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Written by  :  Pagen HD (156)
Written on  :  Nov 20, 2021
Rating  :  4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars

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The Queen of the Genre Returns

The Good

- "Item music". THAT music. Music that is played whenever you gain a new ability item? It's here. Oh boy. It's stuck in my head.

- In terms of controls and moves, it's mostly similar to Metroid Fusion on the GBA. The bomb jumping timing feels identical to Super Metroid. Crumbling blocks (pit blocks) behave the same as usual (love them so much). Shinespark controls are mostly similar to Super Metroid as well, but with more moves to be learned and practiced, such as changing the direction in the middle of a shinespark, and morph ball shinespark.

- The largest arsenal of abilities and items the Metroid series has ever seen. It's like, all of the old abilities will eventually show up here, and quite a few new abilities are put in here too. You are introduced to a new type of obstacle every half hour. And it never gets confusing as to which obstacle is related to which ability. Everytime you gain a new ability, you can explore the entire map all over again to find something new.

- I also feel that it's the largest 2D Metroid map to date. I would say the map size is twice as big as Super Metroid.

- The X-Ray scope (called Pulse Radar in this game) is much easier to use now. You can run, morph ball, and space jump around WITH THE X-RAY SCOPE EFFECT turned on, and it shows secret blocks on the entire screen (not just the area you are facing, as was the case in Super Metroid).

- The biggest problem in Metroid Prime (and all other Metroids for that matter) has been fixed -- it's now much easier to track down missing items. Now, if your item collection rate is at 97% or 98%, and you are wondering where the missing 2% of items are, the game has a hint system for you to find them. It's incredibly useful and fun.

- After just one month, about 20 sequence breaking techniques have been discovered. There are early bombs, early super missiles, early screw attack, early grapple beam, early gravity suit, underwater jumping without the gravity suit, ... just so many of them, in only one month. The future will be very exciting, with a lot of potential for all kinds of run categories. Some of the techniques are intentional, some not. Sequence breaking is something the Metroid series (in particular, Super Metroid from 1994) started, and the Metroid series is again pioneering this elusive and hardcore type of game design and playstyle.

- The Metroid series finally has a "teleport station" feature -- and they are completely different from the teleport you find in Hollow Knight, Dark Souls, and Castlevania games. The teleport stations come in pairs. You cannot teleport to an arbitrary station like you can in Hollow Knight. Instead, you can only teleport to the other station linked to the current station. This makes routing much more meaningful, as every teleport station will take you to a different destination.

Metroidvania games have been adding the teleport feature for years, and we never knew it could be done this way -- and now we know, it feels much superior to the "teleport anywhere" system. The queen of the genre returns, to show them how it should be done, the CORRECT way to do a Metroidvania.

The Bad

- Music is not as memorable as Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion perhaps, but still stronger than Metroid Prime.

- Roadblocks are created artificially at several points, in order to guide the player to the next item (so they don't wander around without making progress). This feels like hand-holding, and makes sequence breaking harder and puts unnecessary restrictions to runs in general.

- In particular, the artificial roadblocks would seemingly make the famous "Reverse Boss Order" type of runs not possible in this game.

- People were completing 0% runs only a few days after the game came out. You might wonder what in the world that is. Here's the thing: the item collection rate does not count your ability items. So if you have Super Missiles (ability), Gravity Suit, Screw Attack, and 20 other abilities, it's still possible for you to have an item collection rate of 0%. This feels awkward, and doesn't provide incentive for players to develop Low% strategies (trying to beat the game with as few items as possible).

The Bottom Line

Metroid fans have been waiting for it, for the last 16 years. For me, it's been 10 years since I played a new 2D metroid, and 7 years since I last played a Metroid game. During that time, we all know what happened: Metroidvania has become a favorite genre among indie game developers and players. Dozens, if not hundreds, of Metroidvania games have been produced. Some went on to be very successful and influential games. But no matter how successful they are, they are not Metroid. They are Super Metroid imitators. Although imitators can do a really good job, it's not the real deal. It doesn't have Samus or the morph ball. It doesn't have the item music.

We've all been waiting for the real Queen of the genre to return, to show them what a veteran, full-priced, triple A-quality Metroidvania produced by a big company should look like. A Metroidvania with ITEM MUSIC. We want the real deal, and we got it.