A return to form for a famed bounty hunter
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: 15 September 2017
As a 2-D, side-scrolling platform, Metroid hearkens back to an older time. Planet SR388 is the main setting of the game, and is split into eight areas. Within each area is a set number of Metroids you need to defeat before being able to move on to the next area.
What makes these areas great is just how big they are and the secrets they are filled with. Each area is unknown, which leaves the player to fill the map. This brings about a great sense of exploration for the player and provides many great moments, like when you discover a shortcut to a previously locked area.
You never really feel lost, as there is a sensor in the suit for Metroids in the area; once you start getting close to a Metroid, the sensor will start beeping, and the closer you get the louder it beeps.
In the year 20X5, a lone bounty hunter, Samus Aran, is sent by the galactic federation to infiltrate the space pirate base on the planet Zebes. She foils the space pirates' plans to use parasitic organisms, called Metroids, and eventually defeats the space pirate's leader, Mother Brain.
Upon seeing the threat of the Metroids, the Federation sends a squadron of elite soldiers to the Metroid's home planet to investigate, but the squadron goes missing. After confirming the presence of Metroids on the planet, the Federation decides to send Samus to SR388 to exterminate the species once and for all. The message is clear: Defeat all Metroids once and for all.
For the story, that’s pretty much it. You go from area to area killing Metroids until you get to the end. That doesn’t mean that there aren't moments of story there, and it’s quite touching at the end. The story just isn’t a major focus, gameplay is.
Follow the beeping of the sensor, but if you ever do get lost, you can take the DNA back to where you collected it from the Metroids to the DNA machine and it will show you exactly where the Metroid is hiding.
Planet SR388 is filled with creatures that want to kill you, and are even deadlier than Metroids. You’ll have to jump, run, and shoot everything in your sight.
To do that, you’re equipped with the most advanced suit and weaponry. Samus is equipped with her normal arm cannon, which can take down normal enemies. She later gains access to an ice beam that freezes enemies and a grappling beam to grapple certain surfaces.
Samus does gain more weapons through her journey by upgrading her normal arm cannon. In addition to her cannons, she also has her missiles. While the cannon has unlimited ammo, missiles do not as they have a limited capacity and are collected from enemies and reload stations.
In addition to her cannons and missiles, Samus also has access to her aeon abilities. She starts with scan pulse, which scans the area and reveals secrets on the map. This ability is the most useful, as secrets are revealed on the map; this does take away from the exploratory side of the game. Samus gains more aeon abilities later in the game, such as beam burst and lighting armour.
The biggest gameplay addition is the counter system. Nearly every enemy in the game can be countered, if you time it right, just before they attack. This leaves the enemy stunned and auto-locks your cannons, allowing you to kill them quickly.
The countering system is both a great addition and a detriment, as it makes killing enemies easier. The drawback to this is it takes away a lot of the challenge in the game. Although you have the ability to free aim, which allows you to kill enemies from afar, countering is just easier to do.
Another problem arises in the controls. Having to switch cannons can be annoying as you have to touch the bottom of the screen to change it. The controls aren’t bad; it just felt odd. The Y button was set up to shoot and the A button activates aeon abilities, which led me to using abilities when I didn’t want to. Your fingers can start to cramp when you play for a long session due to the strange layout, and not being able to change it was really weird. I found myself fighting the controls quite a bit.
Recommendation: This is definitely a buy, both for old fans and new players that want to try out a Metroid game for the first time.