|Dev: Next Level Games|
|Release: August 19, 2016|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Fantasy Violence|
by Jenni Lada
Metroid Prime: Federation Force was destined to be divisive. It’s a Metroid game that doesn’t star Samus Aran. It’s a multiplayer-focused title on a system where most people prefer or are forced to go solo. The Blast Ball mode is arriving on the heels of Rocket League and is destined to be compared to it, even though it isn’t a totally similar experience. People are going to be coming in with opinions. That’s a shame, because this is a quite the enjoyable game, provided it’s played properly.
Every player in Metroid Prime: Federation Force is a new member of the Galactic Federation’s marines. It’s a role our icon, Samus, once held. As a new recruit, you’re dispatched to the Bermuda region, where you’ll undertake about 30 missions on three desolate and (allegedly) empty worlds. There’s the icy Excelcion, the ruin-filled Bion, and the technologically advanced Talvania. Each one offers its own sort of sensitive situations for a soldier like yourself to solve.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force isn’t big on story, instead offering self-contained adventures in each mission. Yet, each of these three worlds is quite well defined. When you arrive on one for a mission, you can find computer stations set up to deliver insightful lore about the location and possible denizens or pieces of equipment you’ll encounter. Each one feels set up for certain situations. The Bermuda region’s worlds inject personality into a game that otherwise lacks a cast of actual characters.
While pirates can appear on each world, it feels like Excelcion is there for dealing with wildlife, as the first few missions have you clearing out a minor infestation and trapping Ice Titans. Bion offers challenges that make you think, such as blasting orbs to openings to unlock doors or using equipment to destroy obstacles and create paths. Talvania offers more electronic and mechanical challenges, and can do things like send you scavenging for keys or dealing with rogue equipment. It lends atmosphere and overarching themes to a game that could otherwise have been very scattered. Instead, everything works well together, offering connections that I appreciated as I continued through the adventure.
Speaking of working well, Metroid Prime: Federation Force offers quite the competent control scheme. Players can choose from standard or motion controls. I was using a New Nintendo 3DS and was impressed by how well it lent itself to the game. Most of the triggers are used for weaponry, allowing you to target enemies and allies or fire primary or auxiliary weapons. The circle pad moves your marine, while the left trigger lets you jump and hover over brief distances. X shuffles auxiliary ammo, while the circle nub controls the camera and allows for more precise aiming. It’s incredibly comfortable and allows for the sort of exact movements that ensure you’ll hit specific weak points in enemies’ armor. The tutorial takes the time to go over each of these elements so that, after the about five-minute introduction, you’re ready to handle anything.