Garret: As the only one of us who actually had a chance to play Metroid: Other M, I figured I’d write up a little something something about it. The demo that I played involved some backstory, so just know they didn’t take any of that business out of anything they showed. If you’ve been dreading the day when you actually have to learn something about Samus via something other than context clues or scanning environments, in a couple of months you’ll have to endure a new type of storytelling for a Metroid. Get yourself into the mindset of getting over it. That’s the new direction.
The demo was basically the one you may have read of before, the one they’ve been showing press for the last couple of months. Samus is sent to a scary derelict space station. As she enters, she is shot at by some crazy space marines. As Samus ninja-dodges out of the way, a cutscene enters. You learn a few things via the cutscene that we might not have known before. And how do you know that this information is something you might not know? Well, Samus says, “This is something that you might not know about me…” So there you go.
After a short cutscene that also teaches you how to use the charge beam, you blast open a door, your new found old friends run ahead, and you are left to follow. Unluckily for you, after walking through the door you are surrounded by flying evil purple space bats, and they knock you off a bridge to fall into the heart of the space ship. You then have to fight your way back to your space buddies and ultimately to a boss.
So how does it play? Well, awesomely. I can’t say that it’s not odd to switch between holding the controller sideways and then turning it to point and shoot, but after a few times it’s not a huge issue; you get used to it. With that said, though, it’s still kind of an odd decision. The game right next to Metroid was Donkey Kong Country Returns, and IT uses the nunchuck. Why? Not really sure, actually, but wholly-side-scrolling Donkey Kong has analogue control and Samus doesn’t. Go figure.
Moving on, Samus runs and shoots at things, and she flips and jumps with aplomb. It’s very fast and fun, with enemies jumping in from all directions. Similarly to Shadow Complex, Samus can shoot in all directions. Not similarly to Shadow Complex, you don’t actively choose what to shoot. If you’re pointing towards the right, she generally aims at the closest thing and goes to town. What you need to do is look and see in which direction (left, right, front, back) to point her to make sure you don’t get hit. And that brings me to my next point.
While the game is basically a side scroller, the hallways have depth. Everything is rendered in 3D (because you can go into first person at any time), so you can actually move Samus back and forth in each hallway. You can run around some ground enemies, for example. On occasion the hallways turn and you have to run forward or back. IT’S CRAZY! Just know that it’s not a strictly 2D affair when moving around.
And then you fight a boss! The room has you friends you met earlier in it, and they help you freeze parts of the giant purple blob monster. The main boss “authorizes” the use of missiles, so for the fight you get to blast the purple bastard with arm powered rockets. Using crazy freezing guns, your impromptu comrades freeze sections of the boss and you blast him with missiles, effectively exploding the blog into oblivion. After that, the little booth lady rips the controller out of your hand and pushes you along.
I will leave these impressions with simply saying that it feels like a very solid game and I will be buying it. So there, take that.
Travis: I wish I got to play this game. I m sad now.