Back in June, during E3 2021, Nintendo announced Metroid Dread. It was a complete surprise and one of the biggest announcements at E3. Now, several months later, Metroid Dread has launched and it is easily my favourite Nintendo Switch game this year so far and in my top 5 games of 2021.
Launching alongside the Nintendo Switch OLED model, Metroid Dread is the first 2D Metroid game in 19 years! Read on to find out why Metroid Dread is a contender for game of the year in 2021.
Metroid Dread Details
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Developer(s): MercurySteam, Nintendo EPD
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
A dramatic conclusion to the Metroid saga
Metroid Dread is the direct sequel to 2002’s action-adventure game Metroid Fusion. It concludes the five-part Metroid saga that focuses on the strange, interconnected fates of bounty hunter Samus and the Metroids. The game begins when the Galactic Federation receives a video that a dangerous parasite, thought to be extinct, still exists on the remote planet of ZDR.
Research robots called EMMIs are sent to ZDR to investigate. However, soon after reaching the planet, all contact is lost. Samus is sent to investigate and through a series of events loses all of her abilities shortly after arriving at ZDR. Samus must escape the depths of ZDR, return to the surface and her ship.
As you can see, Metroid Dread starts off with a bang and continues to keep you on the edge of your seat. What happened to the EMMIs? Was the video of the dangerous X parasites real? Who is behind all of this? Every single one of those questions is answered and then some! I really don’t want to spoil any of the game’s story, as it is an integral part of the joy and excitement of the game.
Familiar 2D Metroid gameplay
2D Metroid fans will feel right at home with Metroid Dread‘s gameplay. It retains all of the side-scrolling gameplay from previous Metroid games and includes the melee attacks and free aim from Samus Returns. As you progress through the game, exploring new areas, you slowly gain your suit’s abilities back, which is necessary to advance.
New abilities allow you to access areas that were previously not accessible. Gameplay hint, using map markers in Metroid is a very good idea. By marking the areas that you are not able to access will help save you a lot of time. Sometimes you may not get the ability that you need to access an area for quite a while. Going back through each level and searching for these areas can be very frustrating and time consuming.
New gameplay elements added
Additionally, Metroid Dread adds stealth elements that become an important part of gameplay. Stealth is used when entering EMMI Zones and avoiding the virtually indestructible EMMI robots. By hiding in certain areas, using cloaking or camouflage, you can avoid being detected. However, this all comes at a cost and that’s slow movement.
If you are caught by an EMMI, you have two very small windows of opportunity to perform a melee attack and temporarily stun the EMMI for a few seconds. This allows you to attempt to make an escape. EMMIs can only be destroyed with the Omega Blaster upgrade, which once used is then lost.
Crisp, well-animated characters and environments at 60 FPS
Furthermore, not only does Metroid Dread play well, it also looks great—especially on the Nintendo Switch OLED model‘s screen. The game runs at 60 FPS, environments are crisp and well-animated. However, I did encounter on a few rare occasions some split-second framerate hiccups. Moreover, Samus herself is superbly animated both in-game and during cutscenes. And, the game’s soundtrack is atmospheric and fits nicely with the overall mood/tone of the game.
Metroid Dread is my favourite Switch game this year and a contender for game of the year
To say that I enjoyed my time with Metroid Dread is an understatement. As a fan of the Metroid series, especially the 2D side-scrolling games, the 19 year wait was worth it! Everything that I love about 2D side-scrolling Metroid games is here and the new stealth gameplay element is a fantastic addition. Kudos to MercurySteam and Nintendo EDP on making the level of difficulty fair. Although I did die a lot, they could have easily made the game frustratingly harder.
Metroid Dread looks and plays great, especially on the Nintendo Switch OLED model‘s screen. The 60 FPS action on the screen looks silky smooth and the game is a fitting end to the five-part Metroid saga. Come check out the first 30 minutes of Metroid Dread. If you’re a fan of the Metroid series and love the 2D side-scrolling games, you will no doubt fall in love with Metroid Dread!
+ Exciting and fitting end to the Metroid saga
+ Familiar gameplay with added stealth element
+ Crisp and well animated environments
+ Smooth 60 FPS
+ Mini boss battles are fun
– Timing to escape from an EMMI can be tricky
– Mini boss battles can sometimes feel similar to each other
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF METROID DREAD
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5