I was pretty hyped for this game. I've been a big fan for quite a long time. I not only like the gameplay, but I liked the story. Well, of course. It's Science Fiction, and I generally love Science Fiction. But even that's not the only reason I liked the story. I also liked it because of the main character herself, Samus Aran. I have idolized her since childhood, because she was a headstrong, independent, bad ass woman who could take on the biggest baddies throughout the galaxy all by herself. She's the Ellen Ripley of the realm of video games. Of course, she's not the only one who made me feel this way, but she helped me feel like I could do whatever I pleased if I put my mind to it. And she did that without even speaking much.
However, in recent years, she seems to have become more of a sex symbol. Of course, being a lesbian, I can't help but like that (she has a great ass, sure, but she has an unrealistic figure (too skinny) in Super Smash Bros. Brawl), but at the same time, I don't. It started a transition into a less tough personality for Samus, and essentially became yet another in a line of sexualized women in the field of video games, catering to the male gamer crowd and alienating women.
But, to be honest, it wasn't really that bad, especially compared to the transition made in this game. Now, Nintendo (or Team Ninja, not sure who) decided to make her one of those delicate flower types, essentially fitting her into more of a gender role stereotype. In this game, she will cower in fear before fierce enemies who'd rather roar and growl at her for a few minutes than fight her. She's even scared of Ridley, who Samus has faced several times before this game chronologically takes place.
This is obviously in complete contrast to her past behavior. Because of this, the story in this game does not fit with the rest of the series. However, that's not the worst part about this. The worst thing about this is it's misogynistic. Quite frankly, it's an insult to women. There's no reason Samus should be scared like this. Of course, this is all if they're making her this way just because she's female and because of, you know, estrogen and all that (estrogen, as well as testosterone, do not affect personality in that way, by the way; they mainly affect the sex drive and other sex characteristics such as voice).
But it's not just the cowardliness. Otherwise, I'd only bitch about this being an inconsistency. She also tends to get overemotional about all of the things she does, constantly putting herself in doubt. She even keeps talking about the Metroid baby that died at the end of Super Metroid.
Which brings me to the worst part about this whole thing: although she has her powers ready to use at the start of the game, she won't use any of them until Adam, her former commanding officer, authorizes use of her powers. First off, she is a sovereign individual who doesn't have to listen to authority to do what she needs to get done. In fact, I'm surprised her doing this shit doesn't get her killed, just in case she needed to do something to stay alive. But the worst part about this is actually the fact that Samus is dependent upon a male authority figure to do much of anything, like she's completely helpless to do otherwise. She's not his fucking slave. She's an independent woman, and that's how the series has been up until this point. Speaking of being inferior to Adam, she seems to be that way with the other guys as well. I've seen them try to fight her battles while she gets scared shitless and does fucking nothing; they have to try and save this formerly strong and level-headed woman. It's fucking pathetic.
To top it off, she constantly reflects on her past, often for really odd and minuscule reasons, or even none at all. Why she's doing that now and not in any previous Metroid game, I don't know. And why we need to know even half of the shit she tells us, I don't know. It's not interesting, and you can't skip any of the cutscenes. Quite frankly, I don't think there should be very many, if at all, cutscenes in Metroid in the first place, but the cutscenes in this game last several times longer than most people would want them to. I want to shoot aliens and monsters, not watch a fucking movie (a bad one at that).
Those are my gripes. Otherwise, the game is okay. The game's atmosphere is great, and the controls are okay. I also thought it was weird that Samus doesn't collect energy pellets and missiles anymore. She does this charge thing now. It's actually not bad, but I'd still prefer the collecting of stuffs, since this game really isn't that hard anyway. In fact, it's a little too easy, partly because of that new function that she never had before and has never had since. It's the easiest Metroid game ever, seriously. Also, excluding the cutscenes (which total up to about two hours long), the game doesn't last very long, but I think, considering the story, I'd prefer it that way.
But ultimately, would I recommend this game? Eh. . . maybe give it a rental. Just for the gameplay. Otherwise, if you're looking for a masterpiece in storytelling, or an evolution in Samus, stay far away. Quite frankly, the story and the characterization of Samus are so bad that they almost ruin this game. Normally, I don't care about story that much, but this game was pretty offensive to me, and possibly forever ruined a fictional character I idolized throughout my childhood. It ruins the experience when I try to play and have fun when that kind of bull shit mixes with the game. In fact, I felt like I wasn't even having fun half of the time playing the game because of the story and the new Samus (especially Samus). I'd even go as far as saying that the story is so bad that the game overall is almost as bad as Metroid Prime Hunters, maybe even worse. That's saying a lot.
But if you can get past that bull shit, then go ahead and give it a try. Even if you do play for the gameplay, though, just know it's still not nearly as good as most of the other Metroid games. It's still better than Metroid Prime Pinball and Metroid Prime Hunters, maybe (seriously, just maybe) Metroid II, but the rest are still superior. Even if you forget about the story, they still are.
Is it just me, or is Nintendo getting good at making games that look kick ass, but turn out to be disappointments in some odd way nowadays? I guess one exception would be New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but otherwise, even if a game is good, there's still something about it that just sucks bad enough to either be just a nuisance, almost ruin a game, or even just plain ruin it.
Anyway, I'm feeling a bit down after talking about what happened to Samus again, so I'm going to see if my family, or at least my girlfriend, can help me feel better. At least I can still depend on them.
EDIT: I forgot to mention the fact that you cannot do simple things like even shoot missiles in 2D mode anymore, which is quite inconvenient. You have to go into first-person mode to do that, and then you have to lock on to enemies to shoot it. Easily the worst thing about the gameplay.
And I forgot to talk about the new red-haired woman and her android clone thing (part of the story), but all I really feel the need to say is it's stupid. It's not bad like the way Samus is portrayed, it's just dumb.
EDIT 2: I realize that the emotions Samus had were building since at least Metroid Fusion, and that there's a manga that displays similar emotions. However, they are more understandable, because they don't take the emotions as far as they were in this game.
And I know of the PTSD claim. Quite frankly, that's bull shit, because she can get treated or possibly even cured, considering this game has a futuristic Science Fiction story. Not only that, but considering the way she acted in this game, I highly doubt a bounty hunter with PTSD this bad would still be in the business, whether because of her own realizations of how bad it is, or because of the fact that nobody would be willing to hire a bounty hunter that's capable of literally freezing in place during battle.
One last little factoid:
The same people who made this game made Metroid Other M.