December 18, 2010

Other N

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 2:31 pm

Metroid Other M
Heaping scorn on Other M this year may have become one of those instances where critical analysis is undermined by a perceived wave of venom sweeping away valid points into the faux deep sea known as “haters gotta hate.”

There’s a frequent knee-jerk reaction to that perception, which encourages going against the grain, digging for the deeper importance of a game simply to prove the bastards wrong. Some people do this because human beings are creatures capable of holding different and legitimate opinions, and others do this because standing against the crowd guarantees some level of attention. And rightly so, because if you can sing against the choir to find value where so many others have not, I’ll certainly give your words a read.

Metroid Other M
Regardless of your stance on Sakamoto’s endeavor, and even as I continue to view it as a train-wreck, Metroid: Other M is still the most interesting title Nintendo released this year – increasingly worth plenty even if the experiment doesn’t yield results that are immediately pleasing. Despite Nintendo offering direct nostalgia-in-a-can via titles like Donkey Kong Country Returns, Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSiver, and Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Metroid: Other M is the only release from the company this year that really managed to strike a chord from my youth – and not because it aimed to replicate the simplicity of NES styled controls.

Other M’s divergence from the expected seeks to take me back to the likes of Super Mario Bros.2 and The Adventure of Link – sequels that resisted the clapping call of encore that asks inherently for more of the same. And while I can retroactively applaud those games today, I still remember how utterly lost I felt experiencing both titles for the first time. They were different, uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and asking me learn how to play an experience I thought I knew all over again. And yet, overtime, they both linger and occupy more mental real estate than other releases from either franchise, and continue to stress significance.

Metroid Other M

I don’t believe Other M can follow directly in that example however. The Metroid franchise is a strange bird in Nintendo’s house after all, in many ways a game that has absorbed more from contemporary culture than any designer could ever have anticipated, prepared for, or today contend with.

The attempt to reign Samus in with a radically different take on the series also still brought a slew of preset rules to the table, and what you’re left with is a game fighting for freedom with both hands tied behind its back versus these two other examples that held only the slightest similarities to their predecessors. There’s no denying that the experiment was courageous, in many ways it just didn’t go far enough.

Maybe there’s something futurist wanting here, disregarding and burning the past to open new avenues ahead.

Mind you, both those NES titles became short detours, and both franchises largely fell back to the original formula for the long drive that followed. And yet both also offered new ideas that infected future releases, and indeed there are ideas at work within Other M that leave exciting imaginings of what the next move might bring, which despite my disappointment, keeps me optimistic about Samus’ eventual return.


  1. Haven’t finished Other M yet but I like what I’ve played of it and would like a sequel. Only change I’d make is adding Nunchuck support and we’re all set.

    Comment by EdEN — December 18, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

  2. That would just add another level of “suck” to the game for me… but seeing I have zero intention of buying a sequel to Other M… go for it Nintendo… at least you’d be making one person happy. :P

    Comment by Ujn Hunter — December 19, 2010 @ 1:31 am

  3. Your left paw arguments are, indeed, null for this game hahaha.

    Comment by EdEN — December 19, 2010 @ 6:23 pm

  4. I didn’t like Metroid: Other M that much, but not for the reasons that are most frequently brought up. Everybody had something to say about that Ridley cutscene, but few even bother to mention that the game has invisible walls out the ass – for a game that has such an emphasis on exploration, especially when finding items, there are way too many objects that you’re just forbidden to interact with yet look like you could do so. Also, those parts where you walk around RE4-style except at 2 mph were extremely annoying, especially with the d-pad.

    Comment by Kyatt — December 18, 2010 @ 11:37 pm

  5. That RE walk is the strangest bit, like it’s suppose to build suspense and anticipation, but because of the setup only leaves you stumbling around waiting to cue cutscene and get full control of Samus back.

    Comment by Jamie Love — December 19, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

  6. Got me thinking about a RE4 style Metroid game on 3DS. It would really work thanks to the Analog stick and the 3D effects, right?

    Comment by EdEN — December 19, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

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