FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Metroid Dread

The end of our first weekend with Metroid Dread is here, and we simply cannot stop talking about this game! The team at Boss Rush Network has come together to share our first impressions of this long-awaited title for one of Nintendo’s oldest franchises.

Patrick Knisely:

Metroid Dread feels like the perfection of the Metroid formula to date. It isn’t insanely innovative, but it has tight controls, beautiful graphics, a wonderful sense of exploration, and a satisfying feeling of progression through upgrades. It’s tough but friendly to new players by being relatively forgiving, utilizing incredible level design, and keeping the plot summary and tutorials clear and concise. The art, music, and sound design all combine so well with the gameplay to provide a real sense of fear and anxiety, especially when it comes to the E.M.M.I. robot enemies. So far the game is living up to its title. It has its hooks in me; I’ve had a hard time setting it down.

Jack Brough:

It’s hard to believe that the 19-year wait for an original 2-D Metroid is over, and the wait seems to have been worth it. The advancements in graphics, gameplay, and cinematic storytelling are nothing short of stunning. I have been a fan of the series for quite some time, and I have filled the void with other games in the Metroidvania genre.

Games like Hollow Knight, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Knight have made the exploration, item upgrade system, and backtracking more defined in the past five years, and I feared that the Metroid series would not join the competition. After my first hour with Metroid Dread, I am glad to say that I was wrong. The opening cinematic teleported me back to a time before I had the worries of someone in their mid 30s. Stunning visuals, narrated voice acting, fast action, and an eerie new setting prove that Metroid is back at the top of its game.

Transitions between a 2-D and 3-D perspective are used to tie in the cinematic storytelling and gameplay in an organic and seamless manner. The story is setup in such a mysterious way that I cannot wait to search for answers to those questions. Controlling Samus is fluid. Additions like sliding and melee attacks while running keep the action fast paced. Learning the controls has been more of a challenge than I was expecting, as I have been caught many times by an enemy due to needing to think of what button to press on the controller. I do expect this to become more natural as my time with the game increases. I cannot wait to continue searching and escaping the world of ZDR. If only I had more free time!

Mark Pereira:

I am a huge Nintendo fan. I love every Zelda and Mario game that they create and have almost every single Nintendo console in my collection. There is, however, one franchise that throughout the years I have tried and tried again to like: Metroid. Every time that I pick up a Metroid game, without fail, I quickly put it down thinking “this just isn’t for me.” I want to like the series because I see how many of my friends love the series, but I just can’t bring myself to like it. I thought I would try once more with Metroid Dread.

I absolutely love it.

I’m about four hours and 3,720,493 deaths in, and I just can’t put it down. I can’t stop thinking about it. Everything I didn’t like about the series has been rectified here. The locations are all different and have varying environments. The graphics are crisp and the gameplay is tight. The absolute terror I feel when an E.M.M.I is chasing me is only appeased by the sheer joy I feel when I finally defeat one. The storytelling, both explicit and implicit, is top notch. I am absolutely loving this game. I feel like this game is everything true fans of the series felt when the first one launched all those years ago, but honestly I just like modern sensibilities in games. And this game delivers everything the series has been known for with the benefit of being released in 2021.

I can’t wait to finish this game. More importantly, I can’t wait to pick up the rest of the series once I am done. I think it is safe to say I have a new Nintendo franchise to share the spotlight with Zelda and Mario, and it’s about damn time.

David Lasby:

First, let me just say I love this game. To be frank, I think Metroid Dread deserves Game of the Year–it’s that good. The storytelling, the smooth gameplay, the stunning visuals are simply captivating. So while I feel all of the joy and hype that others have shared here, let me be the voice to offer something different.

As incredible as this game is, I wish MercurySteam would have included an easy mode. No, I don’t think every video game has to appeal to every type of player. No, I don’t think it’s bad for players to struggle with progressing through a game. (I actually revel in the challenge). But here’s the thing: I’m a father of two kids. I want to share Metroid with them in the same way that I’ve shared my passion for Zelda, Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros. Metroid Dread just isn’t accessible to younger players; and that’s a shame because it’s such a great franchise. Both of my kids (who are fairly skilled gamers) tried their copy of Metroid Dread and put it down a few minutes later. And that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be for everyone–but I can’t help but wonder if this is a missed opportunity, if Metroid could gain even more fans by simply including an easy mode or some other life assist mechanism.

Regardless, I have to say that MercurySteam has put together the best Metroid game of all time in Metroid Dread.

Tell us what you think! Have you been playing Metroid Dread this weekend? What are your first impressions? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below or in our Discord chat.

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