Review cover Metroid Prime: Federation Force (Nintendo 3DS)
Official GBAtemp Review

Product Information:

  • Release Date (NA): August 19, 2016
  • Release Date (EU): September 2, 2016
  • Release Date (JP): August 25, 2016
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Next Level Games
  • Genres: First-person shooter

Game Features:

Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative
The first Metroid game in 6 years, does Federation Force successfully shake up the formula while still satisfying long-time Metroid fans?

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Federation! Assemble!

As controversial as games can come, Federation Force was certainly not the game anyone expected to be unveiled at E3 last year. The backlash in the community was and still is quite apparent, as numerous petitions to cancel the game gathered thousands of signatures. Nintendo remained steadfast, entreating fans to give the game a chance; and here we are.

Federation Force takes a different approach to the Metroid Prime formula. For those who don't know, the Metroid Prime trilogy focused on exploration, with a generally dark and encroaching atmosphere. Federation Force takes a different approach; it follows members of a squad of space heroes known as the Federation Force, whose duty is to keep the universe in check by disposing of planetary threats. Up to four players go on specialized missions, usually about ten minutes long, with a focus on puzzles leading up to a large fight at the end.

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I did have major problems with the matchmaking. It was rare that four players actually joined the match, which made me feel like I was losing part of the experience by not having all four players available. Too often, players would drop out of matches or simply stop moving, which puts other players at a disadvantage since the missions tailor to the number of players at the start. Connection errors were abundant. I imagine local multiplayer would be a better experience, but obviously I didn't have 3 other people with a copy of the game to play with. Playing solo is no fun at all, as it simply feels like a cut down, exploration-free version of Metroid Prime. However, I'm easily willing to forgive that as the title is clearly not designed to be a singleplayer experience. Solo players do get a boost to help them complete the missions, which is a big help in that area.

Mission Improvable

Most missions follow a specific and recognizable pattern. A little intro video plays, and after a short introductory puzzle, five minutes of short battles with small puzzles follow. Then, at the end comes a boss fight. Speaking of, the boss fights are mostly fantastic. They're reminiscent of some of the fights in Metroid Prime, and are even better than those given that you have four other people to coordinate with. Cooperation is a must to get things done right. The best moments came about in boss fights, when a teammate heals you up mid-battle, or when a tough monster finally goes down. It's co-op done right.

I also loved the MOD customization system. After a mission, players (in order of highest to lowest score) get the chance to pick a mod that was collected in battle. These mods can be added to the mech suit before battle. Up to three can be equipped at a time; they are basically little augments which, for example, revive you once you die, or increase missile damage. It provides an element of strategy without being too heavy-handed and difficult to understand. Similarly, the secondary weapon system works well. Every player has their basic attack, but weapons like missiles, repair capsules, and fire blasts can be customized according to a weight limit before battle. These can be quickly swapped between with buttons, and bring a little more depth and strategy to mission preparation.

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An obvious flaw is the lack of voice chat. It's a mind-boggling omission in a co-op focused multiplayer game. This isn't Mario Kart 8 where no real strategy is involved, and this isn't Splatoon where the matches are only three minutes long. Pre-determined emotes are available to assign to the D-pad but it's not enough to get around the awkward moments where everyone is trying to do something different, especially in puzzle sections and particularly complicated boss battles. Frankly, it completely hinders the co-operative nature of the game and turns it into more of a translation test.

My biggest complaint is the overall lack of variety in the missions. As I said before, they all follow a specific pattern, with the exceptions standing out from the rule. After each mission, continuing to play seems like a less and less attractive option. The combat is great, as I already described, but the puzzles are halfhearted attempts at injecting some fake variety into the formula which falls flat on its face. Half the time you'll be matched with players who already completed the mission and are just collecting ranks, which completely ruins the puzzle. The other half of players are people who can't tell left from right and seem to want to mess up everything you do whether or not it involves them. Other co-operative games have ways of getting over this problem, but due to the lack of voice chat it's completely impossible to communicate with these people. Instead, the solutions are spoon-fed to the players in an attempt to make up for this lack of communication.

Mighty Morphin' Mechs

Standard 3DS-grade graphics are in order for Federation Force. Not owning a New 3DS, the 3D was near impossible to use considering that it's natural to move your head a bit in an FPS game with gyro aiming, which is the only control scheme unless you have a New 3DS, in which case you can use the C-stick for aiming, or a Circle Pad Pro. I didn't have a major problem with the controls; in fact, I think the gyro aiming worked quite well. The control stick simply strafes and does not change the aim, but similar to the original Metroid Prime, if you hold down R then the gyro aiming is enabled. While it didn't work so well on the Gamecube due to its strange single-stick arrangement, it works quite well on the 3DS, since moving and aiming with the gyro is quite easy to accomplish. Targets can be locked onto with L, and from there you can strafe and sidestep around dangers and aim in different locations by holding R. It's a nice control scheme, and thankfully includes the C-stick option for players who dislike gyro aiming.

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I was a little disappointed with the music, or lack thereof, as the Metroid prime games have previously featured deeply engrossing soundtracks. There wasn't much to be heard other than the far too loud SFX volume and the occasional generic intense boss battle theme. Otherwise, the presentation was decent overall, with intuitive menus and management systems, and decent graphics to boot.

Launch Trailer

Verdict

What We Liked ...
  • Great combat system
  • Strategic customization
  • Tight controls
What We Didn't Like ...
  • Boring, repetitive missions
  • Poor soundtrack
  • Lack of voice chat
  • Badly designed puzzles
6
Gameplay
While the controls and combat are spot-on, especially for a portable game, they can't make up for the repetitive puzzles and overall lack of variety in the missions. A lack of voice chat greatly takes away from the cooperative value of the title.
7
Presentation
I wasn't impressed nor disappointed with the graphics, it being a portable game, however the soundtrack was all too nonexistent. Otherwise, the menu and character designs were decent.
7
Lasting Appeal
There's a good number of missions to unlock and complete, and medals to collect on each, with some unlockable costumes. Points are taken off for a lack of variety.
6.8
out of 10

Overall

An emphasis on bad puzzles and a lack of real communication turns Federation Force's focus away from where it should be: tough battles and strategic customization. It's not the game that most people were looking for, and it's certainly not flawless as a standalone title, but there's a lot it does well. Ambitious but ultimately underwhelming, the title unfortunately emphasizes the parts of itself which are the most problematic.
These are the release dates, it wasn't released at the same day in all regions:

NA: August 19, 2016
JP: August 25, 2016
EU: September 2, 2016
AUS: September 3, 2016
 
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It might have some fun to it but I wish they wouldn't use the Metroid name for this. Metroid games to me are always great (ok maybe not Other M but I still liked it) Metroid and Metal Gear Solid are my two favorite series and both are making spinoffs that aren't really true to the series. Metal Gear Survive please. Give me Metroid Prime 4.
 
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T
Awesome review! Definitely checking out this game with some friends!
 
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I have to agree with the review that was written. I honestly was looking for the release of this game. I saw during the initial trailers that people hated it, but I kinda liked it and was looking forward to play it. I could not stop playing the demo, I found it really fun to play it, but I hate that there are NEVER people online to play with. I have some times spent over half an hour, waiting for people to join... like really, how many poeple bought this game, 10?. Anyways, the controllers were fun and the game does not look that bad, but the main story is really boring. I have not played that much, but so far it all looks the same. Its like another triforce heroes to be honest.
 
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@Plstic Persona Q was cute

Really Nintendo? This is what you come up with after six years?!?! Ugh... ughhhh... UGHHHHHH!!!! I honestly have more fun playing AM2R. Return of Samus was my favorite Metroid game. I had it on my Gameboy and poured countless hours into it. If Nintendo remade Metroid II Return of Samus with great pixel art visuals like Axiom Verge, I'd buy that shit!! Knowing nintendo we'd probably see Samus <3 next at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 4 flucking YEARS. *weep*
 
People act like this game is the next metroid game. Its a side story to the main metroid game and prelude to prime 4 whichll probably release on nx.
 
People act like this game is the next metroid game. Its a side story to the main metroid game and prelude to prime 4 whichll probably release on nx.
Don't care what this game is or any game with Prime in the title, if it doesn't play like super metroid or least a 3D platformer, then perhaps we must wait longer for the game to come. :P

I want my platforming metroid game. :D
2D metroid HD collection :P
 
Sorry, i wasn't trying to sound mean, i was just disappointed in nintendo for not making a metroid platforming game. Besides the last metroid game was other m right?

Tell me, metroid prime series was made by a retro studios, the same people who make donkey kong country returns right? If that is so, i was hoping if they can make a Metroid game that look like Tropical freeze graphics, but with the open world exploration in 2D, that would be cool, The donkey kong game already seem like metroid if you take the world map away. :D

I just wondered why they decided to make a FPS game from a platforming game. O_O
 
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Sorry, i wasn't trying to sound mean, i was just disappointed in nintendo for not making a metroid platforming game. Besides the last metroid game was other m right?

Tell me, metroid prime series was made by a retro studios, the same people who make donkey kong country returns right? If that is so, i was hoping if they can make a Metroid game that look like Tropical freeze graphics, but with the open world exploration in 2D, that would be cool, The donkey kong game already seem like metroid if you take the world map away. :D

I just wondered why they decided to make a FPS game from a platforming game. O_O
It's ok i love this game imo. I'd love a super metroid remake though.
 
Well, I don't get why the lack of voice chat is seen as such a problem. If you want to enjoy the game to full extent, play it with friends and not random strangers that would probably just insult you if they had the means to. Being in a Skype conference with those friends while playing is no miracle anymore, even on phones. I get why Nintendo is handling it as they do. Voice chat is still possible through other channels and you don't have to deal with corrupted community members and dirty language. So, why is this a bad thing?
 
Well, I don't get why the lack of voice chat is seen as such a problem. If you want to enjoy the game to full extent, play it with friends and not random strangers that would probably just insult you if they had the means to. Being in a Skype conference with those friends while playing is no miracle anymore, even on phones. I get why Nintendo is handling it as they do. Voice chat is still possible through other channels and you don't have to deal with corrupted community members and dirty language. So, why is this a bad thing?
It's a bad thing because it's a co-op focused game without any real means to communicate with your team members how to progress. When 2 out of the 3 game modes (solo and online) don't offer the intended co-op experience, then it's fair to say that the basis of the game just doesn't work in those situations.
 
Well, I don't get why the lack of voice chat is seen as such a problem. If you want to enjoy the game to full extent, play it with friends and not random strangers that would probably just insult you if they had the means to. Being in a Skype conference with those friends while playing is no miracle anymore, even on phones. I get why Nintendo is handling it as they do. Voice chat is still possible through other channels and you don't have to deal with corrupted community members and dirty language. So, why is this a bad thing?

You can't communicate to your team what you intend to do. There's no shortcuts for canned responses, either.
 
This game is kinda fun..but definitly not the Metroid we all want.. its a game that should be concidered a mini-game..
Fun, but doesnt live-up for a metroid game.. only as a mini-game with a 'metroid touch'
 
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I am still wondering why there isn't enough new 3ds exclusice games, besides xenoblade chronicles and those download titles, Binding of isiac or something and wind up knight whatever. :(
 
I am still wondering why there isn't enough new 3ds exclusice games, besides xenoblade chronicles and those download titles, Binding of isiac or something and wind up knight whatever. :(
Because they are lazy lol..and becase the New3ds was mostly to update the hadware to be prepare for the NX os..
 
Because they are lazy lol..and becase the New3ds was mostly to update the hadware to be prepare for the NX os..
Not sure what that means but i bet most people feel cheated after buying it only to find out Xenoblade, and 3 download titles were the only exclusives, only to have other games get a performance boost. (not counting SNES VC)
 
^ yup..thats how i felt lol.. i mean, i love the little nipple it add for more control..but other then that not a lot of games uses the extra boost from the hardware..
 
Nintendo closing AM2R project and release this crap... No samus=No metroid, I prefer to see a metroid 2 remake, metroid prime 4 or metroid 5 not this garbage, I ended another metroid 2 remake and is good game it feels like a real metroid The best of metroid seen in years
 
Yah a metroid prime would have been nice..or even, a SuperMetroid remade..would be cool to play super metroid in 3D :P was my favorite..
 
Would be better than nothing :P i didnt hate OtherM but meh..something was missing..although the fight with Phantoom (ahh what was the name again? The green kinda phantom from the sea..) was pretty cool! but true, another metroid OtherM would have been way more appreciated then this one..
 
Hey, you do realize that Hyrule warriors was so close to being a ninja gaiden clone right? But they couldn't do it since link would have to jump on his own by pressing a button like Mario or a ninja but link can only jump if he running off cliffs. :P

Maybe a fire emblem Ninja gaiden game would work. :D
But seriously that metroid title should least have a chance at redemption. You notice how every complaint about the game was mostly negative about the story, and characters personality, only once they complain about game play and it was that investigation like parts when she walks around and use visor to scan for things, and that she HAS her abilities unlike other games where everyone always lose them and require them, they need to restrict her overpowered talents somehow if you weren't gonna be looking for them again.

A quick change of story, add more action paced setting and some smash bros remixes and it could be a fun game, maybe even critzism free. :P
 
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I had high expectations for this....
You shouldnt have had any.. it was shown from the start how it would be.. a disapointment for anyone who wants a REAL metroid game :/
..but to play with friends, go ahead and buy, its actually fun..its just not a game we all would love to have as a Metroid :P
 
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You shouldnt have had any.. it was shown from the start how it would be.. a disapointment for anyone who wants a REAL metroid game :/
..but to play with friends, go ahead and buy, its actually fun..its just not a game we all would love to have as a Metroid :P
I really wanted a Metroid game on the Wii U :/ maybe NX? I agree with you though...
 
I really wanted a Metroid game on the Wii U :/ maybe NX? I agree with you though...
Yah me too.. can you imagine a Metroid game on the wiiU with the gamepad! Would have been amazing.. i think the gamepad (maybe mixed with the wiimote..) was the perfect hardware for a Metroid game :/
 
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..i want a small metroid nipple sucker! it has nothing to do with this? I know..i know..
Are you triggered? Are you a sex addict? O_O:ph34r:

I think were talking about a video game. One i could try if maybe was a gift. But well know what we want and is not what you mentioned, you're on a different level.:ninja:
 
^ me too..me too..
would have been so nice with the gamepad..i can imagine the map on the screen..unlocking or solving small puzzles with the touchscreen.. and the gyroscope for scanning..although with the wiimote it would be great too, metroid prime on the wii was awesome to play with the wiimote as the arm cannon..
..an amiibo of a metroid would be cool too, like, just the metroid, no standing pad., a bit like they did with the plush Yoshi amiibo for wooly world :P i can imagine a rubber Metroid amiibo..all squeeshy and soft..
 
I hated it, massive disapointment! The controls are really bad even using the c-stick on the n3dsxl, it doesn't work! Tbh it was driving me so mad trying to defeat the first boss with those fly things bouncing around while your trying to shoot the oyster shell tree looking thing, I just switched it off I kept dying time after time all because of the bad controls. Really terrible game, not a patch on the wii Metroid game.
 
First i dunno why they bother making FPS metroid games. Second i dunno why they just can't make a 2D/3D platformer metroid game. All the mario games they make in 2D and 3D what is the problem with metroid? Hey i'll even be okay if they made a metroid game like Kid icarus uprising. In fact the original kid icarus on NES was based off of Metroid, why not base metroid off of Kid ikarus uprising? :D
 
Review cover
Product Information:
  • Release Date (NA): August 19, 2016
  • Release Date (EU): September 2, 2016
  • Release Date (JP): August 25, 2016
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Next Level Games
  • Genres: First-person shooter
Game Features:
Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative

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