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Metroid: Samus Returns review


Metroid is back. For real, this time. After the odd detour of last year’s Federation Force, a serviceable co-op adventure but a horrendously misjudged comeback for the series after an eight year hiatus, we have this. Metroid: Samus Returns is a remake of 1991’s Metroid 2, a side-scrolling action game in which you slowly discover and unlock new abilities, each one granting you access to further flung reaches of a vast and intricate map. It’s a more traditional Metroid game, then, with so many of the traits coined in Yoshio Sakamoto’s 1986 original preserved intact.

The problem is, Samus Returns isn’t a particularly good Metroid game.

Place some blame on the original, which has always been an outlier in the series. Metroid 2 moved away from the structured elegance of its predecessor for a more formless adventure, the player searching the sprawling caverns of the planet SR388 as they track and kill a fixed number of Metroids dispersed across the map. Its charms were obscured by the monochrome display of the original Game Boy that rendered its world an ill-defined smear, its legacy overshadowed by the arrival of Super Metroid some three years later, a game that returned to the original’s formula and went on to perfect it.