From the moment Metroid Dread was announced at E3, it quickly became one of the year’s most-anticipated titles. For longtime fans, the prospect of a new 2D Metroid was incredibly exciting, but it also seemed to catch the attention of Switch owners that had never played a previous Metroid game. Following the announcement, many Switch owners took the opportunity to play Super Metroid for the first time, sharing their exploits online. Social media quickly became inundated with requests for Nintendo to make games like Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Zero Mission available, as well.
Samus Aran has established herself as one of gaming’s most dependable heroines over the previous 30 years. Super Metroid and Metroid Prime, two of the most highly praised games of all time, include the bounty hunter. Nintendo proudly carried up the tradition with Metroid Dread in 2021. Samus’ first adventure on the Nintendo Switch was memorable, taking the series’ core gameplay and adding elements that set it apart from everything else the series has done. Although it had been 19 years since the last fully new episode of the 2D series, creator MercurySteam did not depend solely on nostalgia. Instead, the team created an experience that rivals the finest games of 2021.
Seeing the saga of Samus continue would be enough of a draw for most Metroid fans, but it’s a testament to the core gameplay of the series that a 2D game has managed to enter the Game of the Year conversation. When Metroid Dread was first announced, some skeptics questioned whether a 2D game should come with a $60 price point. However, the game proved that a great 2D experience can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with anything else the video game industry has to offer.
It makes sense, of course; Nintendo’s major franchises have never put a huge focus on a continuing narrative, but Metroid is an exception. Each of the four previous Metroid games directly connected and impacted one another, and Metroid Dread’s storyline brings that narrative together in a satisfying way. It’s amusing that the Metroid series has continued 30 years after Samus wiped out the species in 1991’s Metroid II, but they remain a central part of the storyline. Players don’t have to have played those titles, however, as Metroid Dread does an excellent job filling in the blanks for newcomers.