9.13.2010

Other M

Back from an japano-esque anime/mange fair (the "connichi" in Kassel) with friends, I'm quite glad I'm back home. There was, like usually on such fairs, also room for playing games together or alone, and there was also a Wii with cutscenes from Metroid: Other M. I'm not quite sure if it was actually playable, but well - I already decided to not play it and did again see why: Cutscenes! Story! It reminded me of how Final Fantasy somehow. They way they always focus on characters. I didn't like what I saw and how cruelly long the cutscenes were. But well, as I came back home and slept some hours, I decided to watch a walkthrough, since it seems to be out already! So I'm currently sitting infront of my laptop and watching it as some kind of movie. It's NOT like Metroid. It seems they tried to redesign and/or complete remove all essential parts of previous Metroid games. I don't know anything about the linearity, but it ahas an horribly inconsistent camera with millions of different views and doesn't seem to actually care about it. There are many really cool elements in it, but most Metroid aspects just completely disappeared, making it more like an interactive movie, a game inspired by the Metroid universe in general, but not what made a Metroid game. It's not a Metroid game, really not. I'm not quite sure, but the trend of cutscenes in modern Metroid games is frightning. Prime 2 instroduced and Prime 3 took it further. Other M makes a complete game out of it.

I understand that they want to experiment with new elements and ideas, but replacing a simple but good base gameplay with finishing moves, spontaneously flipping control dimensions, shaky hand cam, weird aiming and so many useless cutscenes in a game with really no story worth making movies out of it, is a total fail to me - as a Metroid game. Imagining it as a completely different game is quite entertaining. Problem is, it relies on so much stuff used in Metroid that it'd be just a "copy" of Metroid's universe plus some extra elements.

What I like about it so far is that there a 2D sequences. In 2D, the game looks quite nice. This combined with all these colorful textures they've choosen for almost every aspect of they game makes it look like Metroid Fusion. In fact, they even used different climate sectors like in Fusion. The levels are quite like Metroid and deliver a good "huge, empty and technically manifold" feeling. But it feels somehow wrong. Most be the music. Some tracks sound like from veeeery old science fictions games and they rest is rather cliche ambient, boring fighting music and background sound. Rather functional and "inspired" (yeah, the bad way of beeng "inspired"). I miss some puzzles. I don't like they HUD, looks so forced and too stilized. Forms follows function was definitely no part of their design document. One element improving the rather twodimensional beeing is that Samus is animated as fast as in older 2D Metroid games. Has a great mechanic feeling to it. I don't know. I think they tried hard to give players a completely new Metroid with different feeling but forgot that Metroid itself is defined by it's general feeling, which they destroyed by turning it into an interactive cutscene appender.

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