When METROID DREAD was unveiled at E3 2021, I immediately had mixed feelings – massive excitement for a new 2D METROID, naturally, but also tempered expectations as it was being developed by MercurySteam. I never had the chance to play their previous METROID game – SAMUS RETURNS – but I did play through their earlier attempt at the genre, the absolutely abysmal CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW: MIRROR OF FATE. That game showed such a fundamental failure to understand the appeal of this style of game, that even with SAMUS RETURNS having a decent reputation, I found it difficult to have too much faith in MercurySteam’s ability to deliver a worthy sequel.
Still, I knew that I wanted to play the game, for academic purposes if nothing else. I spent the months leading up to the game’s release playing through a number of 2D METROID games – some for the first time, some not – and as I kind of charted the series’ evolution from playing them all back to back, I became increasingly curious to see specifically how DREAD fit into that equation. Would it be a largely toothless retread of SUPER METROID the way ZERO MISSION had been, or would it actually incorporate aspects of FUSION… or perish the thought, break some new ground?Continue reading Thoughts on METROID DREAD, 2D METROID design, and MercurySteam’s redemption arc