More concretely, Metroid Dread isn't very good, and I need to vent out my thoughts on it.
Mainly because everything I've read about it is praising the game as it being amazing. And sure enough, it has some strong points, the visual aspect being the undisputed best the game has to offer, specially the way Samus moves and is overall portrayed. That, I liked.
But even at the strongest point, there is something that was still bad to me, and was the backgrounds, while portraying some impressive imagery of natural caves and artificial constructions, somehow manage to be very samey, blending together and making the corridors sort of indistinct one from the other, making me check the map because I wasn't properly registering the path I was taking.
Another strong aspect I'd like to point out was the animations of pretty much everything and everyone, and the successful parries to bosses attacks and the subsequent bonus cinematic you can use to put the hurt on them looked pretty intense. So that was good too.
Now, to the not as good. Samus plays very smoothly, and her responsiveness is tight and overall feels good to play as her. However, there are a few things that bothered me. One was the unique movespeed for Samus unless cloaked with the invisibility item. Breaks inmersion for me, tilting the joystick just a little bit and having a full sprint as a response. Granted that's minor and I as I got more powerful, the need to move slowly while entering new areas disappears, so whatever. But I'd like to point out, pressing down to build speed boost felt bad most of the time (although the newly implemented wall jumping while boosting, while very sparsely used for some item containers, was pretty cool to see, not so much to pull off, but it was neat), and having to weirdly use three buttons to swing around with the grappling beam, also felt really awkward. And why wouldn't you give me the option to make Missiles a toggle if I'd like to? Or the option to re-map the buttons entirely too. But whatever again. Not a deal breaker.
Now the the outright bad. The lack of memorable themes or tunes is criminal. And I don't mean it like a nostlagiafag that needs the classic music themes slapped with a new coat of paint. New compositions all the way is good for me, but I can't remember a single BGM from this game, it's all approached as a background noise without melody. And while it sort of does it's job on a first impression, makes it feel so liveless, so unappealing, that I feel that's one of the main reasons the atmosphere of the game isn't as good as it could potentially be. On the plus side, most of the SFX are fine. I feel some of them lack some punch. Specially the Screw Attack not making the enemy go BANG on touch. They are killed in one hit, some of them in two, but they just kinda melt away
because by that point everthing is X infected, and while the melting away in some black ooze works for beams or missiles, for the Screw Attack felt unimpressive
The game cltuches too much on repeated boss fights and backtracking, sometimes to an absurd degree. And doesn't help that travelling between map zones takes a good half a minute of having a loading screen with Samus just standing there. If at least I could push buttons to have Samus check on her cannon or on herself or some kind of eye candy to break the monotony of waiting for 30 seconds for the elevator to arrive at destination, that would be somewhat solved too.
Story was retarded. Full stop. It creates a lot of continuity problems from Fusion to Dread, and it seems like a huge wasted oportunity to have for the first time alive Chozo to interact to, only to create some kind of conflict between Chozo subspecies or some kind of civil war between brainy Chozo and muscly Chozo? Aren't they supposed to be the most advanced civilization in the cosmos? Is the main bad guy so determined to bring order to the galaxy that he will kill everyone that doesn't line up, or straightly murder welcoming brethren because he's eeeeevil? Why would the soldiers follow his orders when all we've seen of him is killing fellow Chozo? This is just sloppy writing used as ane excuse to move the plot forward, like having the Federation go "Samus dindu nuffin" and having to hire her again to check out the apparently survival of the X parasite on this new Chozo planet. The EMMIs being also hacked to hunt down Samus felt fucking stupid. Hell, the whole EMMI things fucking stupid. Knowing that they are limited to a part of the map kills any tension the game could have. Fusion made it right 20 years ago with SA-X. It could appear anywhere in the map. She was roaming the whole station, and you never knew where she could pop out from. That was scary.
This time, with the EMMIs being literally untouchable or you get killed in a very anticlimatic way (should be a +16 game, not a +12, the game pulls some body horror stuff at some point that could be great if expanded upon, but whatever) and they made me feel annoyance, not dread.
Also the idea of having them linked to some Mother Brain lite made little sense. And once you get the red cannon from the defeated mini mother brains, the EMMIs stop moving to hunt you, and move in a way so you can shoot them down easily. All of them die the same way, with the same exact cutscene too. Not really exciting, doesn't give you a "phew finally" feel. More of a "I'm glad I don't have to outmaneuver you anymore, you beeping fuck". And you do that 6 times.
It was bad. The whole game was built around that gimmick and the gimmick sucks. Like the melee counter still feeling tacked on and overpowered, making you one shot anything you parry succesfully. At least now you can do it while jumping and running too.
Unique boss fights were entertaining, but most of them felt like another phase was missing. The bosses do heavy damage, but are once you learn their pattern quite easy to defeat. The final boss was at least the best of the bunch, thank god, and was fun to fight him. I'm also a sucker for the "antagonist is your relative and uses the same fighting style with some variations" so that was good. Easy once you learn the pattern as well, but engaging all the way.
This kinda takes me back to the "story is fucking bullshit" part (the communication rooms where "Adam" talks to you by just making a recap of what you just did or explaining again the new item you just got was as asinine and uninteresting as they could have, and also kills the isolation aspect) but I'm repeating myself by now.
Also, the ending screen is the same always. No matter how fast or what percentage of items you end up having, Samus is always on her suit striking a pose, and then glares to the side after the camera closes up to her visor. You unlock some gallery images, which is fine, but no reward of Samus without the helmet/suit/ is criminal and I feel it's current year bullshit creeping in, but I can't confrim that.
That's all I needed to lower the end result from a 6/10 to a 5/10.
Can you play the game without problem and it functions like it should? Yes. Can you get some enjoyement out of it? Some, yes. Does it fail what it was set to do? Yes. Falls short in many crucial aspects spectacularly.
So that's my hot take. What do you guys think of the game? What are your expectations for Metroid besides Metroid being able to crawl now at lastas a whole in the future? For me, the highlight was this game invalidates Other M's portrayal of Samus, so there is that at least.
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