Metroid Dread - 2D Metroid on Switch

I ruined my back playing Prime. I’ll need to find a setup to play it without stressing it. Or hope for a Switch release.
Game was good T_T

That did it. Thanks! And since I received help from a real person instead of a guide or video, I still feel like I have ownership over my experience of the game. That first boss fight was pretty cool, with just the right amount of hints on the load screen between deaths. I like how quickly the game is opening up with new abilities and changes to the environment. Glad I stuck with it. For now ;)

This is a much sharper looking game in handheld mode. Low resolution and the lack of AA make it look grainy on a 4k tv.

What does Dread offer in terms of replayability? Faster runs with sequence breaks, though I’m sure I’ll never figure those out on my own. Anything else?


I can’t say for sure, but traditionally there are slight variants on the ending for hitting certain % or time to completion. Pretty much every game in the series does that (see the famous Samus out of her suit ending for beating Metroid 1 under 2 hours?)

That’s basically the point. See. how fast you can do it. Collect 100%. Minimum % completion, etc.

That makes sense, but I doubt it’s for me. When I complain about precision platforming, I’m talking about basic navigation issues like consistently landing jumps up to higher surfaces. I doubt I’d get far when I’m on a timer. I do like thinking about how the counter plays into speed runs – rewarding players for learning enemy behaviors with faster kills.

So I’ve put some more time in, and reached the fourth zone.

Its good.

I know. Scorching hot take. Basically the game is Super Metroid but with modern production values. Its got enough of its own thing going, the featured EMMI encounters are distinctly their own.

But of all the Metroid games in the last 25 years this is the most indebted to that game, right down to the opening music being lifted straight from Super Metroid. You also see the occasional visitor from Super Metroid in the backgrounds.

The early EMMI encounters are less enjoyable, simply because you are so limited in abilities, and so too is the environment design to match. Once you get your first Aeion ability and the morph ball the design opens up on them with more complex and interesting navigation.

One interesting thing is how they demonstrate how encounters work. The cutscenes are not just pretty, they actually have meaningful information to convey. They show, not tell, you how to move through the game by subtle means. The cutscenes (most notably so far the second major boss) will give you an indication on what you need to do. In this case Kraid appears, and Samus shoots him with a charge beam in the open mouth. The battle involves shooting him to cause his mouth to open, then laying in the damage. It tells you how to damage Kraid without explicitly telling you, glowing damage spot,

There is also an element with the EMMI and a temporary boost you get. You get locked in a room after defeating a miniboss, and have to unlock the door using the same technique for he EMMI itself. In a subtle way they flagpost it by making the door lock look like the faces of the Emmi on it. It requires a 2 stage attack.

Yeah that was really cool. I went ‘aha!’.

Then when I actually faced the EMMI and got butchered, it helped me out with a tip on the loading screen ‘you don’t have to do both stages at once’ and I was able to do it next attempt by following that advice. Very nice.

I’ve appreciated cutscenes that do this ever since I played Resident Evil 5. Capcom does this in so many of their games. If cutscenes can’t be good – they rarely are – at least they can convey gameplay information.

Just beat the second boss. Was kind of surprised how easy it was. Still took a couple tries, but thought it would take longer. Getting to him with a decent amount of health was challenging though.

I’ve opened 5 zones now and I’m in front of the 3rd boss (which happens to be in the 4th zone). Took a break because while I like the boss design -the puzzles to beat them- I hate how tedious they become once you figure them out (several minutes of fighting them and repeating the same patterns).

I’m liking this a lot and I have only 2 major nitpicks.

First is that there’s a sense of being rushed through the game, with too little negative space, that was not there in Super Metroid. The locations are nice enough, but there’s a lack of atmosphere and coherence between the different zones. It feels like a video game level and not an organic location.

Second is that the narrative comes back to the horrendous exposition of the intro still images. It’s pedestrian, and it helps hurt the atmosphere even more. Metroid games do better with more environmental narrative and less monologues.

But the game itself it’s really great so far. Maybe a younger me would have liked it to be designed to require a little more backtracking and exploration, but as a dad with little playing time I appreciate the somewhat linear progress and all the shortcuts and signposting. And the controls and animations are perfect.

I disagree here, I have quibbles. This might be conditioning from other games but why do I have to keep the button pressed for the entire duration of the grapple beam to blue wall instead of it just zipping me to it? More than once I’ve let go and had to redo it. I don’t see the point in making missiles and grapple modifier buttons instead of just tap/hold to use I have to hold button and tap/hold other button, what is gained here?

I feel F.I.S.T. Forged in Shadow Torch, which released a short time ago, controlled tighter and on the whole I think I enjoyed that game more too and encourage people looking for something else in this genre with melee as opposed to guns to check it out.

The game actively encourages movement tech, including things like letting go of grapple partway to a magnet wall to land on a platform on the way there, instead of having to grapple to the wall and jump back down.

As for having to hold a button to use missiles or the Grapple Beam, making players hold a shoulder button or trigger while mashing a face button is a lot easier than making them mash a shoulder button or trigger. Making it a toggle like in Super Metroid is a nonstarter due to how much faster combat is here, as well.

Yeah I just disagree and the franticness of some of the combat only highlights the issues. Like even how the double jump works not being able to do it from a standing jump, this mini boss fight I’m on with two super agile fast moving enemies has me wanting to throw my controller as I fail to double jump over something and die for the umpteenth time.

And people have been mashing triggers for years, how do you think you shoot in FPS games?

Generally speaking, you hold a trigger in a console FPS far more often than you mash it. You also don’t mash it while also pressing one or more face buttons. The kinds of inputs you’re doing constantly in Metroid Dread aren’t at all comparable to the kinds of inputs expected in a Call of Duty or a Borderlands.

I caved and picked this up last night on a whim, and I’m really enjoying it. I was worried about the EMMI sequences being more stressful than I’d like from a map exploration game, but they’re fine. The auto-mapping and quick retries make the sequences thrilling little puzzles instead of bullshit random chase sequences.

And I’m pro-face button to shoot. Any good Metroidvania Metroidlike needs the B button to jump and Y to attack.

Most Nintendo games have a bit of “control jank” to them. Look at Breath of the Wild, for example. Yes, it’s weird and sometimes unintuitive, but you get used to it eventually and it’s not a big deal.

I just got to the fifth area and I gotta say, that big story dump that happens is kind of weird. I almost forgot that this game even had any kind of story (it really doesn’t need one). Also, the little mini-boss encounter after it was a little lame.

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.