Metroid Dread - Review

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Review by Metroid dread. Game for Nintendo Switch, the video game was released on 08/10/2021

Space is boundless, dark, silent, contradictory and in the infinity of deep space unique and peculiar contradictions arise and coexist: dark and light, silence and noise, chaos and order and it is therefore normal that in an environment like this fear reigns sovereign: basically there is literally everything in infinite space, as Rick likes to point out. Amounts of inconceivable life forms, unexplored planets and fantastic creatures are the ideal scenario to give vent to the deepest fears of the human soul. One of these fears, often exploited by videogame means, is that of parasites and alien creatures. Metroid builds on this. Planet SR388 is the birthplace of Parasite X, capable of penetrating into life forms and taking control of them by altering and growing, mentally and physically. An alien race like this cannot be left free to proliferate: the damage to the entire universe would be infinite. Thus a group of scientists creates the Metroid species, a natural enemy of the parasite X, which in turn infests the planet with mutations. In practice, the cure is worse than the disease. Bounty hunter Samus Aran is then tasked with resolving the situation but ends up getting infected and becoming the natural enemy of Metroid and parasites.

With the end of the events narrated in Metroid Fusion for GameBoy Advance, and after the remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus, released for Nintendo 3DS, gamers were looking forward to the sequel anticipated by a post credit movie. After almost 15 years and various ups and downs, thanks to MercurySteam, Metroid Dread arrives on Nintendo Switch, the final chapter of one of the most iconic sagas ever created.

In Metroid Dread, returning from SR388 and having become a symbiotic life form thanks to an X parasite, the bounty hunter Samus is informed of an anomalous detection. The Galactic Federation has received an unequivocal video and although the source is not identifiable, however, it is possible to identify the origin of the signal in the planet ZDR. The video portrays a Parasite X, alive and well and extremely dangerous for which the federation decides to send seven EMMI (Extraplanetary Multiform Mobile Identifier) ​​to the planet.

These robots are able to absorb the DNA of other life forms, store it, process it and instantly produce a weapon capable of eradicating it: made up of an exoskeleton made with the most resistant material in the universe, they are a guarantee of success for any desperate undertaking. And in fact, after a while the signal of all seven is lost, forcing the federation to instruct Samus to investigate and solve the problem.

Having landed safely on ZDR thanks to ADAM, the trusted AI of Samus' spacecraft prepares for the enterprise and after less than a few minutes we find the cause of the problem, which stuns us and leaves us helpless and unconscious. Upon our awakening, a mysterious physical amnesia has robbed us of memories of how to use most of our abilities, and so on. Defenseless and alone, we prepare to face our adventure.

For the few who do not know the Metroid saga, we remind you that he contributed together with Castlevania to create a whole new genre: Metroidvania. We are talking about 2D platform adventures with RPG elements, hack 'n' slash component, and strong backtracking dictated by the acquisition of skills that allow you to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. On this point we must clarify: this is the genre. It is useless to play Metroid Dread and complain about the fact that you have to continually go back or have no clear reference points on where to go or how to get there: the beauty of a Carthusian exploration, the surprise of discovery and the joy of succeeding where you were before. failed are part of the baggage that the title carries with it.

We will begin our adventure in Metroid Dread equipped with missiles and our trusty ray cannon, to acquire a dozen abundant skills and power ups throughout the story: some will expand the power and type of fire and others will provide peculiar abilities; in both cases these upgrades will be necessary to face otherwise inaccessible game areas and devastating bosses, but not only.

For the first time in Metroid Dread the EMMI appear, almost indestructible robots that identify us as a living organism to be exterminated, and they are exceptionally good at this.

For the whole adventure, meeting an EMMI is the same as game over, but not immediately, only after trying to escape him by running wildly. Metroid Dread's EMMIs are relentless, indestructible or nearly indestructible, and equipped with powerful sensors. Entering their territory means having to move cautiously to stay away from them at least until you have activated the spectrum coverage that allows you a little more leeway.

Notifying him of your presence closes the doors and starts the hunt and Contact with an EMMI from Metroid Dread leads to an interactive cutscene where you have a slight chance to get away with it: timely center the yellow glow with the X button just before the final attack and you can stun your opponent.

Unfortunately, the time window is intentionally tiny and achieving it is not easy, but don't worry: each stage contains an EMMI and a mini boss, gradually more challenging, which gives you the omega ray with which you can take out the damn robot.

Once acquired, by pressing L - the laser guide key to shoot - you will activate a fake 3D with which you will center the face of the enemy to make him jump the cover and finish him with a loaded shot: however, be careful to choose an attack point that leaves you time to complete the operation, a nice long stretch of unimpeded pattern. Ah, don't forget: every dead EMMI awakens Samus' physical memory and therefore gives a latent ability essential for the continuation of the adventure.

Our heroine from Metroid Dread can transform into a morphosphere to enter tunnels, jump and climb certain structures, carry out a short transport and equip herself with kinetic run and much more.

As with the remake of Metroid 2, the huntress is also equipped with a parry to be used against certain attacks which followed by a cannon shot provides premature death and a surplus of rewards only that here can also be done while running and jumping. Unfortunately this parry is not very useful, indeed sometimes it even becomes annoying to use compared to the primary weapon as well as common enemies, once a certain degree of power has been reached, become an annoying bore rather than a challenge.

And since no title is flawless, let's see where Metroid Dread could have been better. First of all it must be said that the console used for the test is the first model of the Nintendo laptop but to be sure we also used a Lite model; it has not been tested with the new OLED model just released; nothing should change in practice but we cannot say for sure.

On the consoles we tested Metroid Dread presented frame rate drops in the uploads (which we still consider too long) and in the most excited moments both in the docked version and in portability: nothing that invalidated the final experience but we would have expected perfection.

In addition, Metroid Dread presents a story that can be finished at the first run in about 16 hours: once you are familiar with the dynamics of the game the time can drop a little but if you aim for 100% exploration the hours of play can double; unfortunately, due to the concept of the title and the type of game, thinking of doing a second run is unlikely.

The enemies are a bit bland in the long run while on the contrary the bosses are interesting and with integrated cutscenes that deserve attention both for how they were made and for the integration of the attack commands. Entirely personal opinion of the writer: but wouldn't it have been better to include a nice ROM of Metroid Fusion in the extras rather than the usual gallery?

Metroid Dread is the metroidvania we've been waiting for on a noteworthy console. The few flaws do not detract from the gaming experience that fans of the genre have come to expect. A lot of action, a lot of exploration and a lot of backtracking are the prominent elements of a genre that bears the weight of time. The Metroid Dread operation implemented by MercurySteam and Nintendo can be called a success.

► Metroid Dread is a Metroidvania-Platform type game developed by MercurySteam and published by Nintendo for Nintendo Switch, the video game was released on 08/10/2021

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Michael Pachter: Switch 2 no earlier than 2024 ❯
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