Metroid Dread - 2D Metroid on Switch

Like a lot of people, my gold standard for this stuff is Super Metroid, but now that I’m progressing into this one, it’s gotten pretty good. There’s so many additional buttons and combinations here that it took a bit for the controls to click with me, but once it did, the movement and gunning felt much better than previous 2D Metroids I’ve played.

The complexity of layering in the various locations is really great, though I’d agree with the sentiment that they occasionally don’t feel organically joined together. I also feel like the ads for this game didn’t do a great job of showing how varied some of the locations are, which amounted to a pleasant surprise.

My biggest problem with this game is how talky it can be. My favorite Metroid games have nearly no exposition aside from opening/ending text crawls, so having a living Chozo show up partway through and explain the stakes and villain was kind of a letdown. Part of what I love about Metroid is the feeling of isolation and discovery, and stuff like that pulls me out of it. Returnal really nailed that feeling, even with the inclusion of audio logs and such.

Even if the tone/mood don’t quite get there for me, it’s still a very satisfying Metroid experience as far as puzzle solving and navigation. The boss fights are surprisingly complex, but once I had the patterns down it wasn’t too difficult.

I may replay Super Metroid after this. :)

I replayed Super Metroid, Zero Mission, and Fusion ahead of the new game’s release. Definitely go back and replay them, especially if you’re interested in doing cool sequence breaks in Super Metroid and Zero Mission.

I agree that isolation is an enormous element of what makes Metroid tick and helps set it apart from other search action games, but I don’t think the dialogue-heavy parts of the narrative in Dread go against that. Most of the dialogue involves characters that are either actively malicious to Samus or that are more concerned about their mission than about any notion of friendliness. (Fusion was the same way.) The one exception that you mention is a character who gets a couple of minutes of screentime total and whose existence and intent to help are clearly a shock to Samus herself.

Got to the final boss last night, and that fight sure is tedious. Went back explored and got one more energy tank which might not even be one more hit in the fight with how much damage a hit can do. I’d explore more but I don’t need any more missiles or power bombs, and I keep running into having to use Shinespark and I fundamentally do not understand something about that mechanic and how to store it. Find it very cumbersome to use.

Reached the final boss too, but I’m exhausted of all the boss-rush-like nature of the final hour. Will wait to tackle it tomorrow.

Edit: so the final boss second form can eat up 100 missiles and keep going… ok I guess. At this point I can keep going for a long while evading his attacks, but without missiles the damage output is really bad and I don’t know if he’s almost done or another 100 missiles away from a phase change. So I guess I need to explore and find many missile pods. Only that it might get very boring just going around collecting stuff.

It’s a pity because I really like combat and boss design, including the final one, but they have way too many hit points. Need to think what to do, but I might be done with the game.

There is something in the game that fills this feature, yes. Its pretty late though.

I figure I’m getting pretty close to the end. Not sure quite how far I have to go but it can’t be much.

I’ll say this, its pretty large for a Metroid game. I haven’t counted rooms, but I would not be shocked if this has the most. And how the layout and progression work, I would anticipate this is on the longer side for completion time. Never underestimate speedrunners, but I’d be shocked if sub 2 hours is possible without sequence breaks/ glitches, certainly not 100%.

There are some tough battles. As the game progresses some of the later bosses become hard, the one I’m on now I’ve made probably 10 tries at (a certain remix of an earlier boss post gravity suit). The dual robot boss was also quite difficult. These bosses can hit for 2-300 damage in a single hit on some attacks, which can be a real kick in the teeth.

Thinking I may go for the end tomorrow, we’ll see. Definitely do not regret getting this. Hard to say where this falls in the series, but it is one of the best feeling and most responsive controls.

This is quite the game.

Maybe for official Metroid but for the genre maybe a little short (lately). My clear was 9:41 14, and an hour of that was going back to see if I could find any E-tanks after dying to the boss a half dozen times.

Yes, that’s my impression too. Average length for a 2D Metroid. And pretty short after experiencing Ori or Hollow Night.

I like the game a lot, but the level design does not encourage backtracking, and that knocks it down in its standing in the series. Best combat, one of the most disappointing level design/mood (although the mood does improve in the very latest areas, that allow for more breathing room and “narrative” rooms).

In general I feel the levels are “overdesigned” and too labyrinthine. I did not play yesterday to beat the boss because I didn’t want to spend an hour hunting for 20 more missiles and then having to walk back to the final boss. The layout is so confusing I need to keep going back to the map all the time, something that I didn’t feel in more recent entries in the genre. It does not feel like that during normal progression (it was always clear where to go, perhaps too clear), but the way they try to make you cross the same space several times in new different ways makes regular traversal outside of the progression order a chore.

I think around 10 hours is a perfect length for this type of game.

How long are Ori and Hollow Knight? I’ve had both for a while and still haven’t played them; was recently thinking I’d get to them on a long weekend, maybe US Thanksgiving Day weekend. But if they’re a lot longer than that, I may hold off until I finish one of the games I’m currently on.

Hollow Knight took me well over 40 hours to get the good ending. It became one of my favorite games of the past decade in the process.

12-15 has been common lately for Ori, Bloodstained, F.I.S.T etc.

Oh I wasn’t saying the game is too long at all!

Just that the level design, progression, and way you move through the environment mean that there is a lower bound on how fast you can move through the game.

Super Metroid, once you understood the pattern and progression you could easily complete it under 2 hours. Hell I have done so. Even got the ‘best’ endings for most series games, which usually have a limit of 2 or 3 hours for 100%. Sure those aren’t realistic for the first time through, but fairly plausible for subsequent ones where you already know the path and can optimize for upgrades when you will have all needed powers for an area.

I’m simply speculating that even on subsequent runs through the game that the 2-3 hour mark 100% often used for the best ending seems not plausible. Too much intricacy and zone hopping, and alternate traversals through the same areas.

I did look at the list of endings, and see 4 hours is the mark for the best ending, and under 8 for the middle ending, which seems about right. There also does not appear to be a % check, so that does factor in. Much less backtracking needed for endings. In fact the only other game with a time gate of 4 hours is Samus Returns which, as I don’t have a 3DS I haven’t played.

I think my knock on the level design/progression is that I never really just learnt the levels. Whereas in some other games of this type by the end I kind of know my way around without looking at the map.

40 hours is a slog in this genre IMO. I’d rather 10-15 hours for a very good platformer.

Yes, this is because they are too claustrophobic and overdesigned, so everything connects in strange ways and there are no clear “highways” connecting main sections. Everything feels similar.

Agreed. At least I know that I probably will finish it. If it was any longer, then I would probably get tired of it at some point and never finish. These kind of games can easily overstay their welcome and become tedious after a while.

I don’t know exactly how far I am in the game. Maybe 2/3?

I don’t think there’s anything spoilery about the boss’s name but I’ll tag it anyway, (I’ve been very cautious reading this thread to avoid spoilers for myself), I’ve just defeated Experiment Z-57.

I definitely agree with the criticisms of the level design—unlocking lots of the abilities that aid exploration still doesn’t really “open up” the world. You’re still constrained by teleporters and trains and elevators zipping you back and forth between areas, which make those separate areas feel less like real spaces, and more like tangled corridors that overlap but don’t actually share an area.

I’ve also started getting frustrated with the bosses. Starting with Escue, it felt like there’s been a difficulty spike, and I was ready to tear my hair out by the end of the boss mentioned above that I just beat.

I’m not exactly sure how I’d change the fights though. When I did finally beat that boss, it did feel satisfying because I’d learned the patterns and slowly gotten better at staying safe through each of the many attack styles. But there’s too much frustrating trial and error to get there—the attacks are too powerful, there’s just a little too much downtime between attempts (loading screen, zip through a morph ball tube, skippable cutscene but you still have to wait a moment as the scene starts before you can skip).

I don’t know what would improve that. Maybe give the boss more HP, but also make the attacks weaker? That would allow for more mistakes in each attempt, but hopefully without making the fight easier. But then I guess if you’re adjusting the boss’s resilience, you’ve got to rethink ammo limits for missiles and stuff too, so it’s tricky.

The point is I don’t mind learning from my mistakes, but I’d like a little more room to learn in each attempt without being punished quite so severely for slip-ups.

Oh I meant to add some praise, the game looks so much better than I expected. Most of the promo trailers and videos I saw focused on cutscenes and EMMIs, both of which are probably the worst representations of how beautiful the game is.

The monochromatic EMMIs are a pretty bland design, and all those close-up cut-scenes are capped at 30fps (and I even noticed some texture pop-in on a couple trailers). The real game takes you through far more colorful environments, mostly hits the 60fps target while playing, and the animations as you’re playing are really fluid.

I understand why they might not have wanted to show too much in the trailers, but it’s a shame the beauty I the rest of the game isn’t well represented.

Yeah that is for sure a tough boss.

The pair of robots was the hardest for me.

Yeah some of the attacks can knock off 300 health or more in a single hit. Which seems… excessive. Like there is having to do well against a boss, but a single attack that can knock nearly half your health off that is fast and hard to avoid leads to a lot of resets. The robots to such a degree that I was having to learn their pathing algorithms and exploiting that to keep from getting ganked from both sides at once, because you can only take two dash attacks before dying.

I was having trouble against the twin robots until I found out the homing missiles deal much more damage than any other weapon. It was a very fast fight afterwards.

The two robots were hard, but slightly more manageable and I felt like the large area gave me more agency. Still took a lot of retries.

At times it almost felt like a crazy Smash Bros. fight.