What We Already Know:
Last year’s E3 bombshell is nearing the home stretch. We got a rather in-depth look at Metroid: Other M a few months back during a Nintendo event, and were rather pleased with the game in progress.
What We’re Seeing Now:
I skipped out on the plot-driven segments of Other M and sliced straight into gameplay. And as past coverage indicates, it appears that I’m in general agreement.
I played a very short section of the game in action. I’m a huge fan of Team Ninja’s approach to creating a retro-flavored multi-directional adventure platformer, and I was glad to finally check it out. To play most of Other M’s combat, you hold the Wii remote like an NES controller. Samus has her Morph Ball and laser attacks intact, and she can attack in multiple directions. The basics of attacking are sound and very intuitive.
But during my sliver of the combat demo, I quickly made an observation that will likely color the Other M experience for gamers worldwide: Samus controls wonderfully, until you have to switch over to 3D-centric first-person mode. When you switch over to what I’d call "Metroid Prime Lite," she can look around, lock onto a target, and fire a missile. It’s a cute novelty, but it’s very weak compared to both the series the feature pays homage to (Metroid Prime) and it’s a jarring transition out of the much smoother 2D mode. Also, I sense that it will cause a rise in spiked Wii remotes. I’m not sure it’s responsive enough for heavy combat scenarios and makes the game feel unnecessarily difficult. It won’t ruin the game, but it could mar an otherwise stellar experience.
I’m not sure how heavily Metroid: Other M will lean on this control setup, but deep down, I’m praying that it’s not a feature that will factor into, say, the final boss fight of the game. The majority of Other M has me very interested. It’s a gorgeous and colorful game, from what I can tell, and I’m excited to play it. Fingers and toes crossed that most of the game is side scroll-centric.