Review: Metroid: Samus Returns (Nintendo 3DS)

Metroid: Samus Returns: Official GBAtemp Review

Nintendo 3DS 5,805 views 11 likes 48 comments
Reviewed by Christopher Otero, posted Sep 12, 2017, last updated Sep 12, 2017
Sep 12, 2017
  • Release Date (NA): September 15, 2017
  • Release Date (EU): September 15, 2017
  • Release Date (JP): September 15, 2017
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo EAD, MercurySteam
  • Genres: Action-Adventure
  • ESRB Rating: Everyone 10 and up
  • PEGI Rating: Seven years and older
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
Metroid: Samus Returns is a re-imagining of the classic Gameboy title Metroid II: Return of Samus. After the events of Metroid, the Federation concludes that the Metroid species are too dangerous to be left unchecked. After the teams they send to SR388 lose contact, they call in Samus to exterminate the Metroid menace once and for all. Is it merely a remake or does it stand in its own right?
Christopher Otero

A Beautiful Dark World

Like the original title, Samus Returns is much more linear compared to other games in the series, as you would expect given its source material. In order to progress further through SR388, you must fight and destroy the various Metroids at different stages of their evolution. Some are easy to find, while others require a bit more exploration and thought to track down. Along the way you will find many different upgrades, from the Spider Ball for climbing along walls to Super Missiles and the Plasma Beam, which greatly help with navigating the depths of SR388. And, at its core, Metroid is a game about exploration and shooting things.

One of the best features is the use of the bottom screen as a map. It displays all areas you have explored, power ups, doors and points of interest. You can also place your own makers, each colored differently, so you can place your own reminders to come back and explore an area that may not be accessible at the time. The bottom screen also displays Energy, Aeion Gauge, Missiles remaining and allows you to switch weapons on the fly with a simple touch of the bottom screen

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One of the things that stands out is the amount of detail in the environment. Everything in the game is rich and vibrant right from the beginning. Whether it's the lush mossy caverns or the crystalline lower depths of SR388, my eyes were drawn to the backgrounds more often then they should have been. It is definitely one of the the best-looking games in the 3DS library.

Bosses and Metroids are incredibly fun to fight. They're not overly difficult but not easy either. The combat has good pacing, but a bit of trial and error at times. The enemies are good-looking and detailed as well, with a fair amount of variety between them, in terms of attacks and appearance. I never found myself too overwhelmed or too bored with any of the enemies in the game. Everything is very well balanced throughout.

The game also has amiibo support for any of the Samus amiibos available. These grant various rewards such as items and other things. I however don't have one so I didn't use it. I generally don't play with the stereoscopic 3D on but I gave it a try on this game. On the lowest setting (about 1/3 up), it gave the game a nice little pop that was easy on the eyes and pretty enjoyable. Beyond that, I found that the 3D was a bit harder on the eyes and made it a bit more difficult to focus.

A Whole New Samus

However this isn't a simple 1:1 remake. Samus has a host of new skills and powers not originally in Metroid II. These new skills, called Aeion Abilities, are a fantastic addition to the game. Beam Burst increases damage output and allows for rapid-fire. Scan Pulse reveals map information and breakable blocks. All of these use a bit of the Aeion gauge, which, like Energy and Missiles, can be increased through upgrades hidden throughout the game.

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Another new ability is the Melee Counter. Just as an enemy is about to strike, pressing the X button executes an upward strike similar to one of Samus' attacks in Smash. A successful counter stuns enemies and allows a quick shot which dispatches of foes quickly. Most every enemy can be countered and sometimes the effects vary based on what you are fighting. It really helps with the pacing of combat and is another good addition to Samus' already large set of skills. The L button allows Samus to stand stationary and aim in any direction. It takes a little time to get used to, particularly in intense battles, but is most certainly is a huge advantage in getting your shots to hit their mark. Once you get the hang of it, you can do it while jumping and falling with incredible ease.

The game's controls are quite polished and relatively easy to grasp. The initial area of the game has a pretty easy and straightforward tutorial that takes about 3 minutes to get through. But, as with most games, practice makes perfect. While I didn't struggle too much in the beginning, as I got further into the depths of SR388 and as the Metroids became stronger and more deadly, I really had to work on mastering the controls and Samus' different abilities. The platforming mechanics are very on point as well, with Samus moving and jumping as you would expect. Samus Returns is true to the classic Metroid formula.

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Mission Accomplished

With just over 12 hours of gameplay (and to be honest, I got lost a few times), Metroid: Samus Returns stands high as more than just a remake. It returns to the basics of the series and is one of the best games I have played on the 3DS. For both fans and newcomers, this is a solid addition to the 3DS library. With plenty to do after your first play-through, I cannot recommend this game more. Samus Returns indeed.

Metroid Samus Returns Launch Trailer

+ Classic Metroid gameplay
+ Beautiful environments
+ Incredibly fun bosses
+ Decent amount of post-game content
- Wish it was a bit longer
9 Presentation
MSR is a beautiful game and the story is presented quite nicely in the beginning and throughout, even with no dialogue. Incredible environments and lovely detail everywhere.
9 Gameplay
Although it takes time to get used to a few of the controls, once you do, gameplay is very good. Standing and shooting or run and gun, the shooting is very precise. The new powers are a welcome addition and really add a lot to the game. Bosses are fun and pretty awesome all around.
7 Lasting Appeal
Apart from finding everything and trying for a better completion time, there is plenty to do and unlock after you beat it so it should have you be coming back for awhile.
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
Metroid: Samus Returns is one of the best games on the 3DS and it is definitely more than just a remake. A return to classic Metroid, it is a must play if you have a 3DS.
flavio, Byokugen, shaunj66 and 8 others like this.

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