Hey all, autumn is finally upon us and so is that gorgeous-looking The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m pretty excited. In fact, it’s pretty safe to say that all of us here at Virtual Bastion are pretty psyched. This new look at a classic Nintendo game actually got us thinking quite a bit about the company and it’s incredible contributions to the industry. So, we figured we might as well talk about them all month as a little celebration of sorts. Each week will focus on a different thing we all love about Nintendo, starting right away with the biggest one: our favorite games! Choosing just one isn’t easy, but it can be done with a little bit of thought. For me, it’s probably Metroid Prime 2: Echoes!
To be completely honest, I was leaning towards choosing a Zelda game at first. Zelda games are the first thing that always come to mind when I think of Nintendo, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is probably my most-played game of all time. However, once I heard the music in the above video, I knew I had to choose Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. I may not have played it as much as some other Nintendo games, but I don’t think I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my playtime as much in any other Nintendo title.
I’m not really sure if it’s nostalgia talking here or not to be completely honest. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes came at the height of adolescence for me, so it’s has a “glory days” kind of feel to it nowadays, you know? I definitely don’t deny that playing it now tends to bring back fond memories winter days spent idly in front of a TV with friends I haven’t seen in over a decade now. So nostalgia is definitely a contributing factor. All that said though, this game has everything a sci-fi, shooter and Metroid fan could want!
Even though it’s wrapped in a rather serious tone, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is definitely one of Samus Aran’s weirder adventures. There’s the usual space pirates and such, but we’ve also got moth people, amorphous inter-dimensional aliens able to possess other creatures, a world split into two versions of itself, an evil doppelganger and a literal battle between light and dark. It’s absolutely bonkers if you stop to think about it for a second, and yet it comes across as totally serious in the moment. Hat’s off to the game’s writers and designers, they really pulled-off something incredible with that.
Gameplay-wise, this is Metroid Prime with an extra light/dark system thrown in. Players now have options in combat that they didn’t have before. They don’t just have different beams that cause different side-effects, but instead carry weapons that can make a major difference in combat. The advantages aren’t unlimited though, so it’s always forcing player to think about whether or not they want to burn through their precious reserves. Some found it annoying, but I liked have to keep it in mind.
The game does get off to a very slow start with the desolate overworld and dull Agon Wastes areas, but patience is rewarded once one gets to Torvus Bog and especially Sanctuary Fortress (the latter of which is perhaps the coolest location in any Metroid game). Metroid Prime 1’s locations were interesting, but none really stood out to me, whereas this game’s locations feel quite distinct at the cost of having one really boring one. It’s a worthwhile trade-off in the end I think.
Dark Samus is cool. There, I said it. It may be a bit lacking as a true villain, but the menace is there, and I think that’s what’s most important. The Ing make for a great antagonistic force too thanks to their unknowable nature and ability to show up and possess enemies at random times. It’s just too bad their Dark Aether can’t distinguish itself as well as Light Aether. While it is certainly dark and foreboding, it just doesn’t manage to stay interesting. This becomes especially apparent during the Sky Temple key hunt, and is the game’s biggest flaw.
Yup, I think I can say with confidence that Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is absolutely my favorite Nintendo game. Despite it’s flaws, it has everything I love about sci-fi and Metroid all wrapped up in one fun package, and it has the added bonus of transporting my mind back to a time when things were just a little bit simpler. It’s…yeah, it’s a really nice game.
What is your favorite Nintendo game? What sets it apart from the rest for you?
Lede image from Nintendo.com.uk