Full disclosure, I have not finished Metroid: Samus Returns at the time of this posting. But to be honest? I don’t need to. I’ve played enough of it to know that I love this game, and that it makes me happy on a very simple and special level. So allow me to share with all of you why this game makes me so happy.
1. Nintendo Listened!
Ok, I know that sounds weird because Nintendo does listen to its fans more times than not (sorry Mother 3 fans!!!), we get games that are better because they do listen to us. Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Xenoblade Chronicles, Smash Bros. (Bayonetta was fan requested), the list goes on. But with Metroid, it felt different. Despite being one of the most popular characters in the Nintendo roster, Samus Aran has been AWOL (outside of Smash) since the Wii.
Dedicated fans know the story. Metroid was at one time one of the most popular franchises Nintendo had. The original games are still beloved to this day, and the Metroid Prime series by Retro Studios brought the character into the 3D world in a big way. Then, Team Ninja came in and made Other M…and the world hated it.
So what was Nintendo’s solution? Metroid Prime: Federation Force…and we all know what happened there.
The fans begged, BEGGED, for a new Metroid game, a fun and pure Metroid game, and at E3 we found out Metroid Prime 4 was coming. And we rejoiced! BUT THEN…during the Nintendo Treehouse event, Metroid: Samus Returns was revealed, and we lost our gosh dang minds. Especially when it was revealed to only be months away.
This proved that Nintendo not only listened, but they listened in the best way possible. In the next let’s say year or two, we’re having two Metroid games on two different systems! And one’s already out, which means they planned for this a while back, that’s pretty cool, and I’m happy because of that.
2. The Game Is Pure Fun
Metroid: Samus Returns proves something that many have known about the franchise for some time, it can work in 2D AND 3D, and do it simultaneously. Much like Mario, Metroid started as a 2D game, but then evolved into 3D. Yet, after a while, only 3D Metroid games were made. Including Hunters and Federation Force. Fans were a bit perplexed by this, as the 2D games were so cool that they technically started their own subgenre in Metroidvania (Castlevania being the other half of that subgenre, obviously).
To this day, in fact, one of my favorite Nintendo (and Metroid) games is Metroid Fusion. I loved the look, the story, the action, and more. And though Metroid: Samus Returns is technically a remake of the second game in the franchise, it’s still pure fun, and it’s pure Metroid.
Playing this game reminds me of how much I loved Fusion. I loved the massive areas that I have to explore to get everything, the hidden items that are just out of reach that I have to try and get, getting the new powers and pushing Samus’ abilities to the limit and beyond, it’s good stuff.
Now is the game perfect? No! But that’s ok, it doesn’t need to be, it just needs to be Metroid and be fun, and that’s what it is.
3. Samus Is Back!
Yes…I know the game is called “Samus Returns” but I mean this is a more metaphorical sense, as well as literal to be honest. One of the biggest downfalls of Metroid: Other M was that people didn’t like the characterization of Samus. Sure, in games like Fusion we’ve heard her talk in some capacity, and she’s known to have a personality of sorts, but Other M (in many peoples opinion) took that way too far.
With Samus Returns, we get the more classic Samus back, the one who doesn’t talk, who’s all action, who gets the job done no matter the mission, or danger, or potential risk of death. She’s the most respected and feared bounty hunter in the galaxy, and we love her for that.
For me, I can really boil down my appreciation for this game and Samus in one scene. It’s in Area 2, and leading up to this point in the game I was happy to be playing as Samus but felt something was missing, I couldn’t figure out what though. And then I upgraded Samus’ armor into the one and only Varia Suit, and the game does a fun little cutscene showing off Samus in her legendary glory, and I literally said, “Samus is back!”.
And if this game did nothing else, it made me love Samus again well and truly, and I’m grateful for that.
What is the future of Metroid? Well, we know Prime 4 is coming, and it’s being made by a new studio, not Retro, so there is cause to be anxious. But, Metroid: Samus Returns was made by MecurySteam, a team many don’t know about, so that proves Nintendo knows how to give chances to eager studios. Regardless of whether Prime 4 works or not, fans can take heart that Samus Returns is a very true and pure return to what Metroid is all about: Killing aliens, exploring large worlds, and being one of (if not the) greatest female characters in the history of the world. Period.
And that my friends, is why Metroid: Samus Returns makes me happy. Metroid: Samus Returns is currently available for the Nintendo 2DS/3DS.