Earlier this week, I got to play over 90 minutes of Metroid: Samus Returns on the Nintendo 3DS. I’ve played most Metroid games, but haven’t sunk too much time into any game in the series, so I was very eager to spend an extended amount of time with the game. These are the things that I realised (and absolutely love) about the game.
It’s A Reimagining
This is not a remaster of the Gameboy game, but rather a reimagining. The developers (MercurySteam) have managed to bring some of the best parts of the game over whilst incorporating modern design mechanics to ensure that it’s enjoyed by hardcore gamers and more casual gamers alike.
The 3D Is Stunning
I can’t remember the last time I played a 3DS game with the 3D turned on, but you’ll definitely be turning it on for this one. The cut scenes are absolutely beautiful and the foreground of the 2D levels really pop against the background with the 3D on. It’s not essential that you use it, but you’d be absolutely silly not to. The sound of the game is also amazing. I was playing with headphones and I’ve already decided that I won’t be playing the game without them.
It’s Still Bloody Hard
Even though I started the game from the start, I still died a lot whilst playing. I’m not sure if this was because I hadn’t yet built up an awesome arsenal of weapons and power-ups, but enemies were killing me constantly. It relied heavily on where I saved too, and for those that don’t know, the game has a great system where you get health from killing enemies, so it’s very much a risk vs reward scenario in a lot of places. Just as well, the death screen animation is absolutely stunning.
You’ll Get Lost A Lot
This is very much a Metroid game and you’ll still get lost a hell of a lot. There’s a mini-map on the bottom screen of the 3DS which helps a lot, but you’ll still find yourself not knowing which direction to take (in a good way) a lot of the time. A lot of the areas are obviously hidden behind having certain powers or weapons, so there’s always a reason to go back and explore areas again. It’s the perfect portable game (still).
The New Powers Make The Game Accessible
Thankfully, getting stuck is made a lot easier to the brand new power-ups. These are called Aeion abilities. The only one that I encountered in the game was the Scan Pulse power which allows you to scan your surroundings to figure out where you need to get in certain areas and how to break through certain blocks. I’m sure that hardcore gamers probably won’t want to use it, but it makes the game much more accessible for newcomers to the series.
The Melee Counter Is Tricky But Necessary
Samus Returns incorporates a brand new melee counter which is almost necessary to defeat enemies and Metroids. You’ll need to master different timings with every enemy, but it leads for incredibly satisfying (and deep) combat that I don’t recall finding in any other 2D platformer.
You’ll Lose Hours Playing This Game
My 90 minutes went by in an absolute flash and I didn’t want to put the game down. I was already so addicted to getting new weapons and abilities and going back to rediscover areas that I’d already visited. This is going to be an absolute time sinker, and it’s amazing to look at the inventory screen and see just how many weapons and powers there are to unlock.
This Is The Perfect Entry Into Metroid
With Metroid Prime 4 on the way, it’s clear that Nintendo will want to get newer gamers to fall in love with the Metroid series. Federation Force was a bit of a flop, but thankfully, Samus Returns is shaping up to be an absolute pearler. Metroid II on the Gameboy was almost perfect, but with completely reimagined gameplay and some necessary additions (countering, multidirectional shooting and powers), this is the perfect entry into the Metroid series for newcomers.