Metroid: Other M Event

Nintendo are making a big effort to come back in full force after many hardcore fans felt alienated by their push towards the casual gamers. Now, Microsoft are flailing about with Kinect, hoping to appeal to the casuals by sponsoring the Justin Beiber tour and Sony’s Move is imminent, poised to make a stand in the motion control market (and also nab some of those occasional consumers). This E3, Nintendo came out with a line-up that caused some serious salivation, from new Donkey Kong and Kirby titles to the potentially incredible 3DS. One of those games that was teased, and which helps kick off the beginning of the busy Christmas season, is Metroid: Other M.  Co-developed by Team Ninja, the game looked poised to be, if anything, an interesting addition to the Metroid series.

As a big Nintendo fan (and a big Metroid fan to boot), I waited a long time for more information, read previews and waited for its release, so I was over the moon when Gaminglives asked me if I wanted to cover a preview event where I’d be able to play the game a week before it went on sale in the UK.

Taking place in the Gamerbase in HMV, Piccadilly, there were plenty of units running Metroid: Other M, as well as some running Super Metroid on the Wii’s Virtual Console (Other M takes place directly after Super Metroid in the series’ chronology).  Plenty of people were playing the DS too, since entrants were given a free copy of Metroid Prime Pinball; participants who gained a big enough high score on it would be able to win free stuff.  Sadly, I didn’t bring my DS and so was unable to enter the competition but, looking at the scores some people attained, I think it may have been better for my self-esteem that I didn’t.

The units running copies of Metroid: Other M were all in different states of play, with some playing promo videos for the game, some at the tutorial stage, and then at different points depending where the players were in the beginning of the game. Attendees were able to play for a certain amount of time before passing the controller on, allowing everyone to get a fair amount of hands-on time with the game. I was soon given a controller and allowed to play a game that I have been waiting for since its initial announcement at E3 2009.

I should stop right now and address the elephant in the room that’s stomping raging fanboys and eating all the peanuts. You read me right in that last paragraph – there is a tutorial section wherein you can learn the controls and effective battle techniques. Some may cry foul but it looked to me like they managed to fit it in well; it’s probably better for the experience to learn the controls in a tutorial environment rather than, as in other Metroid games, the player being mostly left to learn the ropes by themself. I say it’s probably better this way because, from what I played of the game, it helps to know what you’re doing as there’s a lot of action and you’re going to want to be the one to bring it.

Reading up before the event, I knew that some websites out there were very hesitant about Other M and what it could turn out like, some especially worried about Team Ninja and what they were going to do with it, the heavy amount of story, the voice acting, and there being more action with the whole thing being less lonely and exploratory. Granted, those are all valid concerns, especially as the Metroid series is all about exploration, solitude, backtracking, Space Pirates and those Metroid things too, I guess. I wouldn’t be able to tell you how much you should allay your fears, seeing as I’d have to play most, if not all the game but, from what I’ve played, I have a lot of positive things to say.

First off, there are pre-rendered cut scenes throughout the game with full voice acting but, from the ones I saw during the event, they all looked great and the voice acting sounded good which is a massive positive, seeing as bad voice acting could potentially have ruined most of the experience. These things should be nothing to fear as, by the look of it, they help effectively expand the story as well as provide insights from Samus herself, who acts as a narrator to the proceedings.

As for how it plays, it’s like an epic mix of the old 2-D Metroid games with elements of the Prime series and a load of new additions to the proceedings. Samus runs and guns with the Wiimote held sideways, but point the Wiimote at the screen and she’ll enter first person mode.  You’ll be rooted to the spot but you’ll be able to look around and aim for specific points;  some things will be highlighted and Samus’s suit will scan them and decide what weapon she should use on it. It sounds a bit weird and awkward on paper but, when I came to trying it out, it actually felt more natural than you’d think and worked well; it’s a clever way of implementing both perspectives with just the Wiimote.

When I played, I went into first person mode and Samus scanned something blocking the door; her systems then automatically cycled through her weapons and highlighted the appropriate one for use (in this case, her missiles), which would then be activated upon my pressing the fire button. When you run out of missiles, you hold the Wiimote vertically and press A, replenishing them all. As for health, I couldn’t get any pickups from downed enemies anymore, instead, I could only heal at the save points, whereupon I was also given map information for the area. I don’t know how much of the rest of the game this system covers but I actually really liked it – it gives more challenge to the experience, as I found myself dying a couple of times. This was not in a frustrating way like I’ve had with some moments in the Metroid Prime Trilogy, but in a way that made me then think more about what I was going to repeat and how to do better the next time. The save points weren’t too far off each other in any case so, hopefully, there won’t be any annoying artificial challenge later on by extending the distances between save points to silly degrees.

A big difference comes about in the game’s combat. Now, Samus isn’t afraid to get up close and personal when she dispatches her foes and, with correct timing, Samus can flip over enemies, put them in headlocks, blast their faces off if your beam is fully charged, and wrestle. In mud. Naked. Except, not that last part. The combat works well and it’s possible for enemies to grab you, in which case you then have to time your counterattack to break out and cause significant damage. You don’t always have to fight up close but it seems like it does more damage and works well.

While people may seem more hesitant of what I say because of my enthusiasm for Nintendo and the Metroid series, I thought it’d be a good idea to see what someone without much gaming experience (outside of racing games) and barely any Nintendo experience, thought of it. To this end, I bought my friend Lewis along to the event and got his opinion on the game and what he experienced:

“Graphically, the game is pretty damn good; there are lots of details in the different scenes and the characters and effects all look very well made and with care. The one problem a lot of games like this can potentially have is camera angles and how they change about, but it looks like it’s not a problem in this from what I’ve seen, and it keeps up with the action pretty well. I’d say sometimes the objectives are a bit confusing when there’s no obvious or hinted at way through a certain point.  Not knowing much about the Metroid games or the story, I don’t know how well this game follows a good plot. The enemies seem really well made, with obviously different weaknesses and so forth. The way you use the Wiimote is pretty clever: pointing it at the screen and the way it scans certain objects to tell you the best weapon to use. The different fighting moves look really well developed; I don’t know how hard they are to pull off, but when you perform them they look rather good, I must say.  I think it could do with a bit more speech throughout while you’re playing it; it might make things more obvious instead of just the odd cut scene at the end of a section. I like the idea of save points only being at the end of a section as well, because it makes it that bit more challenging to get through in one go.  Otherwise, I thought it was pretty damn awesome.”

In my opinion, I’d say that the changes and additions I saw in Metroid: Other M, despite seeming out of place, actually feel like they fit into the game naturally. It all looks and plays pretty fluidly, looks good, plays well, and from what I tried, I thought it certainly had the potential to be one of the best Metroid games around although, to be fair, in the time that we were given, I was only able to play through the beginning of the game. I don’t think Nintendo would have let Team Ninja handle the game if they didn’t think they were capable of it, and a cracking job has been done. There are some changes to the Metroid formula but these need to be played and not read before properly judging them.  It has the potential to be the best Metroid yet.

On a personal note, I want to thank Future Publishing and Official Nintendo Magazine for putting on the event and letting me blabber in front of a camera over my love for the Metroid series and what I thought of my time playing Metroid: Other M.

Metroid: Other M is out for the Nintendo Wii on September 3rd.

Last five articles by Edward



  1. Stan says:

    Well Ed, if you like it, I may have to try it when it becomes available.
    My opinion has been tainted by /v/ too much.

  2. Ben Ben says:

    It’s Metroid so I should be excited about it, but it just feels as if the whole development cycle has flown by with little to no hype generated (in my direction) and now we are staring down the barrel at an imminent release date and it’s just peeking my interest as it should.

    That Nintendo is the result of your social experiment this generation, for me at least.

    Nice write up Ed :)

  3. Iain says:

    I’m not a huge fan of Wii or even Metroid but those screenshots do look really nice and the control system sounds quite interesting. I was thinking about buying a new Wii around Christmas For DK and Kirby so mybe I’ll get this as well

  4. Samuel Samuel says:

    My copy is in the post. I got the email telling me so today, so I should have it tomorrow. So, anyone who wants me for a while, tough; Samus and I are on for a promise.

    Totally get why you’re excited Ed. It’s fucking METROID. Not sure about best Metroid ever, as I still prefer the 2D games to the Prime sub-series, but I’m more than willing to let it blow me away.

  5. Lorna Lorna says:

    I have commited the sin of never having played a Metroid game, so I come at it with no baggage or axe to grind. Shame, as ever, that it is on the Wii, but if I could play with with a controller other than the WiiMote, I’d actually give it a shot.

  6. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I’ve never really played any Nintendo stuff, mainly because I was a computer based gamer up until the point I bought an original XBox and wasn’t keen on the idea of consoles before that time. It’s not really what I expected to see – I’ve always thought Metroid was like Transformers, so it was an eye-opener to see these images. Not sure it’ll convince me to play the game, in fact I know that it won’t, but it was still interesting. Glad you Ninty people are excited though!

Leave a Comment