Nintendo gets a lot of comments these days that they keep repeating the same games over and over again and to be honest I also feel this way. The first Super Mario game was released in 1985 and now 32 years later a lot of people are waiting for the new Mario to finally release. And truly, you can’t blame them for doing it because these are games that are very good, definitely stood the test of time and all got a massive and loyal fanbase dedicated to these long lasted franchises. Metroid was once one of those franchises but Metroid was missing for a few years besides from Zero Suit Samus being a super broken character in the early days of Super Smash for Wii U… But times are changing, and I bet a lot of people are very happy that Samus Aran finally makes a comeback after all those years.
Just over a year ago we got Metroid Prime: Federation Force, Metroid Prime 4 is scheduled for next year but before that we get Metroid: Samus Returns. The first Metroid side-scroller in 13 years! It4s crazy to think I was 10 years at that moment and that is exactly what they want to do with Samus Returns. Bringing back that game I played when I was 10 years old and it’s super awesome.
Metroid: Samus Returns is actually a remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus that was released in 1991 on the original Game Boy. But this is not just another easy cash grab where they just enhance the graphics and sell it as a new game. Samus Returns feels more like a totally new game that was inspired on the old classic. The game is not recognizable and tons of mechanics were upgraded or added to fit the current standard we have for games now. The story is the only thing that remained mostly the same for the most part, Samus is send on a mission to the home planet of the Metroids to track them down and finish them once and for all.
Your main goal is to hunt down all the Metroids, just like in the original. Now you know how many you have to kill in a certain area and when there is one very close to you, your sensor begins to flash. Another great addition that made our life a little bit easier is the addition of a map on the low screen. It’s still minimalistic but you can add pin points and you’ll always know when you are visiting a new place. Unlike other games in this genre, the map really helps to keep track of your progress. No longer will you enter room after room without having a clue where to actually go. This is perhaps one of the most important changes in the game.
The map and Metroid sensor make the game easier but you couldn’t be more wrong if you thought this game was easy. Enemies are pretty hard to defeat right from the start. The game just drops you into the action with few checkpoints and not that extras. Just like it was in the good old games where it was actually an achievement if you could actually beat it. One doing that is different is the updated combat, everything feels smoother and they added a new parry mechanic where you can counter your opponent’s attack. It’s a very powerful move and is very handy but it is far from overpowered because the parry requires perfect timing.
It’s not extremely hard but difficult enough if you are looking for a challenge and you will probably be stuck not knowing what to do at least a few times. This can be very frustrating so they added a sensor that reveals rooms next to you on the map and objects you can destroy to go further. The thing a love about this is that it’s completely up to the player to choose if you use this option or you just stubbornly try to find your way yourself and call yourself a Metroid pro.
I really like the idea they had with Samus Returns. Bringing back the old school hardcore game difficulty while adding some features to enhance the game experience or give you the option to make it just it a little bit easier so we can relive our childhood memories by playing with the characters that we loved since we had our first Game Boy. I really hope this trend will continue with other games that have made the transition to 3D a while ago so that we can go back to the roots of a lot of franchises.
Comparing the graphics from Samus Returns on a 3DS to Return of Samus on the Game Boy would not be fair because there is a gap of 26 years where technology has grown but it is still nice to see where it all came from. With that said I have to admit I was surprised to see that the graphics were actually amazing for a game on the 3DS, which is a bit infamous for not having the best graphics, and I was able to almost immediately get the right vibes with the amazing soundtrack.
In my opinion, this game is amazing and it’s what the gaming industry needs. It’s definitely one of the best remakes I played. It perfectly brings what made the original game so great and adds enough new things and upgrades so it feels like a completely new game. I wish every remake was like this and I hope many others will follow the perfect example of a great remake/reimagining of an old school video game.