METROID PRIME: FEDERATION FORCE
The year’s most unwanted game?
released OUT NOW! Reviewed on 3ds
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 Change.org 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.