Metroid Dread (Nintendo Switch)31/10/2021
At the very young age of like 5 or 6, I played Metroid for the first time for the NES. As you can probably imagine I got lost pretty quick. Not having gamer instinct that has come with years of playing Metroid knock-offs, it was easy to get confused as to where you need to go next. Thankfully I stuck with it and eventually would beat it and then play one of the greatest video games of all time, Super Metroid. After 34 years and many Metroid games, it was time to get all the answers as to what brought Samus Aran to Zebes.
Metroid Dread finally brings closure to everything we know about the Metroids and the different mysteries of the X parasite that we got to see plenty of in Metroid Fusion. It would be fair to say that this 2D side-scrolling adventure could be the bookend of the entire series. Of course, we know that THAT is not going to happen. Dread has already gone on to be one of the best selling games in the franchise’s history!
The game takes place directly after Metroid Fusion and we quickly discover that Samus is going to be in the battle for her life. She is drawn to the planet ZDR due to suspicion of a lone X Parasite on the loose. After getting there, everything goes to hell, Samus is now stranded deep on the planet with no abilities and one mission, get back to her ship! The only problem is that between her and her ship are seven EMMI (Extraplanetary Multiform Mobile Identifiers) robots that were originally sent to destroy the X Parasite, but have been reprogrammed to kill Samus on sight!
Dread is the appropriate name for the game as you find that until you are much later in the game, every open of a door you are nervous as to what could be behind it. If the EMMI Robots get near you, you are dead. There is a chance to counter their attacks, but it is EXTREMELY difficult to do, and only buys you like 5 seconds of time. There are multiple boss fights throughout the game as well that I found myself dying over and over to. That being said though, like Metroid games of the past, It all comes down to learning each boss’s move sets and how to counter/evade. Thankfully the game autosaves before each boss fight, so if you die (you will) you can load the game back up outside their rooms.
I do feel that to a degree that Metroid Dread does hold players’ hands a little bit more than past entries. About halfway thru the game, you are given an ability that acts like a sonar for any room that you are in. Once you use it, it shows any breakable spots on the walls. Showing you where any hidden powerups or health canisters were hiding. Of course, we all remember not having anything like that in the older games. Also, the Screw Attack seems like it is extremely overpowered in Dread. Until I got that ability, there were many enemies that would take multiple charged shots before they would die, once I had the Screw Attack, I only had to jump into them once!
Coming in at about 10 hours with about 75% completion for finding every item in the game, Metroid Dread felt like a perfectly paced game. I found myself at the end boss at 8 hours. While that boss was tough, they also could be defeated easily enough once you know that moveset. I loved the story and the thrill of never really knowing what to expect. I would certainly put this towards the top of one of my all-time favorite Metroid games.