I loved the original Metroid Prime. The leap to 3d for the Metroid series with great replayablity and a cliffhanger for when you completed it 100% teased a sequel. So, what do you do with the sequel to one of the 2 top games of the GameCube? Do you expand on the idea? Do the same but bigger. Well let’s see what they did and how doing more sometimes isn’t for the better.
Set after Metroid Prime yet still before Metroid 2 (same with all the Prime games currently). Samus is responding to a distress call from a bunch of marines ( IN SPACE!) on the planet Aether. While landing your ship passes through the strange anomaly occurring on the surface. Finding all the crew dead, they suddenly rise up and the zombie like marines attack you. While this is the only moment of the dead rising in the game you do have a lot of what is essentially demonic possession, clearly showing this game is a fair bit more on the horror than the original. Finally, after leaping through a strange portal, you encounter Dark Samus, the figure teased at 100% clearing of Metroid Prime. She shoots a crystal Samus was standing in and suddenly she’s attacked by strange black creatures similar to those that possessed the marines… and then you lose basically all your powers. Which at this point was now getting a bit tiresome.
What follows from there is an unfolding horror as you find out like Tallon IV a strange meteor filled with Phazon hit Aether. But rather than just slowly infecting the world like Tallon IV, Aether was split in 2, a light Aether, and a dark Aether. The Ing, the creatures of dark Aether have been stealing the objects that were meant to keep the planet stable. In fact you arrived just in time to stop the destruction of light Aether by defeating the Ing who were about to steal the last vestiges of what was holding light Aether together.
So the plot of the game has you having to enter the 3 temples round the planet and reclaim the light of Aether. While this is the main zones of the game you technically explore 6 as you explore not only light Aether, but dark Aether. Dark Aether being a dark mirror (or echo) of light yet the very environment is hazardous and will be sapping your health if you stray out of the light of the crystals.
The main controls and way you play is retained from the first game, you get items to power up, be it additional missiles and health or new tools to further explore the planet.
But here’s where the problems come in, each temple also has you having to find 3 keys to access where the boss is. The addition of dark Aether adds additional complications in exploring as you can’t just explore all of dark Aether without having to pop in and out of portals. So even when you get the means to explore dark Aether without fear of losing health just from being the air, exploring the planet is overly complicated.
The game also has levels of backtracking that are far more complicated and frustrating than that of Metroid Prime, especially when it comes to areas after the first temple. Watching a gamer make a chart showing how much back and forth you have to do in this game showed how bad it got.
The best way to describe playing Prime 2, is like playing Prime but rather than adding new features that make the game a fun new adventure, it adds additional layers of complexity that are more prone to wear you out by the end making it less likely you will come back to replay the game.
They also put a multiplayer mode in… it works but.. its more just kind of there. The mode would later on be used to make Metroid Prime Hunters on the DS, but that’s about as much as I have to say about it.
While Echoes is indeed bigger than Prime 1 and more difficult. What is added makes the game clunkier and more frustrating, so many times you reach a point it just tells you can’t explore this area anymore, something that happens far too many times and that’s before you have to leap between 2 worlds and find a bunch of keys.
Always remember more doesn’t always mean better.