A review with Danh Hoang
In early January 2022 Danh Hoang loaned me a copy of Nintendo’s latest entry in the Metroid series. Metroid Dread is a direct sequel to the Metroid Fusion game originally released on the Gameboy Advance 20 years ago.
Nintendo seems to have kept the fire alive for linear 2D Metroid games. Which now features texture rich 3D backgrounds, challenging new enemies, and combat techniques not seen on those original entries. Mercury Steam continues to be a skilled caretaker of the software production tasks. They previously developed the 3Ds reimagining of the Gameboy title Metroid 2, Metroid: Samus Returns.
There is a lot more of Samus Returns in Dread than its “chronological” predecessor, Fusion, but the game emits the dreadful atmosphere from earlier entries. The parry combat ability first introduced in Samus Returns, is a huge component of the experience in Dread. You use it to thwart nearly all smaller aggressors and bosses alike.
If there is one criticism to be leveled at the shiny new title, it would be load time. Even with the speed of static memory cards, failure to escape a pursuing E.M.M.I., falling victim to other obstacles on planet ZDR, or taking a transport to one of the sectors will net you a fairly lengthy load time.
This does end up being a bit of a frustration with certain areas where one mistake will land you in the dreadful grasp of the game over screen.
Metroid Dread is not only a well designed, challenging edition to the series but it attempts to push the narrative arc of Samus in a new direction. If you are a long time fan of the series you may find some of the new choices in combat design frustrating. But if this is your first adventure with Samus, you will be thrown into a world with more developed lore than you are expecting and a host of secrets to be uncovered.
Recommend buying and playing at least once 👍
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Illustration – Evan McIntyre