Video Replay: Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
For reasons mysterious to everyone including myself, I’ve been on a serious GameCube kick for a while now. Lately, every spare second has been spent face first in front of the TV with that sweet, sweet controller firmly in the grip of my sweat-drenched palms. Specifically, I’ve been going back and giving second chances to the games that didn’t do much for me the first time around. So it was a huge and totally pleasant surprise for me when I decided to toss in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and ended up completely hooked. This was a game that at one point in my life I’d sworn to never play again, but there I found myself: Hours deep and loving it.
Like any Metroid fan, I was extremely excited when this sequel was announced. There had been a gap of nearly ten years between Super Metroid for the SNES and the first Prime, so the fact that we’d be getting another entry in the series so quickly had me rolling in shit. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what it felt like I was doing when I finally started to play it.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure: I never actually made it through the entire game back then. I was so pissed off after a couple of days that I decided to sell it as fast as I could just to get it out of the house. But now…now, I have to say that I’m really glad I went against my vow all those years ago and bought it again for a second whirl. There are still some complaints that I have because of course, no game is perfect. But I cheated myself out of a pretty great experience back then by getting rid of it. There’s some hot shit happening throughout this thing. But now, as usual…let’s get the not so great stuff out of the way:
- The Graphics: This is a weird one because it’s going to be on both of my good/bad lists. What I don’t really care for is how angular and geometric everything is. I get it: It’s an alien planet and whatever, I just feel like there could have been a bit more variety in the design here. Unlike the first Prime, there’s an organic quality that is noticeably lacking. There aren’t the traditional snow/fire/jungle/etc. territories throughout this game which makes the whole trip a bit one note. When everything looks the same, how the fuck am I supposed to know or care where to go?
- The Whole Light/Dark Thing: This is of course, a crucial element to the game and the main mechanic and while in theory it’s a neat idea (if not slightly derivative), I feel that the constant going back and forth between the light and dark versions of the planet becomes incredibly repetitive. Especially after hours of doing it. Sometimes, it makes for some pretty interesting puzzles. Most of the time, I’m lost and angry. I don’t like being lost and angry.
Huh. I guess I liked more than I realized because that’s pretty much my bitching right there.
- The Graphics: Holy shit, those boys over at Retro sure can program a texture. Everything close up is just jaw-droppingly gorgeous, especially anything that’s a rock. I spent a lot of time just walking around staring at stuff. Some areas almost look like they’re in 3D, the design work is so strong. Beautiful.
- The Boss Fights: There are a lot of incredibly designed boss fights in this game. It’s just too bad there isn’t a “boss run” mode or anything because some of the puzzles they came up with in order to take guys out are really addictive.
- The Controls: Tight, responsive and laid out perfectly. But that’s a given considering it’s pretty much the same setup from the original Prime. If one thing could be better, I’d say that the side-jumping while locked on to a target could have been a bit tighter. Aside from that, no problems.
- The Screw Attack: This is self-explanatory.
-- Everything else: The music, the menus, the control options, the sound effects, the atmosphere, the fancy shiny box that the disc came in. All of it.
It’s a really great feeling after all these years to be able to look at my shelf and not grit my teeth when this game catches my eye. After finally giving it the attention that it completely deserves I’ve realized that at it’s core, this a true Metroid game through and through -- and that right there defines it as a must play. Is it the best in the series? Not for me personally, but that kind of feels like a silly question. At this point I feel like choosing your favorite Prime would be like trying to decide on your favorite slice of pizza out of the best pie you’ve ever tasted. Sure, one may have landed a few extra toppings but they’ve all got the same delicious foundation.
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is a GREAT game Ray, you fucking idiot early twenties version of yourself.