An introduction to Metroid: Other M came as something of a schizophrenic conundrum. On the one hand, the series was back in the hands of Yoshio Sakamoto (directing rather than supervising once more), on the other it was being developed outside of Nintendo’s super secret bunker of regurgitating awesomeness by Team Ninja. The former suggested a return to older series mechanics and a continuation of the classic narrative that Prime ignored. The latter conjured up images of fast-paced hack and slash action and boob physics. There was reason to be afraid.
But different doesn’t necessarily mean bad. What we have in Metroid: Other M is a game that quite deliberately eschews Nintendo’s traditional mantra of gameplay over storytelling in favour of a far more human Samus Aran. Here we find a game that strays wildly from the classic formula, yet channels the old NES spirit of the retro games along with modern techniques making for something of a bridge between the old and the new. It’s ambitious to be sure, and it doesn’t always work, but in doing so, the developers have created a game that certainly serves as one of the most striking in the entire series, and breathes new life into the character of Ms. Aran.
It doesn’t look good from the start, though. We pick up the story in between the events of fan-favourite Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion, with Samus answering a distress call from the ‘Bottle Ship’, only to find the abandoned vessel inhabited by NPC marines with identical meatheaded personalities who happened to pick up the call too. There’s a whole bunch of poorly delivered dialogue (Samus talks a lot), a reunion with father-figure Adam Malkovitch and some unresolved boyfriend issues. Unresolved boyfriend issues?! These things have no place in a Metroid game. On top of that, true to form, the cameraman seems a little too interested in Samus’ shapely chest.