3DS Review: Metroid Prime: Federation Force

Can the Metroid series be a success without Samus? Our verdict is in…

2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the Metroid series, which is why it feels strange to fans as well as myself why Nintendo have chose to “celebrate” this milestone with a Metroid game that has no Samus Aran, but instead a co-op shooter with Galactic Federation Marines in mechs. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher to be sure and let’s not ignore the immediate backlash from it’s initial unveiling, which even produced a petition to stop the game’s production. But now that the game is finally here, was it all blown out of proportion or were fans right to be wary of this experiment?
The story is set after Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Space Pirates are thought to be wiped out and you and your team-mates explore 3 planets to discover they are far from it and are building weapons to take out the Galactic Federation. You can play solo play with up to 3 other players can team up either locally or online to take them on in individual missions which can vary from simply wiping out a group of enemies or a boss, while other missions will make you gather objects from point A to point B as well as a number of frustrating escort missions.

Samus may not be a playable character, but she is mentioned frequently through the story and even makes the odd appearance to help out either through knowledge or using her Gunship to help with a situation or two. You can also use the Samus Amiibo to customise your mech to have the same colour scheme as Samus’ suit.

The game controls very much like Metroid Prime Hunters, just minus the touch-screen controls and scanning elements from the Prime series. The game gives you the option to free aim with the gyroscopic camera or through more traditional control. You can also lock-on targets as with past Prime games, essentially the game handles like a slimmed down version of Metroid Prime with no backtracking, except back to your ship to evacuate.
The game also comes with a second mode called Blast Ball, which is essentially Metroid Prime meets Rocket League. It’s a fun, yet quite frustrating mode. There’s also a free demo of it on the Nintendo eShop for you to get to grips with it.

The visuals are a mixed bag of traditional Metroid design and cartoony designed characters such as the GF Marines. It’s a look that has of course annoyed fans the most, when the Prime visuals have always been more designed and a lot darker. You can also issue text commands to your team from the touch-screen menu, as well as add MODs to your mech that give you perks. These can be found in hidden places on missions, but most can be destroyed if you fail a mission…so pick carefully.

The Verdict

On the whole, Federation Force is a great co-op shooter…it just doesn’t feel like a Metroid Prime game. If it was released on it’s own as a brand new IP without the Metroid name, it’d probably have faired better with consumers. It’s a shame since this is actually a really good game, but it’s clearly divided fans who wanted a real Metroid game for it’s 30th anniversary. Let’s hope we get one for the NX.

But I would really recommend Federation Force regardless of whether you are a Metroid fan or not. It’s great to work together online to overcome the bosses and missions, while gathering some great MODs to help you out even more. So forget it’s a Metroid game, just enjoy it as a co-op shooter and you will truly appreciate it as the game it is.

Score: 8.0