I’ve played plenty of top-notch games this year. From Super Mario 3D World+ Bowser’s Fury to the two Monster Hunter games and Bravely Default 2. But, in my humble opinion, nothing beats Metroid Dread for the best game I’ve played in 2021. Dread is an amazing achievement from top to bottom and I want to share why I feel this way.
The hallmark of a great video game is level design and boy howdy does Metroid Dread excel in that area. The twisting corridors, complex design, and gorgeous art direction bring each room alive. There is not one room that is wasted or is there any unnecessary padding just to pad the length out.
Everything in Metroid Dread makes sense and fits the tone for what the developers want the player to feel. Some rooms are drenched with excitement with lots of enemies to fight, while other rooms have items or hidden passageways that the player must find out how to find the way forward. This is how you do level design.
Contrary to a few critics who lack skill, Metroid Dread is one of the best controlling games I’ve ever played! The controls are easy to grasp, but hard to master. This is a hallmark of great design. With practice, you’ll be pulling off crazy combos for bosses and fly through the game with grace and speed.
Never has a game made me feel like the character the way Dread does. Developer Mercury Steam deserves a round of applause for not cheapening the experience. They do want you to use your skills to get good, but it isn’t impossible, and it doesn’t feel clunky. Dread’s controls are a dream come true for Speedrunners.
Stories in video games aren’t my number one priority, but I love it when a game has one and sticks the landing. Metroid Dread brings a satisfying end to the Metroid saga. There are twists and shocks, but the game doesn’t overdo it, it feels natural and never forced.
The story doesn’t overshadow the gameplay, it is meant to complement it and drive the player forward. You get enough backstory to educate newbies but it doesn’t bog you down with every detail. Dread has created a great story for Samus to help push the gameplay forward without stealing the limelight of the stellar gameplay This is how you do it.
There are so many things to love about Metroid Dread. From the gorgeous art to the mysterious music, great story, blistering pace, and perfect controls. I’ve played lots of great games for 2021, but Metroid Dread stands atop the heap as my favorite.