Metroid Dread

Metroid Dread

Holy shit, it feels good to enjoy a Metroid game again. Having so far skipped over Samus Returns due to my policy of never buying games at full price, this once-favourite series of mine has been in a dark age for over a decade. While Dread is by no means the best installment, it’s so much better than Other M in all aspects (and even subtly mocks it here and there) that I will welcome it with open arms. Its main identifying trait is a harder-than-usual lean into horror via the EMMIs, nearly-invincible adversaries that function like a more widespread and organic iteration of the SA-X from Metroid Fusion. Outside of these encounters, it mostly takes existing franchise hallmarks and alters all of them slightly with only minor flaws, so the end product is consistently solid but unexceptional.

The EMMIs, for example, are an unnerving presence and make for some tense moments, but the level design has to bend over backwards to accommodate them, creating numerous inconvenient one-way paths. Their somewhat trial-and-error gameplay is also emblematic of the game’s difficulty, which is generally quite vicious but countered by frequent checkpoints before dangerous areas. Meanwhile, the controls are only some slight overcomplication away from perfection, the sound design is top-notch, and the graphics range from those of an upscaled 3DS game at worst to looking like playable concept art at best. Lastly, the story has wisely decided to allow ambiguity to take the reins once again, so while it won’t change any lives, it’s an appropriate continuation (and even a finale in some respects) for fans of the series.

7.5/10
7.5/10

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