I’m. So. Excited!
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes isn’t just my favorite Metroid Prime game: it’s my favorite game on the GameCube and my favorite Nintendo game within the last fifteen years. It’s the best looking, best playing, most challenging, and most unique game within the franchise. I adore everything about this game.
So where the hell do I start?
I guess we’ll start with the story, which is easily my favorite in the entire series. After a Federation squad went missing on a strange planet called Aether, Samus is sent to investigate. After her ships crashes and begins auto repairs, Samus goes to investigate the make-shift base set up by the soldiers, only to be attacked by the corpses, which have been possessed by a strange black aura (this is creepy as shit, by the way).
Progressing forward, she runs into a strange Samus look-a-like sucking up a deposit of Phazon, whom she labels as Dark Samus (hey man, it worked well for Link). After pursuing her through a strange portal and finding herself on a strange dark mirror of the world from whence she came, she is attacked by a group of strange and powerful creatures and sent back through the portal, on the brink of death and deprived of all her gear.
After a little more exploration, she meets the last of the planets inhabitants, the Luminoth, who explains the history of Aether to her. Long ago, the planet was one peaceful entity, until a strange meteor filled with Phazon crashed, splitting it into Light Aether and Dark Aether, the ladder of which became home to the Ing. The inhabitants of both worlds engaged in a civil war in order to claim possession of each world’s Light, and the one who claims all of them in the end will be the world to survive.
Now, for the safety of the Luminoth and all the universe, Samus must brave the deadly atmosphere of Dark Aether, reclaim the planet’s lights, defeat the Ing and destroy her ever growing doppelganger Dark Samus.
I love this plot. It’s easily the most unique and engaging story the series has ever seen. It perfectly combines a traditional narrative with the no hand holding isolated world-based story telling that Metroid is known for. The plot is never intrusive, and the scanned lore bits from the first game return in full force (they also made scanning a hell of a lot easier, by the way), both of which combine to make the plot feel massive and engaging.
Who knew Metroid plus a Link to the Past would be so good?
This plot is only furthered by how good the game looks and sounds. The 11/10 music from the first game is completely surpassed by the 15/10 music from this game, and the visuals still stand up to this day.
Friendly reminder: this game came out on the Gamecube. And it looks better than most games that came afterwards.
This is also one of the more challenging games in the series. It features some of the most challenging puzzles in the series, which require you to jump from light world to dark world Zelda style in order to get it all done. And did I mention how the dark world’s atmosphere kills you just by standing in it?
Don’t worry. There are little checkpoints that heal you and keep you safe.
This game also has some of the most interesting weapons in the series. There are new visors, new beams (which have limited ammo, by the way, which makes it a lot harder) and whole new suits (that look fucking awesome) and the return of some classic powers, such as the Screw Attack.
The level design is also some of the best in the series. Each sector of Aether feels alive (or at least like it was once alive), each feeling like a true battlefield. This is only furthered by the amount of destruction and dead bodies you can see just by looking around. There are tons of extra paths and bonus items, which encourages exploration.
Y’know. Like a Metroid game should.
And then there are the boss fights. Good god, where should I start? These are easily the best bosses in the entire franchise. Dark Samus, Quadraxis, the Emperor Ing and so many others are fantastic, challenging and thrilling boss fights.
Now, this isn’t a flawless game. There is one issue that drags the game down. Luckily, you can completely avoid it if you like. Unless, of course, you want to put your friends through a bland time.
This is the first and only game in the Metroid series with multiplayer. You and up to four players can join up and fight in a death match as four differently colored Samus look-a-likes. Whoever has the highest score by the end of the time limit wins. You can pick up power ups, get into turrets, or kick your friend’s controllers out of their hands in order to gain an advantage.
Honestly, this isn’t the worst multiplayer in the world. I do have some fond memories of playing this mode with my brothers when we were younger. Plus, it is entirely seperate from the main game, so it isn’t a terrible addition. Still, it simply lacks substance or quality, so you can’t be blamed if you want to ignore it.
It’s fun, but it’s no Halo. Before, y’know, Halo became bad.
This game is fantastic. It improves on everything set in place by Metroid Prime and the previous games, and it paves the way for many staples to come in the future of the series. It looks great, plays great, and stands up to repeat playthroughs. It’s challenging, fun and addictive, just like a Metroid game should be.
Now, I know I should be playing Zero Mission or Prime 3 for the next review… but…
I need to play this game again first.