Metroid Dread review — The best 2D Metroid

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Metroid Dread is a worthy revival of one of Nintendo’s more respected franchises. It plays great and is hard to put down. Dread also earns its place as the fabled Metroid 5 sequel to a story that started with Metroid on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. Metroid Dread brings together a decades-old tale and also restores Samus Aran as one of the coolest characters in the galaxy. . And that makes this a no-miss post for followers, but it should also convert new fans who have never played a Metroid before.

Metroid Dread is now available for $ 60 for the Nintendo Switch. Metroid: Samus Returns developer MercurySteam is back, and it learned many lessons from that 3DS remake. And now, thanks to this effort, Metroid Dread is one of the best games of the year.

It’s fun the moment you pick up the controller. It is thanks to its excellent, precise operation and movement. You start with a Samus who feels good when you run and jump, but she can also slip under overhangs and jump off walls. It ensures that exploration and combat are exciting and dynamic from the first minute.

But even though it starts strong, MercurySteam builds on this foundation with powerups, boss fights, characterization and powerful stories. This creates a scenario where a good game slowly and steadily turns into a good game in 7 to 9 hours. After all that, I was both desperate to see the conclusion and was sad that my time with the game was over.


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Above: Samus is cool.

Samus Aran is a fearsome mountain of violence

I do not personally come to Metroid for the story or the narrative. I occasionally like the world building I found while scanning objects in Metroid Prime games, but plot has usually had detrimental effects on my enjoyment as in Metroid: Other M.

But Metroid Dread, like Samus Aran, is tough, collected and confident when it comes to delivering its narrative. Action seamlessly provides space for scenes throughout the game, but they are usually sparse and they always earn a point. Sometimes the point is to convey basic information about the efforts. More often than not, however, the point is to state that Samus Aran is the toughest bastard anyone in this game has ever encountered.

And that characterization has gone so well. MercurySteam uses body language to great effect. Chef matches are a good example of this. Even though your enemy is larger than the screen, Samus randomly strolls into the fight while perhaps charging his arm cannon hanging to her side. It may look like she’s bending – but she’s also looking like her natural state is always bending.

This is not to say that Samus is numb or an empty wall. She’s just better than everyone else and she knows it. She behaves as if she’s been through all this before, and she’s done canonically.

She is so strong and silent that when she staggers or gives a promise to another character, those moments grab the player by the neck.

Above: That EMMI is catching these hands.

It presents itself as more unfriendly than it actually is

Metroid Dread is difficult – or at least that’s what you want to think. Another way of saying it is the perception of difficulty serves a purpose. MercurySteam wants players to feel alone and isolated. And one of the ways it achieves this is by throwing yourself into an unforgivable environment with almost zero indication of where to go next.

But the reality is that Metroid Dread is more forgiving than it seems. Enemies are challenging until you learn their patterns. On one boss I was destroyed twice and then for the third time I knew the pattern so well that I hit it without getting hit. Every enemy is like that. It looks like a fight in Punch-Out or even Dark Souls.

Above: Must make it difficult to dry.

You’re also supposed to feel lost, but you’re probably not actually lost. If you can not figure out where to go by looking at the map, you probably just need to keep pushing forward and you end up where you need to be.

In a way, the game is almost too linear, because if you encounter an elevator or teleporter, you have to go through it. The game tries to push you forward. And I would almost like to ask the game for it, except that it then also rewards you for exploring the beaten path by allowing you to unlock certain abilities early.

Dread also has a very forgiving autosave system. You usually start a boss fight right outside the room. The same goes for the encounters with the EMMI robots that chase you and immediately kill you if they catch you. I never wanted to put the game down in frustration during these reloads, which is to the game’s credit.

A beautiful, detailed world

I love the way Metroid Dread looks. It surprised me when I did not think it was so impressive in the original unveiling back at E3. I also typically do not like 3D art for 2D games. However, Metroid Dread plays to its strengths.

Thanks to its 3D model, Samus is extremely expressive in his animations. Whether she is running or aiming, she always looks fluid and cool.

Dread also has extremely detailed backgrounds and environments. And because they are physical objects, they look like they are part of the world. These background objects can even sometimes interact with the playing field.

When it comes to sound, Samus’ weapons and flora and fauna are excellent. This creates a sense of immersion. It’s just a shame that the music is mostly forgettable. The franchise has had some excellent soundtracks, but Metroid Dread does not add anything to that playlist.

Above: The game’s environments are varied and intricately detailed.

Metroid Dread is one game a year

I still radiate from my time with Metroid Dread. When I finish writing this, I will probably keep playing it to get a 100% completion. It does for Metroid what A Link Between Worlds did for Zelda. It’s the best-played version of a long-loved franchise. And like the 3DS Zelda, I think the best is its Super Nintendo counterpart, the Super Metroid.

Its playability matched with MercurySteam doing the right thing by Samus Aran has made me yet another fan of Metroid. Even out of the context of my own affinity for character and the world, Metroid Dread is some of the funniest I’ve had with a game in 2021. It’s a competitor to this year’s game.

Metroid Dread is available now for $ 60 on the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo sent GamesBeat copies of the game for review – but Jeff Grubb himself bought the copy he used for the purpose of this story.


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