Metroid Samus Returns

A quick review on a pretty cool game, which reminded me of how much I like this franchise

Published 20 Apr 2022, 894 words, ~2 min. read.
Tags:
gaming | review |

So its been a while since my last post and it felt a little weird to make something 20 days later pretending like nothing happened, so this paragraph is here to recognize I’ve been gone for a while and now let’s proceed with the rest of this writing.

Prologue

A friend lent me his Nintendo 3DS XL for the last 4 or so weeks, specifically to play Metroid: Samus Returns properly, but sadly, I didn’t have any time to use it for the first two, every weekend he would ask me how far did I go, and I think I didn’t even got the first 5 Metroids done. However, once I got vacation time, I managed to finish it in quite a crazy week.

You see, the Metroid series is probably my favorite series. It was introduced to me when I was 12 years or so, and while I struggled to finish it until a long time later, I always liked its style and how different it felt to the rest of Nintendo’s IP’s.

I have played AM2R before, but every time I have lost the save file, switched distro or just ran out of time to play it properly. I was going to try it out pretty soon again, but since I got Nintendo’s remake of the game, I decided to play it first. I was already pretty biased towards AM2R due to Nintendo’s behavior against fan-games and emulation. But regardless, I wanted to give its game a fair chance, since I am looking forward to checking out Metroid: Dread sometime soon too.

The review itself

First, let’s start with the gameplay, I really enjoyed it for the most part, the transition to 3D felt nice and I enjoyed most of the combat. The new and most important addition is the counter and the free-aiming. I have to say, countering attacks was really satisfying and I enjoyed it, but I really didn’t like how every enemy turned into a sponge unless you used the counter. The move was something that was never a part of the franchise and it became more of a requirement rather than an option, since normal enemies would frequently use mostly unavoidable attacks, and yeah, while you can still shoot dozes of beams, its not really a good experience. If the amount of shots required to kill enemies remained small too, it would’ve been fine.

I have no complaints about the 360 aiming, It was useful and fun, and I feel like I’ll miss it when replaying older titles of the franchise.

The new abilities are kinda OP, being able to uncover huge zones and stuff was kind of too much, and I think they did it to help the newer audiences from the start, since they are not used to bombing every corner like the average Metroidvania enjoyer.

The bosses

Man, there is not a lot of bosses on this game, unless you count each Metroid as one, but nobody does that. Even in the small portion of AM2R I’ve played there are already more bosses than in the whole of Samus Returns. I still really liked the difficulty of them and dying tons of times still felt OK, because I always learned new patterns and ways to avoid their attacks. There is not a lot of quantity, but the quality is there, and its top notch.

The rest

I liked the music and background sounds, but I have to admit I don’t particularly remember any themes and not a single one got stuck on my head.

The design of and puzzles of the environment were pretty cool, the game felt quite linear but I have to admit I still have not played Super Metroid, which is known as the most open of the bunch (and also the best one) and while Zero Mission can be pretty open too, it being made for handheld, just like Samus Returns, means its more linear than the original too.

So, while I don’t have proper reference of what a non-linear Metroidvania is (other than the few hours I’ve put into Hollow Knight) I didn’t really feel like this particular game needed to be fully open, you are just going to the lower levels of the planet bit by bit, killing Metroids and lowering the level of a purple substance that blocks your path. It makes sense that if you are in a Mission to destroy a whole species you shouldn’t be exploring on the other side of the planet trying to upgrade some missiles.

Finishing thoughts

It was a nice game, I finished it in less than 12 hours on my first playthrough, it gives me hope that I should be able to beat AM2R too, since I was losing a bit of hope on that one due to me getting stuck for a while on a boss last time I played it.

I also managed to play this while the time of a sister’s Quinceañera was coming, so I had to make a lot of stuff, helping with decorations and managing things, but somehow I also played this during the whole thing, so yeah, it was crazy.

I like Metroid, I liked this game and I can’t wait to try out Dread in a decade or so once I get a used Switch or something.


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