It wouldn’t be unfair to say that Nintendo is underneath an terrible lot of stress in relation to the upcoming title Metroid Dread for Nintendo Switch. It releases alongside the Nintendo Switch (OLED) mannequin (you possibly can learn our hands-on preview right here) on the eighth of October – and Nintendo have sensibly been shouting about it. Not solely have they been advertising it closely digitally, this game lastly wraps issues up for one of many longest-running story arcs in gaming historical past. 

For these unacquainted, the 2D Metroid collection has been slowly drip-feeding followers for 35 years – this game means quite a bit to many individuals. And whereas followers of the collection are impatiently ready for extra particulars of Metroid Prime 4 to floor, within the meantime we have now a brand new world known as ‘ZDR’ to go to in Metroid Dread. The excellent news is that we have been fortunate sufficient to get our arms on the primary hour or so of the game. Please don’t fret; we gained’t be bearing on any story spoilers. In our preview, we’ll be discussing how the game feels to play and what areas we explored.

Things have modified a bit of since Metroid: Samus Returns on 3DS. Since Dread’s reveal earlier this yr, it’s clear Nintendo and MercurySteam Entertainment have upped the horror issue with the game, primarily via that acquainted feeling of isolation. You’re nonetheless stripped of your epic skills from the get-go, that means the start of Dread is reassuring in its familiarity, albeit with a chillingly secluded vibe. But earlier than we have been left to our personal gadgets to discover the claustrophobic confinements of planet ZDR, we have been handled to a prolonged however required recap of Samus’ story. Here, we’re reminded of her encounters with the Metroid and instructed as soon as once more that Samus is the one dwelling being that may resist the lethal ‘X’ parasite that was found and eradicated in Metroid Fusion. The transmission shortly focussed on the Galactic Federation, the first identified sovereign authorities that hires bounty hunters corresponding to Samus Aran, and it’s defined that the Federation dispatched a particular unit of E.M.M.I robots to ZDR for a particular mission. Unfortunately, the Federation misplaced contact with the E.M.M.I, and it’s as much as Samus to research. What may presumably go mistaken? 

During our introductory playthrough, we arrived in an space known as ‘Artaria’ and have been free to discover. Some good enhancements and refinements to Samus’ actions and Arm Cannon controls made blasting via some easy enemies a breeze. Samus can now freely purpose whereas shifting and this, coupled with a punchy and efficient Melee Counter, which was first seen in Metroid: Samus Returns, made mild work of a number of the enemies that lurked within the close-quartered chambers of Artaria. 

By urgent the ‘+’ button, we obtained a fast glimpse of the map and, although our view was pretty restricted at this stage, finding a pleasant AI known as Adam gave us the means to save lots of our game and be taught extra concerning the environment. Often, we discovered ourselves stopping and gazing on the atmosphere earlier than heading additional into the depths of our present location. It’s gorgeous, however we’ll cowl extra on that in our last ideas of the game. Needless to say although, the considered exploring each nook and cranny of ZDR is exhilarating. The method the atmosphere is offered on display is gorgeous; every part is nicely detailed and a number of the lighting used is simply plain beautiful, highlighting the world’s alien really feel. Having performed the primary hour or so of the game in handheld mode on a Switch (OLED) mannequin, the crisp show actually helped to make the expertise extra immersive, however we’ll have extra to share on the brand new Switch mannequin in our upcoming technical evaluation. 

Not lengthy into our journey, and after attending to grips with the controls and mechanics, the fateful second arrived the place we have been greeted with our first E.M.M.I robotic. Don’t let the title idiot you as these ferocious enemies are hell-bent on ending Samus’ life in a single strike and are relentless of their method. Thankfully, you’ll be happy to know that E.M.M.I are restricted in the place they patrol. E.M.M.I zones are proven on the map and have particular doorways to assist point out that you might want to have your guard up. We rigorously explored the areas to make sure we had a fast exit, ought to we miss a shot with our newly-acquired Omega Cannon – the one approach to eliminate these robots. Suffice to say, when the time comes the place Samus should face one head-on, it’s carefully adopted by a terrifying expertise. There’s no parrying E.M.M.I and regular Cannon pictures are ineffective, so we cleared an space giant sufficient to fireside one blast of the Omega Cannon, shocked it, majestically slid beneath its quivering physique and it crumbled beneath our ft once we delivered the ultimate blow. Phew.

It’s plainly apparent already that these mischievous and offended AI would be the predominant, fixed risk to Samus. You really do get a way of dread while you enter an E.M.M.I-controlled space and, proper now, we’ve barely scratched the floor of what these items can do, or what they’re keen to do to see Samus’ demise. They scurry alongside the ground like one thing out of the Dead Space collection and, though you do have an extremely quick interval that you just’re capable of evade them while you’re within the tight grip of 1, the probabilities of success are slim. It’s an enormous gamble if you happen to’re desirous to rise up shut and private with an E.M.M.I. A raffle that we frequently misplaced, we’re not afraid to confess.

With solely quarter-hour left to look at this beginning space of Metroid Dread, we honed in on the numerous missile tanks that have been scattered all through Artaria. Scanning the realm for more durable to succeed in areas meant we stumbled throughout some extra upgrades. Here, the Charge Beam shot gave us further entry to beforehand found areas we have been initially unable to discover. On our travels, we additionally noticed some blue surfaces that might be clung onto with the Spider Magnet improve, however sadly that was the place our session concluded.

The first 90 minutes of Metroid Dread gave us a really clear message, instantly setting an uneasy tone. Not solely does it inform us that we’re alone, dealing with an unrelenting evil that has just one job, nevertheless it additionally delivers this story fantastically, because of some cleverly shot cutscenes that have been an actual pleasure to observe. These transitions are serving to to form one thing particular, one thing that we simply can not wait to dive into once more quickly for our upcoming evaluation. We’ll lastly, however sadly, be capable to shut an vital chapter on Samus’ relationship with the Metroid, be taught extra concerning the Chozo that we noticed within the announcement trailer, and delve deeper into an thrilling and equally harmful planet that can undoubtedly throw up extra questions on Samus’ previous. Let’s simply say, we couldn’t be extra excited. 

A two-hour preview session for Metroid Dread on Nintendo Switch was offered by Nintendo UK. Metroid Dread was performed in handheld mode on a Nintendo Switch (OLED) mannequin system for the needs of this preview.