When Nintendo introduced Metroid Prime: Federation Force during its E3 Digital Event last month, longtime fans expressed mixed feelings. On the one hand, they were thrilled to see the franchise, but on the other, some people felt the game bore little resemblance to the acclaimed Samus Aran adventures. However, Nintendo continues to prove change is oftentimes necessary. With Federation Force, there's an interesting new angle worth exploring.
The game relies more on fast-paced shooting than exploration. There's a reason for this, as Federation Force is more co-op oriented than previous games. You’re free to play it solo, but you're bound to have a better time working alongside friends.
Up to four players will swear allegiance to the Galactic Federation. Your team must visit three unique planets (ranging from desert to icy) with 60 missions total, all of which feature enemies ranging from the classic Metroids to the dangerous Goliath beetles. Using a variety of weapons, you'll bring them down as quickly as possible.
Federation Force lets you customize your character with a number of weapons. These include the favorite Super Missiles from previous Metroid games, as well as other weapons introduced for the first time. In addition, you can aid your team with secondary items, including a healing ray that allows you to resurrect a fallen comrade. This team dynamic is vital during the game's boss battles, where you'll encounter larger Metroid-style creatures with patterns to learn and weak spots to exploit.
On top of that, there’s Blast Ball. In this bonus three-versus-three mini game, players climb into giant mech suits and shoot a large neon ball into a goal while keeping it away from the other team. Think soccer, but with lasers.
This game was a lot of fun to play with a team, along the same lines as Rocket League on PS4, and it's a blast for players of different skill levels, thanks to its pick-up-and-play nature. In addition, there are some tactics to learn, like working with your team to clear the ball from your opponent's goal and move it towards your own.
Some Nintendo fans feel Federation Force isn't the quintessential Metroid experience. However, it appears to be an effective spin-off that will retain traits from the series while introducing a unique co-op element in both combat and sports. Plus, it's a revival of the series that could bring bigger things down the road, like a new Metroid game for the mysterious NX system.
Cheer up, Metroid fans! You'll see what Federation Force is all about when it arrives for Nintendo 3DS next year.