‘Metroid Dread’ reminded me why Metroid is an essential series


Nintendo sometimes milks a few of its massive franchises, however Metroid is typically not considered one of them. In truth, Metroid Dread is the primary all-new sport within the series because the divisive Metroid: Other M arrived in 2010. As the fifth mainline, side-scrolling sport within the series, Dread has quite a bit to dwell as much as. And whereas it’s not a complete reinvention of the franchise, like Metroid Prime was 19 years in the past, it additionally does a terrific job of avoiding the pitfall of feeling like a retread, an situation that sometimes plagues Nintendo’s different flagship franchises.

If you’ve performed any of the earlier side-scrolling Metroid video games, Dread might be acquainted. As standard, Samus Aran loses all her powers and wishes to flee an underworld maze, combating baddies and retrieving power-ups that allow you to discover new sections (or previous components of the map you couldn’t get via earlier than).

That’s a well-trodden path, however Nintendo flipped issues this time with the E.M.M.I. encounters, terrifying robotic enemies that stalk you thru particular components of the map. They can’t be killed till you discover their space to discover a weapon power-up that places you on equal footing. At first, I used to be apprehensive that these encounters can be too frequent, or too laborious to flee, however developer MercurySteam did an glorious job balancing out the E.M.M.I. areas. Escaping from the dreaded robots by leaving the zones they patrol isn’t too powerful, and also you don’t need to spend so lengthy of their areas that the entire sport devolves into stealth pressure.

On the opposite hand, if you happen to get caught by an E.M.M.I., that’s just about it. You have one probability to dam their deadly assault, and I’ve solely accomplished it proper as soon as. I’ve most likely gotten caught a number of dozen occasions and have by no means made it out alive. Fortunately, the sport simply resets you to the door getting into the E.M.M.I. zone if you happen to fail, so that you received’t lose a lot progress.


Meanwhile, I’ve had a blast exploring the dank tunnels and caverns that make up the world of Dread. As with most Nintendo video games, the environment and artwork model are top-notch, even when Dread doesn’t maintain a candle to the extra technologically superior titles on the Xbox Series X or PS5. When I play a sport that is this well-designed and considerate about what it does with the expertise accessible to it, I don’t fear about counting pixels. That stated, it additionally seems extraordinarily spectacular docked to my 4K TV.

Most of the gameplay hallmarks of Metroid titles are right here, together with power-ups like charged pictures, the morph ball, the missile cannon and loads of different returning favorites. But there’s sufficient new right here, just like the grapple beam and screw assault, to maintain the sport feeling recent.

Maybe for individuals who have obsessively performed the Metroid series earlier than, Dread will really feel like extra of a retread. But whereas I’m aware of the core elements of those video games, the first-person Metroid Prime is the sport I do know the very best — I by no means beat the unique sport, or the highly-regarded Super Metroid on the Super NES. If you’re like me, don’t let that cease you from making an attempt Metroid Dread. There’s a cause so-called Metroidvania video games are nonetheless in style. 

And if you happen to haven’t tried one earlier than, getting the most recent installment within the series that helped outline the style is a good way to get your ft moist. Most importantly, it doesn’t really feel like MercurySteam and Nintendo simply checked the containers for this sport. Indeed, the ability that MercurySteam delivered to Samus Returns (a remake of 1991’s Metroid II: Return of Samus for the Game Boy) is on show right here; Nintendo undoubtedly picked the appropriate developer to make the primary mainline Metroid sport since 2002. It’s an impressed addition to a series that already has an spectacular legacy. Just don’t get cocky — run like hell if an E.M.M.I. tracks you down.

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