finally beat metroid prime 2: echoes this week. (here’s a good run-down of the game for anyone who hasn’t played it.) the game seems to be universally praised for being an expansion of the original metroid prime, but the consensus is that it doesn’t offer a whole lot that is new. some people feel that the game does everything that was in the original, but “better”. i was blown away by the original when i played it a few years ago, but much as i love the metroid series i found this entry to be somewhat tedious. the game not only lacks the freshness of the original, it just feels too similar, and its storyline of a threatened alien race feels incredibly stale.
among my complaints are that the game seems twice as long as the first one, and it seems to have a lot more backtracking in general. i’m always skeptical of games that create an “alternate world” in order to reuse much of their design, and like my opinion of final fantasy 3 (a.k.a. 6) the majority of the alternate world in MP2 feels like unnecessary padding. also, when first encountering the “dark” world of MP2 the environments are fittingly drab and somewhat difficult to navigate due to the monochromatic purple color palette. i did appreciate the different feel of the pacing in the dark world, which requires you to hop between the various safe havens of light that are spread out in each room, but by the game’s end the dark world’s galaxy of purple oppressiveness is just boring and dull, dull, dull.
people often mention the boss fights, and they are fun because they require you to actually strategize to determine each boss’s weakpoint; but they’re also somewhat annoying because each boss fight has multiple sections, all of which require some trial and error to master. this definitely gives the boss fights a very same-y feeling, which is unfortunate because for the most part they’re very well designed. the final boss fights are the most annoying of the game, and the game’s ending is pretty lame. i also had mixed feelings about the fact that the game only has three alternate endings: one for if you finish with less than 75% of the items, one for finishing with more than 75%, and one for finishing with 100%. lastly, i didn’t have anyone to try out the multiplayer with, but i checked out all the stages and it looked like it could be pretty fun. not sure why it gets dissed so much, but i’m guessing that’s probably just in comparison to other multiplayer FPS games.
despite all my complaints this was definitely a worthwhile entry in the series and i have a feeling it’s one of those games that’s much more fun the second time through. i’ve already dipped into the next game in the series, metroid prime hunters on DS, and have been quite enjoying the new interface. and i’m really looking forward to playing through metroid prime 3 on wii. and who knows? i may even finish those just in time for the new metroid: other M, due out sometime next year.
metroid (metroid) links (links links links):
– great site on the game at metroid recon, including screenshots, item guides, and a walkthrough
– as with the original metroid prime game, metroid2002.com has tons of information on sequence-breaking and glitches for the sequel
– video of the 100% ending. for all that effort you’ll be rewarded with a few seconds of extra video, yippee!
– guide at IGN