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The sequel to Metroid Prime, one my personal favourite games ever, is a mixed bag.
Echoes continues the story of Samus Aran, the bounty hunter, in her fight against the space pirates and the mysterious chemical, Phazon. In Echoes, Aran explores a planet hit by a phazon comet, causing reality on the planet to split in two, one a world of light, the other a world of dark. When Aran arrives, the world of Dark, with its sinister Ing, is about to consume the planet, and unleash havoc on the universe.
Echoes continues Primes brilliant focus on exploration, with its immersive environment, with some improvements. Combat is more varied and more intense, while still being enjoyable. The game is larger, so there is more to explore and unlock, with some challenging puzzles. The idea of two realities is well implemented, each being similar, yet with striking, and sinister differences. The mechanic of changing things in one zone to affect the other is well implemented.
However, there were some significant dips in quality over the two installments. For instance, while the game is larger, the four main game areas don't feel as unique and as individual as they did in the first game, and the layout of each feels disjointed and awkward, unlike the first game. Inthe first game, the world was split into fire, earth, ice and ruins and each was strongly realized. In echoes, the world is split into desert, swamp, techno and... more desert basically. oh wat, there is the dark region for each as well, which is basically the same, but purple...
Its such a shame, because it isn't as visuallt satisfying a the first game, and due to the nature of the game, you will be going through all these regions multiple times, in order to back track and explore whenever you gain new abilities. This was okay in the first game, when each zone was fascinating to explore, but that level of... life, i suppose, is not here, making exploration sometimes a chore.
In addition, in the first game, scanning (one of my favourite parts of the game) was done by looking for orange tablets attached to walls. These could be hard to see, but looked interesting and fitted into the games aethetic. In echoes, the system is simplified: a scannable object is now covered in a block colour, either green, red or blue, depening on its importance, whethere its an enemy, or if you've already scanned it. Its so simplistic as to be dull. While the colouring and graphics are brilliant, they are spoilt when green paint is poured all over it. I felt this was a step in the wrong direction for the game.
Although i am criticizing the game, i invested over a week playing it solidly, trying to complete the game, to find out the story and absorb the atmosphere and because It is a fantastic gam. I loved it. Not as much as Prime, but it is still so much stronger then other games out there, in terms of immersion, visuals and story. If you played Prime, then you've got to play this. But, it sadly isn't as good as Prime. Also, i wouldn't recommend playing them out of order. Prime, Echoes and Corruption are a tight group of games, they are a trilogy, and are more rewarding when experienced as such. It woul be like watching "two towers" before "Fellowship of the ring", you just can't do it.
Metroid Prime 2 Echoes is a shooter for the Gamecube developed by Nintendo.
Samus Aran is called back in to action to investigate the disappearance of some marines, on the ship she discovers a version of herself but slightly different so intrigued she gives chase. The game will take you through the planet of Aether which has been infected with dark energy which has ripped the planet into two separate dimensions light and dark and Samus must investigate the planet, find out about the Dark Samus she saw and hopefully restore the planet. The storyline is quite engaging and as before is told in a very unique way.
As before you get to scan the environments to pick up on plot points you may encounter and pick up information on the world and its inhabitants. It's a very novel way of exposing the plot and it really helps to immerse you in the experience.
Samus controls much the same as in Prime with her blaster cannon able to shoot quickly or be charged up for a more powerful blast attack, she has some missiles she can shoot along with a couple of new weapons the dark and light energy beams which are used to great effect in the light and dark environments of Aether. The combat is still lock on so you can aim pretty easily at the targets you want.
The game still has lots of puzzle solving including Samus Morph Ball form which has her roll around through enclosed spaces, alot of the bosses require some really creative thinking to get by so you will need to use your brain in the game! There are still many pick ups to find to increase your health and grant Samus with extra powers so there is a lot to do in the game.
The games main feature is the two different versions of Aether you can traverse, you can travel in the light side and go through portals to enter dark Aether. Both sides have a really distinct visual style with the dark side really warped and twisted looking as well as being harmful to Samus, you will have to run through safe zones which have shield generators in them.
Also included for the first time in a Metroid is the multiplayer mode where you can play with up to four people, the weapons are like the single player and you can play in a couple of modes from deathmatch to bounty hunter where you must collect a certain amount of coins to win the match! The multiplayer isn't as deep as I would have liked but it is a good addition and
fun to mess around with for a while.
Graphics are very good slightly sharper than the original, the sound design is brilliant too and has some eerie tunes to keep you immersed in the strange alien world.
Metroid Prime 2 isn't as amazing as the first it is still an excellent and very unique shooter well worth your time and money.
Metroid Prime 2 marks the return of one of the best video games released in 2002 (Metroid Prime of course) and Nintendo is adding a bunch of new features to entice gamers to get all excited about this franchise yet again. Are the new improvements good enough to justify spending more money for another Metroid title or are you better off moving on with another game instead?
Like the first Metroid Prime this title is an amazing looking First Person Shooting where you are the super heroin Bounty Hunter Samus Aran. You have to shoot and scan your way through a new dangerous planet after you receive distress call. The big difference now is the planet you are investigating literally has a strange light and dark side to it. Much like in the other GameCube game Ikaruga certain weapons are better then others in some areas and it's up to you to use the right strategy at the right time but basically you are on yet another mission to destroy a few aliens and find power ups.
Samus starts off the game with many of the power ups from the past games like the Morphing ball, the grappling gun, varia suit, and more but don't too attached to them because like a lot of other Metroid games of the past she is going to lose it all after some trouble near the beginning........ again. Yes, that's the exact same thing that happened in the last game by the way! "Thanks for the cookie cutter story line Nintendo!" The fun thing about a good Metroid game is to find a new item or ability that helps unlock new areas and Metroid Prime 2 has that here too I guess.
If you are new to this series the First Person view sure takes some getting use to, thankfully these controls are fairly simple to learn. The basics to the controls is the Aiming (R button) of Samus's hand canon and the Lock on (L button) feature to focus on a object or enemy, once you learn those two buttons you'll be ready for action. Unfortunately Nintendo still won't let me edit my controls (upset the rather boring option to choose between inverted or normal controls) so you're stuck with them again.
Like before Samus still needs to open some areas with her scanner to activate key devices. The scanner was a great idea in the original game since it was a cool way to find secrets or important info but now it just feels way too time consuming since you are forced to stop what ever else you're doing just to open the scanner window. Maybe I wouldn't be so hard on the whole scanning thing if you could shoot as well but like Doom 3's stupid flashlight you'll be force to just one task at a time only. I wanna KILL STUFF in a shooter, I don't want to surf through my annoying inventory system so I can just look at crap!
This game also seems more geared towards the Metroid pro because this game is definitely on the hard side. When the action heats up it doesn't take long for Samus to get swarmed by several aliens at once and unless you mastered the original MP you're going to die a lot here. Although the difficulty can be a problem sometimes, what really bugged me all the constant backtracking and scanning objects which takes away some of the action. I know this is a Metroid trademark but it can get annoying. Also there were also times I wanted to save my game but I was trapped and had to continue playing even though I didn't want to.
Yes, unlike the original MP, this game now comes with a multi-player game like most FPS games out there but before you get too excited these new modes still have the limited controls of the single player. The kind of cheap 'Lock on' feature makes the hunting experience feel hollow and too easy especially compared to other popular First Person Shooting games like Half Life 2. Although the multi-player can still be fun, sadly most of us already know Nintendo doesn't even support any of the Online features of the Cube so you can forget any about that. The multi-player battle doesn't even support Locate Area Network play so you are all forced to play on just one screen. "I'm sorry, is this still 1997 here?!"
Moving on to a more positive note the graphics are still incredible as ever. The action is not only fast and intense (when you're not scanning though) but all the environments and characters are all very detailed with great use of light and shadow. Metroid Prime 2 is easily one of the best looking titles on the Cube. The background music won't be winning any awards but they fit the game here well and the lifelike sound effects are impressive as ever.
If you loved the first MP you'll also like this new one a lot too. It is still a long and compelling adventure/action title with excellent graphics, creepy sounds, and more brain teasing puzzles that will challenge any player but for all of the game's good point's, there are still a few nagging problems that just hold it back from being complete a five star game. Metroid Prime 2 may be a FPS but why aren't the analog controls similar to other popular games of this type like Goldeneye or Quake? The Cube controller has two analog sticks too you know, Nintendo. Don't get me wrong, the game is still very rewarding like the first MP was but it isn't a huge leap in design from the last one and even the new multi-player isn't too good. Add a generic story line to the mix and you have one halfassed sequel here that could have been a lot better.
METROID PRIME 2 overall rating 84/100
For 1 to 4 players
Rated (T) for Teen
(Ryan Genno) 2007