Game Over: Metroid Other M

September 12, 2010

I have only become a fan of the Metroid series in the past year. When Metroid Other M was first announced at last years E3 I was blown away by the teaser trailer. It was odd how giddy I was for a series that I had spent very little time playing. Back in the 90’s I remember watching my best friend playing Super Metroid and thinking to myself, “This game looks cool, but it looks too hard.” I don’t remember even trying to play Super Metroid at that time.Years Later I tried another friend’s copy of Metroid Prime, I couldn’t get into the game. I couldn’t even beat an early boss. Then Metroid Prime: Corruption came out and I figured I give the series another go; afterall, the Wii didn’t have many games at that point, I hadn’t started buying tons of PS2 and Gamecube games for my backlogue. I wanted something to play. The controls for Corruption were great and I played it for around 7 hours but quickly became disinterested.

It wasn’t until after the announcement of Other M that I bought both Metroid Zero Mission and Metroid Fusion for Gameboy Advance and Super Metroid for Wii Virtual Console. It only took me playing through Zero Mission to turn me into a hardcore Metroid fan. I then started Super Metroid and finished it just before the release of Other M.

As I started playing Other M and got sucked in right away. I enjoyed watching the cut scenes, I think that the voice acting is actually good and fits the haunting feeling of solitude for which the Metroid series is known. The controls work great and have a familiar yet new feel at the same time. The auto-aiming makes shooting enemies easier than past Metroid games but the addition of close quarters attacks keeps combat interesting. Even the first person aiming that I was worried about mostly works. My only issue is with the few parts where scanning a specific and easily over looked object is required to continue and sometimes takes patience.

The story of Metroid Other M takes place after Super Metroid chronologically and before Fusion. With it’s greater focus on story it does a great job of connecting the stories of the main Metroid games. Unfortunatly it leaves important information unsaid, assuming that you have played the other games and know details from the Japanese manga. I personally enjoyed the story and back story, reinforcement of Samus Aran as a strong female character and a human with heart. The inclusion of more story builds upon what was started in Fusion; a more linear game because the stronger emphasis on story keeps pushing the game forward. Other M is much like Fusion, it makes me wonder why some are so vocally outraged by Other M as not being enough like a Metroid game. I enjoyed playing though Other M and would very much like to see another game built on this engine with some refinements.

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Game Over: June

July 3, 2010

After a stint of rail shooters, shmups and reverse shmups, sort of, I am now sitting on a total of 15 games beat this year. This is by far my best year for beating games. That number my not be very impressive to most gamers but I have had a bad track record the last few years of starting games, playing them for a few hours and never touching them ever again. The first game I’ll mention is  Hero Core. I have already written about Hero Core as seen here, but what I can say after beating the game is that it is a solid experience. After you beat the normal game it unlocks new modes. One of the new modes has an almost roguelike, dungeon exploring feel to it that I jumped into directly after I beat the game.

House of the Dead Overkill for the Wii is a grind house style arcade shooter. The game makes use of very over the top XXX content. While that may be off putting for some, I thought it really added to the hilarity of the experience. All of the previous House of the Dead games had started as arcade games first; and while they were violent, it was kept to a minimum level due to it’s availability to the general public. Overkill is free to take on a much more adult oriented concept. I refrain from using the word “mature” because it frankly lacks a sophisticated level of maturity. Instead House of the Dead: Overkill drops F bombs all over the place, gives far more attention to detail on the main females breasts than her hair, and a good helping of always fun dismemberment.

Another game that is all about the dismemberment, is Dead Space: Extraction. A that was more than likely overlooked as yet another rail shooter side story, when all Wii owners want is some more, high quality 3rd person shooters; at least I wouldn’t mind seeing more.  Dead Space: Extraction is not a bad game. That may be because I am a huge fan of the Dead Space Universe, I have Dead Space on Xbox 360, I own the terrible movie, and I enjoyed the (sort of) animated comic. I might have also liked Extraction because I have recently kindled a deep burning love for rail shooters. All throughout playing Overkill, Extraction, and more recently the beautifully stunning Sin & Punishment 2, I have made jokes about how much fun it would be to play [INSERT NAME OF GAME HERE] as a rail shooter. While I say these things a jokes; there is a nugget of truth to them. Rail shooters can be fun, if done well. Star Fox and Star Fox 64 remain my favorites of the series, games like Life Force are rail shooters, and even Modern Warfare 2 and the wildly superior Bad Company 2 have rail shooter sections.

Back on topic. Dead Space: Extraction has a well executed story; with good writing and good voice acting. Graphically Extraction might not look as crisp as the Original Dead Space on PC but it still looks good. I could easily recognize familiar places on the USG Ishimura. There were only a few places that I though could have been explained better. Dead Space: Extraction does somethings that I have never seen done in rail shooters. After playing it I sort of understand EA’s use of the buzz words “Guided First Person Experience” as a legitimate description of the game. Extraction was very organic and I would mind seeing EA and Visceral Games taking what they learned making this game and make an even better outing. As far as what else they could do with Dead Space, I’d still like to see  a side scrolling game that plays like Super Metroid. I think that would be great for the 3DS.

I also recently beat Topsy Turvy Life: Turvys Strike Back. Available for DSiWare for only 200 points, it wasn’t a horrible buy, but after about 30 minutes of game play you’ve pretty much seen and done everything there is to see or do. It’s a cute idea for a game, you basically play the role of the enemy in a top down shooter like Xevious or Galaxian. It even mimics a retro style reminiscent of old top down shooters. As cheep as Turvys Strike Back is I think I’d still rather play Retro Game Challenge or Space Invaders Extreme on my DSi.