Samus Aran is back. With all that that means. Metroid Dread is the most anticipated return of a franchise that has had its ups and downs because staying over the years is a major challenge. While previous installments failed to captivate the most conservative fans, the new Mercury Steam game promises get back that Metroid essence, also with its peaks of difficulty. Therefore, there is no lack of large doses of exploration, difficult battles and a very addictive progression system. Metroid Dread launches on October 8, 2021 on Nintendo Switch and we tell you our impressions.
We have been able to play already the first hour of Metroid Dread en Nintendo Switch OLED and it is impossible to remain indifferent. It doesn’t take long to show everything Metroid means in video games, without leaving those 2D scenarios that exhibit many different details and textures. Nothing is random, of course. This is the initial premise with which you go into the unknown or the old known, depending on how you see it. Because in the new mission of Samus Aran you will recognize many elements and creatures that could not be missing in a Metroid game.
A new threat: EMMIs
The Galactic Federation reports a mysterious transmission with evidence of survival of parasite X on the planet ZDR, but this is not the most worrying thing. A group of Interplanetary Multiform Mobile Explorers robots was sent, which we will call EMMI so as not to drown, which disappear without a trace. EMMIs are robots designed to extract DNA for research purposes, but you soon discover like Samus Aran that they have become hostile for some reason.
It is not possible to kill them at the beginning of the game, so the protagonist has to be careful in certain areas. EMMIs have a tracking system that could locate you through different contiguous scenarios whenever you make noise or you are in their line of sight. Facing them is practically a suicide, since it can only be avoided by using the kickback at the precise moment, but the reaction margin is so short that we rarely escape from its mechanical claws.
A harrowing but very rewarding chase that makes us feel like the biter bit. The EMMIs are only a hint of what’s to come, but these matchups are interesting for a number of reasons. Although Metroid Dread takes place in 2D settings, surprise some camera changes to show a 3D perspective temporarily. They do not abuse this practice much, only in key moments where they have to face an EMMI, a boss or even open doors with loaded cannon (advantages of being Samus Aran).
On the other hand, it is a system that warns us of the proximity of the EMMI and where the failure is penalized with death. It is still possible to stun the EMMI with the Omega cannon and escape from under its paws To catch my breath before it’s too late This movement is a very common resource both in platform scenarios and in boss confrontations, getting the combat be dynamic and hilarious. There are many ways to deal with each confrontation.
Be imaginative in combat
Samus Aran once again demonstrates his combat skills with every hit. The first bars serve as an unguided tutorial to learn the main controls (which are not few), including the 360º aiming with a sight that will allow us discover secrets in the environment and the solution of many puzzles. Lightning is the bounty hunter’s primary attack and also allows standard doors to be opened. The other main weapon are missiles, much more powerful and do greater damage in area, so they are very effective against groups of enemies. However, these are limited.
From these two main weapons there are many variations such as the aforementioned Omega cannon, loaded cannon or kickback, which allows us to kill an enemy that we have managed to stun at the precise moment. And that’s how we stumbled upon it first boss of the game. A fairly static one-eyed creature that won’t demand too much of us. But calm because this is only the first contact. With the second boss your opinion will change abruptly and will make things more complicated for you.
It is in that second boss where we can put many of the skills into practice learned at the same time. And it is that Metroid Dread teaches you to survive on the planet ZDR with a very intuitive gameplay that encourages you to continually try new things. Will I be able to go under this boss to avoid him? Will missiles do more damage? The answer to all these questions is only in your hand. When Samus achieves the spectral camouflage she will be able to use stealth as an option to avoid enemies, especially EMMIs. Just keep in mind that uses Aeion energy which is consumed very quickly. It is a resource, but not the solution for everything.
A design very faithful to Metroid
In this sense, the scenarios have walls, floors, or ceilings that break. And other shortcuts that are better indicated if you are an observer. When you unlock mobility skills ** like the Arachnoiman, you can access new places through blue walls that you will recognize instantly. This item can be used to flee, ** even in combat if necessary. Metroid Dread invites us to be imaginative with the tools it offers us. But it does not take you by the hand as in past installments.
The environment has details that will force you to go back and remember the way back to activate a door or a new mechanism. And why not pick up a tank with a succulent upgrade for the team. A real incentive to continue with adventure and explore every corner of these labyrinthine settings. We insist, it is very intuitive and accessible for new players. It’s hard to feel lost and the game features a simplified map that mark important elements such as locked doors, life recovery platforms, ammunition or save platforms.
It would be unfair to talk about the difficulty of the game or the progression with so little time played. From the second boss, Metroid Dread starts to show your cards cheekily. At this point, the player already has enough tools to face a more enemies per stage. So it becomes more and more demanding.
The truth is that an hour of play it has made us very short and we would have liked to stay and discover all that Metroid Dread can offer us because the sensations are very good. Finally, we must highlight the Mercury Steam effort in artistic design so that this delivery feels very current without losing its essence. Something tells us that we are before a really epic adventure that will touch the hearts of the most conservative fans.
▪ Release date: 10/08/2021
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