One of the main characteristic about the Metroidvania sub-genre is that most of the games that fall into that category are in two-dimensions. But exploring labyrinths, locating items and receiving upgrades that let you access new places isn’t necessarily limited to that particular style of gameplay. Over the years, developers started applying the same principles to games with 3D environments and the result was fantastic. Below you’ll find some of the best three-dimensional titles in the genre in no particular order.
By the way, if you prefer classic games instead, check out my list with my favorite 2D metroidvania games.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
This action-adventure games based on DC Comics’ Batman not only proved that a game based on a comic book superhero was possible, but also managed to do so in a concise and revolutionary way. Its terrific voice-acting, amazing environments, delightful combat system and unique exploration system kept us interested for hours. As far as superhero games goes, its doesn’t get better than this.
This series had to be here somewhere. Metroid Prime was the first entry in the Metroid franchise to adopt 3D visuals and the result was an adventure that felt old and refreshingly new at the same time. This change wasn’t without its detractors, but it wasn’t until those people grabbed a controller that they accepted both the gameplay and this new perspective.
Do you want to play The Legend of Zelda in your PlayStation 2? Actually, you can’t, But if you want something similar, I recommend Okami, an action adventure game developed by Clover Studio (Viewtiful Joe, God Hand.) The best part about the game is that it combines elements from Japanese mythology and the gameplay includes brush techniques, a gesture system and cel-shaded visuals. The result? An irresistible adventure that feels creative and unique, even if it owes a lot of its DNA to other games.
In this action adventure hack and slash game, you control War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse and you engage in combat, solve puzzles and explore different environments. The world is divided into different sections, but you won’t be able to access new ones until you unlock special abilities.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Like most The Legend of Zelda games, Wind Waker combines different elements, but the most prominent one is exploration. Sailing, going from island to island and traversing temples to gain power to defend Ganondorf is how you’ll spend most of your time in this game. But it’s hard to complaint when each one of those elements is so solid.