Metroid: Samus Returns review for Nintendo 3DS

Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: MercurySteam/Nintendo
Medium: Digital/Cartridge
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

While I had a Gameboy back in the day, I never got my hands on a copy of Metroid 2. I remember the mysterious and moody Metroid from the NES, but didn’t have much of an attachment to the series back then. Fast forward to 2017 and you know who didn’t forget about Metroid 2? Nintendo, that’s who! They decided it was time to bring an under-appreciated classic into the modern era on a modern handheld with Metroid: Samus Returns on Nintendo 3DS.

This time, Samus returns not just from her first outing in Metroid, but from the past and in a much more updated form. The amazing thing about this release of Samus Returns is that it isn’t just a Virtual Console port or even a half-assed cash-in. This is the real deal, and more of a reimagining of what Metroid 2 could have been by today’s standards.

Probably the most surprising thing is just how well all the new additions work. I can deal with classic gameplay, but it’s not often when adding all the new stuff that decades of games have brought about feels like a natural addition to old-school games. I wonder what Super Mario Bros. 3 would be like with New Super Mario Bros. Gameplay? Hm, well maybe I don’t. Some things might be better left untouched.

But not Metroid 2. Despite the great game that I hear it was on the GameBoy, there is plenty of room to improve things. Nintendo got started right away by allowing Samus to do more than basic running and shooting. Right away you will notice that she’s more nimble and able to jump off walls or aim her shots in all kinds of directions.

Not only does this feel great in a 2D Metroid game, I feel like it makes me more free to take enemies down on my own terms. There’s also a counter attack which was tricky at first, but once I got the hang of it there was no stopping me. Time this move correctly and enemies are thrown back while spilling energy and taking a good amount of damage. Stupid aliens, don’t they know who they’re dealing with?

Everything about this game is great. I didn’t notice any slowdown and the visuals are silky smooth. The music is also nice and moody, just like you want. Samus herself handles great on the 3DS circle pad, and abilities like a radar echo to reveal more of the map just bring the whole package to another level. Nintendo didn’t pass up any opportunities when updating this game for today’s gamers. I’m still surprised at how much mileage they get out of something so simple like the morph ball.

Metroid: Samus Returns is an easy recommendation and you can’t go wrong with this in your 3DS library. The team put a lot of work into polishing this remake and it shows. I can’t even tell who gets the better deal here between fans of the original or newcomers like me. All I can say is that this game makes me realize how much I miss a true “Metroidvania” game made by masters of the craft. If this is how Nintendo wants to pay homage to classic games, I say let’s go for more!

Grade: A