HandsOn Metroid Samus Returns Answers Your 2D Prayers

first_img While they haven’t suffered the way fans of F-Zero, Mother, or countless other forgotten Nintendo franchises have suffered, the past few years have been pretty tough for folks who enjoy the magnificent Metroid series. 2010’s Metroid: Other M, while underrated, wasn’t the franchise’s best showing. Last year’s Metroid Prime: Federation Force was a fine, if insubstantial, multiplayer spin-off, but it definitely wasn’t what fans of the single-player-heavy series were looking for after years silence. Well listen up because with Metroid: Samus Returns the Metroid you want is back, and I recently got to play it.The subtitle Samus Returns has two meanings. It’s the first time we’ve seen the iconic armored sci-fi bounty hunter in years. It also clues us in that this is a remake of the 1991 Game Boy game Metroid II: Return of Samus (not to be confused with shuttered fan project Another Metroid 2 Remake). But since that game was made for such ancient hardware, it’s been totally reimagined on the 3DS. You’ll still pick up familiar items like the sticky Spider Ball as you systematically slaughter the Metroid species one by one. However, new ideas from later entries like Super Metroid have also been incorporated.Exploring through the catacombs of planet SR388, jumping and blasting and rolling, feels fantastic. The 2D sidescrolling action-adventure feels like Metroid. You’d think that would be a given but the developers at MercurySteam failed to recreate the charms of 2D Castlevania (a similar genre) with their past 3DS game Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate. Fortunately, under the guidance of Metroid mastermind Yoshio Sakamoto, the team seems to have found its footing when it comes to Metroidvanias. Now just let them make an official crossover.Samus Returns also gives Samus a host of new abilities. With the right timing, you can smack back approaching enemies with a quick melee counter. It’s a great, twitchy, satisfying short-range supplement to your long-range arsenal. Conversely, when you have the time, you can also plant your feet to precisely aim in all directions around you. I want to say it feels like Shadow Complex, but that game is just Metroid with less appealing aesthetics and an unfortunate Orson Scott Card connection.Speaking of Shadow Complex, my biggest fear over the idea of a new, official 2D Metroid was how would the series compete in a marketplace in which basically every indie game is 2D Metroid? The new abilities help but Nintendo’s primary answer to this dilemma is Samus herself. She’s a beloved character, one of the strongest and most famous women in gaming, and Samus Returns doubles down on the lore surrounding her and the larger sci-fi Metroid universe. Spoilers for a 26-year-old game (play it on 3DS Virtual Console) but a lot of important stuff happens in Metroid II. Now you can see it play out with slick polygonal graphics and 3D comic book cutscenes, not on the tiny, monochrome green Game Boy screen.My other worry over Metroid as a whole is just how static some fans seem to want it to be. If it doesn’t throw you into a huge, confusing, explorable, interconnected 2D or 3D world full of power-ups you need to progress and with a sense of isolated dread then it doesn’t “count” as a real Metroid game. I love those Metroid games, but a rigid design dogma like that can be stifling. However, whenever Metroid games opt for slightly friendlier, more linear structures, folks get angry and then wonder why the series remains so niche.Samus Returns splits the difference in some pretty smart ways. The dynamic map on the bottom screen lets you mark your own icons for later investigation. Meanwhile, Samus can tap into a limited supply of energy to activate “Aeion” abilities. Some are just passive buffs like increased damage resistance, but the one I used was a scan pulse that revealed nearby secrets. With tools like these, figuring out the dense, sprawling landscape becomes much more manageable without relying on online guides. But veterans can just ignore those powers if they want. With scalable difficulty, everyone can have a good time.Even from my brief playtime, Metroid: Samus Returns looks and plays stellar. Honestly, the most disappointing thing about it is that when it launches on September 15 it’s only coming to the Nintendo 3DS, not the Nintendo Switch (which does offer its own promising Mario-led lineup this fall). MercurySteam ported their last 3DS game to HD systems so maybe they can do it again? It sure would make the wait for Metroid Prime 4 a lot more bearable, that and some tunes by Sammus or Metroid Metal.View as: One Page Slides1/51. Metroid: Samus Returns supports the Samus amiibo and the squishy Metroid amiibo.2. The European special edition of Metroid: Samus Returns is way cooler than its American counterpart.3. At last, 2D sidescrolling Metroid is back with Metroid: Samus Returns.4. Samus returns to planet SR388, the home of Metroids, in this remake of a Game Boy classic. 5. Make use of new features like a smart map and melee countering.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. 25 Years Later, How ‘Super Metroid’ Defined a GenreRetro Studios Is Now Making Metroid Prime 4… Eventually Stay on targetlast_img

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