Oh how fortuitous! My first payday in many months happens to land in Metroid Zero Mission release week. Technically, it comes a few days after the release date, but these are the situations for which Visa was created. Ahem.
I was going to briefly check out the game before going to sleep. Without realizing it, “brief” became about two and a half hours long. I enjoyed every second of it. This is the game that Metroid Fusion should have been.
Being a Metroid veteran, “ball jumping” is a skill I already possess. Thus, as soon as I got bombs I began to will myself to areas that I won’t have easy access to until later in the game. The original Metroid’s near-the-start hidden-in-the-ceiling energy tank is an example of this. Normal procedure dictates that you get to it by getting the Ice Beam first; I ball-jumped to it. I love that Zero Mission gives me this option. And while there are some areas specifically designed to keep you out, no matter what your technique (yellow and green doors, pit-blocks a plenty, etc), they aren’t nearly as blatant as in Fusion.
Yes, progress is slightly more “directed” than in Super Metroid, but it doesn’t feel nearly as forced as Fusion — which, with this franchise, is a definite negative. So where I felt like I had to go from point A to point B to point C in Fusion, here I already get the sense that I can, if I so choose, “sequence break”. As though I can go from A to C, then to B. [This is good].
Mix in the throw-back environments, a full version of the original Metroid, and redone versions of many classic tunes (Kraid’s theme! Brinstar. The original theme. etc…), and you’ve got: [this is great].
All this raving after a mere two hours of gameplay — I must really be biased in regards to this franchise.