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Game Review

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jacob Crites

For super players

Back when Super Mario Bros. 2 came out in Japan — the real Super Mario Bros. 2, known here overseas as The Lost Levels — there was a little label on the box that said “For Super Players.” It meant it, too: Super Mario Bros. 2 is a ridiculously difficult game, often using your knowledge of the first game against you while at the same expanding upon everything that made it such a success. It wasn't a sequel created to introduce new players to the series; it was a game for the hardcore fans of the first looking for new twists and challenges to the Super Mario Bros. structure.

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes could have been released with a similar little label on its box because, aside from the fact that it's a first-person adventure game as opposed to an 8-bit platformer, the two are in the same boat. Echoes wasn't a game created to expand the Metroid audience; the changes it makes don't so much improve the game as make it significantly more challenging and complicated. If you're a newcomer to the franchise looking for an entry point, this ain't it. This is one for the hardcore fans, and if you happen to fall into that group, it really doesn't get much better than this.

Echoes makes a lot of additions to the mechanics that Metroid Prime put in place, but once again they're not necessarily improvements, and in many cases they make an already pretty complex structure even more complicated. The main addition here is the ability to travel between the regular game world and its “dark world,” counterpart, which is a gameplay mechanic/story device that has been popular in Nintendo games since Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Much like in A Link to the Past, Echoes' dark world is typically a more twisted and visually morose doppelgänger of the standard overworld (or “Light World”) that presents its fare share of gameplay differences, complications and restrictions. The biggest kicker is that in the dark world, your health will constantly drain if you're not in one of its globular “safe zones,” which are scattered around at pretty reasonable intervals. Retro Studios wanted this dark world to be a moody, evil and constantly oppressive contrast to the light world, and from a gameplay standpoint it definitely succeeded; with your health constantly draining when in its confines, being in the dark world always feels like a genuine inconvenience, and even as you gain power-ups and advanced weaponry, you never feel like you have the upper hand as these upgrades are typically combated with tougher enemies and more challenging level design. Not to mention a lot of the best weapons you acquire will be restricted by the use of ammo, which isn't given out very liberally.

From an artistic standpoint though, the dark world isn't as overwhelming a success. Yes, it uses a lot of shades of black and purple, which for some reason has been decided by art designers as the go-to colours for portraying “evil,” but the light world is not the jarring visual contrast you see in say, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess' two realms. Most of the light world locations found here are still more haunting than beautiful, with large, sweeping cobwebs that litter the caves of Agon Waste or the dense fog and twisted branches of the Torvus Bog. While the art direction may not always work when attempting dark world/light world contrasts, it's still brilliantly atypical in its own right. As incredible as the world of Tallon IV was, Metroid Prime still followed the forest, fire, water and ice environmental clichés pretty closely. Prime 2's alien world of Aether, however, truly feels unlike any sci-fi universe you've seen, and it's especially unique amongst the other Metroid titles.

Navigating through two challenging and intertwining worlds makes for some of the most challenging puzzles the series has seen, the use of ammo for most weapons makes combat more strategic and not only are there a lot more enemies this time around, but they're a lot more challenging as well.

The problem with the game, the original GameCube version at least, is that the increased difficulty highlights some of the issues with the game's lock-on combat system; problems which for the most part slipped under the radar in the first Metroid Prime. The main issue is that the lock-on system sometimes just doesn't register during fast-paced encounters, but this in turn reveals just how clumsy the strafing can be as well. It's not game-breaking, but it can definitely be frustrating, especially during some of the game's more unforgiving boss-fights. Of the two Prime games, this is definitely the one that benefits most from the new play control that the Wii's Metroid Prime Trilogy offered.

Oh and there's multiplayer but uh... well there's really not much that needs to be said about it, other than it's bad and you might as well just forget it exists. Nothing about the Metroid experience lends itself towards a compelling competitive multiplayer experience, and this is proof.

Conclusion

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is, at its heart, a tribute to Metroid fans, and if for some reason you're a series vet who missed out on or skipped this title the first time around, then you've yet to play one of the most relentlessly challenging and addicting experiences the franchise has to offer. Believe it or not, before Other M came out and divided gamers like the Berlin Wall there were a lot of people who considered Echoes to the series' weakest entry. A lot of people still do. Either way, when this game is considered to be a weak-point in a franchise, you know it's doing something right.

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User Comments (65)

timp29

#1

timp29 said:

This Metroid 25th anniversary is going to get me to buy the Metroid Prime trilogy! Its about time I played these games.

Scissors

#2

Scissors said:

I loved Echoes, and don't believe it deserves the bad rep. Playing this on MP Trilogy on veteran was really fun, it lead to some really intense boss battles.

Noire

#3

Noire said:

I still feel like this is the weakest Metroid game ever. Was adding an ammo system to the beams really all that necessary? I thought we had missiles for that nonsense. The Dark World should have been thrown right out the door too. The never-ending black and purple really grated on my eyes, not to mention seriously hampered exploration. Have to stand around in light bubbles for ten minutes every step just to keep my energy at an acceptable level, yup, that's really fun. Not to mention it took the Artifact quest from Prime and made it ten times worse than it already was. Couldn't get off Aether fast enough.

Oh well, at least the Screw Attack came back ... all gimped. And the Dark Suit was pretty cool-looking too, even if the shoulders were even more ridiculous than normal.

citizenerased

#4

citizenerased said:

Ammo and the Dark World were definitely weak points, yet this is still an incredible game. 8/10 for me.

Suits were the coolest in this game btw ;)

grenworthshero

#5

grenworthshero said:

I personally liked this one better than the first, but maybe that's just because I played this one before the original Metroid Prime.

Garo

#7

Garo said:

This is still my favorite Prime. Best bosses, best puzzles and the most challenging of the Trilogy.

Nekogao

#8

Nekogao said:

More Metroid! Thanks for this. I've barely been off this site this weekend...breaking away to get back to Corruption (I will finish it this time!). I like to compare the two to the pair of Zelda games on the N64: Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. The first is the template, with vast worlds and an arguably more complete, varied game. But the second took an element and ran with it, creating a different but equally good game. I think it was a tighter game, with less of the backtracking and getting lost of Prime and I seem to recall the Morph Ball being better realised. Back to Corruption and the Pirate Homeworld...

Kifa

#9

Kifa said:

I've finished every existing Metroid game and Echoes is one of the most memorable, surpassed only by the first Prime. It has unique style and is more challenging than any other game in the series (ok, NES Metroid is harder) and has the best looking suit Samus has ever wore - the Light Suit. I have the original Gamecube version, so the Boost Guardian frustration is not unknown to me, but still - this is hell of a game!

TheAmazingRaccoon

#10

TheAmazingRaccoon said:

loved this, the box was all shiny and silver. I was stuck on the spider ball guardian for sooooooo long, I hated that boss, it caused me to give up playing it for a couple of months. Found the final boss to be easier than prime 1 (mainly because I am colour blind so the first form of metroid prime was quite hard for me). The new play control versions' bosses are so much easier and I had no problems (that being said, I never had problems with the control scheme (I actually loved it) or the lock-on with the gamecube versions)

phoenix1818

#11

phoenix1818 said:

A clearly underrated yet exceptional game, overshadowed by its excellent counterparts.

While I still prefer Metroid Prime 1 and 3 to Echoes, it is by no means a bad game. Such a shame so many people missed out on playing it.

john5150

#12

john5150 said:

Yes, too underrated. I recently played through this on the Wii. But 9/10? Seriously? Fine. If the GC one gets 9/10, the Wii version DEFINITELY deserves a full 10.

JarredBuzzo

#13

JarredBuzzo said:

I love this one just as much as I love the first and third entries in the series. I guess some consider it to be the "black sheep" of the series on the whole but it's really good all things considered, the screw attack was awesome and although backtracking is heavily employed (like most Metroid games) it isn't annoying here at all.

accc

#14

accc said:

MP2 was every bit as good as MP1. I loved the added difficulty, and the dark world was masterfully crafted. The way that more and more of it opens up to you as you upgrade your suit to protect you from the hazards of the dark world makes it feel right at home in the Metroid series. (I think people tend to take this point for granted when discussing the dark world.) Game definitely gets an 11/10 from me, maybe even an 11.5.

EarthboundBenjy

#15

EarthboundBenjy said:

When I first started playing, it took me a while to get into this one. But as soon as I left the Luminoth central area and entered Agon Wastes, it was like "heck yeah, the game's really begun now!"

Overall though, the game is a bit more linear than the first Prime. You HAVE to go to Agon, Torvus and the Sanctuary Fortress in that order. And then at the end, you must go around all three of them again just to collect the keys. The map layout was very confusing as well, much more so than Prime's maps.
Despite all this...overall, it's a brilliant game.

Dizzard

#16

Dizzard said:

For some reason, the metroid series has been one I've always put aside in favour of Mario, Link and Pokemon.

I really really ought to try this series out sometime, at least I'll be able to try metroid fusion for free.

Vinsanity

#17

Vinsanity said:

I definitely think this game is weaker than Other M. But I've played - and beaten - all other Metroid games (even the other OTHER black sheep, Metroid 2 for Game boy). Theoretically, this game should've been right up my alley. But between the unoriginal "Two Worlds" mechanic, and the depressing art design (I will give it credit for being truly alien, but that doesn't change the fact that there's very little color here, or anything interesting visually. And that the actual technical quality has dropped below the first game, somehow.), I just do not dig what was going on here.

Not to mention it was largely the most aimless of the Metroid Prime titles. And it did that half-assed "let's introduce other soldiers" thing (something Metroid Prime 3 did much more effectively).

Everything about Echoes just screams half-baked to me, unfortunately. I'm glad Prime 3 was so much more successful, and also maintained the truly alien aesthetic. But luckily that game also didn't lose sight of technical accomplishment, color usage and everything else it takes to make a great looking title.

Kid_A

#18

Kid_A said:

Metroid Prime 2 didn't grab me at first, but it ended up being a pretty darn incredible game :)
Glad to see there's some support for it on this site!

zionich

#19

zionich said:

Never actually played through all of this one till I played it on the Wii Trilogy, so I didnt get to fight the harder bosses as they should have been. Still, solid part in the series.

niner

#20

niner said:

9 out of 10 seems overly generous. The criticisms mentioned are all completely valid and imho add up to a taxing and decidedly un-fun Metroid game. Whereas exploration and discovery was exhilarating in MP1 and MP3, opening a new area in MP2 was sheer tedium. I will forever resent this game for forcing me to stand within those silly "safe zone" bubbles, while looking out at the expansive world around me. Could have been soooooo much better.

Xkhaoz

#22

Xkhaoz said:

I still haven't beaten this game, but I agree with the score. Great game, just isn't as good as the first Prime.

Mikau94

#23

Mikau94 said:

This game was my biggest rage quit. I died 10 times at the Boost Ball Guardian and stopped playing for a few months. It seems that the the boss is random and I was getting unlucky, I had a friend who beat the game twice try it and he gave up on my file. I finally beat this game and it gave me a real sense of accomplishment.

I'd really like to get the Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Wii just to see how much easier the Boost Ball Guardian and Chyka are. since they were made easier in the remake.

If you want a true challenge, pick up the original GameCube copy.

Doma

#26

Doma said:

Great game.
Not quite as good as 1 cause of how the progress was hampered so often. But still, the dark world (and new weapons/equipment tailored to it) provided a decent new challenge. I'm glad they changed things up a bit.

It's definitely better than 3. Got kinda stale with that one..

CerealKiller062

#27

CerealKiller062 said:

Yes this game is insanely hard to beat. There were so many things you had to go back to and the last 12 bits in order to get to the end really made it difficult. But I still like it.

kimaster

#28

kimaster said:

The multiplayer can be fun if you get the right people. I remember one particular game at a LAN party.
Player 1 - "He got the Super Missile!"
Player 2 (new to Metroid) - "What's the Super Missile?"
Player 2 turns around, Player 3 is right behind him.
Player 3 "This!"
BOOM!

Nintendude92

#29

Nintendude92 said:

Oh my god the multiplayer was sooo much fun, you need friends to play it with.. We still dust this one off, damn shame MP3 didn't have one

Kagamine

#30

Kagamine said:

i must have a very different taste in video games than other people. i hated the prime series, but loved other M

CanisWolfred

#31

CanisWolfred said:

Yeah, I loved this one almost as much as the original. It had more atmosphere, IMO, and the added challenge made it more fun, though it also made it kinda frustrating at times. Still, I loved the heck out of it.

UltraRobPrime

#34

UltraRobPrime said:

I am actually playing the game on veteran mode right now ( but it is paused). I think I like it better the Prime1. I am at Torvus bog.

C-195

#35

C-195 said:

Funny thing is,I've yet to finish this awesome game. I'll get right to fixing that.

TheGreenSpiny

#36

TheGreenSpiny said:

I loved this game. It was a bit too tedious for the first quarter of the game then it really opens up. I got worn out on the first game about halfway through when you had to switch weapons every room to open a door or kill a new commando trooper or whatever. The dark world felt like classic Metroid, and I loved how the two worlds were identical. I still think the 3rd game was the best in the series, the corruption mode was brillant, as was having landing points for your ship. Be able to land you ship at different points made the backtracking less tedious.

koops330

#37

koops330 said:

This game was fun. I replayed it like a year ago (I played 1, 2 & 3 again while waiting for Metroid Other M) and it still took me a good amount of time to beat this game and it was harder then the 1 and the 3 by a long shot

sinalefa

#38

sinalefa said:

I played this one when I got the MP Trilogy, and I ended up hating it. I still finished it, but it was really a chore. A 45 hour chore.

As usual, my main complaint is the Dark World. Your energy goes down too fast and regenerates too slowly. By the time that you get the second upgraded suit that makes things manageable, you are about to beat the game. The last fetch quest was really annoying too.

The best parts for me were the foundations it shares with Metroid Prime 1. And I loved Prime 1

tylers_username

#39

tylers_username said:

wow, that reminds me. i got that for christmas half a decade ago and still havent finished more than 5 minutes of it. im gonna go play it now.

SKTTR

#40

SKTTR said:

Definately the best Metroid (Prime), if you like it the extralong, difficult, dark, scary, immersive, disarming, confusing and claustrophic way. This is more of a nightmarish experience than a game. It's the most feral and alien of all Metroid worlds.

40 hours of extreme tension burned this game into my brain as an eerie and unforgettable experience. I would love to beat this again on the Trilogy, but I have no strength anymore. This Metroid sucked it all up. A hardcore endurance test for your skills and brains, especially if you go for 100% items like I do in every Metroid. (Respect to all that have 100% scans! I always miss one and end up with 99%.)

The night I finished this game, the only reward was the sun coming out that morning when I opened the window curtains that covered my room in darkness the whole week. It was like waking up from a much too long nightmare. Too long, but I still couldn't dream it through till the end and woke up before it was over... until eventually Corruption arrived a few years later and brought an end to the plot. However, Corruption couldn't recreate the strong tension and maybe that was a good thing. The perfect virtual recreation of unease shouldn't be overused, it better be a one-time-only thing. In that regard I consider Echoes to be more of a piece of art than being a "fun" game, just like Metroid 1 (NES) & 2 (GB). I like to think about Echoes as the Metroid game that really goes back to the roots and tries to please fans of the first two games (without being as tedious and unfair as them).

AVahne

#41

AVahne said:

Nintendo should do another run of Metroid Prime Trilogy for the 25th Anniversary.

MetroidMasher17

#42

MetroidMasher17 said:

There's hard. Then there's really hard. Then follows ridiculously hard, impossibly hard, and just undoable. At the end of the line of difficulty is Prime 2: Echoes. Man, I'm stuck on Quadraxis only because I'm playing the Trilogy version... if it was the original GameCube version I'd have died in real life a LONG time ago! So yeah, great game, but waaaaay too hard.

AltDotNerd

#43

AltDotNerd said:

The ammo system would have been better if the ammo was more abundant. And I agree with anyone who dislikes the Dark World sapping your health and standing in a bubble to replenish it 1 HP per second. In theory it works, but so does communism. But I do like everything else about the game.

StuffyStuff

#44

StuffyStuff said:

I think this is the best Metroid game. In fact, it's my favorite game on the system. I'm actually playing it right now on the GCN. All of the complaints about ammo and the dark world add to the strategy for me, but I can see where that would frustrate someone who got used to the infinite ammo of the first game. It's not that hard to refill your ammo though. The only boss I really find aggrevating is the boost ball Ing. Usually the dark world fights have light beacons around, but not with this guy. Ridley is a nightmare too. The first time I played it I remember getting really pissed off trying to navigate and finding the Sky Temple keys can be a pain.

Kid_A

#45

Kid_A said:

@SKTTR
Amen. I seriously doubt I'll ever play this game again, but I don't think I need to. It's forever burnt into by brain.

WaveBoy

#46

WaveBoy said:

I've beaten both Prime 1 and 3(3 blew me away all thanks to the incredibly immesive and amazing controls....But the first felt more metroid-y), but suprisngly i skipped over this Echoes back on the Cube.

I definitly wan't to experience it on the Wii with the MP Trilogy, but it looks like I'd have to fork over some hefty cash just to get it, used of course. There's no way I'm paying $200 for a sealed copy. :o

armoredghor

#47

armoredghor said:

@46 if use dark beam on someone, you get light. Missiles are overly common so it's actually a real simple system. blade pods are situated around at least half the light crystals so it makes it a lot easier to get health and after your first suit upgrade your regen/poison rates are the same. & parallel worlds has been academic and novel concept from before videogames so it's been done but it wasn't anything completely original with a link to the past. Corruption is still the weak one in the trilogy-severely limited arsenal, off balanced hyper mode (that's not relative to increasing health), and an abundance of ammo (255 meant 51 super missiles but literally 255 is way too much) still a beautifully crafted world and soundtrack.
@Nintendude92 actually multiplayer is still on the trilogy collection.

thanos316

#50

thanos316 said:

metroid prime was good. the last boss really sucked. im now playing the conduit but i see imma have to play metroid prime 2 instead..

Azikira

#51

Azikira said:

I've actually NEVER heard that Echoes was the worst in the series. I always heard it was the best, even if the multiplayer aspect was a little tacked on.

NassaDane

#52

NassaDane said:

@54. I'm in the same boat. I guess I'm a Super Player for thinking Echo's is the best of the series and that's fine with me.

GreenInferno

#53

GreenInferno said:

I didn't like this game all that much. Some of the bosses were worse than a chore - they were like a sick joke.

Riquerico

#54

Riquerico said:

I love Echoes! I managed to beat this twice in a row, normal and hard mode (extremely challenging, BTW).
And @Nekogao , I have always compared these games too. It's like Majora's Mask and Echos used only the same basic gameplay and expanded with new ideas and gameplay mechanics that are different from the "canon" games.

JGMR

#55

JGMR said:

In my opinion the best and most challenging entry in the Prime series. The game was ultimately bigger in every way. The graphics are a huge improvement over the first game; the game was displayed in a higher resolution and contained new special effects. The music was fantastic too, especially the rearrangement of Super Metroid's Brinstar Red Soil theme. One of it's strongest points is it's incredibly well-balanced backtracking. Not to mention it's darker theme and atmosphere.

There was also a lot of unused and planned content that didn't make it into the final build

aaronsullivan

#56

aaronsullivan said:

@17
Cool that you'll be giving Metroid a try. Fusion is a bit of an odd one to start on, but it's a decent game. More linear than most Metroids, though, and as far as the storyline goes it's the LATEST part of the story that has been explored in any game.

I'd recommend starting with Metroid Zero Mission if you can. It's far better and is the actual starting point of the storyline — not that the storyline is all that deep.

Or, if you can't start there, maybe Super Metroid?

Terave

#57

Terave said:

I'm playing it right now, But I must say: I like it's prequel more. Not that I don't liek this one, AWW HELL NO! :D

SkywardLink98

#58

SkywardLink98 said:

I like Metroid Prime 2 but it's really hard. I beat the other ones EASY. The final boss I beat with almost all my health left in prime 1 & 3 but I'm STUCK not even halfway in this one.Maybe I put the difficulty to high on accident.

Lan

#59

Lan said:

Best metroid ever. Beat it on the cube. Disappointed that they made it easier on trilogy

Varia01

#61

Varia01 said:

Weak??? They dare!!! This game is awesome!!! Impressive graphics,awesome music,and nothing-better gameplay!!! There is some minor weak points,but that doesn't ruin this disc-full of awesome!!! I am very angry that I can't the game disc... this is strong dude!!! Opposite of everything you said (That goes for the rest of the people who says this game is weak). This is a good Metroid that Retro worked hard on!!! This is a good game!!!

Varia01

#62

Varia01 said:

One more comment: I never seen the gameplay screen that's on screenshot 4, where you get it? Cuz it looks like a cool and colorful HUD.

Gregor

#63

Gregor said:

@Noire This game is actually amazing if you play it twice. Because ya know, on your second attempt you aren't playing like a fool and that "ammo system" doesn't even exist anymore because you know all the tricks to keeping your ammo full. And the dark world was a great addition that added much more challenge.

kyuubikid213

#64

kyuubikid213 said:

I just beat Metroid Prime and I was wondering if I should pick this one up or go for the Trilogy version. It looks like I should get this no matter what. :)

sketchturner

#65

sketchturner said:

This is tied with Shadow of the Colossus as my favorite game of all time. Pure perfection, IMO.

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