8. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes – GameCube 2004
Metroid Prime was revolutionary. It nailed the atmosphere, adapted the series’ traditional gameplay into a third dimension, and got all the critical and fan based praise you could imagine. Its sequel should have been a no brainer, and for some it was. When I finally got my hands on Metroid Prime 2 I was thoroughly impressed with the even more expansive maps on planet Aether, the decidedly unique art direction, and the first inclusion of in-engine cutscenes throughout to give context to the game’s plot, but something about it felt a bit hollow, and I have to point to the game’s derivative means of making the gameplay slightly different: a Dark World. Yeah, taking a note from Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Nintendo thought it would be a good idea to make the gameplay of Echoes differ by introducing Samus’ traveling between a light dimension and a dark dimension. It’s cool in theory, except it adds a sort of tedium to the backtracking gameplay that doesn’t feel rewarding like previous Metroid titles, but more like a chore. Not to mention, that tedium is more agonizing for the first half of the game as Samus takes constant damage when not shielded from Dark Aether’s atmosphere, causing a constant drain to your health tank. In boss battles, it makes for tense moments, but in puzzle solving, it creates an agonizing task out of something that should be a good brain teaser. Luckily it eventually is overcome by a badass Light Suit to add to your armory.