Metroid Other M, one of the license’s most unloved Metroid games, turns 10 this month. The opportunity to look back on its history, and especially on the reasons which made it such a disowned opus among the players.
Usually, when a new Metroid game comes out, especially a 3D Metroid, it’s a raid: the sales are monstrous, the fans happy, and the press rave. But obviously, for everything established, there must also be exceptions. This exception is Metroid: Other M, released for Nintendo Wii in 2010, just 10 years ago. Despite the long-awaited return of the 3D license since Metroid Prime 3 Corruption released on the Wii three years ago and a narrative between Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion, Other M struggled to convince the hearts of players and critics of the time. But why ?
What jostled fans the most for this new episode was the new view imposed on the player: While the Metroid Prime offers FPS-like gameplay, Other M is mainly playable in third person (with the possibility of switching regularly to a first person view during shoot phases). This contrasts directly with what early fans of the series liked about her (namely the gameplay and 2D exploration of the first games), but also with what more recent fans (worshipers of Metroid Prime) like. In other words, taking a gameplay stance was incredibly risky, and for many, the risk was not worth it.
The other big criticism that may have marked at the time of the game’s release has to do with the storytelling and the character of Samus. For many, the story makes absolutely no sense and borders on the absurd at times, with cartoonish voice acting that doesn’t go with the ordinarily heavy and scary vibe of Metroid games.. The character of Samus has also been greatly criticized, considered far too caricature not sufficiently consistent with what the series has been able to show of Samus so far. It is especially this side “series B” which cost Metroid Other M, whether with the players or specialized critics.
However, the game is not exempt from qualities: according to a lot of players, it offers an originality never seen in the series, and a risk-taking that pays, especially in terms of gameplay. For quite a few players, the boss fights are some of the best in the entire Metroid universe. The worst part of this story is that we haven’t had a new Metroid game since Other M. We had to wait in recent years to discover the announcement of Metroid Prime 4, but the development of the latter seems particularly complicated … And there is a good chance that the game will not arrive before 2022. In short, Other M is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and just for nostalgia, it’s worth looking into again!