After years of mystery by Nintendo and an uncontrollable thirst on the part of fans, Metroid Dread arrived exclusively on Nintendo Switch on October 8, 2021. Bringing a dense narrative, memorable moments and some of the best stunts that Samus Aran has ever performed in any game, the work tries to excite fans and newcomers to the series. The question that remains is whether everything is worth the energy tank or if they missed upgrades in that return.
Metroid Dread starts after the events of Metroid Fusion. If you don’t know this part of the narrative, don’t worry. There is a competent recap of what happened earlier in the 2D saga of Samus Aran. In short: the protagonist is called once again by the Galactic Federation to solve a huge problem. It all revolves around a message from the planet ZDR indicating that parasite X, which should have been extinct, still exists.
The Galactic Federation sends seven extremely powerful robots to end the threat, but contact with the machines is lost. The only hope is in the hands of Samus who needs to head to planet ZDR and investigate what’s really going on. From there, the character will encounter new enemies, challenges, puzzles, items and some of the toughest bosses ever seen in his entire saga.
Once upon a time on planet ZDR
As in all games in which Samus Aran is the protagonist, the map in Metroid Dread it starts small and limited. At various times during your game, you will come across a dead end point that will make you scratch your head and wonder where you went wrong or what you missed. For those who are already used to the genre known as metroidvania, this feeling is delicious.
To say that exploration is an important detail in this game is to rain in the wet. This is not just a gameplay factor, but almost a lifestyle for those who enjoy this type of game. Finding yourself a hidden item, a secret passage or even a trick to acquire an upgrade ahead of time is something that makes every point of curiosity pay off.
And this exploration is highly recommended throughout the adventure in Metroid Dread. There are 9 locations spread across planet ZDR. All connected in some way, whether by portals, elevators or even a type of carriage with wagons. With this, it is normal that when purchasing a new item, the player starts to have an inexplicable desire to go back to some places to scour every corner.
Furthermore, the scenery of each location on the planet contributes to this animation. There’s everything players are used to: hot places with lava lakes, parts full of menacing green, places so cold that lakes and doors are frozen, places so technological that it’s impossible to imagine that there was ever life there. Variety is not lacking, but this is even more true when some parts of the planet change because of something in the narrative. ZDR is possibly one of the most complete planets in the entire series.
Dial EMMI to kill
During just over 10 hours of gaming, Samus Aran faces a very varied horde of enemies. Each has its own weaknesses and strengths, forcing the player to create strategies with each new encounter. None of this is really new to the franchise, but it’s when the EMMI robots emerge that the story is totally different.
Whenever you enter a zone dominated by these enemies in Metroid Dread, that robotic and menacing sound starts to roll frequently and insanely. With this, an unbelievable tension arises in the heart of those with control in hand, forcing them to plan even more so as not to fall into the cold and mechanical hands of these threats. If that happens, the player has a very small chance to escape, if not successful, the game over screen appears without pity or pity.
And get ready to get quite used to this game over screen. There’s so much wanting to kill the protagonist in the game, from the tiniest enemies to the biggest bosses, not to mention the very environment of planet ZDR that seems to enjoy dealing damage to Samus.
Speaking of bosses, they are part of the most challenging hall of fame ever seen in the entire series. I don’t think I managed to defeat anyone on the first attempt, but when I did the feat, that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment came with everything. Thinking about it, it’s not wrong to say that Metroid Dread is a game that manages at the same time to destroy the player’s self-esteem and raise it to the sky. All in a matter of minutes.
Super Samus against low mood
After a few hours of exploration, to put together a upgrade here and there and to get an important new skill for the course of the adventure in Metroid Dread, it’s impossible not to start feeling like the best video game player of all time.
Every time Samus defeats a boss by performing some wonderful stunt or positions himself as the true “owner of it all”, a smile comes to the face of whoever is playing this amazing game. There is a moment during the journey when the bounty hunter demonstrates just how focused and powerful she is, making even the most pessimistic gamer feel capable of taking on whatever challenge developer Mercury Steam’s work throws in her lap.
It is with these moments of pure genius of the character that the desire to restart the journey right after finishing it seems natural. Couple that with a competent Nintendo Switch performance that almost always comes out at 60 frames per second, a sound work worthy of Metroid Prime and light effects that vie for the console’s applause prize. Therefore, it is clear that Metroid Dread it was done with great care.
Is it worth playing Metroid Dread?
Without a doubt! There’s a lot for a newcomer to the series to fall in love with: from the skills discovered throughout the adventure to the well-crafted cutscenes that tell the story very well. For the player who lives side by side with Samus for a long time, each challenge overcome is one more reason to continue on the journey. Achieving 100% exciting is not a simple task, but it is worth the effort.
The whole presentation is very beautiful, giving a feeling of magnitude that few titles can achieve. The songs bring the perfect feeling to the different moments in Metroid Dread, whether for that loneliness of exploration or for that breath-taking heroic combat.
Do not fool yourself! This Nintendo Switch game will make you sweat, scream, cry and often want to let go after dying for the fifth time to a boss. However, just like Samus Aran, it’s the desire to complete the mission that will make you go ahead and try again. Eventually, victory will come, giving that feeling of perfect accomplishment in a video game.
If you can, don’t miss out on a visit to planet ZDR alongside the best bounty hunter ever to appear in games.