PC Gamer|November 2021
AXIOM VERGE 2 is less Metroid, more ’vania
Tom Sykes

I can remember the last time I felt excited about a Metroidvania. It was Axiom Verge, a game inspired more by the original Metroid than the other half of the equation, Symphony of the Night. Its standout feature was a device that let you ‘hack’ the world, by turning foes into friends or clearing glitched-out obstacles. In truth, the Axiom Disruptor was just a power-up like any other, but it gave the illusion of letting you mess rebelliously with the game code.

I mention the Disruptor – such an iconic element of the original game – because it’s absent from this daring sequel, replaced by a similar hacking tool that’s perhaps more versatile, but less exciting to use. It’s emblematic of a game that has changed almost every aspect of its predecessor, while still retaining its soul.

In Axiom Verge 2, you play as billionaire CEO Indra Chaudhari, who has arrived on an alien world to search for her daughter. It’s a philosophical story that touches on artificial intelligence and a theory of multiple worlds, but so light it can be difficult to follow.

Where the original was largely subterranean, its sequel features a more conventional overworld. Metroid’s subterranean dread has been swapped for a sumptuous environment that’s still rewarding to hack and slash your way around.

Notice I didn’t say ‘shoot’. The many guns of the original have been excised completely, leaving only melee weapons and a Zelda-style boomerang. It’s a huge change, but the combat’s good enough, if slightly less satisfying than the bullet cacophony of the previous game.

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