in some sense. Health can be regenerated by moving the controller vertically and holding A. Missiles are now limitless. Before, if you had 20 missiles and used them all up, you had to find other ways to do heavy damage. Now, you can recharge your missile supply at any time in a way similar to health regen, with instructions showing up on the side of the screen when ammo gets low.
Additionally, Nintendo has eliminated the nunchuck that accompanied the Wii version of the Metroid Prime trilogy and now both movement and battle are controlled entirely by the Wiimote. What mode you play in depends on how you hold the controller.
Third-person mode – Most of the game is in third-person mode, which is played by holding the Wiimote sideways and using it as an old-school controller. Fans of the SNES games will be nostalgic at the sight of side-scrolling hallways and platforms. However, even though running is more or less 2D, the battles are not. Enemies attack in three dimensions, and as a result, players have to try to aim with a D-Pad at enemies that aren’t exactly in any one of the four available directions.
First-person mode – By aiming the Wiimote at the screen, the game temporarily changes gear and displays a Prime-esque first-person HUD in suddenly greatly-improved graphics. In this mode, you can scan objects, shoot enemies, and open complicated doors. But unfortunately, in first-person mode, Samus can’t move. At all. Simple battles, such as the one I played against an often-invisible chameleon-monster boss, end up being way more complicated than even the most annoying strafing that had to be done in the Prime games because you can’t dodge attacks.
Story: The story is a prequel to Metroid Fusion, the old GBA game (which I actually still own) that takes place last in the Metroid chronology. Here, we see more of Samus’ backstory, through beautiful cutscenes and lengthy voice-overs. Samus’ turmoil stems from meeting a few people from her past when she was part of the GF military.
It’s a darkier, edgier and emo-er Samus than we’ve ever seen, but rather than just being a kickass girl in a robot suit, the story of this game focuses more on her as a person, as opposed to previous plots that were more concerned with the fate of the galaxy. Basically, the success of the story is going to make or break this game, because as far as I can tell, the gameplay itself has yet to break any new ground.
Metroid: Other M will be out on the Wii on August 31st in the States, and out at the beginning of September in Japan and Europe.