The Besties: Metroid Dread is Here to Save Us All
December 15, 2021 7:24 AM - Subscribe

It only took 19 years for a true 2D sequel to Metroid Fusion, and now that it's here, we're basking in the glow of what may be the best Metroid game ever made. We know Russ is on board, but how do some of the other Besties handle the greatness that has been placed before them? We also discuss the tricky balance of accessibility and difficulty, and whether there's an obligation on the part of the developer to include certain features. Other games discussed: Tetris Effect Connected, The Artful Escape, Farm RPG. Also some fun scary movies: Slaxx, The Boys from County Hell, The Columnist, and 13 Ghosts.
posted by lazaruslong (5 comments total)
 
In case anyone else went to the Besties podcast list wanting to listen to this before discussing Metroid Dread, this is not the most recent episode--it actually aired on Oct. 15! The show info section has the air date in the upper right if you're on desktop and below the comment box if you're on mobile.

Back later after I've listened to it to discuss!
posted by thecaddy at 9:30 AM on December 15, 2021


Yes! Thanks for adding that, thecaddy.

I decided to post the backlog starting from the 200th-ish episode on October 1, 2021 at a rate of one episode every three days until we're caught up. I wrote some motivation stuff in this MetaTalk comment, but the short of it is that I'm trying to expand my videogame genre horizons and this podcast + this new FanFare Videogame Club is an attempt to further that goal.

So if there's a game in any of these shows that folks fancy discussing in extra detail, e.g. Metroid Dread or perhaps Unsighted, do come over the A Videogame Club and make a post!
posted by lazaruslong at 11:55 AM on December 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


Having listened to the podcast, I'm in general agreement that Dread is among the best possible sequels to Fusion that we could have gotten. It's great that it doesn't have waypoints telling you where to go, but the general environmental design was strong enough that I generally figured out where to go (one exception early in the game that cost me almost half an hour aside). It repairs the damage done to Samus' character from Other M with great character movement and cutscenes that rarely overstay their welcome. The world is mostly well put together and looks great. The difficulty was tough, but fair (and thank god it has quick restarts and not the souls-like system that eventually bounced me off Hollow Knight).

There were a few missteps: there's a couple of runs where you get multiple upgrades to the same weapon type in short succession, not really letting any of them breathe. As part of that, the last upgrade feels particularly tacked on, like the game didn't really need it but the devs thought it had to be there. It was nice to break up the classic upgrade cycle from earlier games, but they didn't quite nail the rhythm here. And the music didn't really stand out, which seems to be a trend in the more recent games (Prime 3's music was ... not really there either). I hope whoever is composing Prime 4 goes back and listens to the first Prime soundtrack again.

I do think the game should have come with accessibility options. It's one thing to state that this game is hard and it's supposed to be, but I don't think that flies in 2021. Not when you have the example provided by Celeste and Hades: they're wildly different games, but mastery of the controls is a big part of both the challenge and the appeal. I think the fact that those games have scorn-free difficulty options is proof that MercuryZero could have done a lot more here without jeopardizing the reputation of Dread as being tough as nails.

(I'm gonna admit here I haven't beaten the final boss yet, mostly because I only get to play when I'm really tired and I cannot. nail. the. timing. on the counterattacks.)
posted by thecaddy at 3:55 PM on December 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


I'll echo that there should have been a way to bypass some of the trickier parts in Dread. I haven't finished it yet but I think I'm getting close and I've found it tough but fair so far. I've died tons of times but getting to try again pretty much right where I left off means I'm not wasting a lot of time. I could easily see the people quitting the game in frustration though.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 7:35 PM on December 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


So I did finish Dread over Christmas and yeah, it was tough but fair. I gave a passing try at getting 100% on the different areas but some of those speed block puzzles are beyond me. I've watched the videos showing what I'm supposed to do but can't actually do it myself. I usually don't finish games because I towards the end I need to grind to be powerful enough to beat the final boss and that gets too boring for me. In Dread I did make sure to go around and get some more energy tanks after the first couple of tries with the final boss but after that it was just getting the patterns down and not trying to rush things.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:12 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


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