Nintendo Switch Review: Metroid Dread

Metroid Fine?

Join intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran in her first new 2D Metroid™ story in 19 years. Samus’ story continues after the events of the Metroid™ Fusion game when she descends upon planet ZDR to investigate a mysterious transmission sent to the Galactic Federation. The remote planet has become overrun by vicious alien lifeforms and chilling mechanical menaces. Samus is more agile and capable than ever, but can she overcome the inhuman threat stalking the depths of ZDR?

Metroid Fusion is one of the great GBA titles and definitely my favourite 2D Metroid game, so to finally get a sequel after 2 decades was something I wasn’t expecting. While we wait and wait for Metroid Prime 4 it’s great to have a new entry to keep us going, but it also concludes the Metroid story arc that began from the original game, so to say it’s been a long time coming is a bit of an understatement. But after nearly 20 years, can Metroid Dread deliver what fans have been waiting for?

Samus lands on the Planet ZDR and is attacked immediately by an unknown Chozo which in true Metroid fashion makes you lose all your abilities, but your appearance is also altered much like how Samus’ suit changed after she was attacked in the opening of Fusion. She gains new and old abilities along the way to find out if the X Parasite is active on ZDR, but she’s also being hunted by robots called E.M.M.I which can kill you instantly if they catch you.

The E.M.M.I’s stay in specific areas, so they aren’t always hunting you but when you are in their areas you’ll know about it. The music becomes chilling, the game’s visuals add some kind of filter that makes the game look fuzzy/foggy and the robots will hunt you based on sound you make and if caught you’ll get a split-second to counter-attack before instant death, but getting the timing right on this felt like a lot of random luck so I wouldn’t rely on it as a strategy.

Samus uses typical weapons like her arm cannon and missiles, but she can also counter enemies and bosses for extra or fatal damage. Countering boss attacks is sometimes essential to beating them and believe me, you’ll need all the help you can get as this was definitely the toughest 2D Metroid I’ve played. There were some tough areas with multiple enemies that would kill me in just a few hits if I wasn’t careful, which also applied to some of the bosses and even after I searched high and low for as many Energy Tanks as possible. Believe me, it can be brutally difficult at times but it’s definitely do-able once you get to grips with Samus’ moves.

Metroid Dread was one of the first games I played on the new OLED Nintendo Switch, and it really was a showcase of how great the new hardware is, adding in extra depth and immersion to the experience. Playing it on the OLED is simply the best way to experience the game and I can’t wait to see future Switch games on it. The visuals of Metroid Dread are superb with excellent level design, brilliantly detailed enemies and some of the best cinematics in the series history. I didn’t experience any bugs or framerate hiccups other than when loading a new area. The music is classic Metroid with its chilling tones and theme and fits the creepy atmosphere of Planet ZDR well.

The Verdict

Metroid Dread is the end of a story arc that started all the way back in 1986. The wait has definitely been worth it with Samus’ latest entry that plays like classic Metroid, but with new additions like counter-attacks and smoother controls that makes it feel fresh. I only hope we don’t have to wait another 19 years for another 2D Metroid…

Score: 9.0

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