Metroid Dread – the Brilliant Return of One of Nintendo’s Most Memorable Games
In the world of video games, twenty years is an eternity. This is the time that has passed since Metroid Fusion left the adventures of the heroine Samus Aran fallow. Since then, this classic Nintendo franchise has had other releases, such as the memorable Metroid Prime trilogy. Still, no title has followed the story left by that Game Boy Advance cartridge. Until now.
|🕹️ Game||Metroid Dread|
|🎮 Platform(s)||Nintendo Switch|
|📅 Release Date||October 8, 2021|
|🏆 Metacritic Metascore||88|
|🏅 Metacritic User Score||8.7|
Metroid Dread, the new release for Nintendo Switch that goes on sale today, revisits those events. The game was developed by the Madrid studio Mercury Steam, who faced the difficult task of resurrecting the also iconic Castlevania series years ago, and whose new mission is -no less- to rescue one of the most famous sagas of the Japanese company. Luckily, after a week immersed in its sci-fi universe, we can say that they have succeeded.
Metroid Dread fears neither the most celebrated installments of the franchise nor the competitors that have copied its formula.
The fifth episode in the main Metroid chronology follows to the letter the dynamic of action, platforming and 2D exploration that characterized the four previous games and that gave rise to an entire genre that today remains tremendously popular. It is a brave title that neither fears the most celebrated installments, such as Super Metroid, nor the many competitors that years continue to copy its same scheme, such as the revered Hollow Knight. The truth is that not only does it live up to its legacy, but it even contributes ideas to the formula of its predecessors.
The story takes place shortly after the aforementioned Metroid Fusion. Samus Aran travels to a remote planet called ZDR after receiving a mysterious signal and, as expected, discovers that a more significant threat than she expected dwells there. It is not the most original premise, but it is the necessary excuse to give rise to an adventure that will take her to travel through various scenarios while trying to neutralize the danger and escape alive.
The game picks up the story of Samus Aran almost twenty years after Metroid Fusion.
Mercury Steam had already had the opportunity to dive into the saga with Metroid: Samus Returns, a remake of the second installment released in 2017 for Nintendo 3DS. That first contact with the franchise resulted in a remarkable title but also too tied to the original material. With Metroid Dread, on the other hand, the Madrid studio has been free to write a new chapter in this story of bounty hunters and space pirates.
One of the most outstanding novelties of the game is the confrontations against the EMMI, almost invincible robots that seem to be inspired by the disturbing automatons of the Boston Dynamics company. Each of the sequences Samus must face these lethal machines represents a total change in the game dynamics. In these moments, the more leisurely exploration, typical of this genre, is abandoned to give way to distressing and exciting chases in equal parts.
The tense confrontations against the EMMI robots are one of the incredible novelties.
Yoshio Sakamoto, the game’s producer and supervisor of the project from Nintendo, has stated that the inclusion of these almost invincible robots was one of the ideas that had been on the table for years. Still, that technology had not allowed capturing until now. These scenes are full of tension that manage to bring variety and new nuances to the experience but also bring to light the great work of Mercury Steam when designing the considerable skills that the protagonist is capable of. Metroid Dread is not only a game that builds and brings ideas in the form of new powers and abilities, but it is also the game with the most refined control to date.
Samus has never moved around the screen so fluidly. The way she glides through the tight nooks and crannies of each level, the gracefulness with which she lands from a jump, or the forcefulness of a real counterattack highlight the excellent animation work. A feeling that also contributes to the more than welcome 60 frames per second, something not always common on Nintendo Switch.
The level design knows how to find the balance between taking the player by the hand and guiding him in a disguised way.
But above all is the level design, specifically, the lace Metroid Dread makes to combine all the rooms of its considerable mapping. The game developed by Mercury Steam finds the balance in that fine line between taking the player by the hand or guiding him in a disguised way. Although sometimes it is easy to get lost or take an unnecessary detour too much, neither in its most confusing moments has come to exceed our patience. On the contrary, it has motivated us to continue investigating until we find the solution. It is something similar to what also happens with its final bosses, undoubtedly the most spectacular of the franchise in terms of design and spectacularity.
As if she were emulating the famous Lieutenant Ripley from Alien -one of the inspirations for Metroid, as Sakamoto himself revealed to us a few years ago-, Samus has awakened from cryogenics to live a new adventure. The first great heroine of the video game has returned with a title that builds and evolves its formula while respecting the base of a 35-year-old franchise. Metroid Dread is one of the best installments of the series, and what is more difficult today, one of the most brilliant representatives within the genre that the saga itself helped to cement.