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Samus’s sumptuous and stylish return

That moment when you unlock the morphball in Metroid is always special, and Metroid Dread does it better than most. The wonderfully labyrinthine map of the planet ZDR – a feverish place of subterranean technolabs, volcanic nooks and lush jungles – opens up as you can now shrink down to the size of a soccer ball and squeeze through the openings and natural cracks that criss-cross the world draw.

It’s one of those empowering building blocks of heroine Samus’ continued ascent, transforming her from a capable but ill-equipped explorer tentatively venturing to the edges of the world, to a heavily armed super soldier. The new kit – the morph ball, grappling hooks, fancy new missiles – lets them sweep through the environment like a whirlwind, eviscerating beasts and tearing down walls that previously blocked their path.

Metroid Dread is a direct sequel to Metroid Fusion, a full 19 years since the game came out on the Game Boy Advance. It could be argued that Dread has since become the first “proper” new 2D Metroid, while its embossed “Metroidvania” structure has since been aped and refined by many imitators. Ori and the Blind Forest, Hollow Knight, Steamworld, and countless others have made a decent fist of surpassing their inspiration. But Metroid Dread developer MercurySteam, who cut his teeth on Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and the 2017 remake of Metroid: Samus Returns, has done more than enough here to suggest that Samus is still the queen.

It starts with Samus himself, which is a joy to maneuver. Whip fast but built with a sense of weight, there’s a pinch of style in the way she casually but accurately aims or sweeps into a laser ducking chute. While she says very little throughout the game, she oozes with the sense of character that resides in that movement and agility. Their growing skills are shared around the controller, and while some of the complexities can often be difficult to grasp at first, each part of their arsenal becomes second nature as they progress. Of particular satisfaction is Samus’ counterstrike, perfectly timing an attacking enemy back before gutting them in a blaze of plasma fire.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gaming/features/metroid-dread-review-samuss-sumptuous-stylish-return/ Samus’s sumptuous and stylish return

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