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Friday, November 26, 2021

Review: ‘Metroid Dread’ is a challenging but fitting finale for series arc

Samus Aran and the Metroids are inextricably linked. Bounty hunters and parasitic creatures have a long history, including exploding planets, space pirates, cybernetic villains and ancient aliens.

There is a tapestry of complex relationships held together by the relationship between the female protagonist and the life-sucking creature. Once hunter and hunted, that dynamic changes when a Metroid is imprinted on Samus and the two develop a family bond. The relationship becomes even tighter after the Bounty Hunter’s cells are combined with Metroid’s DNA to escape his encounter with the X parasite.

Eventually, all good things come to an end and “Metroid Dread” wraps up this part of Samus’ life. The first new 2D entry in the series since 2002’s “Metroid Fusion” follows Hero to Planet ZDR after hearing reports that the dreaded X parasite still exists on the planet.

Before his arrival, the Galactic Federation sent seven Extraplanetary Multiform Mobile Identifier robots to investigate. The machines were sent because the X parasite can mimic any biological organism, making them a catastrophic threat. But EMMI fell silent and Samus landed on ZDR to investigate. Upon his arrival, a Chojo warrior attacked and killed him. She has awakened somewhere deep in the planet.

Spider Magnet is a new ability that Samus introduces early on and becomes crucial in escaping the EMMI robot. (Nintendo)

a familiar thread
As is customary for the series, Samus has none of his upgrades and begins the campaign with his power suit and blaster. She explores the first of nine regions and encounters obstacles, both natural and structural. A ledge may be too high to reach or she will search for areas too hot for her armor to handle.

The beauty of the “Metroid” game is that players find ways to unlock these areas by defeating bosses or finding upgrades. These boosts make Samus more powerful and open up the map. Along with the new abilities, players collect tons of backtracking and power-ups that they couldn’t catch before. They’ll open a bomb block or they’ll jump freely into deep water, courtesy of the Gravity Suit.

“Metroid” pioneered that formula, and the developers at MercurySteam and Nintendo execute it almost flawlessly. It’s a structure that gives players freedom, but at the same time, they can easily get lost amid winding corridors, underground jungles, and abandoned laboratories. Additionally, fans may end up getting derailed because they are so familiar with the series.

They end up getting stuck when they expect some upgrades to appear only to find that they don’t show up at all or come later in the campaign. “Dread” is a game that is burdened by its past and feels better when it tries new things.

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metroid dread
Samus possesses the Phantom Cloak ability which helps him avoid detection by the EMMI robot. (Nintendo)

killing machines
The biggest breakthrough for the structure lies in the introduction of EMMI. They supply the fear in “Metroid Dread”. These nearly indestructible robots have been hacked and reprogrammed to hunt Samus. When she ventures into certain areas, she has to be more secretive as these machines scan the area for her.

Initially, it’s trying to avoid collisions, but as players gain more powers like the Phantom Cloak, it becomes easier to stay off the EMMI radar. The only way to defeat them is to dispatch a central unit and temporarily absorb their power to obtain the Omega Cannon. This sets up a confrontation where players have to strategically find a place to melt EMMI’s armor so that they can detonate his head and disable him.

These bosses also have important upgrades that help Samus investigate what’s happening on the planet ZDR and escape.

metroid dread
Samus has a counterattack that is similar to a Mercurysteam used in “Metroid: Samus Returns”. (Nintendo)

Echoes of ‘Samus Returns’
Stylistically, “Dread” is similar to other Nintendo and MercurySteam projects—”Metroid: Samus Returns,” a Nintendo 3DS remake of the classic Gameboy title. The developer introduced a number of new moves in that 2017 entry and players will find that they go on here. Samus has a counterattack that deals heavy damage to enemies and bosses. By holding the L button, she can stay rooted and fire in any direction. He also has Aeon abilities which are powered by a meter that regenerates over time. This is important for abilities like Flash Shift and Phantom Cloak.

These changes make “Metroid Dread” feel more modern while maintaining its hallmark structure, but what sets this adventure apart from previous entries is the difficulty. “Dreads” bosses will test players’ reflexes and powers of perception as they read and react to enemy attack patterns. Some owners may have weak points that take time to uncover. Others will require ancient execution. It will take a lot of retry but the players get a sense of relief and accomplishment for success.

Despite those odds, “Metroid Dread” makes the struggle worth it by offering some shocking revelations and wrapping up a saga that began in 1986. Samus’ 2-D adventure with the creature appears to have come to an end, but there are still plenty of stories to tell with the bounty hunter. Let’s just hope that whatever campaign she faces is one that does more to break away from the tried-and-true formula.

‘Metroid Dread’

4. 3½ out of 3 stars
Forum: Nintendo Switch


World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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