Join the force
The next chapter in Nintendo’s beloved Metroid franchise, Metroid Prime: Federation Force—a first person shooter and sports game—is now available exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS. Developed by Next Level Games from Vancouver, this independent game developer has been working exclusively with Nintendo since 2004 on hit games such as Mario Strikers, and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. Metroid Prime: Federation Force has faced some heavy criticism since its initial unveiling at E3 2015, and has had many fans disgruntled because of Nintendo’s choice to release a spin-off Metroid game rather than a new game in the main Metroid series.
Produced by Kensuke Tanabe, producer of all pervious Metroid Prime games, Metroid Prime: Federation Force has plenty to see and do that is sure to please fans and those new to the series. With controls similar to the Metroid Prime games on the Wii, and a plot that unfolds in mission format—Metroid Prime: Federation Force is not looking to cash-in on the Metroid IP.
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: August 19, 2016
Developer: Next Level Games
Genre: First-Person Shooter & Sports
Modes: Single-player (1 player with 3 A.I. drones as support), multiplayer (4 players local or online)
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
The Metroid universe expands
Following the destruction of Phazon and the corrupt world Phaaze, Metroid Prime: Federation Force takes place shortly after the events of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. As a rookie member of a team of elite marines known as the Federation Force, you will use your handy blaster along with your specialized battle armour suit to take out the surging Space Pirate threat. Ready to put their training to the test, the Federation Force is deployed to the Bermuda System to investigate the Space Pirate’s presence.
Long-time Metroid fans will be happy to hear that the star bounty hunter Samus Aran not only makes an appearance in Metroid Prime: Federation Force, but she is also one of the game’s main characters. While Metroid Prime: Federation Force’s story is not one of the strongest in the Metroid franchise, I commend what Nintendo, and Next Level Games have accomplished by expanding the Metroid universe through the perspective of the Galactic Federation’s Federation Force.
Can a game that does not allow you to play as the franchise’s long-time protagonist grab fans interest? I believe that Metroid Prime: Federation Force is a good step forward in expanding the Metroid Universe beyond Samus, and has laid the ground work from which the series can continue to grow upon in the future should Nintendo decide to. Metroid Prime: Federation Force features enough familiar faces from the long-time series that will grab fans interest and pull them in.
Familiar gameplay with a twist
If you have played any of the Metroid Prime games on the Wii then you will be familiar with the gameplay and control mechanics ofMetroid Prime: Federation Force. For those playing on the Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo 2DS, you move your character forward and backward by using the left stick. A shoulder button is then used to lock-on, and aiming is done by using the Nintendo 3DS/2DSsystem’s gyroscope—similar to aiming in Splatoon on the Wii U.
However, if you have the Circle Pad Pro or a New Nintendo 3DS, Metroid Prime: Federation Force controls like a traditional FPS where the right stick is your aim. Additionally, you can set your shoulder buttons to jump and shoot—allowing you to keep your thumbs on the sticks unless you have to use an item. While I do own both a Nintendo 3DS and a New Nintendo 3DS, I much preferred the control setup on my New Nintendo 3DS—using the C-Stick just feels more natural.
One of the biggest differences between Metroid Prime: Federation Force and other games in the series is the way in which you progress through the game. The game now progresses though a mission based format instead of allowing you to free-roam. Before heading out on a mission you will need to decide which mods, equippable items that beef up your weapons or other items that you are going to take along with you. Here’s a juicy tip for those that are playing the game solo, equip the Lone Wolf mod when available—the damage you deal out is doubled and any damage you take is halved.
For the most part, Metroid Prime: Federation Force will have you fighting enemies, solving puzzles, and conducting some form of platforming. I was quite surprised at how well Next Level Games perfectly executed the platforming portions of Metroid Prime: Federation Force—thank goodness for the jetpack.
Bright colourful graphics with a superbly orchestrated soundtrack
While some may argue that the Nintendo 3DS’s graphics are starting to show their age, Metroid Prime: Federation Force looks bright and colourful on the Nintendo 3DS—screen shots do not do the game justice. The character animations of the enemies and Mechs are simply exquisite for the portable device, and character design is similar to that of Metroid Prime. I was amazed at the quality of each of the cut scenes in Metroid Prime: Federation Force, as they are some of the best on the system to date.
Not to be outdone, Next Level Games included a wonderfully orchestrated soundtrack that plays like a combination of those from previous Metroid games with a splash of Star Wars thrown in—a perfect complement to the game. Grab yourself a set of headphones and crank up the volume; you won’t want to play this game with the sound down.
Multiplayer action that you won’t soon forget
While Metroid Prime: Federation Force can be enjoyed as a solo experience with up to 3 A.I. drones, its team-based gameplay really shines when played with up to four players online or locally. As with other Nintendo 3DS games, Metroid Prime: Federation Force supports Download Play, which allows you to share the game with other local players. It’s clear to see that Next Level Games and Nintendo intended Metroid Prime: Federation Force to be a multiplayer game as evident by boss battles. If you’re going to take down one of the game’s bosses, using co-ordinated teamwork makes an otherwise overwhelming task easier.
In addition to the main game, Next Level Games has included a fast-paced multiplayer Blast Ball mode that is similar to Rocket League. Using your Mechs, two teams of three face off against each other shooting a ball while attempting to blast it into the other team’s goal. With very few instances of online lag, Blast Ball’s simplistic gameplay is a ton of fun to play. On top of all that, Blast Ball has its own set of unlockables and skins, with amiibo skins based on the Super Mario Bros. Totally awesome!
Jam-packed with content and amiibo support
Metroid Prime: Federation Force is jam-packed with content that will keep you coming back to play after you have beaten it. Each stage and difficulty in Metroid Prime: Federation Force has their own set of medals to unlock at the end of each mission, and medals are awarded for completing the level with high scores. Furthermore, each mission has a bonus objective and par time to complete.
If you are looking for the ultimate challenge, you can go back and play the levels in hard mode after you have completed the game. Those with a New Nintendo 3DS or a 3DS NFC Reader/Writer, can tap the Samus or Zero-Suit Samus amiibo figures to get added firepower on the Federation Force missions.
Overall, Metroid Prime: Federation Force does a fantastic job to expand the Metroid universe and provide one of the best first-person shooter experiences on the Nintendo 3DS. While it’s not a traditional Metroid game, it doesn’t mean that Metroid Prime: Federation Force should be overlooked by long-time Metroid fans.
Although you will still have fun playing the game as a solo experience, multiplayer co-op gaming is really the reason why you should buy Metroid Prime: Federation Force. With loads of customization options for your mech, online multiplayer support, amiibosupport, and a bonus game Blast Ball—Metroid Prime: Federation Force is one of my favourite Nintendo 3DS games this year.
+ Fun single-player and multiplayer experience
+ Blast Ball is a neat bonus
+ Fantastic soundtrack
+ Lots of content to keep you busy
+ Bright colourful graphics
– No checkpoints in levels
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating 3.9/5 (78%)