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
Hey, it’s a yearly tradition! Even after a full year of apparent inability to get even a single article written, I am once again compelled to document some thoughts on a handful of standout experiences I’ve had with old games in the past twelve months. With my backlog of old used games already being several hundred deep, I’d set out to cut down on game purchases in 2021, and with considerable amounts of time being spent with FINAL FIGHT, METROID and ONIMUSHA games, I was a little unsure I would even be able to come up with a full list of 10 memorable games – but after a bit of digging in spreadsheets and stream VOD archives, it turns out I was definitely worrying for nothing!
I definitely played a lot of interesting old games in the past year, but I was able to narrow it down, so let’s go: In rough chronological order – Ten old games I really enjoyed playing for the first time in 2021:
Continue reading Ten old games I really enjoyed playing for the first time in 2021
In what started as an arbitrary choice to dig up some Halloween-seasonally appropriate games from my back log – and what quickly turned into a series mini-marathon – I’ve been playing through the three CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOWS games. I had never thought or expected much of the games, not having much trust in reboots of Japanese game series outsourced to western developers in general, and perhaps even less trust in Konami’s late-era output in particular.
The original LORDS OF SHADOW ended up… well, if not impressing me, at least exceeding my (admittedly low) expectations in some ways, while in other ways being even more mediocre than I would’ve thought. Still, at the end of the day I definitely came away from it more positive than I went in.
The same, however, can not be said for the 2D spin-off game CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW: MIRROR OF FATE.
Continue reading Thoughts on CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW: MIRROR OF FATE, or “How not to do a METROID-style game”