The Metroid franchise has been around for decades and the newest installment Metroid Dread was just released. Since the series debuted many similar “Metroidvania” style games have hit the indie gaming scene. With that being the case, is Metroid Dread worth the $60 price tag? Check out our Metroid Dread review below and find out!
Metroid Dread Plot
Metroid Dread takes place as the 5th game in the main timeline of the series, directly after Metroid Fusion. The Galatic Federation receives a video recording of a deadly X parasite on planet ZDR. The Galatic Federation sends out powerful E.M.M.I. robots to investigate. (Think Terminator robots).
The Galatic Federation quickly loses contact with the E.M.M.I. robots and with Samus being the only person who can survive an encounter with the X parasites she is sent to investigate. Unfortunately upon arrival, Samus encounters a mysterious powerful Chozo that robs her of her powers.
At this point, Samus must destroy the planet to prevent the X parasites from spreading further into the galaxy, survive the deadly E.M.M.I. robots, regain her powers, and make it back to her ship. The plot goes deeper into the background of the Chozo as well as into more of Samus’s origin story, which is great to see as a long-time fan of the franchise.
The gameplay of Metroid Dread is in the form of an action platformer with exploration and puzzle elements. For many, this style of gameplay has been termed “Metroidvania” based on the blend of Super Metroid and Castlevania games.
This style of gameplay has become one of my favorite types of games, and it’s great to see a return to form in the new Metroid Dread. The game is challenging and fun and brings back many old favorites while also adding new elements to the game.
For example, a lot of the classic Metroid weapons and items make a return in Metroid Dread. You’ll see items like the charge beam, screw attack, morph bomb, and super missile make a return. You’ll also get to try out classic items like the grapple beam, but in a new way by opening special doors and using it to climb certain walls.
On top of that, you’ll find new powerups like the storm missiles which can lock on to multiple targets, and a phantom cloak that allows you to become invisible. The addition of the E.M.M.I. robots add more intensity to the game and add some stealth elements to the gameplay as well.
The gameplay can be hard at times, but once you figure out the boss patterns and strategy for getting past various E.M.M.I. robots, it becomes manageable. Expect the classic Metroid formula but with a few new twists in this game.
The controls in Metroid Dread are very similar to Metroid: Samus Returns on Nintendo 3DS. The biggest addition to the Metroid franchise in Samus Returns was the counter move. However, in Metroid Dread the counter move is used far less often than was required in Metroid: Samus Returns.
This in my opinion is actually a good thing, because the counter move on the 3DS was very hard to pull off because of the design and button layout of the system. When playing Metroid Dread, the controls are responsive and intuitive, but they do take a bit to get used to when you first get started.
This is because this game also has a new slide feature as a first in the series. Typically you could only get through small passageways with the morph ball in past Metroid games. You also have a dash ability called the phase shift that you can use to quickly dash across the screen.
The combination of the dash ability and slide ability made some of the boss fights and combat almost feel like a Mega Man game. This added to the intensity of the gameplay but also required a bit of a learning curve. I’d definitely recommend using a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller when playing this game for the best experience.
As a side note, some of the speed booster puzzles can be a bit frustrating to pull off even with a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. I found some puzzles to be very tedious and frustrating to pull off with little reward such as a missile expansion worth two missiles. Certainly not a deal-breaker, but understand some puzzles will be extra challenging to complete.
The graphics of Metroid Dread feature beautiful 2D environments but also routinely switch into 3D for cutscenes and major enemy encounters. I like this because you get to have the fast-paced action of a 2D platformer, but also the cinematic experience of the cutscenes.
I think Metroid Dread does a good job immersing you in the environment of being on an isolated planet and has a variety of unique environments. You’ll go through firey lava-filled environments, jungles, and even frozen areas, and underground caverns.
These visuals really make each area of the game stand out and keep the experience exciting as you go through different areas of the map. It’s nice to see the 3D elements of the game as well as there hasn’t really been a full-on console 3D Metroid game for many years.
If you are a long-time fan of the series you’ll also get to experience some iconic bosses from the series with greatly updated visuals.
Metroid Dread – Replay Value
Metroid Dread isn’t a very long game in the scheme of things. If you are looking to 100% clear the game by collecting all items you’ll probably spend about 10 to 12 hours on your first playthrough.
The Metroid franchise is one that has regularly rewarded speed running even from the first game in the series. For example, if you beat the original Metroid on the NES fast enough it revealed that Samus was a woman.
The trend of completing the game fast has continued in this installment and you can unlock various photos in the art gallery as extras for beating the game fast enough. Also when you beat the game for the first time you unlock a hard mode to the game for an additional challenge.
Unfortunately, the game-ending bonuses are minimal and really only feature the additional hard mode and extra images in the art gallery. Personally, I would have liked to see additional game modes such as a Zero Suit Samus mode, or boss rush mode, but currently, that is not the case.
If you want to 100% the game or try and get every unlockable you’ll likely need to play through the game several times to discover everything. Outside of that, your replay value may be lower once completing it for the first time.
Overall Metroid Dread is one of the best Metroid games in the series and I highly recommend playing it. It can be a bit frustrating at some parts of the game, but it has the classic Metroid feel with some welcome new additions.
Metroid Dread takes from the foundation of previous games like Metroid: Samus Returns on the 3Ds and expands upon them and improves the past control issues. It also melds the 2D graphics of classic Metroid games with its 3D games like the Metroid Prime series through various cutscenes.
Some may wonder if the game is worth the $60 price tag when compared to similar “Metroidvania” style indie games. In my opinion, it is well worth it as the gameplay is solid, challenging, and one of the best Metroid experiences in recent years.
Metroid Dread isn’t necessarily groundbreaking as a “Metroidvania” type game, but if you are buying this game it’s probably for the story and lore beyond just the gameplay. If you are a long-time fan of the Metroid franchise as I am, you won’t be disappointed with Metroid Dread!
Pick up a copy of Metroid Dread on Amazon here!