It was undoubtedly THE biggest surprise of Nintendo Direct of this E3 2021: while the very disappeared Metroid Prime 4 continues to wall itself in a silence proper to the series, the manufacturer has lifted the veil on Metroid Dread, a episode (almost) all in 2D, the beginnings of which go back more than 15 years. Lucky that we are, we were able to accompany Samus in his new adventure, and try to outsmart the deadly embrace of his new enemies.
For those who still doubt it, Metroid Dread is understood as a direct sequel to the Fusion episode, from which the brief “Metroid 5” seen at the start of the video, as an echo to the introduction of Super Metroid in its time. But the producer Yoshio Sakamoto, presented during this first glimpse, even goes much further, by specifying that this new Metroid will simply conclude the scenario arc of the 2D shutters, not without leaving a bubble of oxygen to the Prime. Smart.
Load it, point it, zoom it, press it
It is after having destroyed the BSL station that we find our herone, trapped in the heart of the mysterious plant ZDR, trying to rise to the surface to find his dear vessel, at least as iconic. Like the trailer unveiled on Tuesday evening, it is within an area that gives pride of place to technological and chrome settings that we are flying, a rather rare setting for the series. Don’t panic: in his capacity as heir, Metroid Dread will offer a plant cut into zones, like so many different biomes, and we should therefore expect to find more organic environments.
If the artistic direction is inspired by artefacts present for nearly 35 years in the saga (the Chozo have gone through it again), difficult to see anything other than a simple evolution of Samus Returns, developed on 3DS. The game stays fluid and rhythmic thanks to a constant 60 fps display, but in terms of technical prowess, we’ll probably have to wait for the next episode.
Metroid Dread is not however stingy in new things, far from it: the new title of Mercury Steam takes again its account the attack on the body – body of the remake released in 2017, an insert which will quickly reveal its full potential when Samus will have to face a whole new threat. Practical in front as well as in counterattack, the mechanics once again make it possible to manage confrontations in different ways, and offer an additional arrow to the bounty hunter who also benefits from the arrival of an arachno-magnet allowing her to escape. grip walls and ceilings when their texture allows.
If the arsenal will continue to evolve throughout the adventure, this presentation focused on fluid management: some partially flooded rooms need to explode here and some sections of the wall in order to spill part of their content elsewhere, allowing access to new areas, the underwater jumps are necessarily less ample. Proof that the mechanics will be important: the levels appear clearly on the radar, which we can always update at the dedicated terminals, and thus reveal the surroundings with a snap of the fingers.
EMMI does not like
But it is undoubtedly in the face of EMMI robots – a very misleading acronym in view of their behavior – that said radar is meant to be saving. These critters that will inevitably make you think of the Shadow Beast of Twilight Princess stand guard within limited areas, which Samus enters through a curious portal cut into cubes.
Once in the lair of the beast, it will (for now) dodge the attacks of this robot even more agile than those of Boston Dynamics, which follows the contours of the ground and walls so as not to waste a second. And for those who are not afraid of its smooth appearance, know that the bug will kill you in a single blow. A tankard, a game over, and we immediately understand the why of these limited areas, which allow you to quickly try your luck again, Nintendo hoping to make Metroid Dread an episode intended for a (very) large audience. When Sakamoto repeats it ten times, finally comes in, you know.
Of course, the developers always give us the opportunity to counter the attack, but the window is so thin and the patterns so random that we should not rely too much on it. Fortunately, the players will be able to try to play the discretion: in front of an EMMI on the alert, every noise counts, and is visually materialized by a yellow circle which must not meet the listening zone of the killer robot, under penalty of seeing the halo turn. red, a sign that Samus is marked, and therefore suspended.
The Mga Woman
Despite the will to do Metroid Dread a “tense” episode, the many dodges via a slip the Mega Man, the standard jumps and the use of the arachno-magnet offer a priori enough exit doors not to worry more than reason. The tension will perhaps be sought on the side of the sound dressing, which is here much more of the atmosphere than of the soundtrack, but it will be necessary for that to take the game in hand and to screw its headphones on the ears for the discover …
WE WAIT FOR IT … SERENLY
Despite a look that does not really honor the Switch, Metroid Dread was sufficiently innovative and open to immediately make us plunge into the unique atmosphere of the saga. Between the money of EMMI and the battery of new weapons at our disposal, this concluding section should finally allow us to warmly find Nintendo’s most famous hero, and conclude 35 years of exploration in two dimensions … Before leaving for new adventures ? Answer on October 8, on Switch.