Nintendo has been catching flak from gamers over the past year for not doing a proper Metroid game to celebrate the brand's 30th anniversary, and the company also got hammered for the poorly received Metroid Prime: Federation Force. However, Nintendo has attempted to rectify that issue with Metroid: Samus Returns for the Nintendo 3DS, and now that critics have had a go at it, here's what they think.
If this sounds like a bit of a love letter, it is still underselling just how fantastic Samus Returns has turned out. Stunning animations, a fantastic soundtrack, and awesome cinematic moments come together to remind us of the amazing roots of this series, while updating it for a fresh audience. Metroid: Samus Returns is one of the best Nintendo 3DS games of all time, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
The current Metacritic average is sitting at 88 out of 100. A majority of the top name sites, middle name sites, and even smaller sites are all praising Nintendo for the re-envisioning of the Gameboy classic made fresh for the Nintendo 3DS.
Some game reviewers, like Riley Little from Game Rant, couldn't wait for the embargo to lift on critical feedback in order to inform the gaming community that Metroid: Samus Returns is as good as you were hoping.
Game Rant would go on to give the side-scrolling adventure game a 4.5 out of 5, with one of the only major complaints being that the game doesn't have enough boss battles. That's a rare complaint that you don't oftentimes hear from a critic.
Most of the sites praise Nintendo for retaining the pace and immersion from the original Gameboy outing, all while adding in some much needed benefits from today's technology, such as giving Samus the ability to aim at angles, or perform melee attacks using the blaster when enemies get too close, something that the famed bounty hunter lacked in previous outings on the handheld systems.
Nintendo World Report went a bit in depth about the re-playability of the game, noting that even after you complete it there's still a lot more to discover if you didn't 100% enjoy the game. It's also noted that replaying the game after completing it excises all the fat and fluff and the addition of warp statues means you can just focus on what you missed.
The site had very little of anything negative to say about the game other than that there was a lack of power-ups, noting...
Going into Metroid: Samus Returns, I was hopeful and optimistic. But given the past decade of Metroid, it was hard to not be a skeptic. After beating Metroid: Samus Returns, my skepticism washed away, mostly thanks to the fact that this 3DS game pays a loving homage to the greatness of past entries while adding enough new elements to feel like a fresh and wonderful modern experience.
Not everyone was entirely positive about the game experience, though. A few felt as if Nintendo could have taken more risks with the title and given gamers something a bit more robust when it came to new systems, weapons and power-ups.
Pocket Gamer, however, veered from the seemingly obligatory back-patting that some of the other reviews have been doling out for Nintendo's highly anticipated side-scroller crawler. The site gave it the lowest score yet at 7 out of 10, which still isn't bad. The main issue was that they felt the original game was more of a horror experience and that this remake is more like an action-oriented experience, writing...
So is the game faithful to the original? Not really. I always saw Metroid 2 as being dark and scary. The dark colours, discordant music, tiny viewpoint into the world, and confusing world design made me feel on edge and underpowered. Samus Returns doesn't really feel like that. The world is almost effortless to navigate, and Samus is tooled up and ready to absolutely destroy anything in her way. The game's not easy, I should note.
Not everyone agrees with the assessment that the game needed to be dark and scary, but I suppose it depends on if you prefer the more mysterious and horror-style trekking from the older Metroid games or the more action-heroine depiction of Samus in the newer games.