Federation Force is a game that people either love or hate. When it was announced I really didn’t feel much since I am not a huge Metroid fan, but there was a lot of negative backlash towards the game. Mostly because it didn’t feature Samus, and because it has a very different art style compared to the previous titles in the Metroid Prime series. But after playing a few single player missions solo and some Blast Ball (the bundled in Rocket League-esque mini-game), I will say that it’s alright.
I’ve played the first Prime title on GameCube and Wii (I really like the Wii remake though) and even though I never got too far into it, what I did play was fun. It was neat exploring, battles were tense, and the presentation was really nice. I felt like the 3D translation of the Metroid formula worked pretty well.
The same concepts of the Prime series are still in Federation Force; the art style aside, it is still very much a Prime game, despite having co-op elements.
I was worried that it wouldn’t be fun solo, but it is fine really. You can take in little robots with you to help fight aside you that make things a bit easier (sometimes a little too easy, in my opinion) and even equip a “mod” to your suit that makes the game more friendly for a single player by reducing enemy damage and increasing your damage.
Levels, while small and self contained into missions, still have the classic Metroid-style exploration elements to a small degree. “Mods” are hidden around the levels, along with hidden ammo drops and shortcuts. It isn’t a fleshed out metroidvania experience in the least bit, but having little hidden areas are a nice touch.
The art style, while different, isn’t terrible. The models are chibi, yes, but the worlds are still fully realized and rendered really nice. Each world is different from the last, and each level is pretty. Even though the levels aren’t huge, I got lost once or twice. But this was probably because I was just blowing through dialogue text.
Speaking of dialogue, there is a lot for this kind of game. It isn’t a cinematic experience or anything, but there is a lot of talking before and during missions from your commander. He’ll chime in when you find new enemies, equipment and items in the field. It doesn’t really get annoying, but when I was first playing the game, I just wanted to get to the meat of the game and really just blasted through everything he was telling me.
The controls are… interesting. I mean, they aren’t bad, but they can take a minute to get used to. There are two controller configurations, one mainly aimed at original 3DS users and one tailored to the N3DS. Since I have the N3DS, I used that config and for the most part, it is what you’d expect as far as FPS controls go. My only main gripe with the controls are how cramped my hands can get while trying to get the C-stick to work properly. This is less an issue with the game and more an issue with the N3DS hardware itself, but it is still worth mentioning. I do feel like it would be nicer if the game had more analog sensitivity settings than are already in the game, but it’s alright. “Precision aiming” can be done using the 3DS’s gyroscope, and it works pretty nicely. But it isn’t something that can be done comfortably everywhere you are. It would not only be awkward to play the game in public, but hard since you have to move the system around quite a bit. Not to mention that O3DS users will really lose the game’s well-handled 3D effect due to all the moving around you have to do while using the gyro focused Type-A controller config.
Overall though, it’s alright. I mean, that really is all. It’s alright. It isn’t the game people wanted, and it won’t be for everyone, but it is there. It’s fun, and I’d imagine that it would be cool to play with friends.
Thoughts for the road:
- The music is pretty different from other games in the franchise, opting for a more orchestral style. Different, but not bad I guess.
- Being able to scan amiibos in for custom costumes is a cool addition, but man does it feel like a cruel joke to dress your player up like Samus using her amiibo.
- The c-stick really hurts after awhile. Just saying.
- The graphics are pretty nice, I also like the menus and how your character moves along with you while you select stuff.
- BlastBall is a nice distraction, but it feels cramped, and characters exploding once their health hits a certain level feels like complete bullshit sometimes since it takes quite some time for your mech to respawn.
- Additionally, BlastBall being compared to Rocket League is an okay comparison, but Rocket League is way more entertaining and eons less frustrating.