Metroid Prime: Federation Force plays very similarly to Metroid Prime Hunters, with the exception of less reliance on touch controls. The game focuses heavily on the combat aspects of Metroid Prime rather than the vast exploration. There are roughly sixty missions to play through, which are all a great length for a handheld game. Most missions are completely different and map design is also quite varied, which was a nice surprise. Before each mission, you’re able to select between a number of weaponry, ammo and mods that will enhance your attack or defense.
There are two main control schemes, which are both decent options. The default control scheme is based around using the 3DS’s Gyroscope to move around and aim. The second control scheme (the one that I used) uses the right analogue nub to aim your weapon. It felt more natural and the 3DS nub actually held up quite well in precise movements. You can only play one or two missions at a time as it becomes incredibly obvious that in such an intense game, the 3DS is just not a comfortable handheld to use for extended periods. My hands aren’t the biggest in the world, but I was experienced severe cramp.Metroid Prime: Federation Force is without doubt meant to be played as a co-op experience. This is the best way to play the game, and playing it solo, whilst possible does the game a massive injustice. To my surprise, this is probably the first game that I’ve been able to play a Nintendo game online without major issue.
There is one issue with Ninteno’s online functionality though, whilst the game is best played with a squad of 2-3, either locally or online, it definitely suffers from a lack of voice chat. Sure, for the most part you’re just going from point a to point b, but most of the fun of playing games online is being able to chat as you play. Playing online with a friend, we were forced to use Facebook Messenger to communicate which essentially broke the momentum of play.I couldn’t help but have one thought from the second I booted up this game. It just feels confused. Had this released alongside the 3DS originally, I’m sure a lot of people would have played it, but I just can’t see many groups of 2-4 people picking the game up, and the game just isn’t as enjoyable played solo.
There’s a good amount of strategy required in Metroid Prime: Federation Force and the game is actually quite challenging. It was only on the second or third mission that our team started struggling and we quickly realised that we’d need to work together to keep each other live and find a balance of attack and defence.
I’m not the biggest Metroid fan, but the story may have just as well not been there. It didn’t really keep my attention throughout the game and I was incredibly eager just to get to the action.
Blast Ball is a separate mode included on the Federation Force cartridge. It’s essentially a watered down version of Rocket League in which two teams of three go at it trying to shoot balls into the other team’s net. It’s fun for a few turns, but once again, it doesn’t come close to something as great as Rocket League.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force is an interesting idea and definitely not a bad game. The game design is solid with a great variety in maps and missions. You’re going to have a hard time getting a group of people together constantly to make your way through the story. It is playable solo, but it’s extremely challenging and nowhere near as fun. If you have an itch for a new Metroid game, then this will come close to scratching it.