The year’s most un­wanted game?

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! Re­viewed on 3ds

Pub­lisher Nin­tendo

It was, let’s face it, a dire mis­cal­cu­la­tion. Cel­e­brat­ing 30 years of a beloved sin­gle-player se­ries renowned for its rich at­mos­phere and in­tri­cate, lay­ered ex­plo­ration by re­leas­ing a mul­ti­player shooter with lin­ear mis­sions and a chibi art style was never likely to go down well with Metroid’s pas­sion­ate, vo­cal fan­base. This wasn’t the come­back any­one imag­ined – or wanted – and the in­ter­net col­lec­tively made sure Nin­tendo knew about it.

It’s dif­fi­cult to ig­nore the ex­pec­ta­tions when con­sid­er­ing the re­al­ity, but if you can set aside your pre­con­cep­tions, this isn’t a bad game. Though it isn’t quite a great one ei­ther.

The story be­gins with the Galac­tic Fed­er­a­tion at­tempt­ing to keep up with the ne­far­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties of those pesky Space Pi­rates. They’ve been med­dling with some su­per-siz­ing tech, so Fed­er­a­tion troop­ers are forced to use gi­ant mechs to make it a fair fight. In truth, the chance is wasted to ex­plore the po­ten­tial of this in­creased scale: even the build­ings are built to ac­com­mo­date the larger fig­ure. Only rarely are you forced out of the suit and the dif­fer­ence be­comes clear.

It’s not the only idea that’s un­der­ex­plored, but the up­shot of such rest­less­ness means the 22 mis­sions, each of which sup­ports up to four play­ers on­line and off, are ver­sa­tile and var­ied. In some, you’ll be asked to guard some­where, while in oth­ers you’ll push your way through the cor­ri­dors of Fed­er­a­tion and Pi­rate fa­cil­i­ties.

Com­bat was never re­ally the Prime games’ main strength, but when things heat up here, the ac­tion can be sur­pris­ingly in­tense. When it peaks, Fed­er­a­tion Force cap­tures a sen­sa­tion that re­minds us of a suc­cess­ful Des­tiny strike. But while some mis­sions are smartly bal­anced to ac­com­mo­date dif­fer­ent team sizes, else­where the quality of your ex­pe­ri­ence will de­pend mas­sively on how many play­ers are in­volved.

Iron­i­cally, it’s those who were most bit­terly dis­ap­pointed by the re­turn that are likely to get the most from Fed­er­a­tion Force. There are many bet­ter co-op mul­ti­play­ers avail­able, but with its ex­pan­sion of the Metroid uni­verse more open-minded fans may yet find a place in their hearts to wel­come in this mod­est and oc­ca­sion­ally in­spired spin-off. Chris Schilling

A pe­ti­tion call­ing for Nin­tendo to can­cel the game re­ceived over 20,000 sig­na­tures in the space of two months.

Ten min­utes later the neigh­bours put up a “No Ball Games” sign and the fun was over.

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