Metroid Dread is conquering us | Tried

Metroid Dread is conquering us | Tried

This story begins in a similar way to many others: we sat comfortably, we grabbed the new Nintendo Switch OLED model and started Metroid Dread to take advantage of the hour and a half that was made available to us to try out the new chapter of the series. What we did not expect was not to perceive the passage of time since we started the game, re-emerging from the experience offered by Samus' new adventure only when the test assistant asked us if everything was going well.

From the very first moments of the game, our mind was in constant conflict between the thrill of finding ourselves again in the company of the king of the Metroidvania genre productions and understanding what Nintendo wants to demonstrate with this fifth chapter, released at a distance of almost twenty years since the previous Metroid Fusion, or Metroid 4 for purists.

Although it is true that the various consoles of the Kyoto giant have hosted different iterations of the franchise in the years following the release of Fusion, it is It is also true that Metroid Dread is a direct follow-up to Fusion, deliberately ignoring the gender change undertaken by the Prime series (which we remember is between the first and the second items tolo) and trying to regain that place in the firmament of productions in two dimensions, which has always been shared with Castlevania.

While these thoughts occupied our minds on the screen, the introductory video of Metroid Dread flowed rapidly. A well-packaged cinematic that, if you allow us the extreme comparison, reminded us of the narrative style of Spider-Man - A New Universe. Similarly to the Sony film, Metroid Dread takes care in a few minutes to compact all the information necessary for those who have never put their hand to a title in the series, to understand what has happened from 1986 to today.

Leverage is not made exclusively on the fans and there is nothing left to the previous knowledge of those who have stripped each chapter of the series. Metroid Dread in a few minutes illustrates who Samus Aran is, what has happened to her so far and why she is heading to the planet ZDR in search of answers.

Definitely a great synthesis work, clearly showing what she already has we suspected: Metroid Dread wants to be the meeting point between longtime fans and who will discover Samus Aran with this new chapter, offering a production that breaks away from the comfortable reboot, or remake, and tries to renew itself to conquer those who the Metroidvania genre has discovered with more recent and famous productions.

Without anticipating anything about the history of Metroid Dread (for that we will dwell in the review phase), let's move on to the gameplay of the game, the real strength of the series since from its beginnings. we do not deny that we were afraid of finding ourselves in front of a very conservative and derivative production, which leveraged the fans to offer a well-packaged play system but not perfectly in line with the productions of the current genre.

Instead, it was enough to move Samus Aran for a few rooms to understand how meticulously packaged Metroid Dread is, managing to offer a plethora of game mechanics to take full advantage of the graphic style renamed by the players: 2.5D.

As per tradition for the genre, and for the series, Metroid Dread uses all the mechanics typical of two-dimensional games. The additions compared to the past are all designed to make the game system less "limiting", Samus can now shoot in all directions simply by tilting the analog in that direction and if greater accuracy is needed just press the backbone L to anchor the bounty hunter to the ground and allow her to take aim at 360 ° to shoot with more precision.

Samus can now climb the walls and use them to make intermediate jumps, using the vertical surfaces as a springboard , as well as can make melee attacks to push the toughest opponents, or perform "parries" that allow it to carry out a powerful counter-offensive against stunned enemies, and slide quickly into the narrowest ducts, simply by pressing ZL while running .

Although the original concept, based on the search for power-ups that allow access to areas whose access was previously pre excluded, remains unchanged, the renewed movement system proposed by Metroid Dread considerably reduces the feeling of having a limited protagonist in your hands, offering a more dynamic, frenetic and addictive exploration.

The level design remains true to genre. He wanders around in maps of considerable size and interconnected with each other, trying to remember the inaccessible areas in the beginning to return once he has obtained the right upgrade. As per Nintendo tradition, the architecture of the areas is cared for in every detail, bringing the player to find himself almost always in the right place at the right time, taking advantage of ducts and differences in levels in the areas able to make the progression of the game fluid and harmonious, minimizing the heaviness of the backtracking sections.

Wanting to move a preliminary uncertainty, the design of the first playing area seemed to us particularly anonymous. Rich in on-screen details and in full Metroid Fusion style but uninspired in purely artistic terms. We are curious to find out how the following areas will manage to move in this direction, restoring that alchemy between "spatial desolation" and "uncontaminated alien nature" that has always adorned the titles in two dimensions of the series.

Per as regards the "base" enemies we encountered in the various game areas during our test, they all seemed very faithful to the canons of the series, with attack patterns that can be read very clearly and the right rhythm between offensives, windows for counterattack and moments when the guard was let down. Furthermore, the renewed range of attacks available to Samus has allowed us to experiment with different offensive approaches towards the various creatures, giving us excellent sensations in terms of the variety of the Metroid Dread combat system.

Completely different speech, however, for the fearsome EMMI, the real new entry of the title able to offer that right dose of "Nemesis effect" that was missing in the Metroidvania genre. These seven anthropomorphic robots are spread over as many areas of the planet ZDR and, for reasons that we do not anticipate, they will constantly hound Samus whenever they make eye contact with her.

The E.M.M.I. they are armored androids, immune to any offensive by Samus, with an anthropomorphic shape, with loose movements, slouching, with an aseptic and disturbing design, they can adapt to any type of surface, they perceive Samus's movements and once they have made eye contact they begin to move on each surface in a fast and sinuous way, showing a decent artificial intelligence that tries to predict the player's movements.

Once you reach Samus you can only try to exploit two reaction windows of a few milliseconds to being able to escape the lethal grip and run away, in case of failures you will run into an instant Game Over, finding yourself starting from the last checkpoint reached. The only way to stop them is to obtain a disposable power-up that allows first to tear off the metal protections and then to hit the central core.

Said power-up can be found in different methodologies: exploring, defeating a mid-boss, at certain points in the story and so on. It goes without saying that the EMMI, purely theoretically, cover that constant threat which, in numerous productions released in recent years, aims to generate a constant sense of anxiety in the player, preventing him from concentrating on exploration and forcing him to constantly undertake alternative paths to avoid being confronted with it.

How to insert a threat of this magnitude without affecting the very strong focus on exploration that has always characterized the series? Simply by confining the E.M.M.I. to areas of substantial dimensions from which they cannot get out, forcing the player to walk them, to find a way to defeat these inevitable androids but avoiding all those situations in which exploration is sacrificed by virtue of a constant "escape from death".

In the various areas of the planet ZDR there will be, in fact, areas in which the different EMMIs they will be on patrol. These areas are not optional and you will be required to walk through them over and over in order to find the upgrades you need to continue. If an E.M.M.I. will come into contact with Samus the doors of this area will be blocked and will reopen only when the android no longer perceives the presence of the huntress.

A trick as simple as it is effective to wisely balance the gaming experience without preclude neither the pleasure of a staid and reasoned exploration nor the highly anxious moments offered by the areas patrolled by the EMMI, managing to generate that feeling of discomfort every time you glimpse the door that indicates the presence of one of the androids in the next area.

We do not deny that, very selfishly, we did not want to anticipate ourselves too much and after an abundant hour spent together with Metroid Dread we concluded our test with two EMMI defeated and a wealth of impressions far more than positives. Everything in Metroid Dread seems to be in the right place: references to the past, fan service, addictive gameplay and an eye for new players.

Technically the game is more than convincing, with an attention to detail typical of Nintendo's first party productions. Well-crafted animations, richly detailed settings, well-packaged soundtrack and a brand new dubbing in Italian that seems to be becoming the standard for the main productions of the Kyoto Colossus.

S u Nintendo Switch OLED model, Metroid Dread ci has conquered in every respect. The new panel returns vibrant colors and a clean and well-defined image. The room in which we carried out the test seemed designed to make us take advantage of the new "tabletop" mode offered by the renewed rear support of the console and we can only reconfirm that playing in this mode with the Nintendo Switch OLED model is an experience that finally proves to be comfortable it's natural. You take off the Joy-Con, you can tilt the console to your liking and you can play in total comfort. Finally, the new 7 ″ panel offers that minimum of additional dimension necessary to offer a convincing experience at not close distances.

In conclusion, Metroid Dread undoubtedly places itself at a theoretical disadvantage due to a little-known brand, with a stylistic choice that can push current players to think of a production with a lower budget and a market saturated with exponents of the genre, many of which are currently much more famous than the Metroid saga. The new adventure of Samus, however, could prove to be yet another "must have" for Nintendo Switch owners, not only by virtue of the important name it bears but, above all, for the ability to offer a different experience in the panorama of Metroidvania.

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