Ever since Metroid Prime: Federation Force was first unveiled at E3 2015 it’s proved to be somewhat of a controversial entry into the Metroid franchise – even more so than Other M if that were possible. Some bemoaned the lack of Samus, others weren’t a fan of the chibi-style characters, yet some were cautiously optimistic and willing to give Next Level Games’ cooperative first-person shooter a chance – especially given the pedigree of the studio.
While we’d just love for you to read our own review, of course there are many opinions out there on Federation Force ranging from quite positive to painfully average. Let’s take a quick look at a handful of them, naturally starting with ours:
Next Level Games has treated the franchise with the respect that it deserves while successfully attempting to bring co-op multiplayer to the world of Samus Aran. While you don’t get to play as her here, it’s easy to accept that this game is all about the unknown soldier, the average space Joe (or space Jane) who signed up for their military service in the Galactic Federation. Once you become comfortable with that and the excellent tutorials draw you in, you have in your hands yet another fantastic Nintendo offering for your 3DS.
Metroid without Samus, without that sense of exploration and lonely adventure? It’s a much tougher ask, and while the best efforts of Next Level Games have ensured an enjoyable off-shoot it was perhaps only inevitable that Federation Force would end up falling a little short.
While it may not be a classic Metroid, it proves to be the kind of strategic shooter not seen from Nintendo before. Its designers enter such uncharted territory with aplomb, and the resulting game is one of the most pleasant surprises of the season.
IGN – 5.9/10
Metroid Prime: Federation Force has some neat ideas, but they’re soured by an impotent and boring primary weapon that sucks the enjoyment out of shooting and a bewildering lack of special ammunition that might’ve brought variety to the action. Due to a painfully imbalanced single-player experience co-op with friends is really the only viable way to play it, and even then it’s not really recommended.
Federation Force has proven to be a pleasant surprise, and my feelings on playing the game quickly went from “reluctant dread” to “respectful delight.” It undoubtedly helps that I’ve learned to let go of my expectations for beloved franchises… but even if this game doesn’t fully deserve to wear the name Metroid, it’s an excellent portable FPS in its own right.
I was holding out hope for Metroid Prime: Federation Force, but at this point, there are so many other dungeon crawlers that are worth your time. Just like Hunters on the original DS, the main questline of Federation will probably fade out of the limelight over time and become a whisper in hardcore Metroid crowds — though I can see Blast Ball having longer legs.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force is absolutely a Metroid Prime game. It incorporates fresh ideas and presents them in unique ways, but it never forgets where it comes from. The co-op online shooter genre is a bold new venture for Nintendo, and one they’ve taken to with surprising aptitude.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force is not a good game at all. When you find yourself just wanting to complete levels to see if the game ever changes and gets better, that’s a sign that something is very wrong. The core gameplay is simplistic, boring, and not the level of quality one would expect from a Metroid game. Other M may have been the most fan-derided Metroid game until now, but Federation Force will easily take the crown from here on out.
The only area where Federation Force falters across the board is in the chosen art style. Perhaps restricted by the aged Nintendo 3DS hardware, the minimalist, chibi approach to design is at odds with the Metroid universe’s gritty setting. There’s still a clear sci-fi feel exuberating from every pixel, and some great cinematic work to be seen in the game’s many cutscenes.
For die-hard Metroid fans, Federation Force can be hard to recommend. There aren’t too many similarities to the main series, but there’s just enough here to make it worthwhile for those looking for a unique multiplayer experience to fill their fall season. Mixed overall gameplay, decent visuals, and nice sound design don’t make the title groundbreaking by any means. It’s just unique enough where I can forgive the little things and invest myself in the experience for a short period.
Ultimately, Federation Force isn’t really a Metroid game at all, then, but it is a relatively fun game that is actually quite enjoyable once you stop thinking about what it isn’t, and enjoy it with some friends online.
So things haven’t changed much since the E3 2015 reveal; Metroid Prime: Federation Force is still dividing opinion even among esteemed videogame critics.
Will you be taking the plunge with Metroid Prime: Federation Force, or are you skipping this installment into the beloved franchise completely? As always, let us know your thoughts with a comment below.