Metroid Dread review: It was worth the wait

A purple-blue scene with a video game character running past what looks like dome-topped buildings

A shot of Metroid Dread gameplay (Oscar Torres/UT)

After nearly 20 years since the release of the fourth game in the 2D series, Metroid is back and better than ever with the release of Metroid Dread. Bringing an end to a long-running storyline and starting anew. 

Thanks to the Switches portability, it’s also the kind of game where students can have a few minutes of playtime exploring the world while they wait for classes to start. 

There have been some other Metroid games in the past, like the Metroid Prime series, Metroid Other M, and Samus Returns, but this is the sequel that fans have been waiting for so long after Metroid Fusion. The difference is the Metroid Fusion was more linear in terms of story, with some areas being blocked for progression sake. Metroid Dread, however, is more nonlinear like Super Metroid. This means players can skip areas and bosses entirely, effectively playing the game as quickly as possible.

Ever since the announcement in E3 2021 — a video game expo where developers show off games coming out later in the year or next year — fans have been excited to finally get to play the then-canceled Metroid game that has been in the works since as early as 2005.

And with the help of Mercurysteam, series producer Yoshio Sakamoto brought back the concept and made it into a switch game. 

Fans of the series and curious Nintendo fans were excited to see and play this game. It topped the charts of many online websites,

This is a decorative image showing the Amazon best sellers page.
A screenshot of Amazon best-selling switch games. (Oscar Torres/UT)

On Amazon, it was on the best sellers list for the Nintendo Switch, with it being the number one game in its first launch week only to be dethroned by Mario Party Superstars in the last week of October. 

And on the Nintendo Eshop (Nintendo’s digital distribution service), Metroid Dread became the number one best-selling game in the U.S. on Oct. 8, and it’s still number one currently in the shop.

James Castillo, a GameStop employee, has said that many people came to the store to get both the standard and special editions of the games, and people were generally excited about the game. 

The game starts with Samus Aran, a bounty hunter, heading to the planet S.Z.R., an inhabitable world, to destroy the remaining X parasites or organisms that can take the form of something and infect it. Keep in mind. This is the last game in the Metroid arc that’s been building up since the beginning. 

But upon reaching the planet, she encounters a mysterious Chozo Warrior, a being of bird-like aliens, and strips her of her powers. 

A green dragon or monster with an open mouth facing a small character that looks like an illuminated person.
A shot of Samus looking at Kraid (Oscar Torres/UT)

Now armed with nothing, Samus must escape S.Z.R. and grab her equipment again while avoiding the dreaded E.M.M.I units (giant, highly agile research robots equipped to extract DNA) hunt her down and figure out the mystery behind the warrior that attacked her. 

The story is incredible as it doesn’t need dialogue to tell an account.

This is probably one of the best Metroid Games or maybe even the best Metroidvania experiences I’ve ever played. It gives me everything that I think is important in a Metroid game: non-linearity and a sense of atmospheric nature. 

The gameplay is the best in the entire series, with the movement being very fluid, and the aiming feels more accurate than in the previous game Samus Returns. Wall jumping is much easier to do, and selecting missiles and grappling beams is more accessible to choose than in Super Metroid.

There are eight different areas for the player to explore, each with its own set of enemies, hazardous environments, bosses, and E.M.M.I locations. 

However, some parts of the specific area require an upgrade or power to traverse the area and collect a missile expansion or energy tank.  

E.M.M.I.’s are probably the most dangerous enemies in the game, as encountering one will result in a one-hit kill. If there’s an E.M.M.I, just run for it: There is an opportunity to escape it, but the timing is super strict. 

The bosses are some of the best parts of the game, with each fight being tension-heavy and cinematic in scope. 

The map is much easier to see where Samus is at and what items the player is missing, making backtracking to areas, not a hassle as it once was. 

To fully complete this game, the player needs to collect all the items and beat the game in both standard and hard mode in less than 4 hours to get every collectible in the extras menu. There are some downsides as some inexperienced Metroid players may have difficulty finding out where to go and what to do and some sections where players need to master the Shinespark ability. 

All in all, this has been one of the best games I’ve played this year, and I’ll continue to beat the game as fast as possible, 100 percent again and again. 

I give Metroid Dread a perfect 10/10, a must-buy, and a great return of the franchise.