Metroid II: The Return of Samus has been reimagined for the Nintendo 3DS. Find out what we thought in our Metroid: Samus Returns Review.
|Release Date||September 15, 2017|
|ESRB Rating||Everyone 10+|
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Metroid is one of Nintendo’s most beloved series. It’s one of those series that everyone seems to have a memory of. Oddly enough, it was a series that I never really spent a lot of time with. The only one I’ve really played was the original for the NES, but I never really got to play any of the other games in the series. The game we’re talking about today is Metroid: Samus Returns which is a remake of Metroid II: The Return of Samus on the Game Boy. I really don’t understand why they even needed to tweak the title, I mean it’s nearly identical.
Metroid: Samus Returns starts with a quick bit of back story on why the Galactic Federation had to hire Samus and send her to SR388 to eliminate all the Metroids. This is the only story dialogue in the game which is a nice change from most modern games. The rest of the story developments are presented on-screen as you play. I felt like MercurySteam did a good job staying true to the formula of the series. Metroid has always been more about gameplay than it has been about story.
As you go deeper into SR388, you start to see some of the familiar elements from original Game Boy game (which I did a bit of research on before this review) as well as some brand-new elements introduced in Samus Returns. The game still heavily relies on upgrades, maybe more so than the original. There are also four Aeion powers which are new to the game. You’ll need all these different tools to get through the daunting SR388 which seems more maze-like than ever.
The Aeion powers themselves are actually pretty cool. The first one you’ll discover is at lets you send out a pulse of the area. It highlights the map at a cost of some of the Aeion bar. This power serves to show you where to go when you’re lost and even highlights secret areas that you may not notice at first glance. I found it incredibly useful because there are some parts of the map that don’t look like they can be broken, this power shows you that that isn’t always the case. It saved me from great frustration multiple times.
The good thing about these Aeion powers is that they aren’t too overpowered. Even when you unlock the more powerful alternative fire mode later in the game, it depletes your Aeion meter fairly quickly. This means that every piece of equipment that you grab is going to be equally as important because you can’t just rely on one thing to get you through the game. I like this method of game design and it works really well in Metroid: Samus Returns.
There is a bit of a problem that these Aeion powers present, though. They’re mapped to the D-Pad which means controlling Samus must be done with the Circle-Pad. For some reason, the game doesn’t allow you to change the button-mapping so you’re stuck with this control scheme. It’s not a huge deal, but there were a lot of times when I would guide Samus into an enemy trying to shoot diagonally. The control for a game like this just isn’t as precise with the Circle-Pad as it would be with the D-Pad. I’d certainly love to see this game patched to give you the option to change control schemes for that in particular.
One of the main new abilities is the Melee Counter. It’s an ability that works quite well once you get used to it, but it took me quite a while to get the timing down. Once you do get used to it, it’s actually really helpful. Enemies will charge you and you’ll counter it with a swift melee shot. This will knock them loopy and it locks Samus on to the enemy to quickly shoot them. It was nice to not have to aim when at the enemy after using this ability especially because the diagonal aiming is so hard to get down with the Circle-Pad.
Aesthetically speaking, I thought MercurySteam did a great job with the atmosphere in Metroid: Samus Returns. SR388 looks very colourful and each new area has a bit of a theme going. They even brought back the original soundtrack but tweaked it a bit to fit the rising tension in this game. Little things go a long way and that’s definitely the case here. As far as 3DS games go, I feel like this one is one of the better-looking ones out there and the characters and game world feel like a Metroid game should.
Bosses are still mostly variants of Metroids just like in Metroid II: Return of Samus. Once you learn how to defeat the third new form of the Metroids once, you’re pretty much set for the rest of that type. I felt like these encounters were pretty forgiving and I never felt like any of the boss battles were too difficult. MercurySteam also decided to revamp the optional boss battle from the original game as well as adding an all-new threat. I’m not going to give too much away, but the new threat is a recurring thorn in your side.
Metroid: Samus Returns takes around 10-14 hours to complete depending on how much exploring you do. I suppose it could take even longer to 100% the game. The length was just about perfect in my opinion. There are even plenty of extras to unlock with different amiibo as well including Fusion Mode. I felt like that mode probably shouldn’t have been locked behind an amiibo, but it is.
This is definitely a good Metroid experience that took the Game Boy version and expanded and improved upon it in every way. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a 2D Metroid experience and Metroid: Samus Returns shows that it’s still a great way to play the series. I recommend this game to everyone. It may be annoying to use the Circle-Pad, but it’s as close to classic Metroid as we’ve seen in years and it was a lot of fun.
*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by Nintendo for review purposes*