Samus is back but this time she is confronted with a new, menacing, deadlier foe than ever before in Metroid Dread.
Metroid is one of those core Nintendo franchises that often doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, so it’s awesome to see a brand-new title coming to the Switch.
Dread was announced back in June at Nintendo’s E3 presentation, fans have been hyped to see this much-loved series come back to home consoles, especially fans of the 2D classics from the NES, SNES, Game boy and 3DS games.
Dread is a 2D title which felt like an odd decision at first but after seeing the game in action and being lucky enough to get my hands on the game, I completely agree with this move.
Dread follows on from the events of the 4 th game in the series, Metroid Fusion, but the plot will still be understandable to newcomers as Dread quickly recaps the events at the beginning.
You play as the legendry bounty hunter and power suit-clad Samus Arun who arrives at planet ZDR to investigate the possible presence of the unique and dangerous lifeform X from previous title Fusion.
After a confrontation with an unknown assailant, Samus must survive and escape the facility and explore the strange planet, and in true Metroid fashion, you need to explore the planet with plenty of backtracking.
You begin deep within the planet, and you need to fight to escape to the surface and get back to your ship.
Dread features a massive labyrinthian world that you'll explore on your way to the surface. Some areas that you need to gain access to are blocked by special doors or obstacles.
To gain access to these or bypass obstacles you must collect weapons and abilities for your power suit, these can unlock further areas to you and will usually involve backtracking using your new abilities.
Samus needs to keep her wits about her as the planet has dangerous and varied environments including underwater, rock melting lava and frigid frozen zones that could prove fatal to her altered physiology.
You also need to keep your eyes open as certain destructible areas will give you further access and more to explore.
Players need to find new routes to restock on health and missiles as well as find save points, as this place is dangerous and going in unprepared will lead to a dreadful end for Samus.
Graphically Dread looks very slick, also I was lucky enough to play it on the new Nintendo Switch OLED Model console which enhanced the already impressive looking visuals.
I can’t tell for certain in the brief time I had with the game, but it looked like it was running at a smooth 60 frames per second in handheld.
Even though the game is a 2D platformer it looks fantastic with seamless transitions from gameplay to the very cinematic cutscenes.
This time Samus is being hunted by E.M.M.I, Extraplanetary Multiform Mobile Identifier, a massive, near-indestructible robot that listens for your movements and will hunt Samus when you enter some areas.
Being pursued by a roided-out, killer R2D2 as you get into some heart-pounding chases with E.M.M.I as you need to be quick, agile, and clever to keep out of these machines cold, metal grasp.
The most menacing aspect of the E.M.M.I is that they have no personalities, they don’t talk, or taunt you or emote in any way - it just mindlessly pursues you while beeping merrily.
Dread has an atmosphere of isolation and suspense without being too oppressive and depressing like the fantastic but bleak Alien Isolation.
There are also several unique E.M.M.I. robots that have different ability’s and will require you to change tactics to evade them adding even more tension to exploration.
The game is masterful in building suspense as some doors taking a few seconds to power up and open, which might not sound worrying but when you are being chased by a psycho iPhone on legs those seconds are terrifying.
Bosses were challenging but enjoyable, you really need to pay attention to their attacks and learn how and when to counter their moves and learn when’s best to attack.
You can even gain a temporary power-up for your arm cannon turning it into an Omega cannon that will finally allow you to deal with an E.M.M.I
Samsus’s movements are incredibly swift making her faster and more agile than ever before, helping you avoid attacks and remain out of reach of the killer E.M.M.I’s.
After a little bit of getting used to you’ll be sliding around and rebounding off walls in no time.
Much like Metroid: Samus Returns on the 3DS you can free aim your blaster hand for accurate shots, the Melee Counter has also made a return.
You can slide which not only helps you access areas it also comes in handy in combat and to avoid foes.
It’s been too long since we’ve stalked wreaked facilities and explored fascinating and dangerous worlds with Samus.
Dread being a 2D title doesn’t diminish the atmosphere or that addictive Metroidvania gameplay the series is known for and feels like a fantastic merging of the old Metroid games with modern mechanics.
In the few hours I had with Metroid Dread, it looks like a sublime return to form for the alien blasting, space pirate stomping bounty hunter and the perfect game to showcase the enhanced features of the new Nintendo Switch OLED Model.
I can’t wait to get back to ZDR and unlock the mysteries it holds for Samus. Just keep those terrifying E.M.M.I’s the hell away from me.
Metroid Dread will be released for Nintendo Switch, as well as Lite and OLED Models on Oct 8.