Metroid: Additional M Is an Flawed Masterpiece — Spoiler-Free Review

It is hard to talk about the forthcoming Nintendo/Tecmo release *Metroid: Other M *without even reflecting back on the history of this franchise. While this newest chapter isn’t afraid to change up the age-old Metroid *formula by providing long-silent protagonist Samus a legitimate voice and by focusing on the storytelling more clearly on her own special history, it is very much a love letter into the many experiences we have shared with our iconic heroine in ages past.

Because of this alone the name has easily been at the top of my wish list during this, the annual summertime movie game doldrums. Having spent considerable time with the retail build of the title, however, I seem to find many of my expectations surpassed, but not without some noticeable disappointments.

The storyline of this match evolves at a time after the destruction of Zebes and the supposed extinction of the Metroids. Following the events of Super Metroid, our blond hunter picks up a distress signal commonly known as the”Baby’s Cry” that appears to be transitioned from a abandoned space station called the”Bottle Ship.” The game goes to amazing lengths to drive home the personal significance of the pseudo-military jargon as it further reveals, upon fulfilling a group of Galactic Federationsoldiers, that Samus herself was formerly a member of the Federation link metroid other m iso usa website

The pressure between Samus and her old CO opens the door for the first in a series of cut-scene flashbacks in which she reveals a lot about her time with the Army and tips in her reasons for leaving which structure and camaraderie for the life of a solitary bounty hunter. This powers the narrative of the full-blown space opera because we delve deeper into Samus’s last while concurrently trying to unravel the puzzles of the Bottle Ship. What follows is a thrilling experience that pushes the series to new heights, but also reveals some unfortunate stitches.

Both the cut-scenes and the in-game images are beautiful, and that I will not damn with faint praise using the outdated it-looks-good-for-a-Wii-game routine. I say nearly because, although the plot and dialogue are allowed an extra helping of melodrama as a result of game’s very Japanese writing style, the shipping of principle voice celebrity Jessica Martin could be described as somewhat grating.

While I’ve heard rumblings from the fan community concerning that Martin approaches the job with a younger and more sexier intonation than anticipated, my major criticism is that the flat, stoic nature of her delivery. I understand this was a deliberate decision designed for the interest of the storyline and in keeping with the characterization of Samus as a disassociated loner, but it’s only one time that the producers of *Metroid: Other M *create apparent sacrifices in the title of the artistic vision.

Like I said, my principal interest in Metroid: Additional M had to do with its unique control strategy than even the considerable strength of the house itself. Using a variation of the horizontal controller/vertical controller program honed in the growth of both Super Paper Mario, *Metroid: Other M *utilizes the tasteful simplicity of this Wii distant to great effect. The principle gameplay is managed by holding the distant sideways like the classic NES controller. Despite a little anxiety concerning using such a distinctly two-dimensional controller mode in a clearly three-dimensional surroundings, the system actually works beautifully.

Navigating the height, length and breadth of the world which succeeds as Samus exploresup, powers and retreads the a variety of game zones is handled flawlessly. The name also side-steps a related sticking point, combat, in several of fascinating ways. To begin with, it uses an auto-targeting attribute to make sure that the bulk of your own blasts meet their mark over the all-too recognizable enemies, and, secondly, it employs a series of advanced button media events to spice up things. Tapping the d-pad prior to an enemy’s strike joins implements the”Sense Proceed” function, which allows Samus to slide easily out of harm’s way. Likewise, *Metroid: Additional M *includes a set of similarly implemented offensive moves allowing you to use easy button presses to waylay downed enemies or even jump on the backs of this game’s equivalent of the traditional Hoppers to deliver… well, enormous harm.

At any time during regular gameplay it is also possible to point the Wii remote right at the display to change into first-person mode. With the help of her trusty in-helmet HUD, this manner affords Samus the chance to scan things and fire missiles. Again, this management scheme works amazingly well and also the transition from FPS into side-scroller and rear is effortless. There are, however, occasions when this first-person mode can be a bit of a drag.

At times you’ll find yourself ripped from the activity and pulled to a sienna-tinted first-person view. At this point the game expects you to analyze your surroundings, and scan a certain object or item to activate the next cut-scene. Whether it was a Galactic Federation logo on a winged enemy or a distant slime path, I spent much of the early game haphazardly scoping my surroundings just expecting to luck across the ideal field of the surroundings so that I could execute my scan and return to the action. This belabored first-person standpoint is bad, however, the occasional shift to this over-the-shoulder third-person view is much worse.

As you delve deeper in a sordid story of space politics and bio-weapons, ” Metroid: Additional M *even manages to have the slightest hint of survival horror. This can be less to this onslaught of ravenous enemies — that are present, naturally, however, you need the ammo to manage them and more to do with that which I have come to think of as”analysis mode.” Within this mode of play, the camera shifts behind Samus’s shoulders (Resident Evil-style), and she’s made to clumsily stomp around crowded rooms and empty halls.

It symbolizes the worst form of”walking tank” controllers, and it does nothing more than make the participant extended for its tight reaction of the principal control scheme. It’s still another unfortunate example of the lengths that the game goes to within an foolhardy attempt to propel the storyline. Yes, I understand it is important that amateurs build involving events and that exploring a derelict space craft is a superb means to do it (just ask the guys behind Dead Space), however the regular jumping and running and shooting is really damn tight in Metroid: Other M that these interstitial periods can not help but feel just like letdowns.

It is a really good thing which the bulk of the game’s controls are really highly polished, since Metroid: Additional M is hard. Brutally so at times. Since you work your way through recognizable locales combating freshly-skinned but familiar enemies to detect familiar power-ups (bombs, missiles, energy tanks, match updates, etc.), it’s difficult not to understand how genuinely __unfamiliar __the amount of difficulty really is. In the lack of the vaguest of all hyperbole, I have to say this is definitely the toughest game I have ever played on the Wii. Though I suppose it does bear mentioning that outlandish difficulty is the very hallmark of a Team Ninja production.

Between swarms of enemies, regularly scripted mini-boss conflicts, environmental dangers and that good, old fashioned jump-puzzle mechanicthat this game can be downright vicious. In its defense, navigation booths, the game’s rescue points, are correctly spaced, and extra in-mission restart points stop you from having to re-traverse already conquered terrain in nearly every instance. The game also goes so far as to incorporate a”immersion” feature that’s sole purpose is to allow Samus to regain a modicum of electricity and restore her missile supply after her butt handed to her in a difficult struggle. It is a quality that provides much needed succor throughout the gambling experience, however, regrettably, leaves Samus completely open to assault in the process.

In spite of the above enumerated concessions you will get disappointed by Metroid: Additional M. You may swear and scowl when trying to access this just-out-of-reach power-up. You’ll be confounded while pondering just what type of parkour hoodoo one ought to execute involving Morph Ball, bombs and wall-jumps to achieve that particular ledge. A lot.

Unlike a lot of third-party Wii titles I’ve reviewed in the last years, ” Metroid: Other M *fully understands the audience to which it is slanted. But, said audience is somewhat narrow. Longtime fans of this series will probably appreciate the story, the fact that the enigmatic Samus becomes slightly less , but might be put off by the game’s difficulty. Likewise, teenagers — as this is a T-rated name — that might feel their gaming palate somewhat too refined for many of the system’s other milestone titles will dig the hardcore battle, but may not care to penetrate the clearly oriental style of oddly convoluted storytelling. And so I am left with no other choice but to provide an exceptionally competent recommendation to Metroid: Additional M.

In its best the sport unites all that is excellent about the Metroid *franchise with all shades of other acclaimed show — such as the sweeping, almost too-lifelike spheres of Mass Impact and the feeling of impending despair so often related to the Resident Evil series. At its worst it is a quick, inexpensive death orworse yet, a sluggish, sometimes tortuous crawl toward anything that comes next. If you’re willing to deal with the pain of this latter, then you’ll be richly rewarded with the genuine glory of the former. If, nevertheless, you are disinclined to bring a few lumps for the sake of the trip, maybe your money is best spent on other jobs.

__WIRED: __Amazing graphics, great use of music and ambient sound, excellent heart control mechanic, excellent action and in-game suspense, genuinely supplements series canon with a truly unique story, irrefutably brings hardcore gambling to the Wii.

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