A Dreadfully Fun Bout of Metroid Mania

A thrilling conclusion to the action packed decade-spanning Metroid saga.

Metroid Dread is the exhilarating, blaster-filled rush of a final installment of the Metroid series. With delectable pieces of lore sprinkled throughout the environment, it will surely keep fans digging in for years to come. This installment has been teased since 2005, yet the end result has gameplay that feels fresh out of this decade. With changes to the series such as clear maps and fast travel, it makes the game a go-to for players who are interested in a contemporary but faithful taste of the metroidvania genre. 

Metroid Dread starts out with the intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran entering into the atmosphere of planet ZDR. Following the ominous messages of her ship’s computer Adam warned her of the risks of the mission were more dire than the rewards. Samus, still resolute to her mission at hand, lands on ZDR and is swifty attacked by an ominous humanoid yet birdlike creature. She wakes up later with most of her abilities and memories gone of the outcome of the battle. 

The game then follows Samus blasting her way through increasingly dangerous native monstrosities and sneaking past from the seemingly unkillable robotic creatures called E.M.M.I. Samus cuts through this all while finding small alcoves where she can communicate with her ship’s computer. Try to unravel the mystery of the dangerous force lurking within ZDR that she was sent to contain. 

The story mostly plays out through mysterious interactions with Adam and subtle environmental storytelling of what happened to ZDR in the past.  The hints scattered throughout the game begin to form into impactful beats that bring the story to a truly satisfying close. 

Initially Samus’ arsenal of tools to solve puzzles and defeat monsters is relatively limited, with only Samus’ trusty power suit and arm cannon to navigate ZDR’s wilds. However, as the player progresses through the game, Samus unlocks more and more abilities that turn ZDR from hostile territory to Samus’ domain. Each new item opens up a truly exciting host of new combat and puzzle solving strategies. 

Completing the game for the first time will take around 10-12 hours. However, for diehard fans of the game there’s a gallery of exclusive artwork that’s unlocked after clearing an additional hard mode that’s unlocked after completion of the regular campaign. Which includes finding every item in each of ZDR’s main areas, completing each game mode in under 8 hours, and finally when completing each mode under 4 hours. 

The main hang-up on the game was mostly just on the time it takes backtracking through each expansive location in the game. The game incentivizes the player to go back and collect items once they’ve unlocked a new ability through each inaccessible area. Yet it could often feel like a chore to go all the way back to a place Samus could now get into. Nonetheless, the game in its entirety felt spectacular, and entirely worth the $60 price tag for the content it provides.