Published on September 12th, 2017 | by Zorbz
REVIEW: Metroid: Samus Returns
Summary: Samus is back after after a decade long absence from a true to form sidescrolling adventure with this remake of the original Gameboy game Metroid 2.
Concept: Like most Metroid games of old, the story wasn’t a heavy component as you were basically on a contract to investigate a foreign planet and eliminate the threat (bounty hunter 101) This game being a remake of the Gameboy game Metroid 2 puts Samus on another mission to take out and eliminate the remaining Metroids and honestly that is about as deep as the story gets. Not that riveting but let’s be honest, that is her job, and a job she has no problem doing. You won’t be treated to any dialogue, cutscenes or collectible pieces of lore. This is just a straight up run and gun with no time for talking.
The joys of blowing up a 3DS image is the results aren’t always pretty
Graphics: Visually Samus Returns is a bit of a hit and miss. At times the visuals show off a great level of depth in the backgrounds which look absolutely amazing with the 3D slider turned way up, but when things get close you really see a lack of texture detail with everything looking really muddy. This is very apparent when you use an elevator in the game which i guess is supposed to treat you to a little video loading screen of Samus going down the elevator shaft, except what you have is this very washed out and muddy mess. The plus sides are the great use of colour and the amount of different environments as you progress through the game. Enemies are also not all that impressive to look at with some lackluster designs, whilst Samus herself looks pretty decent from afar, but honestly overall the visuals get the job done. What i think the visuals lack in has given way to the game running flawlessly in 3D at a blistering pace which i would gladly take over slightly crisper visuals.
Gameplay: The gameplay is exactly what fans have been wanting, a traditional 2D-plane sidescrolling action Metroid game and boy does it feel great when you start playing. Everything feels exactly how you remember from the way Samus jumps, to turning into the morphball and bombing your way up to platforms, to blasting enemies away. Mercury Steam did an excellent job nailing the feel of a Metroid experience. As i mentioned earlier the speed in which you play is truly remarkable. Samus runs around at a quick fluid pace and just like you’d want, the faster you mash the button the more shots she will fire. It’s these little things that get fans like myself invested in. Unfortunately it’s not all sunshine and rainbows though as the level design can be a bit frustrating, especially when backtracking. Too many times are you continually forced to go into the morphball then bomb an area, then stand, then go back to morphball and repeat over and over. It almost feels like a real chore in certain sections. Fortunately there are teleporters you can use to fast travel, but even these feel oddly placed at times. Backtracking is a staple of the franchise but alot of the time the things you are rewarded with for going back to unlock doors once previously locked are honestly not worth it. You only really need so many damn regular missiles. Another thing that might get to fans is the difficulty, this is not an easy game as enemies will do a tonne of damage to you if you aren’t quick, so to counter this, a parry button has been implemented that really changes the course of some battles when you nail that perfect counter. Now my major critisism is the boss battles. The whole point of the game is to clear out the Metroids and so you are fighting slight variations of the same bosses until right up towards the end of the game where a few unique challenges are put in your way and boy are they tough, but after facing so many of the same mini bosses its quite refreshing.
That’s one attractive beast
Sound: The music in Metroid games has always been quite haunting and this still rings true here. As soon as you get out of Samus’s iconic ship, you feel like you’re on a strange planet with the music just so fitting to every environment you’re placed in. The sound effects you know and love from the Metroid series are all present and sound just as great as they always have, What it may lack in visuals it makes up for with great audio design as it really sets the mood for the whole game and experience.
Awesomeness: I think for me what stands out is the fact that once i started playing this I didn’t want to put it down. Most games i will play in chunks over time and have lengthy breaks but i could not stop playing this. From the moment I started playing this all that nostalgia swept through and I was hooked. Metroid along with Castlevania coined that term Metroidvania for a reason and that’s because it is a certain style of action platformer that is just so engaging and has you constantly wondering whats around the next corner as you unlock new skills to access areas once previously blocked off. So despite the short comings I mentioned, this is still a game I was hooked on.
See, now doesn’t this look so much better. That use of colour *melts*
Final Word: It may not be the best Metroid experience, but honestly even on the lower end of the spectrum of the franchise it still outclasses a lot of other games out on the market and it has that hook to keep you playing and wanting to grind it out to completion. If you’re a fan of the series then you know what to expect, but if this is your first Metroid experience i suggest grabbing a copy of Super Metroid for the Snes and playing that first (you can get it on the Eshop as well for the new 3DS i believe) as this game might be a bit too much on the difficult side and a bit too obtuse for a first time experience. Either way it’s a great game that everyone should check out.
Out of 5 Bugs