Review: Metroid Prime: Federation Force (3DS)
The Metroid games usually follow the bounty hunter known as Samus Aran – a heroine who defends her world against the scum of the galaxy known as the Space Pirates. It has been 5 years since fans have seen a Metroid title and now we’re finally receiving one from Nintendo. The real question is whether this game can live up to the ‘Prime’ legacy?
A force to be reckoned with… sort of
Starting off Federation Force you will be inducted into the Galactic Federation as a cadet to prove that you have what it takes to defend the galaxy against the Space Pirates. Once you’ve proven your steel, through a series of training missions, you’ll become a member of the elite force known as the Federation Force. The Federation Force is stationed amongst three planets which is where they have received reports of heavy Space Pirate activities. In this specific galaxy the Federation Force marines, which you are apart of, will travel to and from these planets in over 20 missions, carrying out investigations, rescuing stranded researchers and stopping the Space Pirates.
The game at its core is a first-person shooter but it does incorporate third-person platforming in certain levels. The control scheme as such is pretty simple to pick up on, except when you’re using the gyro controls that will have you flailing your 3DS in all kinds of directions. Luckily there is a lock-on target feature so you won’t have to use the gyro controls often. Majority of the game is played inside of a Mech that can be customised with mods that power up your shots, increase defense or increase the lifespan on your shields. You’ll also be able to customise your Mech with paint jobs. As you progress through the game you’ll unlock it, though you can scan in amiibo if you want to cheat the system to get easy access to paint jobs. The primary weapon on the Mech is unfortunately pretty basic and fires off one shot at a time, or a charge shot when you press and hold the A button. That said, you’ll be jabbing at that A button more often than holding it down for a charge shot. There are secondary weapons available such as rockets, electric shots and ice shots but it’s quite a chore to look for it in the level if you’ve not equipped it before starting the mission.
Following on that, the game is set out in short bursts of missions that can be easily completed in 10 – 15 minute sessions, and even less time if you’re playing co-op. The level designs really aren’t too bad, giving the player a feel of what each of the three planets different atmospheres can offer from an ice planet, with massive ice glaciers and ice pillars that can be melted, to a desert type planet with caves that can be blasted through by using charge shots. The levels also have a few light puzzles but truly nothing intense.
It’s a bit of a pushover
Enemies in Federation Force start off at laughable levels in the beginning missions, easily dispatched without a second thought. It is really more towards the mid section of the game that enemies start becoming tougher and require a little more skill to eliminate. The same can be said for the boss battles unfortunately although, having said this, I do have to admit that the animations for some bosses are quite impressive. Honestly, who doesn’t like battle Mechs! Enemies are usually equipped with laser guns but you will come across melee attackers as well.
One of the major points that I believe players will pick up on in Federation Force is that the game seems to be built more around the multiplayer aspect of things rather than the single player. The same missions you might play through solo become easier and yet more enjoyable with other players. For instance a mission that had me activating beacons in one of the levels became trickier in multiplayer as I would have to watch my allies back while they activated a specific beacon, and I would fend off enemies. Although team work isn’t really a necessity at times it does add to the comradery between players. However it is important to note that enemies seem to become tougher in multiplayer mode. This however does not add too much to the difficulty and I still found the four Mech Federation Force squad completing missions in some cases in a matter of four minutes.
All-in-all Metroid Prime: Federation Force is a fun-to-play shooter that can be enjoyed. This is more of a multiplayer game than a single player experience, and even then it feels a little empty and not worthy of carrying the ‘Prime’ name. The game made me feel like an errand boy picking up the second-rate missions passed down from the infamous Samus Aran.