To say people weren’t incredibly excited about Metroid Dread would be an understatement. After the delay of Prime 4 and countless snarky annoying people constantly going on about not getting new Metroid information. Suddenly we were presented the trailer of not Prime 4, but the almost mythical at this point Metroid 5 now called Dread. Presenting the end of the current Metroid story started all the way back in the first game.
Dread wears the badge of core Metroid games proudly. The opening is very reminiscent of that of Super Metroid only now explaining the events of Metroid Fusion. Sadly, the notion that Samus would now be a woman on the run for directly defying the federation government (or whatever they are called) is not addressed. (Presumably someone realized the X are that dangerous and hit everyone who thought they could control them with a rolled-up newspaper)
Anyway, we then find that it seems the X have survived as a video was sent out showing one in the wild on a very distant planet. 7 Robots called E.M.M.I were sent but they lost contact with them as soon as they got to the planet. Samus being the only living being that can’t just get eaten by the X goes out to investigate and wipe them out (yes, the X really are that dangerous). It’s when you arrive that you find a strange Chozo warrior who proceeds to kick your ass and when you wake up you have lost most of your abilities (in standard Metroid fashion)
So now rather than starting on the surface and delving deep into the planet, you are deep into the planet from the start and trying to get back to the surface.
Samus has got a new design with what is called the Dread suit. This game is set after Metroid Fusion and the more mechanical elements of the suit are re-emerging making it a bit of a fusion of the classic and fusion suit look. Personally, it’s my favourite design.
For people who played the remake of the second Metroid game on the 3DS the controls will be familiar. Samus retains the melee counter from that game but also has a new slide ability which you will be making use of a lot since it’s a surprisingly long time till you get the morph ball (the very first item in many games)
A major element of the game is the E.M.M.Is. These robots, when you enter their areas, will hunt you and you can’t hurt them normally. In fact, you need to beat a mini boss in their areas to get a special beam to take them out and then that beam is gone so it only is applicable on that E.M.M.I. This sadly is one of the more frustrating elements as there are a whole bunch of these robots. You start to explore a new area and then sigh seeing the E.M.M.I door. Fortunately dying to them just resets you to where that door is and doesn’t seem to affect your time but it gets annoying when you want to get to the next epic boss.
The bosses are absolutely great. These are some of the hardest bosses in the whole Metroid franchise and not due to cheapness. None of them felt like missile sponges as I was often more focused on not getting hit than just standing and spamming. While early on I would die, as your fight continues you start to piece the attack patterns together and are able to pull off fights that seemed impossible early on.
The game is absolutely great and feels very much like the Metroid game we know and love (minus the lack of Ridley but hey can’t keep always bringing him back from the dead). Samus is so smooth to control, and the game even allows for sequence breaking to the point there’s some special things you can pull off by doing it… sequence breaking is when you break off from playing the game as normal and get items or kill bosses earlier than you are meant to.
While to get the best ending you need to beat the game in under 4 hours don’t expect that to happen on your first play through. No, you will want to do this on multiple playthroughs each time getting better and better. Be surprised how even on ‘hard’ you learning the bosses’ patterns makes what was once so difficult now flow with speed.
Metroid Dread is a great continuation on a series that has a magnificent history. Could this top Super Metroid as the best? It very well might, but it’s too early to tell. I say let the excitement die down first and evaluate then, but it’s definitely a worthy entry for the franchise and could potentially be a winner of game of the year.