Metroid Dread just launched on October 8, and Samus Aran fans have been ecstatic. This one title has been in the works since 2005 and is a continuation of the story from after the events of Metroid Fusion, with the Galactic Federation now concerned that Samus may be compromised due to the genetic mutation she experienced during that title. As if that were not enough of a concern, some longtime fans have seen enough hints from preview material to wager we may be seeing an evil faction of the Chozo that was hinted at in "Zero Mission."
Concept aside, some people have resorted to emulating the game in order to play the platformer in crisp, clean, brilliant 4K resolution. While the Nintendo Switch is capable of producing 4K resolution on paper due to having a Nvidia Tegra X1 chip, a number of sacrifices had to be made for its games to be playable on a portable device. This sort of downgrading is why Breath of the Wild is only 720p in portable mode and jumps to 900p when played with the Switch docked and broadcasting to an external screen.
The fact that people have figured out a way to play games at a level of graphical fidelity that outclasses the console it was designed for brings to mind the idea that the Nintendo GameCube had full support for HD visuals even if none of its titles were optimized to focus on such a gameplay experience.
How Are They Doing It?
As previously stated, Metroid Dread is a very new game. While some users are going about things in a completely legal way, emulating a title that they bought with their own money; others have resorted to venues where ROMs can be acquired, download the ROM for this shiny new title and then boot it up through their chosen emulator without so much as a second thought.
While emulators can do a lot of the heavy lifting in experiencing a game at a graphical fidelity that surpasses how that game was initially planned, there are some quirks that not all emulators can handle. The biggest issue I can think of, even if it might not be a concern to everyone who plays a title like Metroid Dread, would be "amiibo" support.
For those curious, there are 7 amiibo that unlock different gameplay features within Metroid Dread by scanning them with an NFC reader. While the Switch has this reader built into the JoyCons, emulating players will need to see how the emulators work to scan such functional statuary.
- The Metroid Dread amiibo two-pack of Samus and the Apple-esque "E.M.M.I." grant players an extra energy and Missle+ tank, respectively, upon the first scan. These two amiibo also grant a once-a-day boon of a full health or missile refill. Notably, this pack's release was delayed until November.
- The Smash Brothers and Metroid series Samus, plus the Zero Suit Samus amiibos grant a once-a-day full health refill just like the Dread version.
- The Dark Suit Samus, Metroid and Ridley amiibos grant the same daily scan benefit as E.M.M.I., fully refilling your stock of missiles.