Metroid: Samus Returns PC Game Review:
For me, Metroid is about two things: atmosphere and exploration. Over the years, outstanding games like Super Metroid and Metroid Prime have captured a very special atmosphere. The music, the sounds and the feeling of being isolated and alone on a dangerous and foreign planet, was what entrusted me into the series in the first place.
The planets often had large areas that did not get into the first time they stumbled upon them. Then it was important to make a mental mindset so that you could come back with new skills later and gain access to these areas. This type of exploration has been to define a standard substitute, commonly called “Metroidvania” . So Clean Apart from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night , and Guacamelee! In recent times, few are doing this as well as the authors themselves.
It’s been a long time since Samus Aran, the galaxy’s toughest bounty hunter, got the rompirates and Metroidene to piss in his trousers. I am therefore very relieved that Metroid: Samus Returns is much more than a waitpick before Metroid Prime 4 , or a one-to-one breakup of the very little game available Game Boy game Metroid II: Return of Samus.
SR388 and you
After Samus knocked Kraid, Ridley and the rest of the rompirates on their home ground in the first Metroid game, the dangerous potential of the Metroid organism is detected. This parasite-like lifestyle would be used by the rompirates to suck the life force out of all those who got in their way, and as a preventive measure, the Galactic Federation tries to visit SR388, Metroidenes origin, to wipe them out for good.
It does not take long to start the adventure until Samus ends up in giant warfare.
Once again, they are wrong, and once again the last chance is to seek out all the favorite bounty hunters.
The first impression is reassuring: A brief introduction sequence is followed by Samus arriving on the planet, jumping out of the ship and leaving, after the famous and dear “na-na-na-na-naaaaaa-naaaaaa” melody, the rest to you. Tut and drive, yes it should be!
As stated, the goal of SR388 is to eradicate Metroid, and they are many of them. The planet is divided into several sectors, and there is a given number of Metro Times in each sector. Everybody must fight and take DNA samples before you can move on. The world map feels more linear than the Zebes planet from Metroid and Super Metroid, something originally made in Metroid II: Return of Samus to Game Boy as well.
That said, the magic is not gone for that reason. Already on the surface of the planet, I see areas and upgrades I can not access, and the map on the bottom screen of the 3DS makes it easy to select places I have to come back to.
Thanks to some well-placed teleports around the SR388, there is not much to discourage when returning a couple of sectors for an upgrade or twenty.
In addition to upgrading life and missiles, there are many other skills waiting to make the maneuvering on the SR388 an affair that never gets boring. Thanks to the mysterious statues of the ancient Chozo race, you get access to abilities like Spider Ball and Space Jump.
This Chozo statue “swallows” Samus into an area she must test her new abilities to get out of.
Spider Ball allows Samus to roll in its characteristic Morph Ball mode upward walls and ceilings. Space Jump makes it possible to jump and spin higher and longer in the air. “A-ha!” – The moments when unlocking such abilities and realizing where to go on pure intuition is one of the more rewarding and enjoyable factors in the Metroid series, and one thanks to the abovementioned abilities (and more , which I do not want to discuss in order not to reveal too much) raises the game play in Samus Returns considerably.
In addition to the conventional Chozo upgrades, Aeion abilities are introduced in Samus Returns. This is a mysterious power that gives you some opportunities you had not before.
One of these abilities is Scan Pulse, which you can use to reveal parts of the map in a certain radius around Samus, showing secrets and hidden paths. I was a little skeptical of this ability at the start, thinking it would make the game too easy, but soon realized that I almost never took it. You should not use the ability, and the levels in the game are designed in such a way that you will learn them a little bit outside. Thus, the need to utilize Scan Pulse does not grow much often, and does not feel like any cheap solution to make exploration easier. It’s nothing friendlier than Metroid Prime’s map stations, for example, which unlock entire sectors.
Beam Burst, on the other hand, is an Aeion ability I used quite frequently. It allows you to fire quickly by holding in the shooting button, and helps with any big enemies, or if you want to clear away a whole bunch of the smaller enemies. The game also takes into account that you will use it occasionally, so it will not always be easier when you unlock the ability.
No shortage of bosses
Now that we are in combat, I can immediately mention the new contradictory ability of Samus and how well I like it: When an enemy prepares a close combat attack, it will be a moment when it blinks white and you can hit on the counter button. If you do this at the right time, you will stop the attack and it will be possible to get an additional lethal counterattack.
Parrering is an important and fun part of Samus Returns.
This contradiction option works very well as it creates more flow in battle if there are more enemies on the screen at the same time and you want to pick them down one by one. It’s also nice if you’re going back to a former area and just want to get past the enemies.
The game introduces and varies common enemies in a great way. There is a clear jump in area-to-area level of difficulty, and you will be dependent on tracking upgrades along the way to keep the unfriendly residents on the SR388 at bay.
The bosses are also quite funny, but I feel they can get some repetitive. The boss enemies are of course Metroider in different shapes and shapes. Metroider evolves and takes a more reptile-like shape as they grow stronger, so the deeper into the SR388 you come, the more dangerous the Metroides will become. The matches change a bit, in other words, but it will be, especially at the start, a bit too many of the same type before the changes take place.
Great 3D effects partially make up for low resolution
I think the game looks pretty good. Of course, it’s disappointing that the game runs at 30 frames per second and is on a low resolution display in relatively outdated hardware, but it was not a big annoyance while I was playing. This is a lot because of the game’s other, stronger qualities, but if I’m honest I would prefer to have played on Nintendo Switch, with sharper textures and 60 frames per second.
Having said that, the 3D effects are yummy. In addition, if you play with headphones, which I strongly recommend, you’ll probably be able to live yourself on Nintendo’s little old handheld.
The music, as in any Metroid game with self-respect, is very catchy and memorable. Here is something good and old from original Metroid II and other games in the series, but much original as well. The old music was arranged by the same man who composed the new tones: Daisuke Matsuoka, a relatively new house musician at Nintendo, is sure to hear more music from the future.