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Half way through the first month of our official Game(s) of the Month Club, Dave and I have each completed our selected games. The swap has happened, now it is time for Dave to tackle Stranger’s Wrath and me to dive into Metroid Other M. But, before we do that, here are our thoughts on the games we picked out ourselves:

Oddworld-Stranger's Wrath Coverart

Wes’ Take:

I was a fan of the weird art style and atmosphere that was created with the Oddworld franchise. While I enjoyed Abe’s Oddysee and Exodus, I generally lean to games with more action – or at least more powerful protagonists. Stranger’s Wrath provided the perfect combination of ass-kicking protagonist and overall oddness that I had always wanted from an Oddworld title.

There is no convoluted back story hampering the introduction to the game. You are thrust into your role as a bounty hunter and you begin your bounty-taking killing spree from the time you press start. When you take your bounties into town, the story begins to unfold and you begin to piece together the mystery of your character; the on they call, The Stranger. This is not Citizen Kane. In fact, at some points the missions are presented to you in such a blunt and straight-forward manner that it almost seems as if they are making fun of the all too common mechanics used in video games to progress the story line.

Early bounty missions are very similar and start to become very repetitive right around the time they start switching things up on you and the story moves in a completely different direction. Cool characters, good dialogue, hilarious characters to interact with, spot on controls and just an overall high level of attention to detail and production value make this a game worth checking out if you haven’t already.

Pros:
  • Great art style / atmosphere
  • Hilarious situations and clever dialogue
  • Good mix of game mechanics (stealth versus aggro)
  • Beautifully rendered CG cut-scenes – hold up against those being made today
  • Interesting, if a little minimalist story line
Cons:
  • Repetitive missions
  • Lack of variety in enemies – maybe a dozen or so different foot-soldier-type enemies
  • Wild fluctuations in difficulty – just seemed a little inconsistent
  • Limited ammo quantities hindered gameplay in some situations

 

Metroid Other M box art

Dave’s Take:

Some of you may remember any number of drunken diatribes I’ve scrawled upon these parts of the Internet in times past wherein I lambaste Metroid: Other M mercilessly. I am an admitted Metroid fanboy, having cut my teeth on the NES original and played through each iteration since. I was pumped about Other M upon release, then I played it, then I started hating Nintendo for what they did to my jam. Time has passed, though, and I’ve grown as a human. The Game of the Month Club offered a chance at redemption for Wii-troid, and I’m pleased to say, it didn’t help all that much.

The story in the Metroid series was always appealing to me, but I never thought it was Ivanhoe or anything. They used lame and uninspired names like “Space Pirate” and referred to an overly-attached Metroid hatchling as “the baby”. This shit is science fiction; let’s get creative! This go-round, Samus, who is a bounty hunting loner, is constantly seeking the approval of her former superior officer. She has an arsenal that has laid waste to the Metroid species as well as the Space Pirate conspiracy, but she doesn’t use it until Adam suggests it might be a good idea. “Samus, you’re getting your ass kicked down there. Maybe you should use your Plasma Beam.” Solid fucking thinking; this is why you are in charge. About 75-80% through the game the story picked up to a point where it was kind of enjoyable, but then it reverted back to its overly-contrived ways and started shitting melodrama again.

The last point I want to touch on here at the mid-month update is the game’s control scheme: it is not good. A, the Wii-mote is terrible to begin with. The nunchuk is not utilized; the classic controller is not expoited. It’s just you and the Wii-mote, left to trudge through the Resident-Evil-esque-fixed-camera-angle environments until a 1st-person view is required. At that point you have the pleasure of turning your remote towards the TV and waiting for the slowest of on-screen transitions as you move from 3rd-person to clumsily attack anything that happens to be directly in front of you, hoping your lock-on does its job and hones in on an enemy for a missile shot. It’s shit like this, Nintendo.

My expectations were as low as they could be, so at least I can say I wasn’t disappointed with the game any more than I had been. I’m glad I played through it because now I don’t feel bad when I complain of Team Ninja’s steaming turd that is Metroid: Other M. The characters are shallow, especially the series’ heroine, and the story, while it has some good points, feels like it was written by a forlorn teenager who got their fan fiction published. Metroid Prime had a good thing going, Super Metroid an even better allure, while Other M just feels like a monumental step backwards.

Pros:
  • Excellent graphics, especially for the Wii
  • Story provides a good bit of fan service at times
  • Cinematics are impressive-ish, especially if TV is on mute
  • It didn’t suck as bad as I expected it to
Cons:
  • Music was forgettable at best, and the voice acting is…just terrible
  • The controls, especially transitioning from 1st- to 3rd-person, are shit
  • The story, and the writers for making Samus a scared, approval-seeking, little girl
  • Uneven difficulty; tough in spots just for the sake of being hard
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