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Metroid Other M
From: Nintendo
For: Wii
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-fi
ESRB Rating: Teen (13+)
Metroid Other M
As sci-fi action adventure games on Wii go, Metroid Other M is spectacular. Stack it up against any given game in the genre for other systems and this latest Samus outing is just typically good.
Posted August 30, 2010
Exclusive to almost every game system Nintendo has ever made, the Metroid series has long been lauded as the pinnacle of sci-fi action adventure. But that's only if you put the blinders on and forget that there are other game companies out there, other hardware and many other sci-fi action adventure games not made exclusively for Nintendo - if at all. With that big picture in mind, Metroid Other M is good, but in an industry where good is expected, good is therefore average.

On the upside, Metroid Other M certainly delivers a story fans can appreciate, which amounts to a "revealing" B-grade narrative about a girl and her space suit coming of age, told through lengthy - albeit seriously gorgeous - cut scenes, melodramatic dialogue and a bit of teleprompter text doled out at the speed of ESL.

What's new to the series - aside from our heretofore strong, silent Samus speaking in complete sentences for the first time and doing blonds around the world a driveling disservice while she's at it - is a control scheme that is at once inviting and yet questionably simple. Metroid Other M has you holding the Wii Remote controller (Wii-mote) candy bar-style, controlling Samus with the directional pad at the left, shooting and jumping with the two right buttons. It's totally old school, welcome and efficient in a 3-dimensional playing field shown from the 3rd-person perspective, conveniently delineated by corridors and cattle paths that hint at Metroid's 2-d, side-scrolling roots. An auto-aim feature further helps with the cathartic blasting of baddies and space critters with ever-upgrading arms and artillery while the occasional run in with unusually large, appreciably bizarre monsters takes a little more prudence when pegging assorted body parts in just the right order to take them out. The hardcore crowd might call it dumbed-down or maybe just "dumb," but there it is.

At any time, meanwhile, you can also switch to the 1st-person perspective in the game by pointing the Wii-mote at the screen whence it will seamlessly suck in to a helmet-headed view of the action and let you look around and hone and/or zoom in on specific targets and unleash a missile or three. Occasionally, this perspective is forced on you for a key event of some sort. You can't move while looking through Samus' eyes, so the shift is used mainly for getting your Where's-Waldo bearings once a room is cleared, or for long range targeting when nothing is gnawing at her feet, or for the short range chance to shoot a missile up some monster's nostril.

The action itself is typical run & gun fare (or roll & poop landmines fare when Samus balls up, as is her shtick), while the adventure bit - aside from triggering the aforementioned cut scenes and the narrative of b-grade profundity therein - mainly involves solving environmental puzzles, finding secret passageways, flicking switches to turn things on/off/up/down/sideways, or finding the super-mega-ultra missile that will blast open one particularly stalwart door or the other, and a whole lot of specific variants on that general theme.

It's good stuff, really, and Metroid Other M is certainly a good game; great on Wii and riding high on the action/adventure genre's bell curve in general. Still, it's certainly not the be all and end all sci-fi action adventures - though a zillion Nintendo loyalists and what's sure to be seven-figure sales will likely suggest otherwise.
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Bang for your buck:
Great Rental 
Good New Purchase 
Great Pre-played 
Great Bargain-bin Buy 

Score:  3.75  (out of 5)