Man you really have to think about it........the whole game is gaining new abilities to gain access to new areas. Freeze bombs? Mine diffuser thing? Wall to wall zipline? Not only that, but also to complete challenges and riddles you need new abilities all the time. Not sure what game you were playing. Also exaggeration that the WHOLE game is about that......but it is a big part man.
It has more direction compared to classic Metroid but the gameplay progression is the same. The map is essentially open to you from the beginning but there are areas that are blocked off until you obtain certain items and there are definitely secret areas that can only be accessed after obtaining items or skills and backtracking.
And if you beat the game then there were more than a few instances where you backtracked through an area where you'd already been and used an item you didn't have the first time to open up a new path and progress further into the story. Perhaps you didn't think about it at the time because the game funnels you into doing those things so you might not consciously realize that it's happening.
I boosted some of my trophies. Please, judge me about it.