Metroid Dread Review: Speed Boosting Hope for Prime 4

Here’s yet another Metroid Dread review posted on the interwebz! Just what the online gaming world needed, I’m sure. Thank you if anyone reads this though! I am genuinely grateful for your click or tap (hopefully psychic internet is never a thing).

My Progress

Let’s see. I got Metroid Dread during Christmas 2021. Finally opened it and played it for 6-ish hours in July 2022. I kinda just put it down and forgot about it for no reasons against the game (I was enjoying it so I blame PlayStation trophy hunting distractions). Then I started it over again in November 2022 on the new Rookie difficulty mode. I set it down for another month before finally rolling the credits on Christmas Eve 2022. That playthrough took a total of 10 hours 12 minutes and 22 seconds.

I had wanted to try and get all the collectible capacity upgrades when the final boss steamrolled me, but I just ended up getting 87% of the things. There’s a certain ability I won’t mention outside of my spoiler section that I just wasn’t having fun with. Said ability wasn’t needed much to beat the game, but the developers barricaded some of the collectibles behind its mastery. No, thank you!

Analyzing the Thing

Samus Always Has Rough Mission Starts

True to the beloved Metroid series formula – no matter the mission – Samus gets rekt at the beginning and loses most of her cool abilities. In Metroid Dread, Samus is investigating the planet ZDR for signs of the doomsday-bringing X Parasite. Disclaimer: I had no idea this was a direct sequel to Metroid Fusion since I haven’t played that one yet.

The X Parasite can hijack pretty much any organic being – dead or alive – and spreads like wildfire. The only thing that could resist X was their now extinct predator. You guessed it! Metroids.

The Galactic Federation sent a group of highly advanced robots called E.M.M.I. (who doesn’t love a cool sci-fi acronym) to safely hunt for the potential X presence on ZDR, but all contact with them has been lost. Due to a previous bad encounter with X, Samus has been infused with Metroid DNA and is quite possibly the only living thing they can’t control. This makes her the only person able to go to ZDR and figure out what’s going on.

Shortly after landing, Samus is attacked by a powerful unknown entity and knocked unconscious. She wakes up at the bottom of an underground complex with most of her abilities gone (of course). The main objective is to get back to her ship on the surface, while uncovering the dreadful secrets lurking all around her.

Who’s this new jerk?? You’ll probably find out!

Shoot Stuff and Discover Things

And the side-scrolling pew pew action begins! Like any good Metroid game, you explore themed zones shooting a wide variety of increasingly difficult alien creatures as you go. As you uncover more abilities, you’re able to backtrack and find new things while learning cool story stuff.

You can almost feel Samus getting stronger after each discovery and boss pwning. The base gameplay formula is so fun and iconic the term ‘Metroidvania’ is criminally overused by many to describe similar style games.

Controls Did Not Come Naturally

Unfortunately, the controls in Metroid Dread were not always easy for me to grasp. The game is good at explaining how things work; it’s just a lot to remember the more abilities you accumulate and are required to use quickly. One ability in particular was quite the pain for me to pull off, but thankfully it didn’t play much of a role in the main mission. There is also a Melee Counter attack I was horrible at timing correctly. This even played a role in some cutscenes as a sort of quick time event. Ugh.

Control problems were likely mostly a me issue, though. Taking huge breaks between play sessions certainly didn’t help me remember how to control anything or learn timings. I also played the whole game in the Switch’s handheld mode using the Joycons stuck on the side. My thumbs probably would’ve hurt a lot less had I used my Pro Controller on a proper TV. Once the specific ability controls were finally absorbed by my muscle memory things got a lot better.

Environments are Dreadfully Delightful

I am a huge fan of the atmospheres the Metroid games masterfully create, and Metroid Dread delivers perfectly in that area as well. There is just something so intriguing about playing the lone warrior lost in an alien landscape. Metroid Dread has clearly defined areas with many amazing background details on each screen to enjoy looking at.

There is a long-ish loading time between each area that was only annoying near the end of the game when I was dashing around everywhere looking for collectible items. These load times are shown as Samus taking various transport options so they were integrated into the story nicely.

Music Matches the Mood

I am a huge fan of all the Metroid soundtracks! The chilling sci-fi beats and melancholic melodies always send shivers down my spine. The music in Metroid Dread always perfectly matches what Samus is going through in a given moment, and it truly adds volumes to the feels. Every theme is perfectly tuned to capture the severity of the situations and keep you pumped during the action.

Making the Wait for Metroid Prime 4 Less Dreadful

While I do enjoy the side-scrolling Samus games I’ve played, I will always enjoy the Metroid Prime style behind-the-visor view more. Seeing what Samus sees really amps up the immersion factor; making it feel like I am really lost in an alien landscape.

At the time of this article, Metroid Prime 4 was announced several years ago with no signs of life officially shown. Playing Metroid Dread at this time made the game a greatly needed dose of the awe-inspiring Metroid universe.

Metroid Prime 4 teaser in the intro to Dread?? Sure seemed like it.

⚠️Memory Lane (Click to show SPOILERS!!) ⚠️

Favourite Story Moment

Meeting Quiet Robe for the first time was so intriguing. The Chozo are an advanced ancient race that mysteriously disappeared from the universe, so talking to a real live one in-game (that didn’t want to kill Samus) was a neat moment. Heck, it’s always neat to meet something in a Metroid game that wants to talk to Samus instead of kill her! If you’re interested in hearing all my story thoughts check out my summary post here.

Favourite Ability/Item/Weapon

I can’t choose between the Screw Attack and Gravity Suit. Both were EXTREMELY helpful. The Gravity Suit is a badass purple colour and gives Samus the freedom to traverse any environment. The Screw Attack makes unlimited jumping fun and can one-shot pretty much any X parasite monster on the planet (excluding bosses of course).

Favourite WTF Moment

The part where Samus goes full freaking Metroid and morphs into her Super Badass form. X-infected Raven Beak didn’t stand a chance.


Favourite Zone/Level/Area

All the environments in this game were so pretty to look at! I’ll say the floating fortress Itorash was my favourite. There are no enemies to fight onboard, which added to that dreadful feeling the final fight was close by (and it was going to be difficult).

Favourite Character

Obviously, Samus herself would be my choice since she’s such a badass! But I’ll take this opportunity to give Quiet Robe a shout-out. I really like how he was able to persist with his X infection and help Samus get to safety at the end of the game. I wasn’t expecting to see him again after his tragic fate. Plus it’s always cool to see a mysterious Chozo character!

Most Frustrating Ability

Okay, I’m finally going to whine about that frustrating ability I kept mentioning but never identified. It’s the freaking Speed Booster/Shinespark mechanic. Gr! You need to click the left control stick, have enough room to run, and then the speed boost kicks in. If you hit any obstacle or anything it resets. You can also press down really quickly when the speed boost happens to have 5 seconds of Shinespark. With this on, you can launch Samus in any direction with the correct button presses, but it resets if you run out of time. I just couldn’t consistently get Samus launched in the directions I wanted.

Normally, I’m a huge fan of the Speed Booster ability in Metroid games. I just strongly dislike how the controls for it work in Dread, sorry. My left thumb still hurts from many failed attempts to get Shinesparks unleashed in proper directions.

Sources: All images in this post are screenshots we took with the Nintendo Switch from the video game Metroid Prime Dread. Metroid and Nintendo Switch belong to and are trademarks of Nintendo.

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