Metroid Dread (2021) Review

Metroid Dread is the 5th game in the 2D Metroid videogame series, It was developed by MercurySteam for the Nintendo Switch. The game was a long time coming and was originally meant to release on the Nintendo DS, it was cancelled due to Hardware limitations of the system and now 15-20 years later it finally came out for Switch much to fans anticipation. But how does this new Metroid hold up?

After the events of Metroid Fusion, the federation has received video satellite showing that some of the X parasites had survived the desolation of the Planet SR388, The planet ZDR believed to be the location of the transmission is sent E.M.M.I robots to investigate but after they seem to go rogue Samus Aran is sent to the planet instead to make some investigations of her own which in turn becomes her toughest and most dangerous mission yet!.

As per usual with Metroid games we as players are thrown onto the planet with no idea where we are supposed to go, these games encourage exploration in order to find health and missile upgrades to help you survive.

Exploring in this game is particularly encouraged due to the the extreme difficulty of this entry but also because of how beautiful the art style and environments are, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the most modern 2D Metroid game is better graphically than its predecessors but the detail and the realism that the team put into the environments is absolutely breathtaking, I almost wish this was 3D so I could appreciate the work of the art team so much more.

There are many returning upgrades to Samus’s Armour, series staples include the morph ball, the Super Bomb. The Gravity Suit, Ice Missile and Screw Attack amongst many others, a few were added to this game as new entries, the Flash Shift ability I found myself using constantly it allows Samus to quickly flash across the screen. This came in handy to get past obstacles and avoid boss attacks.

The Phantom Cloak allows Samus to turn herself invisible for very short periods of time before she takes serious damage to her energy tanks. This one I didn’t use too much although it did occasionally help me avoid detection by the corrupted E.M.M.I Robots.

If I have any complaints about this game it would definitely be how familiar the game begins to feel when it comes to the E.M.M.I, These robots are extremely high tech search bots which are built to find Metroid’s or Parasites and remove them, because Samus has Metroid DNA in her body they will kill her at any chance they get. The first two times these segments are fine but they are all pretty much the same, the E.M.M.I don’t behave differently to each other and even hide the same mini boss before getting the upgrade to defeat them.

This doesn’t get boring or anything but I really think they could have made the robots behave differently, for example one that crawls, one that flys, one that swims, one that does everything etc. This could have added more challenge and kept these segments more interesting than they were.

The main boss fights here are some of the best in the series and definitely the most challenging, I often had to take day long breaks between them just so that I could refresh my mind enough to focus on the quick reactions I needed to survive.

The return of Kraid was a welcome sight, I always found him the least interesting of the original Mother Brain crew but he was more fleshed out in this but it was weird seeing him chained up, I’m assuming he was being kept prisoner and experimented on without Samus knowing since he definitely seemed dead after his battle in Super Metroid.

My favourite boss of Dread was Drogyga an underwater sea monster who proved very difficult but could be defeated with a lot of patience and good timing, although this could be said for all the bosses I just really liked the design of Drogyga and it being underwater Samus’s jumping and movements are slowed down adding more challenge to the battle.

The music in Dread is of course just amazingly immersive and creepy as it has been for more than 30 years but there is something a little different this time around, for the first time this game in the series has a heavy use of robotic enemies over the usual aliens, a lot of the music here feels very different to the past as it matches the robotic vibes, it is still quite chilling but you can listen to this and imagine killer robots chasing you down for the kill. It might be my second favourite OST only being beaten by Super Metroid which is also my favourite game in the series.

Metroid Dread is one of the best video games Nintendo has released in years, this very much feels like a reboot of the Metroid franchise an introduction for new gamers, for a lot of switch owners this was their Metroid game and watching them complain about how hard the game is on forums and group chats definitely goes to show how easy video games have become.

You really should take your hat off to Nintendo because they gave zero help with this one and in fact I would say Dread is the hardest game in the series so far or at least the 2D games. It is a satisfying game to progress through and after I beat it I was smiling with satisfaction, I cannot wait for the next 2D Metroid game after Dread but in the mean time I think a remake of Super Metroid with the this new art style would be a nice addition.

And with that all said and done I reward Metroid Dread a very nice score of 9.6/10

See you next mission.

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