Metroid Prime 2 was a great game. However, there were some issues which kept it from scoring higher than an 8.5 on my Game-O-Meter.
What I loved about the game:
The story. Before this, there hasn't really been a Metroid game with a lot of narrative. I think the most was in Fusion, and it didn't really draw me in. They somehow failed to catch the Metroid-ness of the franchise. This game, however, had a great story that I found myself caring about. The only complaint about the story, in fact, was that Dark Samus was never explained. Was she the old dead Phazon suit left behind after Metroid Prime? What's up? The story in this game made me think about how you could effectively weave a very complex and meaningful story into an action game without tons of narrative. The story did not detract from the rest of the game at all.
The level design was amazing. I'm constantly baffled by the design in Metroid games. So many locks and keys. And yet, more often than not, the design of the levels would lead you back to where you needed or wanted to go without feeling as if you were actually being led back there.
Innovative boss battles. The boss battles were incredible. I loved fighting a boss solely as the morph ball. But each of the battles was rewarding in its own way. I only got frustrated by one of them, and it's because when I scanned the boss, the description was unclear as to what I was supposed to do, so I had to fight that boss a few times before getting desperate and figuring it out through brute force.
Character/enemy design. Samus and all the enemies were designed really well. Everything looked gorgeous and cool.
Gameplay. Of course, the gameplay was excellent. They've really figured out how to make a 1st person game feel like an action game rather than a shooter. Well done.
Namely, the things I didn't like about the game were the following:
Even though I love the Metroid franchise and am very familiar with the gameflow of the series, I thought that there was just too much backtracking in this Metroid game.
The game was a little long. Mind you, I love living in the Metroid world, but at 26 hours, I was ready to move on to other games.
The screw attack was both underutilized and underengineered. What I mean by that is that the developers made it very difficult to use the screw attack as fans of the series are used to. It wasn't powerful enough. It was very difficult to steer. When you hit a wall, you bounced off of it, making precision screw attacking somewhat clumsy.
The upgrading of weaponry didn't feel as good as I've had liked. In the 2D Metroid games, you have unlimited ammo for all of your beam weaponry, which is great, because you feel as if you've upgraded your standard weapon. The addition of the ammo counter for your Light and Dark beams left me disappointed that I couldn't just unleash with those beams. In fact, I rarely used the dark beam, because I didn't notice an immediate improvement over my standard beam. Maybe if there hadn't been ammo limitations, I would have experimented with these weapon systems more and found them to be awesome. The ammo system made me want to conserve, however.
Overall, I'd say the game was a great game. However, because of the above points and the fact that the gameplay (while great) remained mostly the same from Metroid Prime to Metroid Prime 2 even with the inclusion of new gameplay elements, I've decided to give this game an 8.5 on the Game-O-Meter.
Game Title: Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Retro Studios
Release Date: 15th Nov 2004