Monday, 17 October 2011

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes review

Just two years after the successful release of Metroid Prime, Retro Studios and Nintendo once again joined up to create a sequel, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.

And what a sequel it is.

Set after Metroid Prime Hunters for the DS Echoes follows on from a cut-scene that is shown after the credits of Metroid Prime if and when the player has completed all 100% of the game, a scene that I won't be revealing here for people who haven't seen it.

This is one of the major differences between Echoes and Prime with Echoes being a lot more plot heavy than the first game which feeds into the game play of the second. Where the plot of Prime was pretty much to collect twelve artifacts to open a path to a crater before the Space Pirates get there first, Echoes delves into the battle between the inhabitants of a world that has been split into two, the light world and the dark world. Again, this is a major difference between the two games and it's really where Echoes comes to life.

Starting off in the light world Samus receives a message from the Federation to investigate the disappearance of some Marines who had last been seen around the planet Aether. Once landed Samus finds the Marines dead but on closer inspection they rise to attack her. When the Marines are defeated Dark Samus makes her first, but not last, full appearance as she disappears through a portal to the dark world. Samus being Samus follows her through and is promptly attacked by the Ing who steal her weapons and upgrades and push her back through to the light world.

This is where the game really begins.

Yes, like the first game you have to hunt down and collect weapons and upgrades and yes once this is done you have to collect keys to access a temple to face the last boss but that's all that is the same between the two games as there is so much that is different and I'll start with the most obvious which is the two worlds.

As mentioned previously Echoes is set between two sides of the same world, light and dark. Both sides are different to each other and both sides have to be accessed to be able to progress, sometimes flicking between the two in quick succession to resolve obstacles that stop you from progressing. For example; you may come across an area which is seemingly blocked in the light world. To resolve this you jump through a portal to the dark world, progress past the previously blocked section and jump through another portal back to the light world to carry on. This can also apply to obstacles that need to be moved and the control that needs to be scanned is through a portal and in the other world.

There is one major problem with the dark world (apart from the enemies) which is the fact that as you walk around your energy is gradually being taken away. This is combated by the usual collecting of energy but also by standing in safe zones which are areas of light that replenish your health over time, but you have to be careful as some safe zones need to be shot to keep them going to obtain full health. It's this that adds a level of urgency to the game whilst in the dark world as if an enemy succeeds in knocking Samus out of a safe zone you start losing energy from both the enemy and the dark.

There are numerous differences in the weapons/upgrades department from the first Prime game which includes the return of the Screw Attack, first seen in Metroid II: The Return of Samus on the Game Boy. There are changes in the beams that Samus uses with only the charge beam being carried over from the first game, the other three being replaced with the light beam, dark beam and the annihilator beam. The three beams are reliant on having enough beam points to use them. Once ran out they cannot be used again until more points have been collected and the annihilator beam uses a lot of them with it being a light and dark beam combined.

Like the beams some of the visors and suits have been changed with the combat and scan visors remaining and the thermal imaging and X-ray visors being replaced with the dark and echo visors allowing for Samus to see better in the dark world and to be able to see and detect sonic waves and sound movements to be able to solve puzzles and open doors and to see the sound waves of moving enemies.

The beams and visors are selected exactly the same way on the Cube pad as the first game with all buttons being the same, in fact nothing has changed with the controls allowing for you to easily pick up where you left off with the first game.

Graphics wise Echoes is as gorgeous as Prime with Samus visiting desert wasteland, a swamp area containing a submerged hydrostation and the sanctuary fortress which looks great. The sound again is absolutely brilliant and it makes you want to keep the TV fully turned up to immerse yourself in both worlds.

Unfortunately there is one criticism that can be said of the game which is the difficulty level. Echoes in places is a lot harder than Prime with the constant jumping between portals and having to work your way through two worlds that are so similar yet so different. There are also a lot (and I mean a lot) more bosses than Prime and as mentioned previously if you are fighting them in the dark world and they push you out of the safe zone you can end up losing a lot of energy rather quickly.

Overall though Echoes, like Prime, is an excellent game and a worthy sequel and should definitely be be sitting in your collection alongside the first one.

Final score: 9.5/10

*Echoes introduced a multi-player section to the Prime trilogy which I've yet to play which is why it isn't mentioned in the review.


  1. This is a great review (so are the other Metroid reviews by the way), Echoes often seems to get a bit of a bad name for daring to be a bit different but I thought it was the best installment of the series...certainly the most intense.

    Looking forward to reading some more of your stuff.



  2. Cheers for the comment and welcome to the blog.

    Echoes certainly was intense but was/is a great game. Definitely the toughest of the trilogy (especially with bouncing between the two worlds) but then I like my games as tough as possible.