Impressions: Metroid Prime 2: Echoes - Gamecube

Flying under the radar of highly-touted sequels this year, an MP2E single player demo graces our 'cube.

Metroid Prime is one of our best games of all time. Still today, running through the game brings back fond memories of brilliant storytelling, incredible gameplay and lush environments. This year, we prepare for the sequel. Man, the bar is high.

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Playing through the short demo we received of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, I was surprised how exactly the same the game felt. It's definitely running on the same engine as before. Of course, this isn't a bad thing. The environments are still lush and the detail is high.

New to the Prime world is the concept of Dark and Light worlds. You will have to pass between the two to solve certain puzzles and defeat certain enemies. Also new are the Dark and Light Beams which you have to use for certain enemies and switches. But unlike the other beams, you only have a limited use for these before you have to find power-ups. Also there are certain poisonous environments where you are only safe in a protected bubble. You must jump from bubble to bubble to keep yourself alive and in some cases, learn how to activate these bubbles.

The build we played seemed to have a heavier emphasis on switches and puzzles, a most welcome modification since the puzzles in Metroid Prime were extraordinary. Gone are the Space Pirates and in are these alien creatures called the Ing. Everything seemed more refined, and more intricate. It is certainly on the right track.

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No Space Pirates? Well, apparently when Samus investigates an abandoned Federation ship on a planet named Aether, her ship is incapacitated by a freak electrical aberration in the atmosphere. Crash-landing on the planet's surface, she finds the scene of a slaughter. A group of creatures borne of darkness, known as the Ing Horde, attack her and steal a number of her Power Suit's abilities, leaving her for dead. As she soon comes to realize, the planet has been dimensionally doubled: One exists in darkness, the other in light. The peaceful people of Light Aether, called the Luminoth, are slowly being destroyed by the Ing Horde, and the loss of their generators will mean the permanent eclipse of the planet by Dark Aether. Not only that, but Samus soon finds that something more dangerous than the Ing stalks the planet surface: A dark creature is on the loose, and growing more lethal by the minute. Hmm, I wonder what it could be.

We haven't had the luxury of diving into the multiplayer element, but from what it looks like so far, it's a standard Deathmatch. If Nintendo doesn't change the control scheme to allow for dual analog stick control, I am not sure how welcomed the mode will be.

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Regardless, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is already shaping up to have enough gameplay elements to make it an even better experience so that its core gameplay can withstand the test of time. We'll know a lot more come November 15.

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