The narration in Metroid: Other M in many people's perspectives was a mixed bag. People felt that Samus' monotone voice was annoying and irritating, and that it made the game's story too expository and drawn out even to the point of boredom. Personally, I disliked Samus' narration because she explained a whole lot but in actuality said very little that impacted or affected the overall story (in a positive way, at least). However, because Samus' narration seemed to be the most dominant medium that expresses her characterization in this game (in my opinion, at least), I was thinking if there were other means of storytelling to maybe express Samus' inner character and feelings without the narration if possible.
It just so happened that I came across CapCom's “Lonely on Zebes” not too long ago which sparked an idea of similar storytelling. Like the Metroid Prime series with the logs and journals, what if the game implemented a mechanic where Samus will periodically write more personal and introspective journal logs on a variety topics, including her own feelings, observations and hardships on the mission, her personal research, random thoughts, and other interests of hers that are not extremely important to the story nor need to be represented in cutscenes and monologues, but still be of interest to the player and relevant to the game? Not only do I think this will possibly eliminate a lot of the (in my opinion) useless and boring monologue, but it can give the player the option to delve even deeper into the Metroid world and the Bounty Hunter Samus Aran if he/she so desires.
When I thought about this, I found that there were (like anything) pros and cons to this approach. The good I think it will deliver is that it will provide the player with yet another medium of Samus' characterization without it being too forceful or “in your face” about it. Cutscenes and the gameplay are all great ways to characterize a character, and I think personal journal logs will be a good way to compliment, not overshadow these types of characterization of the game. Another plus is that reading these logs will be completely optional. Not only that, but these logs should not include any super-important plot elements that you may miss if you decide not to read them. The main story of the game should be able to hold its own fine without them.
Of course, there are cons as well. The main problem I see is giving the player the incentive to even read them. Final Fantasy XIII comes to mind. In the very short time I played this game I recall the game had “Datalogs” that gave information about the world of Final Fantasy XIII. However, in my opinion the story was so boring and filled with such annoying characters that I didn't even bother to care about the datalogs. What's worse, players say that the datalogs really did contribute to the story but its awful story itself gave me little incentive to care. Another problem, as I stated earlier, is if the game's story does become too dependent on the journal logs. The cutscenes, the gameplay, the environment, Samus Aran's dialogue and actions should contribute to much of the story telling, not journals.
There are probably some things that I forgot but those are the main points. Please tell me what you think about this, and even come up with your own ideas of how to tell the Metroid story better without relying heavily on narrative monologues. Personally, I would love to see journal logs in future Metroid games if executed properly.