After years of waiting, fans finally get what they want. Metroid Other M failed fans in 2010, and they continued waiting for a formidable sequel to the Prime series, ending in 2007. After eight years of waiting, Nintendo announced Metroid Federation Force at E3 2015. In 2016, Metroid is finally here. And it’s crap.
The Galactic Federation, an army of space marines, are constantly combatting the space pirates in a battle of “who can own more space.” Samus Aran, a bounty hunter, has stopped the space pirates countless times (actually around eight times), defeating them with her power suit’s futuristic abilities on alien planets. Her arm cannon shoots missiles, different beams, and her suit protects against a multitude of dangers, making her the only thing that can stop the space pirates on their mad conquest of the entire universe.
Actually, scratch that, who needs Samus? Let’s talk about you. You are a 3-foot-tall dwarf in a man-sized mech suit. Samus is mentioned from time to time in a similar tone to how people who diet mention how much they’d love to eat cake. Thanks, Nintendo.
There used to be a lot of text at the beginning of each game that explained the plot to you, with little to no text afterward unless the narrative was explaining where to go or how the story concludes. You were allowed to explore the world as you wished, with the text was only used to improve the game and your experience playing it. This time around, the hub world is a mission select screen, and each mission gives you a 2-minute lecture before letting you play. This is the same transformation Luigi’s Mansion’s 3DS sequel endured; you no longer have free reign to go anywhere you want, you have to go to a location and return. The text is no longer enhancing the game, it is limiting the player’s freedom, taking up the player’s time with mission reports. Reports, you know, like something you have to review when you’re working somewhere. I definitely bought a game to work more. Thanks, Nintendo.
The gameplay itself is responsive. It’s what you would expect from a basic Metroid Prime game, with new powers and mods you can customize your mech with, yet you can’t equip all of them at once like you could in (every) other Metroid game. The graphics aren’t all that impressive, the style now a strange mixture of Metroid Prime Hunters and Ratchet and Clank. There is a single player mode and a multiplayer mode, but in both modes, you’ll be doing the same missions. Some missions are heavily battle-based while others focus on puzzles. In multiplayer mode, there are certain unresolved bugs; when cutscenes are activated, you can effectively get screwed into taking permanent lava damage no matter how many times you revive (skip to 27:30).
Metroid Federation Force is a disappointment, but it’s not all that bad. There’s fun to be had solo and you can have dandy times with friends, but it’s just not the same Metroid anymore. Different isn’t necessarily bad, it’s good that they’re trying something new, but a Rocket League mini game doesn’t make up for how painfully average the game truly is. If you’re looking for another sci-fi shooter by Nintendo, this game should keep you busy until Nintendo releases a good one somewhere within the next decade.