So this E3, an unexpected game was announced, Metroid Dread. It has been nearly 20 years since a new 2D Metroid game that wasn’t a remake came out, and on top of that this game was presumably on and off development for 15 years. Most of the time this leads to poor results, but my review today shows that this game is an exception to that particular rule. Of course, I’m going to tell you just how good this game is, and that it is worth your time.
My first impression of Metroid Dread while playing the early portions of the game indicated that it will play like Metroid: Samus Returns on the 3DS, but with different level design. In particular, the frequent use of the counter attack in both games gave me this impression. The counter makes enemies much more vulnerable, and grants extra item refills if you finish the foe off. While it is useful early on, it is essential much later in the game. Additionally, the free aim with Samus’s arm gun from Samus Returns is also back.
Like many Metroid games, this game has a neat blend of both quick movements, and cautious exploration. The game is more fun when moving fast, but also allows you to move slowly as you figure out how to get the next upgrade. The handy map is back to assist with this, and will help you find hidden pickups with some areas glowing in the map if you haven’t found the item yet. The map also indicates if you grabbed a pickup you’ve revealed the location of yet.
Particularly interesting is that new upgrades can help you explore the game world more. As you do so, there are some permanent changes to the environment, which may end up making it easy to get lost. This is most noticeable on my first playthrough of the game. This feature is fairly new to the Metroid games, or at least it was used much less frequently in older games, and it is fascinating to see how it altered how I played.
Then there is a feature that is entirely new here: there are these killer robots called E.M.M.I. that are invincible till you take out their control unit. If they catch you, it usually is an instant game over. At times, I found this enemy to be annoying, as I could lose multiple times within what felt like under a minute. This occurred the most if I wasn’t cautious. Thankfully, there is a new pickup that temporarily allows you to avoid detection, and clever use of it can make these encounters easier. These segments of the game are a big rush if you are being chased and just barely get away, plus the E.M.M.I. are satisfying to take out once you get that option.
Metroid Dread is a hard but fair game, at least outside of E.M.M.I. encounters. The boss fights are a good highlight of this. None of their attack patterns are unavoidable, but almost every major battle is hard enough that you most likely will lose on your first few attempts. These fights can be intense, with quick movements required from the player, and the occasional cinematic quick time event that you are rewarded with when you counter a foe’s attack. These fights may be tough, but the game has a checkpoint right before you start the battle, making it easy to dive right back in.
As the game’s plot thickens, the difficulty gets more intense. Incidentally, the game gets more fun after this point, with is roughly the halfway point (though it feels like the endgame). Thanks to some new toys, such as the phase shift, the higher octane encounters are faster paced, and will test your reflexes and observation skills. After this point, the sense of terror and mysteries the game gives you will drive you forward, making it all worth it in the end.
Overall, Metroid Dread is an incredible game for experienced fans and relatively new (but skilled) players alike. Its difficulty might be a turnoff for some of the newest players, but it is worth the time investment for those who can tough it out. This game is even better for those who seek to master it, as getting a quick play time is a tradition in Metroid games that this game carries forward.
- Get used to the controls, especially the counter attack.
- Explore the game for pickups, so that you are strong enough to finish the game.
- Be very cautious when in an E.M.M.I. zone, so that these sections don’t frustrate or annoy you.
- On the first playthrough, try to play through the game in the intended order.
- Go for the rest of the collectibles either on your first playthrough, or after beating the game.
- On future playthroughs, try to discover how to gather upgrades out of order, and you can try to run through the game as quickly as possible.
- You may want to try hard mode too!
- Expert level design.
- Good graphics.
- Great use of cutscenes.
- Great visual storytelling.
- Encourages mastery.
- Appropriately creepy atmosphere.
- Music is neither bad, nor memorable.
- Larger levels to explore.
- This game is hard, even for a Metroid game (possible con, based on difficulty tolerance).
- E.M.M.I. segments are either a rush, or are annoying based on playstyle (Possible pro or con).
*Note: None of the potential cons, in my opinion are going to be problems for all players. The only issues in this game are things that players could debate are good, bad, or in-between. See the neutral section of this review for features that might be slight problems. This is incredibly rare in video games, and you won’t see it in most of my reviews.
9.4/10 An excellent platformer with a frightening atmosphere
Metroid dread is arguably the best Metroid game to date. It is hard to state a range that it might fall under. The low end is just below Super Metroid, while the high end could be very close to a perfect score. The E.M.M.I. and difficulty level might hold newer players back, but the payoff is huge for those who stick with this game. This game is a must for Metroid fans, and well worth a look for fans of challenging 2D video games.
That wraps up my review of Metroid Dread. What did you think of this game? What is your favorite powerup, old or new? What is your fastest play time? Let me know in the comments below! If you enjoyed this review, then click that like button and share on social media. You can also subscribe via Email or WordPress to keep up with That’s All Games. Until next time, have fun gaming!