Metroid Dread Nintendo Switch Review

Metroid Dread is one of the best games in the franchise that delivers a high-octane intense horror adventure against some of the most deadly monsters in the galaxy.

By Grayshadow, Posted 16 Oct 2021

Metroid is one of the most revolutionary franchises of all time but is often ignored by Nintendo. Whether it's celebrating Samus' birthday or fans asking for a brand new entry, but now it's here. With Metroid Dread bringing fans an exception 2D classic adventure that excels in every category. Mercury Steam has captured the very essence that made this franchise exceptional while improving on navigation and controls that previously created moments of frustration throughout the franchise. Metroid Dread brings Samus out of retirement with a bang and shows why this franchise is one of the most beloved series in video game history.

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Metroid Dread has Samus having survived the fight against the X parasite and SA-X must head to ZDR after footage revealed that there are X parasites on the planet. An elite group of specialists along with seven elite class droids called E.M.M.I. robots were deployed. The E.M.M.I. robots are the robots in the Galactic Federation that consist of the most reliable technology and armor guaranteeing mission success but everyone on the planet vanished. Samus is the only one immune to the X parasite thanks to the Metroid vaccine but finds out what happened and if any X parasites are on ZDR to eliminate them.

As with tradition, Samus loses all her powers and abilities right from the start, this time with a mysterious warrior who looks like a Chozo sporting an arm cannon like Samus attacks her. She is knocked out and her advanced weapons and gear are gone due to physical amnesia. It's a better reason than Metroid: Other M where Samus was simply not allowed to use her gear unless ordered by Adam. Now Samus must retrieve her gear scattered around ZDR and learn if the X parasite is on ZDR. Finding out quickly that the E.M.M.I. robots, who are supposed to be on her side now hunt her.

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The story is great and answers questions regarding what happened to the Chozo once and for all along with the end of the Metroid saga. It wraps everything together in a nice bow but has some great revelations along the way. The story is mostly propelled by Adam who provides context to what is happening through data centers similar to Metroid Fusion. 

This is a Metroidvania game so you'll have a large map that opens up as you collect new weapons and gear. Mercury Steam has done an excellent job designing the multiple sectors in ZDR, each with distinct themes and areas. Newcomers to Metroid will have somewhat of a thought time here. Mercury Steam wanted to keep the core aspects of Metroid present here and that means shoot everything. The tutorial does ease players into these systems up to the destruction of the first E.M.M.I. robot. The developers also did an outstanding job of funneling the player mostly in the right direction.

Each time you get a new piece of gear or weapon the game tends to lock certain areas off to guide the player. This helps combat mostly the previous frustrations of Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion which were notorious for difficult navigation due to specific actions required to expose the right path or backtracking large distances without any help of where to go. You're not flat out given the right path and need to use critical thinking skills but it's much easier here than in past Metroid games because the game tends to guide players by cutting off certain routes and giving more focus to specific areas. The biggest criticism I have is not giving players access to Pulse Radar earlier in the game. This was introduced back in Metroid: Samus Return my Mercury Steam to provide newcomers with an easier way to reveal breakable blocks as an optional tool. You didn't need to use it if you wanted to play the game but the option was there but in Metroid Dread, players are not given access to this ability till halfway through the game. Unlike other upgrades it's just handed to the player in a way that seems optional and could've been a great way to ease those who start with Metroid Dread.

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Returning from Samus Returns is the melee counter. Here the developers made it much easier to counter and all of Samus' animations have been fine-tuned to ensure you can do it from any position, including the Morph Ball. This allows Samus to deal heavy damage similar to dodge mechanic from Other M but players must watch for the right moment which is revealed by a yellow indicator on the enemy. This is not to mean you can abuse this system like in Other M's dodging mechanic, as more difficult bosses and the E.M.M.I. robots require precise counters.

The E.M.M.I. robots are Metroid Dread's version of SA-X. These deadly robots will patrol specific areas marks by special doors and a filter. E.M.M.I. robots get progressively more advanced as you venture deeper into ZDR with increase scanning, speed, and offensive attacks. Samus does have a cloaking system to avoid detection but this is finite and will drain your health down to 1 before expiring if no power is available. The E.M.M.I. robots can all 1-shot Samus but the player is given 1 chance to stun the robots before the needle comes and instantly kills Samus. The only way to destroy an E.M.M.I. robot is using a 1-shot Omega Cannon that expires after destroying an E.M.M.I. robot.

The E.M.M.I. robots are dangerous and incredibly scary. Similar to SA-X these things will hunt you down without mercy when found and when scene all doors are locked until the robot loses your trail. It can feel unfair at times given that E.M.M.I. robots become more mobile but Metroid Dread is all about learning from your mistakes. Whether that be running from E.M.M.I. robots or fighting the many exceptional boss fights. The checkpoint system is very forgiving to encourage trial and error.

Boss fights are intense affairs like past Metroid games. Each one is challenging but has a specific pattern that can be exploited with proper timing and dodging. Some take advantage of the environment and others mix together melee counters for those willing to risk it. The development team ensured each fight is a huge cinematic affair as Samus dominates the threat, sometimes showcasing how the monster had no chance against her to begin with at the end.

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The movement has been refined for better control. Things that previously caused lots of frustration like the wall jump, grapple hook, and speed booster jump have been altered for easier execution. The Screwattack has been improved drastically as well, making it easier to execute the multiple mid-air jumps but there's still some room for improvement. You still need to hit that sweet spot with the spin-jump to execute it and if you're off it won't trigger.

The animations and visual design of Metroid Dread are outstanding. The sense of fear and tension is constant especially towards the end when the game ramps up. Mercury Steam did an outstanding job of conveying the sense of isolation and horror as you dive deeper into ZDR. Samus herself is confident but never cocky as her body language conveys a seasoned bounty hunter has been through hell and back multiple times. The cutscenes complement this as Samus is always in control of the situation and herself.

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Metroid Dread brings Samus back with a bang. The 7-hour journey was filled with exceptional boss fights and fantastic exploration as you piece together what is happening on ZDR. Mercury Steam faithfully captured everything fans of Metroid love about this franchise while improving on staple aspects of the franchise. Newcomers will have to learn the culture of Metroid games that couldn't be more forgiving by introducing the Pulse Radar earlier. Metroid Dread is one of the best games in the franchise that delivers a high-octane intense horror adventure against some of the most deadly monsters in the galaxy.

Adam Siddiqui,
Managing Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Metroid Dread


Platform(s): Switch
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Developer(s): Mercurysteam
Genres: Adventure
Themes: Science-Fiction
Release Date: 2021-10-08

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