Metroid: Other M Hands-on Preview

By Nick Young on July 31, 2010, 3:13PM EDT
Wii

Metroid has been a long standing title throughout Nintendo's lifetime, the first game made its debut on the NES in 1986 and has continued to be released on nearly every Nintendo console since. The game follows the story of Samus Aran, a Bounty Hunter who, throughout her career, has had to defeat members of the alien Metroid species and the Space Pirates who have tried to use them as weapons. Metroid: Other M is set late in Samus's career between Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion. No other details have been revealed on the story, though it is set to be a key part of the new game. But what about the gameplay?

Metroid: Other M's Developer, Team Ninja, have decided to explore a whole new gameplay concept that is completely new to the Metroid franchise. Originally, Metroid was a 2D shooter with the latest games incorporating more of an FPS design, Other M will be incorporating both of these aspects but is still managing to make the game its own. Nintendo recently showed off the game in the form of a demo, story elements and a vast amount of gameplay were both present and gave a good impression of what will appear in the full game. At first, fans of the Metroid series were a little uneasy when they heard about the new system, especially with players needing to juggle the Wii-mote in order to play. But fear not dear fans, it works, and it works well.

The demo started out simply enough with a cut-scene involving Samus and a team of Marines storming a complex which had been over-run with alien organisms, this in turn led to a flashback about Samus's days in training, why she was there and who the other Marines were. It was obvious at first glance that the game is taking a more story driven route. But the action soon kicked in when Samus alone was tasked with turning on a generator to restore power to the facility, it was a perfect situation to get used to the controls, the Wii-mote is held in the landscape position with the d-pad for movement and the two face buttons for firing and movement. Samus can also traverse hidden paths and small entrances by way of turning into a ball with the A button, an ability used in every other Metroid game to date.

After the 'tutorial' mission the real fun began. Returning back to where the rest of the team were left, a boss decided to attack, providing a perfect oppurtunity to use the game's often criticized missile targeting system. During the boss battle the use of missiles was unlocked, to use them, players must aim the Wii-mote at the screen, lock on to a target by holding the B button then fire with the A button. It's a little convoluted but like any new feature in a game players will get used to it and will soon get used to switching control methods on the fly with the greatest of ease. The only problem is the disorientation when changing to the first person view, most of the time the cursor won't even show up on the screen and players will find themselves staring at the ceiling. The only advice to offer anyone trying out the new control method is to be aware of where the Wii's sensor bar is located, it doesn't make aiming any easier but it helps to at least be pointing in the right direction.

Using missiles, the boss was defeated and the adventure begun, or would have in the main game at least. All that was left of the demo was more corridors, more enemies and some troublesome mini-bosses with the ability to turn invisible. The rest of the demo provided practice for all of Samus's skills, including bombs that can only be placed in ball form. The variety of weapons, enemies and circumstaces keeps the game fresh and exciting, there are a few parts where corridors seem to go on and on but usually it means there's a hidden area to explore. From the looks of the demo, the main game will be both fun, challenging and full of content keeping players entertained for hours to come.

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