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Metroid: Samus Returns brings the series back to its roots on 3DS

by Ron Duwell | June 14, 2017June 14, 2017 1:00 pm PST

Metroid Prime 4 wasn’t the only Metroid news we got at E3. Obviously succumbing to the demands of fans who sweat over whether or not Nintendo has abandoned the series, the company bellowed some full-throated support with an entirely separate game for the Nintendo 3DS.

Metroid: Samus Returns answers the calls two-fold by being in the vein of the original 2D games from the Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Game Boy days. Nintendo views the title as a remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus in both structure and in title, but it doesn’t sound like a screen for screen remake. At least, this gives us a stronger vision into why Nintendo was so quick to shoot down the fan remake, AM2R.

Nintendo is also not directly involved in this game. Whereas Metroid Prime 4 is being developed in-house at the Kyoto headquarters, Metroid: Samus Returns is in development at MercurySteam, the team that handled the Nintendo 3DS Castlevania game Mirror of Fate.

It’s sort of a switch from the old days when an outside studio made Metroid Prime and Nintendo internally developed the Game Boy Advance games.

I’m excited it exists, but I’m going to be a bit cautious with this one. Some of Samus’ new abilities, more specifically the free aim, don’t look like they flow with the fast action naturally. Moving and aiming at the same time looks like a chore.

I’m also not a fan of Mirror of Fates. Hopefully, Nintendo put more input into the final product than Konami did back in those days. MercurySteam has an understandable hurdle to overcome when dealing with classic franchises belonging to other publishers. Lords of Shadow 2 and Mirror of Fates’ meltdowns were totally epic.

I’m going to question the size of the game too. It seems pretty small compared to the other games, especially when you think about how long it’s been in development. It’s possible Nintendo is using this both as fan service and as an entry point for younger gamers who find Super Metroid or Metroid: Zero Mission a little intimidating.

And, of course, I’ll take pixelated sprites over cheap 3D any day. Pixelated games are a lot harder to make, and these graphics seem understated in the same way that A Link Between Worlds was. Great game held back by the fact that Link looked a little goofy.

Not saying I’m not excited. This is the first classic Metroid we’ve see since Metroid: Zero Mission back in 2004, so it’s impossible not to be thrilled at the sight of the iconic hero in a back to basics game. However, I see a few yellow flags with this one that I can’t ignore.

Hopefully, they prove to be nothing. Metroid: Samus Returns will be released on the Nintendo 3DS on Sept. 15.

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Ron Duwell

Ron has been living it up in Japan for the last decade, and he has no intention of leaving this technical wonderland any time soon. When he's not...

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