Okay. Here’s my review.
The controls are indeed fantastic. I said this before so I won’t belabor the point.
The universe seems a little small – as of halfway through the game, it looks like there are 8 octoliths, and you have to get 2 on each planet, there seem to be 4 planets, and I think I’ve found where the Big Bad Final Boss is going to be. On each planet, one octolith is hard to get to, one’s more straightforward. Super-nifty new guns will open doors in hard to reach areas which will lead you to the aforementioned second octolith.
There are little annoying things like in every game. The small sections of jumpey-jumpey are annoying, but not so frequent or obnoxious as to ruin the game. There’s one section of it I just passed through now which is really nerve wracking – I keep joking to myself, I’m going to throw up. But it’s not too hard or anything, and it’s very atmospheric and cool. But it is still jumpey-jumpey, and I still find that annoying.
Why, oh why, did someone think that it was a good idea to have, after every boss you beat, a thing where you have to run back to your ship? I know it’s a Metroid Standard Thing, but still, that’s really annoying. Maybe on the last guy, it would be good. Or maybe on your second run-through on a planet (for the second octolith), then they could blow it up at the end, that would be exciting. But no, you have to rush back to your ship, and then you just ‘die’ if you don’t get there in time. No explosion. And if you do get there in time, you don’t quickly escape the explosion, cuz there’s no explosion. You don’t even have to leave the planet. This is stupid. And there are enemies who you must defeat to unlock doors – on the way back. So you’re rushing to your ship, the planet is going to…well, it’s not going to explode, but it’s going to somehow magically make you die. So you’re rushing, and then there’s some enemy there. Well, first instinct – dodge the enemy, press on. But the door is locked until he’s dead. Lame. The section starts to feature some of my least-favorite videogame annoyances – attrition, also, becomes a factor, lose a second here and a second there and you die at the end. Must execute very well. Also, get shot up here and shot up there, and without time to find healey-things, you will find yourself dead too. Edit YOU FUCKING MOTHERFUCKER! I’ll FUCKING KILL YOU! One of my runs-back has – jumpey-jumpey, leading to boolean death on failure. I several times tried to jump but instead hit the chunk of the screen dedicated to ‘change weapons’. That really sucks. During the regular course of the game, it happens, but isn’t as destructive. You’ve got to bust through the enemies – and luck through it – if you happen to get a tougher load-out of baddies on your way back (it seems randomized somehow?), then you’re fucked. I had to do this thing like 4 or 5 times. Really obnoxious. And that whole time, I can’t go check out another world and try this again at some point later when I’ve cooled down – I can’t even quit this game and play another. I’m stuck in ‘checkpoint but not saved’ mode. DIE!
Sometimes running into the same or similar baddies over and over can get a little tiresome – but this is a fun, fast shooter, and the enemies act much like real people would – jumping, running around, etc.
I’m liking the puzzles thus far. No like Myst level puzzles or anything, but you’re nut just running around blowing shit up all day.
And the savepoints feel too sparse – sometimes you get locked into running the game for a long time, because you’re somewhere good but there’s no savepoints. It means you can’t let the game run out of power, and you can’t play any other game. And it’s not like I have too small a chunk of time to play in – an hour commute, I’ve got.
One Booleanized Death section of the game is called ‘piston cave’. I hated that level. roll the ball around, fuck up and die. then do it again. and again. And again. I hated that. But the stylus for controlling the little Metroid ball thing was pretty powerful – I could make to run forward and stop on a dime, in a tiny space in between two sets of smashey things.
The multiplayer featureset has been reviewed extensively before (Slashdot I believe), and I haven’t tried it yet, so I won’t mention it further here.
I should also say – I hate everything, and everyone, and my mommy always told me that I focus too much on the negative. Try not to take that way from this review – Metroid is a good game, it’s exciting, you will find yourself gritting your teeth through tougher sections, picking up new weapons is always a thrill – and when you get killed you will be mouthing obscenties on the subway (or wherever) and hoping no one is looking. This game has really annoying things like any other. But most of the annoyances seem to be concentrated in little sections – not distributed throughout the game. So most of the game is actually a pleasure. And there’s nothing quite like having full, tight, total control in an FPS game – it really is very good when you’ve conditioned yourself to shitty console-quality FPS controls. If you have a DS, and you like FPS’es on a PC or Mac, you should definitely get this game.