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Metroid: Dread - October 8th


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Matt Castle on the Backpage Podcast made an interesting comment about the EMMI zones, something that I hadn’t processed myself (and I didn’t dislike them). To paraphrase; so long as you check on the map roughly where the exit is - even though you don’t yet know the layout - you’ll be able to generally keep moving in the right direction and make your way through without feeling like you’re flailing. 

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I don't know how many times I have to repeat this, but EMMIs are defeated by just moving forward. They are no threat whatsoever until you, for whatever reason, stop. There's a bit of a random factor in where they spawn within the zone but even then.

 

Knowing the exit can help here, but it's really not needed, the general level design funnels you wherever you need to go and the most difficult part is using an ability instead of merely running.

 

Really, EMMIs (and the entire 'dread' theme) are the weakest part of the game by a long shot. Why on earth they are getting so much attention while the boss battles are so much better is a mystery to me. Must've been marketing in need of a hook.

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3 hours ago, Cyhwuhx said:

Really, EMMIs (and the entire 'dread' theme) are the weakest part of the game by a long shot. Why on earth they are getting so much attention while the boss battles are so much better is a mystery to me. Must've been marketing in need of a hook.

 

They're getting the attention because they just feel like a pointless and irritating distraction from exploring and getting to the great bosses. People saying you just need to X,Y or Z - then what's the fucking point? It's just not fun to do.

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1 hour ago, Cyhwuhx said:

I don't know how many times I have to repeat this, but EMMIs are defeated by just moving forward. They are no threat whatsoever until you, for whatever reason, stop. There's a bit of a random factor in where they spawn within the zone but even then.

That's true on the second or third go, sure. The first time through when you don't know where you're going they are deadly. Having to double back is bad news.

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I thought they were shit, annoying, repetitive, and not even scary. However, on hard mode when trying to clear a section as fast as possible they take on an whole new dynamic. I’m only half-way through but there are numerous sections where you’re blocked off and the only way through is to counter your way past them. They’re way better now.

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First time I've played a Metroid game and hitting frustrating parts now I have to admit.

 

As others are saying the EMMI things are just a pain in the ass to be honest, nothing fun about them. 

 

Ive just beaten the Escue boss in Ferenia after fuck knows how many attempts and your basically then thrown into a fight against 2 robot things.

 

I only have 5 energy bars and think I might be underpowered for where I am.

 

Will give it another go and see how it goes.

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I found Escue the most troublesome boss and the final boss relatively easy. The last time I beat him, I reset and did it again. :ph34r:

 

@memories 5 energy bars should be plenty. I think they take two barrages of missles each. It's mostly a case of keeping your distance.

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The energy bars are a red herring to some extent.  Each boss has a pattern and if you watch the boss (not Samus) you can see there's always an animation that pre-empts the coming action.  You can learn the correct response to each action and effectively kill each boss without taking any damage.  

 

The main criticism I have is that the EMMIs, combined with the sheer number of bosses, breaks up a game where the whole series have been about exploration. The maze is populated with loads of enemy's, none of which are any real threat for the most part.  Metroid was always a game I found comfortable and relaxing.  Dread has a good amount of this but it's suddenly broken up as an EMMI appears and blocks your path.  The QTE style parry is so tight that I only get them one time in every 10.  If it was 50/50 I'd understand the design decision but no matter what anyone else says above, a new EMMI means at least 10-15 instadeaths. And if you do lose, you get 15 seconds of loading before the game drops you back practically where you were. You just sit through a game over screen, over and over...  You can't kill it, you'll get lucky and outrun it eventually but it's an inconvenience.  It doesn't fit.

 

The bosses get it right.  They're hard as nails but you'll get there as you get better.  

 

Like I say, you can read the reviews and see how many awards this game is winning, but I've not seen a game so widely available cheap second hand a couple of weeks from launch before.  The trading forum was full of them.  Many people like it, but the frustrating stuff really puts me off a second run through. 

 

 

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44 minutes ago, memories said:

Got to the final boss last night.

 

Seems quite a jump in difficulty from others. Will persevere as I want to complete the game but will be happy enough to see the finish.

I had major issues with that sodding boss when I first got there also, had a rant in here about it, was told to persevere.

So I left it for the evening and came back to it the next morning, beat the twat first time 😛

You "could" just go watch a YT video of the ending, but the satisfaction for beating the frustratingly difficult behemoth is well worth sticking with.

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“Sleep on it” is the best advice for the last boss, really. I’m not sure why coming back to it the next day makes such a difference - different frame of mind? Different perspective? Muscle memory developed during REM sleep? 
 

Be it Metroid, Dark Souls, Hyper Light Drifter; any number of game bosses got easier for me after I came back to it with a fresh pair of eyes. 

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On 08/01/2022 at 16:50, dumpster said:

It doesn't fit.

 

If you mean by "it doesn't fit" = "It doesn't fit into my idea of what a Metroid game should be" then fine. Because, to me, I absolutely loved the EMMI bots. They gave a real sense of tension and broke up the gameplay from pure exploration. I was properly scared of them, which is very commendable in a video game, where 90% of them are childish power fantasies.

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2 hours ago, Popo said:

Be it Metroid, Dark Souls, Hyper Light Drifter; any number of game bosses got easier I got me after I came back to it with a fresh pair of eyes. 

It's true. I beat Soul Master in Hollow Knight last night after trying months ago and being utterly hopeless at it. I would try to simply observe his attacks to begin, but he'd just fire shit at me and boom, dead. The long crawl from the nearest save point eventually made me throw in the towel. But after watching a YouTube video of somebody reacting to each attack in a calm and collected way, I managed it after about three more attempts, so I'd say if you're really struggling, have a look on there. Sure it would be better to figure these things out on your own, maybe it's considered cheating, but the alternative strats never usually occur to me once I'm locked into doing things a certain way.

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2 hours ago, Tomdominer said:

 

If you mean by "it doesn't fit" = "It doesn't fit into my idea of what a Metroid game should be" then fine. Because, to me, I absolutely loved the EMMI bots. They gave a real sense of tension and broke up the gameplay from pure exploration. I was properly scared of them, which is very commendable in a video game, where 90% of them are childish power fantasies.

Its great that you enjoyed the EMMI sections, and this thread shows they are divisive. As always on this forum, I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong, I'm just giving my take.  

 

It's just, for me, Metroid games have been relatively unchanged from the NES.  You land on a planet, lose all your powers, explore, get them back, beat bosses, beat final boss, everything explodes, you escape.  You know what you're getting with a Metroid game and I've not seen anything previous that pushes you through the map or causes 10 instadeaths in a row.  It's weird that AM2R, the free, fanmade remake of Metroid 2 is better (to me) than Samus Returns on 3DS, as the extra features the official developer added can get in the way of the action and exploration.  AM2R demonstrates how Incredible Metroid 2 was (running on an original Gameboy as well) and uses GBA graphics and zoomed out view to show what a great game it always was.  

 

The EMMIs, for me, would benefit from an easier counter response.   Once you know the pattern and the route, they are no trouble, but it takes 10 instadeaths to get there and that feels really out of place in a Metroid game. It's a great game, game of the year probably, but it just feels to me that the game would be better if they were a little less instakill and more inkeeping with the rest of the game's feel.  The bosses are super hard but you get a bit further every attempt and it's a great sense of satisfaction to complete them.  The EMMIs should be the same but they frustrate more than they entertain.  In my opinion.  

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1 hour ago, dumpster said:

The EMMIs, for me, would benefit from an easier counter response.   Once you know the pattern and the route, they are no trouble, but it takes 10 instadeaths to get there and that feels really out of place in a Metroid game. It's a great game, game of the year probably, but it just feels to me that the game would be better if they were a little less instakill and more inkeeping with the rest of the game's feel.  The bosses are super hard but you get a bit further every attempt and it's a great sense of satisfaction to complete them.  The EMMIs should be the same but they frustrate more than they entertain.  In my opinion.  

 

See, without the instakills, you wouldn't be scared of them and it would really reduce the amount of tension they create. They are totally at odds with the standard game loop: which is explore and take your time. Its a brilliant piece of design that takes you out of your comfort zone, and is also wonderfully cathartic when you actually defeat them and finally get to explore an area that once was off limits.

 

To be honest, there have been many forms of this concept in many metroidvanias. I'd argue that the high / low temperature sections in this and other metroids (or perhaps poison gas in other titles) are actually a "fairly" similar experience. You can't hang around and explore until you've solved the problem. But with this, the problem isn't finding a new upgrade, the problem is a killer robot.

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2 hours ago, Tomdominer said:

 

See, without the instakills, you wouldn't be scared of them and it would really reduce the amount of tension they create. They are totally at odds with the standard game loop: which is explore and take your time. Its a brilliant piece of design that takes you out of your comfort zone, and is also wonderfully cathartic when you actually defeat them and finally get to explore an area that once was off limits.

 

To be honest, there have been many forms of this concept in many metroidvanias. I'd argue that the high / low temperature sections in this and other metroids (or perhaps poison gas in other titles) are actually a "fairly" similar experience. You can't hang around and explore until you've solved the problem. But with this, the problem isn't finding a new upgrade, the problem is a killer robot.

Yeah, it's a different manifestation of the "you found this area tough, now you're melting faces" bit that's intrinsic to Metroid. I like it, not being the apex predator all the time is nice change of pace.

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I'm only about a 1/4 through this and am enjoying it immensely.

 

Regarding the EMMI, my take is that I can certainly see how they are marmite for many. I'm kinda non plussed by them so far, they annoy me and please me in equal measure. From a design point of view though, I would have pushed for a more 'gamey' get out of jail mechanic. Something to allow players (those who so wished) to stand a 'reasonable' chance of escape. The usual pico second 'Do I push it on that flashing light or THAT flashing light!?' button push mechanic they decided on is pretty lazy, imo. And that I don't like, it's pointless, again imo.

 

There's plenty of examples regarding other mechanics, off the top of my head, some kind of rewiring puzzle against a quick clock. Of course players could pass this if they so wished etc. But at least if you're going to give players the option to 'beat/escape' the unstoppable character, make them feel they're in with a chance. In its current form, I don't feel there is one and hence why a lot of players feel frustrated.

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You’re not guaranteed to die on the EMMI’s, they aren’t trial and error. Once I figured out how the first couple worked I rarely died on the rest. There’s almost always a circular route around any EMMI section so you can retreat and loop back around to where you were going, and even if you do get cornered there’s a literal invisibility button which stops them from looking for you.
 

They’re well designed encounters so long as you use your tools and observe your surroundings rather than banging your head running into them repeatedly.

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17 hours ago, memories said:

Another hour with the last boss, don't think I've gotten out of the first phase.

 

Fucking sick of seeing that elevator.

You’ll know when you’ve got into the second phase, because it’s much more difficult, but once you’ve mastered that the third phase is easy and you will likely do it first or second try. 

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On 11/01/2022 at 10:44, Cyhwuhx said:

That's how the brain feeds on sleep. Seriously.

 

Indeed. Ask anyone who works in a career focused on problem-solving, or anyone learning a musical instrument.

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20 hours ago, memories said:

Another hour with the last boss, don't think I've gotten out of the first phase.

 

Fucking sick of seeing that elevator.

Half hour at lunch, fuck that noise.

 

Youtubed the ending and didn't really make much sense go me anyway haha.

 

Decent enough game overall but the EMMI things are shit. It's got me wishing that a port of Shadow Complex would come to the Switch.

 

Will likely be in trading soon of anyone's interested.

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I mean I enjoyed Shadow Complex but it’s not a patch on Dread. 
 

Stick with that boss you’ll get it - the first phase is really easy to keep your health topped up full. That fight is really all about the second phase but if you just relax and take your time you’ll do it, and it’s very satisfying. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh man, I finally bought this and was loving every second of it, up until I acquired the Spin Jump. I am finding the control of this fucking double jump to be so wildly inconsistent it is causing me to have proper Mario Kart 8 Blue Shell levels of rage. I cannot figure out where I'm going wrong with it, but it seems to work one moment and just not respond a moment later. Any tips, other than just timing?

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