Metroid Dread

“Metroid Dread” is the return of the classic Nintendo character Samus Aran. By David Reardon

“Metroid Dread” is the return of the classic Nintendo character Samus Aran, with her first all-new side-scrolling adventure since 2002’s “Metroid Fusion.” 

Samus is a bounty hunter who has been tasked with investigating a mysterious signal coming from the planet ZRD that seems to indicate the return of the X parasite, a threat once thought to be defeated. Upon her arrival to ZRD, Samus is ambushed, stripped of almost all of her combat and exploration abilities and left stranded deep within a strange, ruined world. The player’s goal is to ascend to the surface of the planet and escape in Samus’s ship while evading capture from the relentless E.M.M.I. (Extraplanetary Multiform Mobile Identifier) bots and battling other dangerous creatures.

The player experience revolves around the exploration of a 2-D world and the discovery of new abilities that allow for further exploration and increasingly varied combat options. This is a tried-and-true formula that gained notoriety with the original “Metroid” games, and along with the “Castlevania” series, formed the expansive genre of “Metroidvania” games that follow this format (recent entrants into this category include games like the indie favorite “Hollow Knight”). This style isn’t for everyone. A player must be willing to follow elaborate paths laden with enemies, only to realize they’re unable to access a door at the end of that path and have to then backtrack, fight the same enemies and wander until they find the path that they are able to completely explore. It can be a tedious process if you are an impatient gamer, but the reward of finding new abilities and finally being able to traverse previously blocked paths can be immensely satisfying. 

The story takes a back seat in this game to what really matters: the atmosphere. The setting and soundtrack work together to create an eerie sensation as the player explores the ruins of planet ZRD, but the titular promise of “dread” is fulfilled by the E.M.M.I. bots. Each of the game’s explorable areas contains large chunks where these robots roam, listening for any sound you make, and then pursuing you. You’re unable to fight and can only run, truly creating a sense of dread that persists throughout the experience. It’s a refreshing and terrifying twist on the “Metroivania” formula, and the Metroid series is very much alive and well.

5-5 stars review@4x

You May Also Like