A hard mode is available in game, but an even harder mode is available only with the Amiibo.
Next month marks the glorious return of Samus Aran and the Metroid franchise with Metroid: Samus Returns, a full fledged remake of Metroid 2: Return of Samus for the Nintendo 3DS. The game looks great, and there is a lot of excitement and hype for it- but it has been marred somewhat due to a controversy the game finds itself embroiled in.
You see, Nintendo has locked a hard mode in the game behind Amiibo- which means that to unlock it, you need to pay $15 for a figure (itself a crapshoot, given how rare Amiibo figures are on the market). For a series that has always been about empowering and rewarding player skill, this seems especially egregious.
However, USGamer reports that a Nintendo executive has clarified this functionality to them somewhat- apparently, a Hard Mode will be available in the game without the need for Amiibo, and it can be unlocked by completing the game once. A harder Fusion Mode, which also lets you play through the game with Samus in her Fusion Suit, is locked behind the Amiibo- and it will not be available in any other way.
While it’s good to see that a Hard Mode will be available for players without the need to spend any more money, locking another Harder Mode still behind a $15 paywall is just bad form for Nintendo here. They are supposed to be better than this. Metroid: Samus Returns launches exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS on September 15.