Metroid Prime: Federation Force Review – Written by Jose Vega
Product provided by Nintendo for the sake of this review.
Where do I even start with Metroid? Released in 1986, it was a groundbreaking game that introduced many features that would be mainstays for the franchise. It also gave us the first female protagonist in gaming history, Samus Aran. Metroid spawned eleven games. Many of them like Metroid Prime became glorified hits. Though it has had some rough edges, it’s a franchise where it’s games are always a delight to enjoy. The year 2016 would see Metroid resurface once more but it ha been mired in controversy. I speak of Metroid Prime: Federation Force a game that was subject to hate from everyone, considering that it was Metroid’s 30th anniversary. But does it really deserve the hate it got or is this game worth giving a chance?
The game takes place after Metroid Prime 3: Corruption with the threat of Phazon having been eradicated from the galaxy. Trouble is brewing within the Bermuda system and the Space Pirates, reeling from their previous defeat are planning something big. To counter the inevitable threat, the Galactic Federation forms a task force to stop them. It’s a straightforward story that does have some interesting twists but overall, it’s all right at best. What is surprising is that the focus is shifted away from Samus Aran. Instead it centers on the Galactic Federation. Sure Samus does make appearances in the game but it’s a surprising change compared to what we normally see.
Federation Force plays similarly to the Metroid Prime games where you explore, shoot things, etc. On a handheld, I say they emulated it rather well. The game is a mission-based adventure where you travel to one of three planets and complete objectives that the G.F gives you. You operate a giant Federation mech that you use to explore planets, shoot space pirates and complete missions. Controls are very solid, just like in the Prime games. They can take a while to get used to because it’s a Metroid game on a handheld but it’s well done.
Gyro controls help make your aim precise and that’s a good thing. I didn’t have any issues with them. Most games didn’t incorporate these controls well enough but for a game like this, it’s done pretty well. You can use analog controls if you feel they can be tiresome.
Speaking of the mech, you have the option to customize it however you like with different chips. They provide unique effects, giving opportunities for experimentation. Be warned that they can break, aside from one that can’t be broken. Also you can decide what weapons you can use like missiles, beams, etc. Depending on the mission you’ll have to decide carefully. Oh and you can also have your mech get a paint job. It’s cosmetic but it’s pretty cool.
In the presentation style, the game is acceptable. Having three different settings give the game a bit of variety. Sure it’s traditional cause you have an ice planet, a desert planet and a factory planet but they shouldn’t stop you from taking in the scenery. Due to the game’s mission structure, your exploration is limited but it won’t stop you from finding stuff like secrets. There are plenty and can unlock new stuff for your mech such as chips and paint jobs.
Federation Force’s campaign mode can take you roughly 8-10 hours, depending if you play it by yourself or with friends. Yes, the campaign has both offline and online co-op. Now that’s a good thing since with friends, it helps alleviate the game’s shortcomings and plus, it’s more fun if you have friends by your side blasting space pirates. The game’s built with co-op in mind and it’s done real well. Solo however can be a pain and depending on mission structure, it can get problematic. There is a high amount of replay value as you can go back to previous missions to get high scores and medals if you’re skilled enough. It’s even higher with friends.
In addition the campaign, there’s also Blast Ball. Think of it as soccer but with mechs, 3-on-3. Your job is to score three points while preventing your opponents from scoring. It’s an okay mode at best and doesn’t offer anything else. Once you play it for a bit, you get an idea and it can be kind of boring. Not much to say on that. Federation Force has Amiibo support but it only works on both Samus and Zero Suit Samus. They provide new paint jobs with added advantages. It’s okay at best.
In spite of some good things this has, there’s a bit of bad. The music isn’t as interesting as previous Metroid titles. They don’t have the kind of hook that gets you to listen to them. I would sum the music up as forgetful. Also since the game puts focus on the Galactic Federation, Samus gets downplayed. For the sake of spoilers, I feel that Samus should have been utilized more in the game. Heck having her be an unlockable after beating it would have been nice. But I feel that this leaves a lot to be desired. It also doesn’t help that this game was released to coincide with Metroid’s 30th anniversary. Having this to celebrate a franchise like Metroid just turns off a lot of people. Sadly it did and not a lot of people got to play it.
I’ll be fair. Metroid Prime: Federation Force is a welcome addition to the franchise. The gameplay is solid and the presentation is well done. But its many flaws hinder the game from reaching its full potential. Fans of the franchise do deserve a better Metroid game and sadly this isn’t it. But with the game not doing well sales-wise, the future is uncertain. I only wish Nintendo can provide us a proper Metroid game… instead of this.
This took me half a year to do and I had to think about this well. However I will give the benefit of the doubt to this game. Metroid Prime: Federation Force gets a 6 out of 10 from me.