A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Metroid Prime: Federation Force is a first-person shooter for the Nintendo 3DS. While there's no blood or gore, the core gameplay mechanics are shooting and killing numerous alien creatures and robot soldiers. This is the latest part of a franchise that covers games, merchandise, and other items, and parents should know that amiibo cards and figures can unlock additional features for an extra fee.
What's it about?
In METROID PRIME: FEDERATION FORCE, a widespread war between the Galactic Federation and the Space Pirates is threatening peace for the entire galaxy. As a soldier enlisted with the Federation Force, you're tasked with hopping into a Mech suit -- by yourself or with up to three of your friends in local or online cooperative ("co-op") squads -- to fight the menacing Space Pirates and other threats that stand in your way. These enemies include vicious aliens and nefarious robotic warriors. You'll accomplish missions, select a role on the team, customize your Mech load-out with various weapons and upgrades, and eventually take down tougher and bigger boss fighters after destroying their henchmen. Sorry, fans: You don't play as heroine Samus Aran in this one.
Is it any good?
Although it's a new installment in the franchise, this is really only a slightly above-average team-based shooter. Fans of the Metroid series likely will eat it up, and it is fun -- especially when you're playing with others -- but from a pure gameplay perspective, it's not anything extraordinary. First, the good news: Federation Force is easy to pick up with simplified controls. It's even more gratifying to wirelessly pair up with a friend in the same room or with someone online. The more than 20 missions are quite diverse, as are the roles on the team, and it's fun to customize your load-out before each mission by selecting your weapons, defensive items, and other (limited) slots you have to work with. The production values are quite high for a Nintendo 3DS game, even if the visuals can be a bit pixelated.
The not-so-good news: The game doesn't have a lot of checkpoints, so if you die, you'll have to repeat large chunks of a level. There's very little atmosphere in this game, especially compared to other Metroid adventures. The text-chat system in co-op play isn't easy to use, and there's no support for voice-based chat. While the missions are fairly diverse, which strengthens the narrative, the core gameplay grows repetitive after a short while. Plus, the mini-game, Blast Ball, isn't so fun. There's some fun to be had if you're a fan of this series and enjoy first-person games while on the go. But the bar is high for this franchise, and Metroid Prime: Federation Force is slightly below it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Parents should talk about violence in media such as Metroid Prime: Federation Force. Is the violence in this game OK because it's unrealistic? Is it different that players shoot robots and aliens instead of humans?
Talk about heroes. You're not playing franchise hero Samus Aran in Federation Force, but does that change the nature of the gameplay? Should you still have the opportunity to play with strong heroine characters as fighters in this game?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Nintendo of America
- Release date: August 19, 2016
- Genre: First Person Shooter
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Robots, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.