Metroid Dread: The Nintendo Comeback of the Year

Who would have thought that Metroid Dread would actually see the light of day in gaming? The fifth part of the 2D Metroid series was originally planned for Nintendo DS, but could not be implemented satisfactorily despite several attempts. With his work on Metroid: Samus Returns, the developer Mercury Steam convinced Nintendo to implement Metroid Dread for Nintendo Switch. Our test will tell you whether the comeback was a success.

This is how it continues in Metroid after almost 20 years

In Metroid Fusion, Samus destroys the X parasites on the planet SR388, which, like the Metroids, pose a threat to the galaxy. Subsequently, the Galactic Federation in Metroid Dread receives a video message from an unknown sender, which indicates the existence of X-parasites on the planet ZDR. To get to the bottom of the clues, seven EMMI robots are sent to ZDR. When there is no response, Samus takes on the matter and examines the planet. She comes across a mysterious Chozo warrior who robs her of all strength in a fight. As a result, you have to find out who this warrior is, why he left Samus alive and what is going on on ZDR.

Metroid Dread starts off a bit sobering. The prehistory is told with loveless text overlays. Metroid Fusion was almost 20 years ago, a little more effort to introduce new players to the Metroid universe wouldn’t have been wrong. In the further course, you can expect great cutscenes. There is not much talk in the game, but it should be mentioned that the dialogues have German language output. Overall, Dread adds interesting new insights to the Metroid story.

Metroidvania at its best

But honestly: Even if the Metroid lore is exciting and fans will be happy about the new puzzle pieces, the story is secondary with a Metroid. The focus is on the “Metroidvania” gameplay, which established the series itself. You explore the different areas of ZDR, come across dead ends, collect new upgrades and thus open new paths.

In contrast to Super Metroid, where countless paths were open to you, mainly thanks to the infinite wall jump, restrictions ensure that new players can also find their way around in Metroid Dread. There is a clear red thread from start to finish and you can immediately see what to do next. Despite a large map with numerous areas, the developers manage to create a fluid and motivating gameplay thanks to a coherent game world. For example, if you get a new upgrade, you’ve seen the door that opens with it shortly before. It does not happen that you have to backtrack long distances to advance in the story.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any secrets to explore. But on the contrary. Off the main path, there are countless small upgrades in the form of energy tanks and missile containers to be found. Sometimes you have to use tricky tricks to get the collectibles. Experienced Metroid players can, with a little skill, ignore the red thread mentioned in some places in order to enter certain areas earlier.

But one ingredient is missing for the best possible Metroidvania experience: good music! Metroid games usually spoil players with catchy tunes that musically separate the different areas from each other. In Metroid Dread, the music is unfortunately not noticeable and is rarely remembered .

Metroid Dread is awesome, but newbies may be pushed to their limits

If so far the impression has arisen that the developers have simplified the Metroid formula for the general public, we have to classify it correctly at this point. Yes, Metroid Dread is clear, fair, and motivating. But it is also challenging, if not to say rock-hard!

The biggest obstacle will be the boss fights. The bosses are gripping and super staged. Dread has some of the best boss fights in the series, but they’re guaranteed to be the toughest. Even experienced players will die astonished several deaths. Because the big boss fights are so good, it is, unfortunately, all the more negative that mini-bosses are often recycled – that didn’t have to be.

The controls could also overwhelm newcomers. You will unlock many upgrades in the course of your adventure. It is extremely motivating to master all skills and to maneuver Samus perfectly through the game world. However, there are so many functions that all keys are occupied and some of them even have multiple functions. It is a pity that there are no control options. You cannot adjust the level of difficulty either. Well, that’s not entirely true. After playing through you unlock a difficult mode, but it doesn’t get any easier.

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