Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for October 12th, 2021. In today’s article, we’ve got a pair of big reviews for you to enjoy. First up, I’ve got my review of Metroid Dread ready. I’m sure everyone has been waiting patiently for it. Next, our pal Mikhail has his full review of Disco Elysium – The Final Cut. After that, we look at the handful of new releases that hit the eShop today, and finish up with the ever-present lists of incoming and expiring sales. Let’s dig in!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Metroid Dread ($59.99)
Like many, many people who enjoy games, I love the Metroid series. The original game with its curious non-linearity drew me in as a kid. The sequel created an atmosphere I didn’t think was possible on a Game Boy at that point. Super Metroid is one of my top three games of all-time, and my appreciation for it grows even more every time I revisit it. Metroid Prime seemed like absolute magic, pulling off a trick I never believed could be done. Metroid Fusion showed the sheer terror of an incredibly overpowering force that you could only hope to run and hide from. Zero Mission was one of the best remakes ever created, Metroid Prime 2 and 3 continued the sub-series with style, and Other M certainly existed. I even liked Metroid Prime Pinball and Prime Hunters!
Things went pretty dark after Other M hit in 2010. You could sense that the aftermath of that game had everyone wondering where the series should go next, or if it even had anywhere to go. For six years, there was basically nothing Metroid-related from Nintendo apart from some Virtual Console re-releases. Then there was Federation Force. That game made a lot of people upset and it sure seemed like a poor reading of the room, but I was actually happy to see it. It meant that Nintendo still felt the brand was worth something, which was a fact I wasn’t sure about anymore at that point. The following year cemented that with the release of Metroid: Samus Returns, a remake of the second game in the series.
As happy as I was to see a new 2D Metroid game, that excitement was tempered when I heard who the developer was. MercurySteam’s name was all too familiar to me. I wasn’t a fan of their direction with the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow series, and the second game in that trilogy in particular had me worried as it was a Nintendo 3DS Metroidvania-style game that felt poorly designed and ran very poorly on the system. I took a deep breath, jumped into Samus Returns, and… it ended up being one of my favorite Metroid games. Some room for improvements, but very good overall. Well, how about that! So when Metroid Dread was announced for the Switch with MercurySteam back in the saddle, I allowed myself to feel the hype. Ah, how pleasant.
Metroid Dread is a very good game. It is better than Samus Returns in a number of ways, some due to MercurySteam’s experiences with that title and others due to it being a new game instead of remaking something from the era when mullets were trendy. It is a very bold title in many ways as well. It reminds me a lot of Metroid Fusion, the game that immediately precedes it in the Metroid timeline. It questions a great deal of the Metroid formula, to the point that it very well may make some veterans uncomfortable. It wants to please the crowd by addressing criticisms of Samus Returns, Fusion, and especially Other M, but it also seems to go out of its way to not follow traditions. Frankly speaking, this could have been an absolute disaster. Somehow, it mostly pulls it off.
The stars of the marketing so far have been the E.M.M.I. robots, and they do indeed play a major role in the game. When you reach each new region of planet ZLR, you’ll find it is broadly broken up into two types of areas. There are the standard areas, which feel like most any other Metroid game. Explore around, note places you can’t reach that you will have to come back to later, and search for upgrades and new abilities. But your explorations will inevitably bring you into the other type of area: the E.M.M.I. zone. These are the areas that each killer robot stalks, patrolling around with a singular purpose: to find you and slaughter you. Make noise and they will hear it, moving in to investigate. Get spotted and the chase is on. Let them touch you and you have a tiny window to perform a QTE. Should you fail it, you’ll hit a Game Over screen and be sent to the last checkpoint.
Forget trying to explore in these sections. It’s almost hopeless, no matter how many cool abilities you have. You need to find your way to the exit that leads you to the area you need to go to, and you have to do it quickly. If the E.M.M.I. begins pursuit, the exits will be sealed until you can lose it. You may want to hunt for items or something. All of your Metroid instincts are telling you to fill out that map. But it’s not a good idea. The robots are as dangerous and cunning as the SA-X from Fusion appeared to be, but unshackled from the largely scripted nature of the latter’s behavior. Particularly early on, these areas will see you herded around practically as the game sees fit. Blocked off passages, things that break and collapse, and doors that seal up behind you only add to this feeling. You can’t explore to your heart’s content. How un-Metroid-like.
But that’s the point, isn’t it? It’s right there in the title: Metroid Dread. A pervasive feeling of discomfort. Near-absolute helplessness. Early on, you get a weapon that is effective against these robots. But it is fleeting. This is how it’s going to be, at least for a long while. And that’s just where the game wants you. It messes with you in further ways. You’ll see the tell-tale signs of a familiar power-up in the immediate area, only for the game to throw you a totally unexpected upgrade instead. This game is very aware of itself and the fans of the series. It uses your knowledge and expectations against you. I hope you weren’t looking forward to comfort food.
The divisive counter-attack has been improved here and is far less of a requirement, though the benefits of using it are clear, particularly in boss battles. Visually this is an obvious step up from the previous game, and the somewhat cumbersome touch controls are no longer a thing. Some of the new button controls can be awkward on their own, and I’d advise playing this with a better controller than the Joy-Cons if you have the option. Loading times between areas can be a bit lengthy, and the game doesn’t always sign-post the next step as elegantly as it could. I don’t personally dig that the bosses tend to be finished off in cinematics, but that’s a minor thing. On the brighter side, the map is incredible. Detailed to the point that it could be overwhelming, but a massive help for those seeking 100%.
I don’t want to ruin any fun surprises in the gameplay or the story, but suffice it to say there are plenty. The story is almost exactly what it should be, telling its tale without falling into excessive wordiness. It does indeed bring an era of the franchise to a close, while setting up beats that could easily be followed up on if the desire is there. In terms of mechanics, there are plenty of shake-ups from the usual routine without completely abandoning what everyone came here for. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by telling you that you will eventually have your run of the map and be a near-unstoppable killing machine by the end of the game, and it feels all the more empowering after the game spends so much time kicking you around.
This is a very challenging game relative to the rest of the series. The bosses in particular can put up a fierce fight, and between them and E.M.M.I. confrontations don’t be surprised if you see the Game Over screen more in this game than you have in the entire series to date. I wouldn’t call any of it unfair, but you can’t sleepwalk your way through these situations. You need to observe patterns carefully, and be mindful of what you’re doing. This game has a homicidal rage for sloppy play in a way not usually seen in Metroid games. Still, in spite of how tough these encounters can be, the game is of a similar length to previous 2D Metroids. Expect to see the credits rolling in under ten hours on the game clock, and tack on a few more if you want to nab the 100%. This doesn’t count time lost to failed boss attempts, of course. That last boss is… something, alright.
When you take everything that led up to it into account, it’s a bit of a miracle that Metroid Dread is as good as it is. While I wouldn’t call it my favorite game in the series, it hangs comfortably with the rest of the 2D entries. Given just how good that particular run of games is, I believe that speaks volumes. I can definitely see some room for improvement, particularly with regards to the difficulty curve and how it hints at your next objective. Perhaps more importantly, I can see this particular style of Metroid not sitting well with those looking for a more traditional entry. It takes a lot of risks in service of creating its specific feel, but as long as you’re okay with having conventions challenged within a conventional framework, this should be an easy pick-up.
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
Disco Elysium – The Final Cut ($39.99)
When Disco Elysium released on PC back in 2019, my friends constantly recommended the RPG to me because of how much I like Planescape Torment and story-heavy RPGs. I ended up buying it on Steam but didn’t play much until it was released on PS5 and PS4 earlier this year as Disco Elysium – The Final Cut. Disco Elysium – The Final Cut builds on the original release by adding a ton of voice acting, new characters, portraits, quests, controller support on PC, and a lot more. The PS5 release also had some issues at launch and it is finally in a much better place as of a few months ago. With all of this in mind, I was very curious about how Disco Elysium – The Final Cut would fare on Nintendo Switch considering it doesn’t feel as smooth as it should even on PS4 Pro. Developer ZA/UM went above and beyond for this Nintendo Switch release and I’ve adored my time with it despite some technical issues.
If you’ve never played Disco Elysium or Disco Elysium – The Final Cut before, it is an experience that feels like a combination of a point and click adventure game and a pen and paper RPG. It doesn’t have any traditional combat, but relies on skills, stats, dialogue options, and gives you a ton of freedom with how you approach each situation. It also lacks a tutorial so the onboarding isn’t great if you don’t know what to expect when you launch the game. After spending a bit of time experimenting when I decided to properly play Disco Elysium – The Final Cut on PS5, I finally understood why this game was recommended to me and why it won so many awards.
You play as an amnesiac detective investigating a murder. Even the opening minutes of Disco Elysium where you wake up in a hotel room are masterfully done and I ended up redoing even this just to see how far the game would let me push things. As this detective, you explore different areas alongside your partner Kim Kitsuragi who acts like your voice of reason in many situations. Disco Elysium – The Final Cut also changed how I approach playing some games. As an example, in a recent game like Tales of Arise, I spend time talking to every NPC and exhausting the dialogue options before moving ahead. You can’t and shouldn’t do that in Disco Elysium. You’re better off only pressing when needed and moving on when you have what you need from characters.
When you start a new game, you get to choose three premade characters (stat wise) or roll your own custom build. These stats drastically affect how you will approach characters and situations in Disco Elysium – The Final Cut. You have health and morale stats that can drop to zero depending on your dialogue options, and this causes a game over. You do get the ability to restore both stats by using items mapped to the d-pad early on in the game, but acting dumb while talking to a certain NPC will result in you losing morale, which will harm you in the long run.
The dialogue options or actions you can use in specific situations depend on skill checks that rely on a dice roll. These have their own success percentages that depend on your stats and can result in penalties if you fail. This is what makes it so that you don’t try and do everything or talk to everyone about everything. In addition to this skill check action system Disco Elysium – The Final Cut features an inventory system for gear that gives you various buffs, and a thought system that lets you unlock thoughts through interactions and progression. These thoughts need to be internalized after a set number of in-game minutes or hours before you can equip them for progressing other situations.
Interacting with NPCs, accomplishing certain tasks including hidden ones, and more gives you experience. You can use this to level up one of the many stats you have available. In Disco Elysium – The Final Cut, time only moves when you interact with things or talk to people and not when you’re exploring or just moving around from place to place.
I don’t want to get into story details to avoid spoilers because everything I encountered from major encounters with NPCs that completely halted my progress to random kids who were just annoying, felt real. The world in this game feels believable with how well written the NPCs are and how each interaction you have with them. You will also have multiple early game overs or endings as you learn the in-game systems and get used to the flow.
Disco Elysium – The Final Cut on PS5 had a lot of text issues and still isn’t amazing if you play on a TV and sit far away. This made me worried about the Nintendo Switch version given handheld mode, but the developers have done a great job. The interface is excellent on Switch and being able to play with touch controls in handheld mode makes this the best version of the game for me when it comes to control options at least. Being able to use a combination of button controls and touch controls while playing handheld is excellent. When playing on TV, it controls like the PS5 version and has HD Rumble for when you highlight a point of interest.
Visually, Disco Elysium – The Final Cut is great. The aesthetic scales really well on Nintendo Switch. When moving from docked to handheld, I noticed more aliasing as the main difference barring resolution changes. It is great that the UI adjusts depending on whether you play docked or handheld in addition to the scaling options for fonts available in-game. The only downsides for the Switch version of Disco Elysium – The Final Cut are to do with the performance, load times, and a few crashes. The game never feels as smooth as it should and some areas feel pretty awful to walk around in thanks to the jitter. It feels like the frame rate is uncapped at all times and fluctuates a lot. I don’t know the exact frame rate, but it definitely needs some optimization. Load times are longer than I expected as well with some freezing leading to crashes. These aren’t as prevalent as NIS Classics Volume 1, but they are there. There is also a noticeable freeze during autosaves. Hopefully these two things can be addressed in patches.
ZA/UM’s Disco Elysium – The Final Cut is a superlative RPG that I consider at par with Divinity Original Sin 2 and now Nintendo Switch owners get to experience both of these top tier RPGs on the go or at home. If you held off on buying Disco Elysium – The Final Cut on other platforms to get it on Nintendo Switch, your wait has been mostly worth it. Barring the performance and crashing issues, Disco Elysium – The Final Cut has been adapted to the Switch really well with smart compromises and great tweaks to the interface and controls. My concerns about the UI and text were all put to rest after I launched it and played for an hour. If the technical issues can be addressed, this will be my favorite version of the game by far. It also has me very optimistic about a potential iPad port which likely wouldn’t have these issues. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Disco Elysium – The Final Cut ($39.99)
Well, you’ve probably already read Mikhail’s review so you don’t need me to say much more. This is a very unique role-playing game that actually takes that ‘role-playing’ bit of the name quite seriously. The Switch port appears to have come out reasonably well, so if you like the idea of its unusual set-up and want to enjoy it on the go, I can’t see any reason not to recommend it.
Monster Crown ($29.99)
With an eye-catching Game Boy Color-style aesthetic, Monster Crown wears at least one of its sources of inspiration on its sleeve. As much as it seems to simply be yet another take on Pokemon, there’s a bit of Shin Megami Tensei in its mechanics as well. You aren’t catching monsters, but rather negotiating with them to make a pact. Indeed, the monsters of this game’s world aren’t really that fluffy or friendly in spite of how they may look. It’s a playable enough RPG with some interesting features, but it’s not even the best of the Pokemon-inspired indies on Switch.
Damn Dolls ($3.99)
Damn dolls! Prancing about like they own the joint! Anyway, this is yet another first-person horror game where you’re exploring a spooky house. There are jump scares, and you have a gun, and it’s all very dark. Find keys, read messages written on walls, and so on. You’re looking for your friend who suddenly disappeared but was spotted nearby a house whose owner was put to death for kidnapping and murdering a girl. Seems like a bad place to visit, but that’s just what you do. Not my thing at all, but if it’s your thing you may want to roll four bucks on it.
Robot Car War: Transform Battle Machines ($17.99)
Game Mavericks has another port of one of its free-to-play mobile games, this time the Purple Monkey Dishwasher-titled monstrosity Robot Car War: Transform Battle Machines. Obviously trying to capitalize on Hasbro’s popular franchise, this game puts you in command of a variety of transforming robots as you battle enemies in a series of missions. Single-player only, sadly. This is the kind of thing you download on your phone on a silly whim and mess around with for twenty minutes before deleting it from your device and your brain. I wouldn’t pay a relatively high eighteen bucks for it given what else that amount of money can get on Switch, but you may feel differently.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
A somewhat shorter list than some days, but there are a few things to highlight. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is on sale again, along with most of the Sonic games available on Switch. Gunslugs 2 is a fun way to blow two bucks, and Knights & Bikes is a cute little adventure. In the outbox, Chasm, King’s Bounty II, and Manticore: Galaxy on Fire may be worth considering before their sales close. Chasm is often on sale but it’s great. King’s Bounty II has gotten a few updates since I reviewed it, so it’s possible things are better with it these days. Manticore is just plain enjoyable and isn’t on sale that often. Have a look and see what grabs you, though.
Select New Games on Sale
Gunslugs 2 ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/16)
Best Friend Forever ($11.99 from $19.99 until 10/18)
S.N.I.P.E.R. Hunter Scope ($1.99 from $14.99 until 10/18)
Street Basketball ($1.99 from $5.99 until 10/18)
Real Drift Racing ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/18)
Bubble Cats Rescue ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/18)
Adrenaline Rush: Miami Drive ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/18)
2048 Battles ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/18)
Blood Breed ($1.99 from $5.99 until 10/18)
Knights and Bikes ($11.99 from $19.99 until 10/19)
Phoenix Wright: AA Trilogy ($19.99 from $29.99 until 10/19)
Adventures of Pip ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/19)
Willy Morgan & Curse of Bonetown ($18.74 from $24.99 until 10/19)
B.ARK ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/19)
Debris Infinity ($3.74 from $4.99 until 10/21)
Sonic Mania ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/25)
Sonic Forces ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/25)
SEGA AGES Sonic The Hedgehog ($5.99 from $7.99 until 10/25)
SEGA AGES Sonic The Hedgehog 2 ($5.99 from $7.99 until 10/25)
Azurebreak Heroes ($1.99 from $6.99 until 10/25)
Demon’s Rise: Lords of Chaos ($3.49 from $7.99 until 10/25)
Torn Tales: Rebound Edition ($2.79 from $7.99 until 10/25)
Madorica Real Estate ($9.89 from $14.99 until 10/25)
Damn Dolls ($2.99 from $3.99 until 10/26)
Robot Car War: Transform Machines ($6.99 from $17.99 until 10/26)
Red Rope: Don’t Fall Behind+ ($3.89 from $12.99 until 10/28)
Circle of Sumo ($2.99 from $9.99 until 10/28)
Tank Battle Heroes ($2.39 from $5.99 until 11/1)
Feudal Alloy ($3.39 from $16.99 until 11/1)
World of Solitaire ($1.99 from $14.99 until 11/1)
Doug Hates His Job ($3.49 from $6.99 until 11/1)
Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae ($7.14 from $11.90 until 11/1)
Blood Will Be Spilled ($2.99 from $14.99 until 11/1)
Where’s Samantha? ($5.99 from $9.99 until 11/1)
Top Speed: Drag & Fast Racing ($4.79 from $7.99 until 11/1)
Top Boat: Racing Simulator 3D ($3.59 from $5.99 until 11/1)
Best Sniper Legacy: Dino Hunt ($4.19 from $6.99 until 11/1)
Moto Rider GO: Highway Traffic ($5.39 from $8.99 until 11/1)
Racing Xtreme 2 ($4.19 from $6.99 until 11/1)
Pool: 8 Ball Billiards ($3.59 from $5.99 until 11/1)
Pony World 3 ($3.49 from $6.99 until 11/1)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 13th
Bonkies ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/13)
Chasm ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/13)
Crisis Wing ($6.39 from $7.99 until 10/13)
Deadly Days ($3.79 from $18.99 until 10/13)
Deployment ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/13)
Dune Sea ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/13)
Fhtagn! Tales of Creeping Madness ($5.59 from $7.99 until 10/13)
Gods Will Fall ($9.99 from $24.99 until 10/13)
Jessika ($8.99 from $14.99 until 10/13)
King’s Bounty II ($44.99 from $59.99 until 10/13)
Knight Squad 2 ($11.99 from $14.99 until 10/13)
Kona ($4.99 from $19.99 until 10/13)
Leisure Suit Larry: WDDD ($5.99 from $39.99 until 10/13)
Leisure Suit Larry: WDDT ($19.99 from $39.99 until 10/13)
Lumione ($11.69 from $12.99 until 10/13)
Manticore: Galaxy on Fire ($4.99 from $19.99 until 10/13)
Power Racing Bundle 2 ($5.94 from $16.99 until 10/13)
Relicta ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/13)
Road 96 ($14.97 from $19.96 until 10/13)
Shakes on a Plane ($3.99 from $19.99 until 10/13)
Sound Waves ($2.49 from $4.99 until 10/13)
Spellkeeper ($1.99 from $5.99 until 10/13)
The Innsmouth Case ($2.99 from $14.99 until 10/13)
Windbound ($14.99 from $29.99 until 10/13)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with some news, some new releases, some sales, and perhaps a review or two. I have a few games that just need write-ups that I had to push to get Metroid Dread done. If time allows I’ll try to get a couple of them done for the next article. I hope you all have a great Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!