Metroid Dread - Overview Trailer - Nintendo Switch
Who it Caters to
Metroid is one of Nintendo's most popular franchises, but it's been years since it has received some love from the Big N. Although we've been waiting for the fourth main entry in the series, Metroid Prime 4, they decided it was a good idea to release a side game to enjoy while we wait...and boy, it's a fun game!
Metroid Dread is a direct sequel to Metroid Fusion, a Game Boy Advance title released in 2002. If you're a fan of Samus Aran and the Metroid franchise, then you totally have to play this one! You can still have fun with Metroid Dread regardless of your previous experience—if anything, you'll have more reasons to go back to Metroid Fusion and, then, try other Metroid games too!
What to Expect
Metroid Dread is a 2D action-platformer that follows the same formula as other Metroid games. This means you'll be going back and forth, improving your abilities and weapons but also learning new skills that will open new paths and areas you previously missed. Honestly, Metroid Dread is a short game, but not knowing what to do and where to go is not only part of the journey but also a key element in terms of the gameplay. Another thing you should know beforehand is that the story is told through small bits of dialogue from a couple of characters you encounter, so don't come expecting a narrative-heavy adventure.
For a 2D action-platformer, Metroid Dread looks really good. Samus' design is fantastic, and all biomes have their own unique approach. However, character design is a bit lazy, with several foes looking slightly different from a similar species you just found in the previous area. Even though it's a Nintendo exclusive, Metroid Dread is not the most visually stunning title—it could look way better in handheld mode.
Animations are on point, and cutscenes—especially before and after a boss fight—are beautiful. Maybe the nature of Metroid Dread (an almost empty planet, scarcity of enemies or even allies, a small world with only a few levels) doesn't help to make it an impressive game in the graphics department, but it's a nice improvement when compared to other Metroid games. Don't forget it's a sequel to a GBA game from almost 20 years ago!
If you want people to play a game that takes place on an abandoned planet where your only companion is an AI—okay, there's also Quiet Robe...but let's avoid spoilers—you better give them a great soundtrack! Not only the tracks are captivating, but they are useful as narrative elements too. Each of planet ZDR's areas benefits from the OST, and the boss fights are more immersive. Still, sound effects are THE factor that separates Metroid Dread from other mediocre games in the genre.
As for the voice acting, it's okay. It's not like Metroid Dread has a lot of dialogue anyways—to the point that hearing Samus speak for the first time is such an event...
There are rumors that the X Parasites survived the events of Metroid Fusion on planet SR388 and are now living on ZDR. As the only lifeform that's immune to these creatures, Samus's primary objective is to visit planet ZDR to investigate the X Parasites. Before sending her, the Galactic federation also sent a group of robots that supposedly would eliminate the parasites...if it weren't for the fact that contact with them was lost as soon as they arrived on the planet.
These robots (aka the E.M.M.I. - Extraplanetary Multiform Mobile Identifier) went rogue and will kill Samus on sight, so at first, your only option is to run and hide. Luckily, there are specific areas assigned to them. From a gameplay perspective, the E.M.M.I. are some of the strongest enemies of the game, and you can only defeat them after beating a boss that looks like a giant eyeball and acquiring a special skill that will become unavailable after defeating said E.M.M.I. If they hear or see you, they'll start chasing you; if they touch you, you're dead—well, not really, but the quick time event has such a small window that it's really hard to escape from them.
By finding dragon statues, Samus can upgrade her weapons and learn valuable skills to help her access new areas and escape the E.M.M.I. For example, you can make yourself invisible or just dash away. As in every Metroid game, going back to a door you couldn't open or a block you couldn't destroy is the heart and soul of Metroid Dread. Sometimes you don't know where to go next, and the game gives you no clues, so using the map to analyze blocked paths and missed items is your best option. Ironically, the whole game is too linear for a Metroidvania, so it's not like you can get lost or hit a wall. There's nothing to fear, casual gamers!
It will only take around 8 hours to complete the story, but going for a 100% run adds several hours of gameplay. Learning a new skill may not be enough to reach an item, so if you're a completionist, arm yourself with patience. Save points and charging stations are close to each other, but killing monsters can also replenish your energy and give you missiles, so it's virtually impossible to run out of ammo. In fact, that's exactly what makes boss fights so easy—boss mechanics are easy to understand, but you can buy time by shooting random projectiles and healing yourself. That will give you some time to think about how to defeat a boss, but it will also give you infinite missiles in case your accuracy is not good.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
All in all, Metroid Dread is a fantastic game, but it's easy and short. It's a nice sequel to Metroid Fusion, but as a stand-alone adventure, it feels somewhat lacking. Unless you're a diehard Metroid fan, paying $59.99 for such a short adventure that also happens to be a direct continuation of a game you haven't played makes no sense.
New Metroid games are always welcome, but this one was cancelled years ago, so it's nice to see it's finally out!
Fantastic soundtrack that carries the whole game.
Most people won't even have played Metroid Fusion...
Honey's Final Verdict:
Metroid Dread is everything you would expect in a modern Metroid game...but is it really what a modern Metroid game should—and, most importantly, COULD—be? We feel like this is nothing but an appetizer, so we're already looking forward to Metroid Prime 4!
We recommend all Metroid fans to play Metroid Dread and discover how the Fusion-Dread saga ends. If you have never played a Metroid game before, go emulate Metroid Fusion before buying this one—if you enjoy that one, then you'll absolutely love Dread!
Author: Rod Locksley
Hey! I'm Rod, and when I'm not watching anime or playing video games I'm probably writing about them, but I'm also a graphic and web designer, and I even published a comic book and worked like 4 years for a well-known MMORPG. Curiously, my favorite series are quite different from each other, so I'm still trying to understand what I really like in an anime...