One of the weirder reveals during Nintendo’s E3 show was Metroid Prime: Federation Force. It feels like the creation of the same spiteful genie that brought us Metroid: Other M back in 2010. We say we want a new Metroid or Metroid Prime game and the genie grins and grants us our wish, waiting to bathe in our tears as we see how our wish has been twisted.
I had the chance to try out the Blast Ball portion of Federation Force at E3 this year and it didn’t do a whole lot to change that notion.
It’s not like it has nothing going for it. It’s kinda fun, and the fact that you only need one cartridge to play it across six 3DS systems is great.
The sheer existence of the game, though, is hard to justify. With Mario and Zelda, we have a pretty solid list of main-line entries we can go to as well as some stellar side games. With Metroid, we haven’t seen a main line entry that’s been able to garner any goodwill from fans in nearly 8 years. If we were flush with Metroid games, Federation Force might look like a fun way to build on the idea of the franchise, but without them it feels like an insulting cash grab. Someone asked, during production, how do we sell this? The answer came back, slap a Metroid skin on it. The kids love the Metroid.
While I didn’t get to see any of the game beyond what was shown in the initial trailer, what I’ve seen doesn’t feel at all like a Metroid game. We have assurance that Samus and Metroids will appear in the game, but that doesn’t keep the game from feeling exploitative.
The Blast Ball portion isn’t all bad. It’s hard to control at first, but once you get the hang of the unique first person controls that use a mix of the 3DS’ gyro sensors and the lock-on mechanic you can get pretty proficient. If you have enough people – at least four – the competition can get heated and it ends up being fun. It won’t justify the game on its own, but it’s a nice distraction.
Whether the game itself will end up being deserving of the Metroid license or not remains to be seen when Metroid Prime: Freedom Force hits 3DS next year.