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3DS

Five Questions About Metroid Prime Federation Force

by Neal Ronaghan - April 7, 2016, 7:17 am PDT
Total comments: 11

We ponder the upcoming 3DS game and what it could (or couldn't) be.

The vitriol around Metroid Prime: Federation Force is often overwhelming. From the moment the game was announced, it’s hard to discuss the upcoming 3DS game without the conversation devolving into the negativity that surrounded it since its debut. Now that we know more about it and Federation Force is due out within the next few months, we’re going to make an attempt to talk about what it could be than lamenting about what it isn’t. To that end, we still don’t know a lot about the specifics, so we came up with a few questions and tried to speculate on the answers.

1. Will there be a good single-player experience?

All we really know for sure is that there is a single-player mode. Details on what this will entail are scarce, but Nintendo’s official pages for it mentions tackling missions solo. Whether this will be a solitary experience, use computer-controlled bots, or entail some Tri Force Heroes-esque player-swapping, we don’t know. Something tells me, though, that the single-player mode won’t be hiding some kind of Samus Aran adventure; it’ll just be the regular multiplayer levels with some tweaks.

2. Will there be voice chat?

With how Nintendo has handled voice chat over the past few years, I sincerely have no idea whether or not Federation Force will have voice chat. Maybe part of the reason the game is reportedly slower paced is so voice chat can be reliably added in. To me, Federation Force has to have voice chat. After seeing the struggle and poor reception of Tri Force Heroes last year, hopefully Nintendo will learn from their past multiplayer-focused 3DS game and make sure that voice chat makes the cut. I mean, after all, Metroid Prime Hunters literally came out more than a decade ago and it had voice chat. Federation Force has to have voice chat, right?

3. What is Samus Aran's role?

We saw Chibi Samus in the footage from the last Nintendo Direct in addition to what seems to be her ship taking off during a level. We also know that the tech from Samus' power suit is what is being used for the mechs the player characters are using. Aside from that? It's all conjecture. The hopeless optimist in me hopes for a bonus mode at the end where you control Samus through some of the previous environments cleaning up the Federation's mess or something. The realist in me sees the role of Samus being far more understated. Maybe she shows up to help at a few points? Maybe there's a tease for a future Metroid game with Samus at the end? Of course, maybe she just has a glorified cameo that is the equivalent of something like Bill or Katt Monroe in Star Fox games. Who knows.

4. Blast Ball is a side mode. Will there be other side modes?

The jury's still out on that, though Kensuke Tanabe promised that they'll explain more about Blast Ball in the future. I like the idea of the Federation's training just being a bunch of weird sports games. Maybe we can also have Grappling Hook Baseball and Metroid Tennis. My best guess is that Blast Ball will just be a lone side mode with maybe another option for a rudimentary deathmatch mode.

5. Will there be a good online experience?

If I could answer this accurately, I’d start reviewing games before they’re out because I’d be a prophet who can tell you the quality of a game months before release. Maybe they’d build a statue at a PAX or something to commemorate “the dude who knew the finale to Zelda Wii U before Nintendo even made it.”

But seriously, I hope so. Federation Force is a game that will live and die on its online modes. Outside of the requisite “runs smooth,” the game needs to feature easy communication and fun gameplay. If Next Level Games pulls off an online mode as novel as the one they included in Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, I think there’s a good chance that Federation Force turns into a surprisingly excellent multiplayer experience. Even if, like Tri Force Heroes, Federation Force is a blast locally, if it doesn’t work well online, it will, like Tri Force Heroes, be widely ignored and dismissed. Unfortunately, the reports from various demos doesn’t seem to echo that. This might be the kind of game that you need your own copy to fully appreciate (like how I’ve disliked nearly every Monster Hunter demo I’ve played but really enjoy the main game) as you build up your character’s arsenal on your own time.

We will find out the answers to the questions over the next few months, as Metroid Prime: Federation Force is due out in late spring in North America (so like May or June?) and June in Japan.

Talkback

OedoApril 07, 2016

I always got the impression that the biggest issue people had with Tri Force Heroes was its lack of an enjoyable single-player experience, not the lack of voice chat. Voice chat seemed to be a frequent talking point leading up to its release, but it seemed like most people accepted the fact that, like Splatoon, the multiplayer was still enjoyable without it. Lag was a bit of an issue at times, but I played it exclusively online with random people for 20 hours and enjoyed it.

That said, voice chat definitely feels like it's going to be more of a make or break feature in this game and a necessity if you want to enjoy it. You can get away with no voice chat in a game focused on puzzle solving and very intuitive boss fights, but in an action-based shooter that requires cooperation? Yeah, probably not.

LemonadeApril 07, 2016

I liked MP Hunters for its multiplayer. Im expecting this game to be good.

Evan_BApril 07, 2016

Quote from: Oedo

That said, voice chat definitely feels like it's going to be more of a make or break feature in this game and a necessity if you want to enjoy it. You can get away with no voice chat in a game focused on puzzle solving and very intuitive boss fights, but in an action-based shooter that requires cooperation? Yeah, probably not.

I'm gonna have to disagree with you there. If you can do a puzzle solving game without words, you can likely do a squad-based shooter without them, too.

OedoApril 08, 2016

The difference for me is that there was no sense of urgency in Tri Force Heroes. If me and my teammates weren't on the same page trying to solve a puzzle, well, we can take it our own pace and spend two or three minutes trying to figure it out. There are enemies in the game, but they're easily dispatched and they're not putting any real pressure on you. In a shooter, where the are actually powerful enemies that are actively trying to kill you a lot of the time, you don't have that luxury. Coordinating attacks in general seems like it would be more complicated in a shooter with different classes and jobs than any of the puzzle solving in Tri Force Heroes (which was so simple that voice chat might have made the game considerably less enjoyable for me). Even in something like Splatoon where the lack of voice chat doesn't hurt as much as you would think, the core game is incredibly straightforward.

Never forget that Pokémon Black and Pokémon White had voice (and video!) chat.

StratosApril 09, 2016

Quote from: Oedo

I always got the impression that the biggest issue people had with Tri Force Heroes was its lack of an enjoyable single-player experience, not the lack of voice chat. Voice chat seemed to be a frequent talking point leading up to its release, but it seemed like most people accepted the fact that, like Splatoon, the multiplayer was still enjoyable without it.

Somehow, the Zelda multiplayer modes worked very well with the simple mood cheer system and led to a lot of fun moments while playing online. I agree that I don't see that working as well with a Metroid title, but I have been wrong before.

Quote from: AdmanAbou

Never forget that Pokémon Black and Pokémon White had voice (and video!) chat.

X and Y also had it to my surprise when I did my first online trade with a friend. Very weird at first, but nice to have.

Evan_BApril 09, 2016

Quote from: Oedo

In a shooter, where the are actually powerful enemies that are actively trying to kill you a lot of the time, you don't have that luxury. Coordinating attacks in general seems like it would be more complicated in a shooter with different classes and jobs than any of the puzzle solving in Tri Force Heroes (which was so simple that voice chat might have made the game considerably less enjoyable for me). Even in something like Splatoon where the lack of voice chat doesn't hurt as much as you would think, the core game is incredibly straightforward.

You're assuming a Nintendo game will be difficult in some way.

PhilPhillip Stortzum, April 11, 2016

Quote from: Evan_B

Quote from: Oedo

In a shooter, where the are actually powerful enemies that are actively trying to kill you a lot of the time, you don't have that luxury. Coordinating attacks in general seems like it would be more complicated in a shooter with different classes and jobs than any of the puzzle solving in Tri Force Heroes (which was so simple that voice chat might have made the game considerably less enjoyable for me). Even in something like Splatoon where the lack of voice chat doesn't hurt as much as you would think, the core game is incredibly straightforward.

You're assuming a Nintendo game will be difficult in some way.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was challenging. I imagine Star Fox Zero will as well, and not for the wrong reaons. Then there's Kid Icarus: Uprising, Code Name S.T.E.A.M., Fire Emblem-- well, I can go on, but I know you were just being facetious, and I don't mean that in a condescending way either.


Anyway, I bet Metroid Prime: FF won't have voice chat because it's 2016, and Nintendo has devolved somewhat online-wise in some aspects.

Mop it upApril 13, 2016

Luigi's Mansion 2 and The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes are my two fave 3DS games, so I'm looking forward to seeing how this game turns out. I also couldn't care less about voice chat, nor single-player, so the only one I actively care about is number 5, a good, working online.

MythtendoMay 02, 2016

Quote from: AdmanAbou

Never forget that Pokémon Black and Pokémon White had voice (and video!) chat.

Though IIRC, the video chat was local only. That made it pretty much worthless unless you were on one floor of a house and using it with someone on another floor of your house because it had a range of like 30 feet.

LucarioMay 17, 2016

Hey Phil I quite recently and went back and played Icarus. It wasn't as good as I remembered it.
Still really good, but not great ESPICALLY Sniping its a pain in the ass.

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