You don't get to call a gun-filled, action video game feminist or motherly every day. But today is the day.
In Metroid: Other M, we portray a super-soldier (a bounty hunter, actually) in outer space, blowing away evil beings who are bent on power or anarchy. The feminist part is, we portray Samus, a woman who stands up against a pandering, male military system.
We already knew Samus was a strong she. But in previous Metroid Prime games, we didn't see her face or body, or hear her voice or story. While portraying her, we just ran forward, scanning rooms for evil lurkers, then shooting them to bits. In Other M, we see behind the mask and outfit in many cinematic scenes.
Here's the motherly part. In the narrative, Samus enters herself into battle because she hears a "Baby's Cry," also known in the game as a distress signal from another spaceship. "It was as though it was crying specifically for me," she says in voice-over narration.
The "cry" doubles as a literal baby's cry, because in the beginning of the game, Samus is saved from an evil monster (Mother Brain) by a mystical baby-in-a-womb whose death gives Samus great power. Yes, that is morbid.
These well-written themes add gravity to the space game, as Samus kills many awful creatures in order to save people (even guys who call her "princess").
All this plot is fresh to Metroid, but the bigger deal is that Other M alters Metroid's actions, too. The actions of earlier Metroid Prime titles (scanning rooms, blasting things, rolling through tunnels in the form of a ball) remain intact, but in a third-person viewpoint, making Other M seem like a glorified side-scroller. We still use first-person views to scan rooms and fire missiles at big-boss villains.
This one game retools the whole Metroid franchise into a more complete Metroid experience. It's less cumbersome than predecessors to play, though the action can bog down in same-same. And the series is finally engaging, thanks to the serious narratives and tones.