Ever since the grand unveiling of 3DS title Metroid Prime: Federation Force, the Internet has been in a state of outrage every time the subject comes up. Nintendo’s attempt at damage control during that one Direct did very little to assuage fans’ disapproval of the project, and there has been a dearth of information regarding Federation Force since then. A few days ago at PAX East, however, event-goers were given the first-ever opportunity to take the game for a spin themselves. GameXplain recorded their exploits with the ill-famed shooter and posted the footage on Youtube.
The video begins with a mission briefing, followed by forcing the player to wait and see if any other players are going to join up. After that, the player must choose which weapons and items to take with them, and assign each to a specific trooper. The true gameplay doesn’t begin until the 3:30 mark, which sees the four players finding their way through a series of hallways with a few minor enemies and not much else. Eventually they come to a larger room where they must find a key item to open a locked door. Upon blasting it open, a mechanism is activate that forces the party to wait until all members are assembled before progressing.
All of this comprises the first ten minutes of the level where the biggest threat to the party is the acid lake in the large room. When the troopers arrive at the generator, a boss battle ensues. The generator’s only attack is to flood the room with acid, forcing players to hop aboard platforms that can either sink and drop them into the acid or rise into the air without them. Security bots spawn constantly to defend the core, resulting in a surprisingly harrowing fight in which every party member is eventually taken down to await revival by a teammate. Once the core is destroyed, an escape sequence begins that is critically hampered by two arty members not being auto-revived after the battle, forcing the player in the video to waste a good chunk of the timer helping them out, then waiting while the game takes an extra handful of seconds to decide all the players are gathered in the elevator before carrying them away.
To summarize, the level featured ten minutes of challenge-less and largely pointless exploration through hallways followed by a six-minute boss fight where the difficulty instantly sky-rocketed without warning, a time-stingy escape sequence, and no break to rest and recover before being thrown into a fight with space pirates who seemed little greater challenge than the basic security bots. The atrocious Mega Bloks-like character models and agonizingly slow movement speed do nothing to improve the experience. Being an opening level, the area was accordingly small, but it begs the question if the rest of the game’s environments will be equally constrained due to the emphasis on multiplayer. While it’s not strictly a bad game and has its epic moments, Federation Force feels unpolished and unbalanced, and just doesn’t feel at all like Metroid.