|Nintendo Reviews Rating:
|Posted: January 2nd, 2006
|Metroid Prime 2: Echoes builds on what made Metroid Prime such a success. Using the same general design plan, Retro
Studios has built another game from the ground up. This time, Samus fights evil in the Light World and Dark World. Does
this element breathe life into the series? Read our full review!
This game utilizes a different atmosphere, and completely different beams. A lot of the old sound effects had to go.
Fortunately, Retro Studios picked good effects to hear. There's still plenty of water effects, and some of the enemies are
the same as last time, but I am impressed by all the new sound effects in this game. Not just that, but the Dolby Surround
sound is also well done. Both are not much improved, but they are definitely noticeable improvements.
The music takes a slight step back from Metroid Prime. I really liked the music from Metroid Prime, but somehow, the
second time around, I don't think I liked it. Where I liked several tunes from Metroid Prime, I only like a few here.
There are more music samples this time around, partially from multiplayer mode, and they are all original. The music still
fits the theme of where you are, but I guess I was expecting a little more ingenuity in the tunes.
In the last game, there was only one voice sample, and that was Samus' suit saying to evacuate the Space Frigate
Orpheon. Since that was the only voice in the game, many gamers may have been confused, thinking it was the ship itself
saying to evacuate. Now, it is quite obvious that it is your suit speaking, because there are a few more voice samples in this
game. It's nice to have the voice samples, but it doesn't do much; especially for the cutscenes where we have to read what
the Luminoth are saying. Overall, the sound is still great, despite some minor shortcomings.
The control is exactly the same as Metroid Prime. The fact is that the controls are great, even though some may think it's
a love it or hate it affair. Being able to jump and shoot, while locked on to an enemy is quite impressive, and it allows for
intuitive strafing ability. The series has always got complaints for not having dual stick controls. I will admit that it would
have been nice to see dual stick controls as an option. Then again, it would be difficult to cycle through beams that way.
For those who don't like it, there's always Metroid Prime 3 for Revolution.
I was still looking for improvements, like being able to press L instead of having to hold it to lock onto enemies. That
didn't happen, but in this game, there's actually a reason. Some enemies are so quick, or have the ability to disable lock
on. It would be too awkward if you could continually lock on to an enemy. For some enemies, your camera would go
berserk. No actual improvements seem to have been made. The only other one I can think of is being able to shoot while
grappling, which is rather pointless.
The overall interface is better and worse than before. It's better because now the words on your visor, as when collecting a
missile expansion, are more visible, even if a little on the big side. The bad thing is that it takes longer to press A to skip
through these menus. Scanning objects is easier because you can scan any part of it, rather than having to scan just one
part. The bad thing is that it takes almost twice as long to scan stuff. You also have to pause the game to read the full info
on enemies. I can see why they did this: many players didn't want to keep holding L to read all the info. It does seem
rather inconvenient, for veterans of the original.
The game also has faster loading at times, but at other times loads slower. It's not very noticeable, but it is there. The last
thing is that to cycle through menus, you have to move the Control Stick to highlight what option you want. It seems cool
at first, but the slow moving pivot makes cycling through menus kind of a pain. This holds especially true for the pause
menu. Overall, the game could have suffered from a lot more of the old stuff. Instead, they build on what seemed to be
wrong with the first game. The attempt is nice, and it doesn't degrade the controls too much from the original.
The graphics got slightly better since the original game.
Although textures may not look very sharp, the game
still shines in its amazing artwork. This game is filled
with so much detail, that many other games could only
hope to achieve. The models are very nice, and I
especially like Samus' Light Suit. It is very sleek, and
truly shows off graphical capabilities. The animations in
this game are also much better than before.
Samus also has better reactions to her surroundings
than the last game. This is in part due to the amount of
cutscenes that give her the opportunity to react to
everything. By the way, the cutscenes aren't half-bad.
They look as good as the environments, and the
Luminoth are well designed to interact in these scenes.
The only major problem is that the framerate does suffer
from time to time. In one boss fight, it is very
noticeable. It can also occur from just walking around. I
don't know how they got past it in the original, but it's
here now. Luckily, it doesn't impede progress. You'll be
more than impressed by the effort put into this one.
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes lasts about as long as Metroid Prime. It still takes about 21 hours to complete the game on 100%.
Likewise with the original game, there really will have been several more hours spent looking at logbook entries and for
game overs. There's also the usual unlockables: the image galleries and Hard mode. Unfortunately, this game doesn't
connect with any Game Boy Advance Metroid game for bonuses.
The developers have added a multiplayer mode. You can unlock two levels in addition to four available from the start. You
can also unlock several background music samples to hear while playing the levels. The Metroid series has never had a
multiplayer mode. It was obviously added because of the release of Halo 2, which has superb multiplayer options. The
multiplayer mode does provide a few more hours, but I don't think it entirely makes up for the lack of GBA connection
The main game is still lengthy by any measure, and it holds up even better than before, simply because there is more to do
in this game. There are more collectibles and more secrets. The only real problem with this is that people who have already
played Metroid Prime will be so familiar with the controls, that it not only will be easier to beat the game, but also to find
the collectibles. Even though there may be some shortcomings, I still think this game is slightly bigger than Metroid
Prime, and therefore renders the game the same score in replay.
I rarely give perfect scores to any aspect of a game. Metroid Prime, I deemed had a perfect design, which made that game
so excellent. Two years later, it was almost expected that Metroid Prime 2: Echoes couldn't still be perfect. The game still
relies on the same design that made Metroid Prime great, without any major additions. I guess you could count some of
the new visors, beams, and abilities as new additions. These additions rather change the gameplay to make it seem newer,
but don't really change the basic idea of collecting new power-ups and getting to the final boss.
One thing I can remember being promised was that there would be much more Morph ball puzzles in this game. The
developers have utilized the Morph ball more. In fact, an entire boss fight is in Morph Ball mode and it is one of the
tougher bosses to beat. The game still thrives in its shooting action, so there isn't too much more in the way of Morph Ball
puzzles. It does however balance the third-person and first-person modes.
Another thing that was promised was less focus on Space Pirates. That is also sort of false. There are less encounters of
Space Pirates, and less of a story, but even past the beginning of the game, Space Pirates are very prevalent. What is more
prevalent are the Ing. The Ing are what have caused Aether to split apart into a Dark Aether. The Ing seem to be new
enemies, and they are. This game also has plenty of returning enemies. Fortunately, the developers have changed every
enemy slightly, to make them more original.
This game doesn't feature too many worlds, but instead has Light and Dark worlds. This is a really cool feature, because
sometimes what you do in the Dark world affects the Light world, and vice versa. The two worlds also have similarities,
and it is really neat to see the Light version of the world, and then see how the Dark version has been corrupted. This
allows for some neat features, but also shallows the game a bit. The game doesn't have ice and fire worlds, like Metroid
Prime did. Those worlds did wonders for the design and implementation of puzzles and enemies.
This game still feels a lot like deja vu. By the end, you will feel more satisfied by the original content, but at the beginning,
it feels a lot similar. And for all the things that Metroid Prime did right, this game doesn't do right. Metroid Prime had
several genuinely scary or creepy parts to it. This game only has a few. And the Dark theme works, but not excellently.
This game is very satisfying, but it will never feel as good as the original. If you're a fan of the original, you will appreciate
all that has changed for the better, but those changes don't make up for the losses.
Shocked by the score? Don't be, I didn't expect it to be much more. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes builds well on the original,
but obviously, it would have taken some brilliance to make the overall score as good or better than Metroid Prime. This is
a very fun game, but Metroid Prime is even better. It's hard to go back to Metroid Prime now, because the interface in this
game is more sleek than before, and some parts of this game are better. As a whole, Metroid Prime is a better game, but
this is a worthy follow-up to one of the best Gamecube games ever.