A still from ‘Metroid Dread’ | Source: Nintendo

Metroid is back, and the newest game in this decades-old franchise bears the name “Dread” with good reason!

Last week, we got an early first look at the upcoming game Metroid: Dread, which is set to release on Oct. 8, concurrently with the new Nintendo Switch — OLED Model.

Metroid Dread is the first side-scrolling Metroid game that expands on the franchise’s story since Metroid Fusion, which came out back in 2002. The game continues the story of bounty hunter Samus Aran, picking up after her efforts to destroy the X parasites in Metroid Fusion. After getting a report of an X parasite sighting, she lands on the planet where the parasite was seen, only to discover that the sighting may have just been a rouse.

A still from ‘Metroid Dread’ | Source: Nintendo

I won’t give away too much more plot detail than that, but the game quickly puts Samus — and therefore the player — into action, fighting against creatures and Metroids alike. The game does a great job of introducing players to the world they will be inhabiting and constructing the gameplay in a way that introduces the skills you will need without putting you in an overt tutorial. Even if you have never played a Metroid game before (which, I will admit for transparency’s sake, I had not), you will learn the mechanics and world quickly.

The portion of the game I got to play found Samus in an underground complex, working to find her way back to her ship. As you explore additional areas of the complex, you will be able to see them on your map, which has incredibly helpful interactive elements, including the ability to add markers and highlight certain types of obstacles. As you go — as with previous Metroid games — you level up Samus’ suit by discovering items. The highlighting ability is especially helpful when you unlock a new ability, as you can more easily locate doors or other elements that you will now be able to interact with.

Some of the new features in this game include a very satisfying slide manoeuver for getting under obstacles and a very cool “spider magnet” upgrade that lets you basically climb (some of) the walls.

While I didn’t get incredibly far in the gameplay during this demo, I will reiterate that the name “Dread” is very well-deserved. The Metroids are incredibly fast-moving, while many of the maneuvers require waiting until juuuust the last possible second to fire — it’s all sure to get your heart rate going.

I also need to mention the graphics. I know that Metroid fans have already gotten a look at the game’s visuals through its trailers but, seriously, this game’s graphics are so far beyond even the most recent Metroid title, Samus Returns, which came out for the 3DS back in 2017.

Those gorgeous new graphics are fully on display on the new Nintendo Switch — OLED Model (which, for the record, is pronounced O-L-E-D, not “oh-led” as I had been saying it in my head).

The Nintendo Switch OLED Model in tabletop mode | Source: Nintendo

Playing on the new OLED system doesn’t feel drastically different from the existing Switch in terms of mechanics, but I will say that the screen’s larger size and higher quality are certainly noticeable and elevate the gameplay. I also cannot speak highly enough about the new kickstand, which is SO much better. As you can see in pictures of the system, the bottom half of the back basically folds out to become the stand, and it can fold back incredibly far. I’m not sure if this was the intention, but I found myself using that stand to hold up the system on the table even while playing in handheld mode!

While I can’t directly compare the experience of playing Metroid on the original Switch vs. OLED (because I only played Metroid Dread on the new system), I will say that this game certainly highlights the strengths of the upgraded model. Whether you’re downloading it to your existing Switch or making it your first buy on your newly-opened OLED Model, Metroid Dread one you won’t want to miss.

Both Metroid Dread and the Nintendo Switch — OLED Model will be available starting next Friday, Oct. 8, and both are available to preorder now!