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Metroid Dread beginner’s guide, tips, and tricks

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Seven tips to control your dread

Metroid Dread beginner’s guide, tips, and tricks Image: MercurySteam, Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Metroid Dread is a difficult, punishing example of the genre that the series helped create.

In this Metroid Dread beginner’s guide, we’ll give you our best advice to make your first several hours a bit less hard. Below, we’ll explain its genre, show you how to save your favorite items, make our best case against our lying brain, explain why stealth is the best option (until it isn’t), why your left hand is so important, and more.

Embrace the genre

Metroid Dread is, unsurprisingly, a metroidvania game. That means you’ll constantly be picking up new upgrades that unlock doors and paths that were previously blocked. You’ll find new paths forward as well as new paths backward.

What that means is you’ll be doing a lot of exploring, finding dead ends, and backtracking.

Speaking of backtracking …

You won’t pick up every upgrade (yet)

You’re going to see way more upgrades like Missile Tanks and Energy Tanks than you’ll be able to reach as you play Metroid Dread. Don’t waste your time on them. You’ll revisit previous areas as you earn new upgrades and means of navigating.

Upgrades appear on your map as you find them, so you don’t even have to remember where they are.

Speaking of maps …

Highlight doors to find new paths

On your map screen, there’s an option to highlight icons. Each time you unlock a new kind of door — like a Charge Beam Door after picking up the Charge Beam — hover over that door’s icon on the map, and select this option. This will highlight every Charge Beam Door door in the area, and doing that will often show you the (or a) path forward.

When you can’t find the path, though …

Shoot walls to uncover secret doors

Scattered throughout Metroid Dread are breakable walls (and ceilings and floors). Generally, these look a lot like normal walls. There are several times in the first area, Artaria, where finding a single breakable wall block is the only path forward.

When you hit a dead end or get stuck (or just get generally frustrated), try shooting walls and ceilings and floors.

You are no match for EMMI

The major conceit of Metroid Dread is that Samus is stalked and hunted by a robot named EMMI. EMMIs patrol discrete zones, though, so you’re not always looking over your shoulder.

When you do pass through an EMMI Zone, running into EMMI is generally a one-hit kill that ruins your day. You are no match for EMMI. Your job when you see an EMMI is to get away and hide.

That said …

Countering EMMI stuns it for a moment

You’ll have two chances to block and stun EMMI when it grabs you. The timing for this is random and feels largely impossible. And, to be honest, it kind of is.

Don’t treat getting captured and killed by EMMI as a punishment. Instead, learn from it. It’s just the game’s way of telling you that you weren’t sneaky enough.

Save and prepare before boss fights

Finding nearby Save Stations and Ammo Recharge Stations can take you a bit out of the way as you travel to a boss fight. Going out of your way to make sure you’re fully stocked on ammo and health and have a convenient save point is always worth the time. Just check the map for the most convenient locations.