Metroid Dread’s Immersion

Metroid Dread’s Immersion

Nicholas Lockwood




With the release of the Nintendo Switch in 2017, excitement has formed around the release of new games as well as the console’s capability to be portable and used on a television at home. One of these new games that has created fascination for numerous Nintendo Switch users is Metroid Dread. Metroid Dread is the long-awaited title for the Metroid franchise and has been hinted at for more than a decade from Nintendo. Explore the planet ZDR with main protagonist, Samus Aran, who has been sent on a mission to hunt down the X-Parasite, a supposedly extinct species that Samus annihilated previously. Has the X returned or was this mission all a ruse? What is to uncover on ZDR? Does this game hold up after the long hiatus Metroid has endured over the decades? All of these questions and more will be answered in this article. 


Flying Into ZDR:

The setting of Metroid Dread takes place in the mysterious world of ZDR. This is an entirely brand new planet for Samus Aran to explore because of ZDR. It isn’t revisiting Planet Zebes like Super Metroid or staying on the BSL Space Stations around SR388 in Metroid Fusion. It is an entirely unique setting that has been crafted specifically for Metroid Dread. 


ZDR is a planet that mysteriously went on the Galactic Federation’s Radar. This is due to the deadly X-Parasite being spotted on the planet by unknown sources. This motivates Samus Aran to take a bounty in order to uncover the truth around the X-Parasite on ZDR. She makes contact with a mysterious Chozo, a species that watched over Samus Aran in her youth and theorized to be extinct or missing due to hints throughout the franchise. She battles this Chozo Warrior and gets defeated. However, instead of dying, Samus is left unconscious in the depths of ZDR where she meets the entity. What exactly happened to Samus that she loses all her items but is conspicuously alive? This gets answered further when diving into the gameplay. 


As a setting, ZDR is fantastic when traveling further up the surface. Nintendo has managed to create a world that is highly immersive. Each floor is distinctive on ZDR with each area having gorgeous HD backgrounds that haven’t been seen in the Metroid franchise. From the underwater caverns of Burenia to the abandoned laboratories of Dairon, there are several instances where players will be sucked into the gameplay. There is also a plot that seems linear, but allows for in depth exploration. This occurs throughout the planet with elaborate puzzles that the player will uncover in order to collect more items and gear for Samus. This makes the game have a great feel of a mix between exploration and narrative. The player can choose to get items when they please, but other players can simply want to have more challenges and get faster times without fully exploring the environment in the game. This allows for both hardcore players and casual enjoyers of video games to have a interest in playing this game. 


Moreover, the story of the game is subtle in its execution, but extremely satisfying and makes you want to play the game to grab more details that were missed. Details are also hidden throughout the story that are found in a second playthrough for additional details around the story. This is also enhanced by the short gameplay time frame, with the average player completing this game in their first play-through, lasting about 10 hours. The faster run times are also initiatives for players to keep replaying the game. For example, in my first play-through, I completed the game in about 14 hours with 100% completion of items. However, on my second play-through, I finished the game in about 5-6 hours with 100% completion. This keeps the gameplay fresh because it encourages players to keep playing Metroid Dread while finding new ways to complete it faster. 


Lastly, the gameplay for playing as Samus is extremely interactive. There are snappy movements that allow for unique ways to solve and complete puzzles. There are also more ways to complete a puzzle than just one way throughout the experience. The initiative controls are easy for players to get comfortable with and make sense. There isn’t anything clunky related to the control and allow for players to have better times throughout their experience. 


Does Metroid Dread Hold Up With Other Metroid Games?

The simple answer is… Yes! Metroid Dread faithfully returned the franchise to its roots especially after its hiatus after Other M. The classic 2D approach to Metroid games hasn’t been matched since Super Metroid with the amount of subtle detail in the games. The concise amount of detail allows for players to not only get immersed in the gameplay, but allows replay-ability and speed-running. It gives every gamer a chance at how they want to approach a Metroid game.


To put it simply, this game is a masterclass in exploration and should be played by every Nintendo Switch owner. The graphics are gorgeous, the detail is incredible, and it revitalizes a franchise that has long been placed in hiatus. Metroid Dread is an immersive experience that every video game player must hold onto. 


Final Rating: 9/10