Seeing previews for this game brought along a lot of mixed reactions. I was happy and scared at the same time. Here they were making a game that was side scrolling again, just as I have always loved them, but I saw elements of FPS and the only thing I could think was “Oh God, I hope they don’t screw this up.” The franchise isn’t bad anymore, but it certainly isn’t what it used to be. I guess for the kind of gamer I am, this could be said about a lot of different game franchises. This game didn’t completely disappoint, but it certainly was no Super Metroid like I was hoping it was to be. As a matter of fact, when I first beat the game I was 100% satisfied, but in retrospect, I realise the more I think about it, the more disappointed I was.
The game takes place directly after Super Metroid. There are a lot of references in the story from Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion, so if you haven’t played one or both, please jump off a brid- .. that is get yourself copies of each and play them. They’ll be worth your time alone. Unfortunately, after you have played them I’m afraid that this game will simply not live up to them at all.
You play the game about 90% in a third person view. This way, the controls are fluid, and simple. There’s really nothing you can say bad about them, because they are as easy as the NES. Running, jumping and shooting all done on the D-pad and two buttons (the wiimote is held sideways). Where things get a little fishy is the FPS part of the game. To access it, you must turn the wiimote and point it at the screen. This usually causes issues, because you point it and Samus immediately starts looking up, or to the side, or whichever way she feels like it while your wiimote figures out where it is on the screen. You’ll find that you have to get into this mode to shoot missiles too, because you can’t do it any other way. A bit of a downer, but what can you do?
Throughout the game, you gain access to your abilities not by finding them, but by being given permission to use them by a certain character in the game. Really? Samus is supposed to be this extremely awesome bounty hunter who works on her own will, doing as she pleases, and in this game she has to ask permission to use her weapons? Kinda weak if you ask me. At least you still have to find energy tanks and missile upgrades. Speaking of, each missile upgrade only gives you one extra missile, but in return, you practically get infinite missiles. They added a feature called ‘focus’ where if you hold your wiimote in the air and press A, you regain all of your missiles. You can do this too when your health is red to regain a small chunk of health. It sounds cheap, but it’s a lot harder to do than you think.
The exploration is relatively linear, and you follow a guided path almost the entire time. This takes away from the Super Metroid feel of it, and shortens play time immensely. Add this in with the fact that everything you are ordered to do is almost identical, and you’ll find yourself getting slightly bored with it.
The one strong suit of the game is the visuals. Team Ninja did a wonderful job rendering the CG animations, and even owners of PS3’s and 360’s have to stop and ‘wow’ at what they made the Wii put out. They gave a new twist on the way the different beams look as well, so that was a nice surprise. Visually, the game is quite appealing to look at, and never once was I disappointed.
Aside from one small element in the story, the overall scope of the story was excellent. They gave Samus a full fledged personality, which for most of it, I can definitely see her having. There were one or two things that I would have changed personally, or to be quite frank, not put in at all, but I was able to overlook those flaws until the end of the game.
Overall, the game was fun to play, and I was glad to see it move out of the FPS era. However, I think the programmers forgot how to make a decent third person game, and half heartedly put this together. I’m afraid to say this, but had I known what this game was going to produce, I would have just rented it and beat it then. I definitely believe it’s worth playing, but if a friend has a copy, just borrow theirs.
I’m starting to lose faith in the Metroid franchise. It truly is a shame that the games from the 80’s and 90’s are still worth replaying, while the others will probably sit on my shelf for the rest of time to come (until my kids play them, anyways).
6.75 / 10