Metroid Prime: Federation Force – game review.
When Nintendo announced the new Metroid, the world held its breath. When Nintendo showed what the new Metroid is – the world went crazy and people came out with torches and pitchforks on Nintendo. Is Federation Force such a great abomination of the thirty-year-old brand? Or is it a rather innocent spin-off?
The questions asked in the introductory section are quite easy to answer and I will answer them right now, here, because this is the most important issue for fans of the series and it makes no sense for them to read through the next few paragraphs to find out the final verdict. Well … Is Federation Force the Metroid we wanted? Briefly and bluntly – NO. From a Metroid fan’s point of view – this title has no defining element to define the whole species initiated by Samus Aran’s first visit to the planet Zebes. It’s also not a good game, but more on that below.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force tells us a story that takes place shortly after the end of Metroid Prime 3. The Galactic Federation decided to launch a project to train soldiers to handle giant mechs to keep the galaxy in order and sent a small squad to the Bermuda system for training. three planets – frosty Excelcion, industrial Talvania and desert Bion. Naturally, ordinary training turns into a much more serious task, closely related to the next space pirate plan. The history of the game definitely does not play the most important role here, and the game itself is presented in the form of short text introductions at the beginning of the mission and a summary after its completion.
Through the world
Although the well-known and liked Samus Aran appears in the background of the story, we, as a player, play the role of one of the many soldiers controlling the mech. We fly where the Federation tells us and we do our part. Forget about visiting one gigantic map with tons of secrets, backtracking, shortcuts and blocked passages. You won’t find anything in the Federation Force that defines a Metroid. The entire game has been divided into missions, which we most often unlock in three (one for each planet), while offering the player a delicate freedom in choosing the next target. Tasks are played on small maps and their completion takes from several to several minutes, never exceeding 15-20. The tasks are varied, practically each mission requires something different from us, either solving a simple dexterity and logic puzzle with rolling a ball with projectiles from our blaster, or defending a position, or collecting an artifact, or finally – fighting bosses. From time to time it happens that instead of the traditional mission, we will face a boss, and at least they keep some connection to the more classic installments of the series. The fights are demanding, you have to find a way to deal with your opponent and use your surroundings and skills.
Before we go on missions, we will be able to modify our mech a littlearming it with the available types of ammunition, acting as additional weapons here, replace MODs or change the robot’s skin. After arming, the game moves us to the appropriate planet to start the task. Each mission is scored, you are rewarded with the use of special ammunition, killing enemies, using a charge shot, and so on, and by breaking the thresholds, you get more medals for your collection. Medals are good for nothing, apart from unlocking additional MOD slots, more space for ammunition and skins for our mech. What are MODs? These are modules to improve our mech, as the game progresses, we will be able to put on up to three of them at once. Most of these modules are disposable with some minor exceptions, and they give us bonuses in the style of faster firing, more capacious magazine or healing aid. Although they seem trivial, the MOD that heals us to full health on “death” saved my from trouble more than once. These modules are hidden in various places on the map and at least here you can feel a slight memory of Metroid, because most often you need to find a way to get to the MOD.
As missions are scored, it is natural that we can come back to them to break our records. Additionally, each mission has one additional goal and a time threshold to beat. If we manage to complete the bonus task or break the time record, we will get another bonus to points.
Moss is a moss
I haven’t mentioned a word about the most controversial thing in Metroid Prime: Federation Force, namely – multiplayer mode. I purposely avoided this topic earlier, because despite the fact that it is a title focused mainly on multiplayer – we can play the whole game alone and honestly? I recommend playing alone. In multiplayer, we play exactly the same missions and we can smoothly move from single to multi, because the progress of both is combined. We can play up to four players at once, which, although it can facilitate some sections of the game (e.g. more demanding skirmishes), in my case – it was simply frustrating due to incompetence of comrades and lack of any form of voice communication. Sure, the game has a command system implemented under the Teutonic Knights and under a separate menu, however, it is uselesswhen a teammate is overwhelmed and nonsense flies around the map, mindlessly irritating the others. It’s good that one such culprit was thrown out of the game, because firstly – the annoying guest disappeared, and secondly – it’s nice that the game developers have anticipated such a situation and we can continue the game by one less member. The fired culprit is automatically “transferred” on his console to the single version of the campaign exactly at the point where he was disconnected. I have no doubts that multiplayer gameplay can be a lot of fun, but in this case you have to either equip yourself with something for voice communication or play in a local game with friends.
In multiplayer, each player scoops his own points that count towards the pool of all players, so it may be easier for some of them to earn medals this way. Plus, it comes over here little element of competition, because the person with the highest number of points will have priority in choosing a MOD, among those found during the mission. The second person in the queue is the second one, and so on until the MOD pool is exhausted.
Unfortunately, although the gameplay itself works without any problems, even when we play with people from across the ocean, I have to complain sluggishness between missions. You have to wait a few seconds until he counts the points after the mission, you have to wait for everyone to choose MODs, you have to wait for everyone to watch cutscenes before and after the mission, wait for everyone to arm themselves … Wait, wait, wait, the man damn gets then.
He is also waiting for us in Federation Force additional game – Blast Ball, heavily inspired by Rocket Leaguein which two teams of 3 mechs try to score 3 goals against the opposing team. After each goal, the opponent’s goal is slightly reduced, making the task more difficult. The game itself is also available separately for some time for free download from the eShop, so if anyone is interested, I encourage you to test it. She did not take me personally. The gameplay is slow, sluggish and unemotional.
Sluggish moss, uncomfortable moss, moss boring but nice
Apart from the fact that each mission is somewhat unique and ingenious, yes the gameplay itself is simply boring. Our robot moves extremely slowly, and the very control of the moments cries out to heaven for vengeance. Owners of regular 3DS without CirclePad Pro will be forced to inconvenient tank controls – moving the CirclePad left / right moves the camera in the right direction, and tilting forward / backward moves the robot forward and backward. Aiming was poorly copied from Splatoon, where by pressing the left bumper we activate the accelerometers and aim by moving the console, which in the case of a classic 3DS model automatically forces us to turn off the 3D mode. The second control mode, available for the N3DS or for the classics with an attachment, is the more traditional character control with the left analog and aiming with the second. We can automatically target enemies and, by tilting the console, aim precisely at e.g. a pirate’s head. Our robots can also jump and fly for a moment, additionally they can make quick dodges left / right, but these, instead of dodging, I used more often to move faster around the map, inspired by straferunning from the classic DOOM.
I mentioned above that our moss comes with blaster. It is his only weapon, but we can provide various types of support ammunition, such as rockets, super rockets, fire missiles, electric, ice or healing ammunition during the mission or before it begins. The classic shooting mode is a single shot from the blaster, and holding down the button responsible for the shot is charging the charge shot. When fighting a lot of opponents, we will most often be forced to press the right bumper of the 3DS insanely in order to keep firing the blaster and we guarantee that after 5 minutes you will have enough and your index finger will beg for mercy. The aiming itself, even with the right knob, is very inconvenient and inaccurate, so using the auto-aim will be required to somehow manage.
Graphically, Metroid Prime: Federation Force can do it. It is one of the most beautiful three-dimensional games for 3DS while maintaining a constant smoothness of the game. Each of the three planets has its own landscapes, buildings, enemies and locations. Character models, although very caricatured and usually poor in detail, manage. Musically and sonically, it is also quite solid, you can feel the Metroid roots, although the music at the introduction and summary of the mission is always the same and can be boring after the third time.
This is not the Metroid you are looking for
I was never a huge fan of the Metroid franchise, but especially prior to the Federation Force reviewing approach, I played Super Metroid, AM2R, and the first Prime to understand the fans’ regrets. I understand them perfectly and I also regret the fact that the new version of the series has little to do with the original. It would be safest to consider that the Federation Force is a harmless spin-off, made on the side to appease us before the premiere of a full-fledged new installment of the series, but even in such a situation I can’t say the game is defending itself. Federation Force is a very poor Metroid at the same time being a fairly average game in general. Our character is quite sluggish, and the gameplay itself is boring and repetitive. No character development is felt at all or attachment, controls are poor, multiplayer, although the main game mode is simply boring and irritating due to the lack of voice communication. So I regret to inform you that if the work on the normal Metroid depends on the market adoption of this part, it may be hard for another Samus adventure. At this point, I should mention the end of the game and the last boss. It is
Samus herself, brainwashed, captured by pirates. Defeating Samus as a symbolic killing of the Metroid series?
If you want a good Metroid – play AM2R or Axiom Verge.