In many ways, the Metroid Dread is characterized by its eerie atmosphere and foreboding tone. As a result of its horror-inspiring influences, Metroid has always been only a few steps away from the horror genre. Metroid Dread brings the storyline further closer to its conclusion. Samus is prey as soon as she steps foot on the planet Z.D.R.
Every lethal machine and monster on the planet wants Samus’ blood, and she has stranded thousands of kilometers below the planet’s surface, cut off from the rest of her crew. Also, her arm cannon is the only escape route. However, despite Samus’ newest adventure delivering the typical exploration-based platforming/action we’ve come to anticipate, I was never able to shake the overwhelming anxiousness that lends this adventure its name… and it was just fantastic the whole time.
A huge non-linear environment like Z.D.R. is crucial to Metroid Dread due to Metroid being a pioneer in this field. In contrast to the dangerous lava flows of Cataris, Artaria’s peaceful underground waterfalls provide a welcome respite.
There is a vast underwater ocean in Burenia, which is home to many predatory marine creatures. Rainwater cascades down an alien tram’s sides, cold air drifts off frozen platforms, and strange bugs congregate around light sources, only to disperse as soon as Samus appears.
Exploring new places on Planet Z.D.R. is always rewarding since there are always further improvements to find. There are a small number of new skills, but they are handy and powerful. Particularly impressive were Samus’ brand-new multitarget storm missiles, which let her engage several targets at once.
Most of Dread’s enhancements are old standbys that MercurySteam felt obliged to add, which is unfortunate. Samus can no longer fit through small openings in Metroid Dread without the morph ball, although discovering this improvement many hours into a new Metroid game isn’t all that thrilling. There should’ve been more classic Samus abilities, in the beginning, to allow for flashier Samus upgrades. As it is, Metroid Dread sometimes seems like it’s retreading old territory, but this is a minor quibble in what is generally a fantastic game.
It’s good to see that Dread does a few things to change things up, and one of the most notable is the introduction of a new opponent type named E.M.M.I. These Extraplanetary Multiform Mobile Identifiers might make even the most advanced spaceship blush when it comes to electronics.
A fair battle will not be enough to defeat an E.M.M.I., so Samus must either avoid them or use a new kind of concealment that gives her temporary invisibility. Every time I met an E.M.M.I., I felt my stomach sink as I frantically fled for safety. These stressful cat and mouse confrontations left me sweating.
Samus’ arm cannon is briefly upgraded during specific points in the plot, enabling you to defeat the E.M.M.I. Although you’ll be equipped to the teeth, you’ll still need to use your reflexes and timing to survive these fights. Inevitably, triumphing over these difficulties is a satisfying experience. As with Dread’s previous boss fights, you’ll have your hands full. To give you an idea, Kraid, the three-eyed green gigantic lizard, is back.
Dodging his spikes on his belly and then running up the wall to shoot him was extremely terrifying because of the tight quarters. Each boss fight follows a predictable pattern to their credit, so it should be pretty easy to win this round. Overcoming each obstacle in battle put me in a feeling of euphoria that sent my pulse racing.
While exploring Planet Z.D.R.’s vast unground network, Samus finds herself stuck. Instead of Samus delving into the depths of the night, this introduction suggests that MercurySteam (the studio behind 3DS Metroid: Samus Returns) is ready to rethink the Metroid paradigm. Contrary to popular belief, Metroid Dread follows Nintendo’s well-established template in both good and bad ways. While this trip is challenging, it isn’t frightening in the conventional sense.
After coming face to face with an extraterrestrial monster, I never got out of my seat. Despite this, Metroid Dread’s eerie atmosphere and intimidating boss encounters are enough to justify the game’s moniker. However, Metroid Dread is still a white-knuckle adrenaline trip that you should not be afraid of, despite a few minor glitches.