Metroid Dread - 2D Metroid on Switch

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.

I did it all charge beam.

And cleared. I was running just. over 8 hours so backtracked and got 100% before ending at 12 hours.

I’ve never liked some of the more precise shinespark puzzles in any Metroid game. And there are 5-6 so finely tuned that absolute perfect execution is required. Just 1/4 second more would still make them difficult, but reduce them from ‘take 30 tries even when you know the solution’ stupidly difficult to merely ‘requires you to know exactly what to do and maybe try 2-3 times to execute’ difficult.

Its a minor point for sure, just something that was annoying me at 1am last night :)

The game does get hard towards the end. The final boss fight in particular will kick your ass the first dozen attempts or more. I had to look up how to dodge one particular attack in phase 1, as I could not see a way to avoid it (morph ball, easy to miss as visually this is not obvious in the chaos). That said after trying numerous times, each phase got easier and my winning attempt had me nearly full health at the end.

Mechanically this game is tight. Other than the shinespark being overtuned for some items, it feels great to play. Encounters are varied, and through most of the game you will need to use the full range of abilities. The fact bosses and EMMI encounters start you right outside the door is nice, and helps with the difficulty not becoming frustrating. Its one thing to lose 20 times, when the restart is seconds away, another when it involves 1-2 minutes of backtracking each try.

I don’t agree with the comment some have had about area design and how it doesn’t have a cohesive feel. In fact the design tells you more about the Chozo then most of the series.

Overall a very strong entry, and I immediately started a new save on hard to try for 4 hours.

Thanks! Just got there last night, and the homing missiles worked great.

Finished at 7h 35mins, 45% item acquisition. Last boss wants you to have 130-140 missiles to beat it. Less than that and I can see it being pretty hard.

I think combat if by far the highlight here. The best it’s been in the series, and some bosses were super fun to fight against. Sadly I still think levels are over designed and too labyrinthine. The thought of going back to collect all items fills me with Dread, and despite the game’s title, I don’t think this is what they were intending.

But overall a very good game, it’s only that there’s much more serious competition in the genre since the last 2D Metroid.

Same here! I wouldn’t have considered using the homing missiles for anything other than enemies that telegraph its use (like the X minnows or a boss with five convenient glowing weak points.) But they’re pretty rad for locking on to fast moving enemies without needing to plant feet and aim.