Was there ever any doubt as to who would win our Best Switch Game 2021 award? Okay, I had some doubts. Just take a look at the competition!
This year was pretty killer for the Nintendo Switch, with Monster Hunter Rise and Shin Megami Tensei V going up against a new Metroid game. It was always going to be a brawl, but in the end, Metroid Dread came out with the win.
All eyes were on Dread to succeed and continue the legacy of Samus Aran, and the powers that be pulled it off. It was a tightrope, too. If that same team messed up Samus Returns (they didn’t), at the end of the day you essentially sunk a remake. But with Dread, everyone needed to bring their A game. This is continuing the legacy of the series that essentially died many years ago, and it even had the audacity to use the “Dread” moniker.
In the end, they nailed it. I remember reviewing it in isolation and initially being a little worried, then slowly easing into it like it was a classic entry. That sense of familiarity is a large part of why so many people took to the game. It felt like comfort food, but with the modern baseline that MecurySteam and Nintendo had snuck in through Samus Returns. In retrospect, it felt like they were building toward this moment back in 2017.
For me, the part that Dread that impacted me the most were the story bits. While mostly subtle, it was fantastic to get resolution after all these years and go on a journey with Samus again. While the general lack of proper mainline entries allowed Metroid to build a mystique of sorts and not overstay its welcome, I would have easily welcomed more theoretical games with open arms. Samus is a great character that deserves more love, and she got it with Metroid Dread.
As time went on, the community discovered more secrets as the game’s reputation grew, already bolstered by its release alongside of the Switch OLED. It came at basically the perfect time, and managed to secure both its short term and long term legacy in the process. Best Switch Game 2021 today, classic Metroid entry forevermore.