There won’t be any other commentary in this opening, because there isn’t much to really say or recap that hasn’t been done to death already. I’m not here to dislike it and leave, as I went in with low expectations and gave it a fair chance of observation.
- The story, while light, does manage to make it seem like there is some sort of side adventure going on in the Metroid universe while Samus does her own thing throughout the plot. There are bits and pieces of information that does make an attempt to drag you into the universe like Prime does, but it’s not logbook heavy. And really, the only thing I wish they did as I got further in, WAS actually make a side title next to this with Samus as the lead, showing this story from her perspective, and perhaps adding something else that happens in the sidelines that she has to deal with. But, I’m not going to ponder over it further. It’s not worth me getting upset over
- Following up from the Blast Ball demo, the controls are responsive and don’t actually bother me at all. The control scheme feels exactly the same as the original controls of the Prime games on the Gamecube, mixed with gyro aiming from Prime 3: Corruption for more precise shots. Again, I haven’t had much issues with the controls, and you don’t really have to stop to aim here either. I don’t have a New 3DS however, so I don’t know how the c-stick nub works with it
- But the controls are just a giant step up from Hunters, even if I got used to those and worked with them fairly to get the highest ranking in online multiplayer
- Blast Ball is a fun game mode, and I played much of it before the game launched. It’s simple enough and fun to compete with others. There’s no map variety, but I guess that can’t be helped
- Even though the 3DS is capable of much more, the game does have graphics that manage to stand out and not be unrecognizable on the screen. There really has not been a moment where I could not tell what was what. I used both an XL and normal (a bit) as I played as well. Going back to what GameXplain (Derrick) and Haedox said (mostly GameXplain??), there actually are more than enough moments in the game’s environments where I said, “this area looks amazing”. It looks much better when you actually look at the game on your system than screenshots (as per usual). The look Excelcion had in the very first mission at the half-point, is one of the many areas I enjoyed looking at. However, Excelcion still doesn’t top the snowy entry location of Phendrana Drifts for me. As for the artstyle, I’m really not a fan of chibi on most things (not all), but after a while, I got over it. In fact, I kind of like the way Samus’s model looks outside of the mugshot we see in the trailers
- Samus does make an occasional cameo or reference time and time again, but instead of seeing this as an insult (which it isn’t), I saw it as Samus having her own adventure in the sidelines
- On the topic of the in-game music, I’ll just put it simple. A majority is not what you’re looking for from Prime Trilogy, BUT it’s not horrible either. It is nowhere near “Yoshi’s New Island intro” levels of unbearable. Most of the tracks in the game actually do sound good, and while some sound generic (I guess that actually makes sense for the G.F), they do sometimes help set the tone and mood to battles and environments, especially in Blast Ball. M19 (Mission 19) contains one out of the many environmental tracks I like in the game
- Adding on to the in-game music point- it’s similar to Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. In Dark Moon, almost all of the music is heavily orchestrated and there are some tracks that do sound more orchestral-y generic compared to the original game’s background music (mainly in cutscenes). But the game does in fact have good music next to all of that
- I feel like sound design is where they nailed it the most, as the sound effects are crafted nicely
- There is mission variety here, which isn’t what I expected even after watching GameXplain’s coverage. Some of the missions do have a different way of doing something a previous mission had you do, but they are varied where some focus fully on combat or mixing things together or focusing on one objective.
- Out of all of the missions I played I have some favorites, and about 2 or 4 I wasn’t really a fan of out of the 22 total (looking at you M18). Maybe the ones I disliked a bit would be better enhanced by playing it outside of single player, but only time will tell
- Variety in missions, variety in enemies. Even flying pirates are in this with their signature defeat action
- This mostly feels like the nature of Prime 3 minus Samus and the morphball, and a few out of the ordinary missions
- Some of the bosses do provide a challenge, and I do consider some of them interesting. Compared to Prime Hunters’ boss lineup, you won’t suffer frustration from bosses such as tiny hitbox Cretaphid again
- I do feel as if three bosses should have had one-half less of a phase though, but because I didn’t have the Lone Wolf mod equipped I won’t talk about that in detail. Seriously equipping that mod or playing cooperatively makes point this a non-issue
- You can do challenges in each mission to gain at least three medals which increases your score and gains you MODs (and paint jobs I think?). If you want to be a completionist, then go for it!
- Over time I found myself becoming more and more better at combat, finding better techniques to get through single player without a team
- MODs are pretty much your way to customize your mech for missions. You can apply certain MOD chips like weapons/shield boosters, effects for AUX ammo, etc. Of course you can go in with nothing if you want to
- You can also use AI drones to help you if you need assistance or just don’t like feeling alone in single player. They also help with certain co-op tasks if you aim at certain objects with them
- Not applying the Lone Wolf MOD does ramp up the difficulty, and requires planning before you enter a mission, and in the mission during combat. If you decide to take no precautions and enter the mission completely bare, then you have a high chance of getting your face stomped in, unless you are actually good enough to overcome it. It’s However, applying the MOD does make the game incredibly easier. It’s essentially easy mode, while unequipped is normal/hard
- AUX ammo is split among different types of items such as health capsules, missiles, and certain beam weapons. There’s a weight limit (that increases over time if you’re paranoid about that), so you need to plan ahead if you decide on taking aux ammo with you. If you play cooperatively, then each person can take on a sort of role to even out the team. You can also find ammo in missions
- Single player is nice if you want to go solo, but things sort of do get tough without others in combat or pulling off objectives, and if you get knocked out, then you’ll have to restart the mission. I’ve said it already but if you think you’re good enough, then this isn’t an issue for you
- I’ve played co-op for at least 7-10 missions with a friend, and it was enjoyable. You don’t have limited freedom (eg. Triforce Heroes’ throw puzzles), so playing missions cooperatively turned out to be better than I expected. This game really is better enjoyed with friends as it was intended to be
So at the end of all of this, is this a Metroid Prime game? While it is a mission based shooter on the 3DS, in my honest opinion: I feel it belongs in the series as a spin-off. I got exactly what was described to me: a spin-off Prime game title from the perspective of the Federation. However, it leans more on the side of Prime 3’s core gameplay as opposed to Prime 2: Echoes and the original Prime (with a few out of the ordinary extras) . As a long-time fan of the series, it’s… really better than what I expected, and it does a good job at being a cooperative multiplayer game. If I had to describe my experience, I’d say it was a fun one for what it was worth. Just a shame about everything else.
"Not amazing, but better than expected"
This is a "differently formatted mini-review" of Metroid Prime: Federation Force by Reinamoon.