After a game like Metroid Prime, you couldn't ask for a sequel better than Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.

User Rating: 9.2 | Metroid Prime 2: Echoes GC
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is the successor to what many people believe to be one of the greatest GameCube games of all: Metroid Prime. It's a game that makes all of the necescarry changes and improvements that you could possibly want in a sequel to such a highly-regarded game. While it doesn't utterly reinvent the gameplay of the first entry, it manages to feel like a game that's more than capable of standing all on it's own. It's true that if you didn't care for the first game, you won't like this one, but if you did enjoy the first, then you'll definity get the most out of the sequel. The game begins with Samus crashing on the mysterious world of Aether. She soon discovers a wrecked Trooper vessel, and a portal leading to a mysterious world inhabited by an odd-looking mirror-image of herself. She then learns of a race of sentient beings known as the Luminoth who inhabited Aether until a massive catastrophe befell their world and caused Aether to split in two. You'll end up spending the game switching back and forth between Aether and it's sinister counterpart, Dark Aether, to progress through the game and finish what was started before you arrived. The gameplay in Metroid Prime 2 is very similar to that of the original. You'll spend much of your time wandering around in typical Metroid fashion trying to find upgrades to your suit that will allow you to reach new areas where you will be able to find more upgrades to make even more areas accessible to yourself. Combat is also much the same as it was before. You can press the L button to lock onto almost any target so that you'll have an easier time targeting it. The scanning mechanic that was so prevalent in the last game is very much a part of this game as well, but the information that you'll usually find seems to be very worth searching for once it’s found. One of the biggest changes that has been made is the introduction of Light and Dark worlds. By traveling between the two, you'll be able to solve puzzles and make changes to the other worlds that will allow you to make progress. Oddly enough, the air in the Dark World is deadly to Samus. This means that you will have to spend most of your time in the Dark world racing from one safe spot to the next, and you'll usually end up combating enemies in some pretty tight spaces as a result. Soon enough, you'll be given Light and Dark Beams. These weapons will allow you to make combat with enemies more efficient and easier to perform. The Light Beam will be much more effective on the residents of Dark Aether than your other weapons, and the Dark Beam will be a bit more useful against the denizens of the Light World than your other attacks. The entire game's world feels a bit smaller than the areas and environments of the original Metroid Prime. This all may be simply because the actual area that you have to cover is doubled by the addition of two different worlds, but it's just that the level design feels like it's changed just a bit. Everything feels tighter, and more closed in. You're usually given less space to move around in and you'll feel a bit claustrophobic in some of the game's areas. It's not that any of this works against the game however, in fact, the overall design of the game's areas feels a lot more careful and concise than the design of the first game. Developer Retro Studios also took the time to add a brand-new multiplayer mode to the game. However, it really isn't the main focus of this game. There is a deathmatch mode and a bounty mode, where you receive coins for damaging your opponents and win by meeting a certain quota before they do. But the multiplayer just doesn't feel as well-made as the single player mode, which is always the focus of a Metroid game anyway. It just feels like it's been tacked on to give the game a little extra life instead of being fully thought-out to give it the range that it would truly need to be a worthwhile feature. Still, it's not a necessity for you to play the multiplayer, so it doesn't actually hurt the game that this has been added. The game's graphics look absolutely gorgeous. An immense amount of care has obviously gone into designing all of the different environments of Light and Dark Aether, and it shows. You won't find one area that looks exactly like another, or one pattern on the walls that gets repeated. Even the differences in the appearances of the two worlds has been carefully planned so that they look like matching versions of each other. The Light World looks like a living, breathing environment where everything exists in total balance. The Dark World looks just like the Light one, except that it's environments look twisted and violent, and seem to have an air of decay around them. Character designs are also almost completely flawless. Every single model moves almost flawlessly, and it's easy to appreciate everything that Retro has done to make them look so good. Sound is another definite high-point. The music contains many familiar songs from earlier games in the series, and has a slightly nostalgic quality to it much of the time. But there is a lot of newer music that has been added to the game that gives it just as much of an uplifting feel as it has done before. It's worth noting that the music is often used very well to alter the game's mood. The music in the Dark World is usually much more subdued, often giving way to the shrieks and roars of it's hostile inhabitants. This makes it feel like a much more isolated and dangerous place than it's light counterpart. At the same time, the upbeat music that characterizes the light world makes it seem all the more lively and energetic. In other words, sound is one of the many environmental features that is used to add new dimensions to the different worlds that Samus must explore. Overall, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is a game that is worthy of the Metroid name in every way. It doesn't utterly reinvent the series as far as gameplay goes, but it still makes all the changes and improvements that you could want from a sequel. The new environments such as the Light and Dark worlds make the game more interesting, and add something completely new to the way it feels. The multiplayer mode isn't really that well done compared to the single-player adventure, but ultimately it doesn't hurt the game at all. If you enjoyed the first Metroid Prime, than by all means you should pick this game up. And if you haven't experienced the series already, then there's no better time to start with it than now.