Update: we just added the EU boxart for the game. Check it out below, after the break (if you’re coming from the front page!)
Today, Nintendo updated the gamepage for Metroid Prime: Federation Force (and Metroid Prime: Blast Ball), revealing plenty of new details about the game… along with some screenshots!
First, some details about the story. The events takes place after those of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, in the Cosmic Calendar Year 20X6. Samus Aran has destroyed the rogue Aurora Unit 313, obliterated Phaaze, eradicated Phazon, but the galaxy is not really at peace: the Space Pirates are still on the loose.
To stop them, the Galactic Federation puts into motion a project known as Operation Golem. It’s a military campaign with the specific purpose of developing tactical superiority over the Space Pirates, in order to finally rid the galaxy of this unpredictable menace.
One integral element of Operation Golem is the Mechs: huge, mechanised exoskeletons that only the Elite of the Elite gets to pilot.The elite unit of Mechs pilots is known as the Federation Force.
You get to play as a memeber of the Federation Force, who goes on various missions on board a Mech. You head to the Bermuda system in order to investigate suspicious activity from the Space Pirates. The Bermuda system is made of the following planets:
- Bion, with its scorched and scarred surface
- Excelcion, with its harsh, frozen tundra
Head after the break for more details and screenshots/artworks!
Metroid Prime: Federation Force – Gameplay
The game will have you take on objective-based missions, tasking you with infiltrating enemy-infested bases, solving environmental puzzles, and battling fearsome alien life forms. You can do so with friends (via local wireless or the internet), but also in Single Player. If you go on a mission alone, you will be accompanied by (optional) AI-controlled drones.
The missions are not all about shooting stuff: in some of them, you will have to infiltrate bases in order to recover data. During those, you’re on foot, and you have to avoid being detected by surveillance systems. In others, you will have to solve puzzles, explore ruins in order to get precious intel, capture ferocious beasts, and more. You will also get to fight giant bosses.
On the bottom screen on your Nintendo 3DS, there’s a map indicating the position of enemies and allies, but also a list of objectives for your mission. To complete those, you need to communicate with your friends a lot. If you’re playing online, you will have to use pre-set voice commands via the Control Pad (no voice chat).
During missions, you need coordination to open doors and solve puzzles, cover each other when under attack, and more. If you’re low on health, ask your teammates you use a Repair Capsule on your, for example. If someone is down, you need to get them back up on their (mechanised) feet. You only get a Game Over if everyone in the team is down.
The Mechs you use for those missions are pretty advanced, technologically-speaking. They’re equipped with jetpacks (allowing you to jump further and flot in the air for a few seconds in the air), but also with an Arm Cannon which fires energy shots (which can be charged). It can also be used with other types of ammo, such as AUX ammo.
There’s two ways to aim: using motion controls (when you need to aim with precision), or by locking on things. If you really need a lot of precision, you can combine the two (motions controls + lock on). What’s more, the game has been optimised for the New Nintendo 3DS: you can use the ZL and ZR buttons, and the C-stick can be used for aiming too. Don’t own a New Nintendo 3DS (XL)? The Circle Pad Pro is supported!
Before going on missions, all players have to divide different types of AUX ammo between each other. There’s several types of AUX ammo:
- offensive weapons
- support items (such as Repair Capsules, to heal teammates during battle, or Slow Beam to slow down enemies)
When dividing AUX ammo, each player can take on a specific role:
- Attacker: grab all the missiles to become the heavy gunner;
- Healer: grab all the Repair Capsules to become the team’s medic;
- All-rounder: grab a balanced selection of AUX ammo;
Of course, there’s a weight limit: you cannot take too much, so you have to think carefully about which type of AUX ammo to take with you. During missions, you can replenish your supplies by blasting crates and other items. In doing so, you can even change your loadout, which means you can change your role within the team if you want. You won’t be stuck with the same AUX ammo during the whole mission if you don’t want to.
There’s also MODs: they can enhance your Mech by increasing its defense, its attack power, and more (it even grants it special abilities). Of course, your Mech has a limited number of MODs slots, so chose carefully!
Once you’re done with your mission, you go through debriefing. That’s when you’re awarded points based on your performance: how quickly you completed the objectives, optional goals completed, and more. If you get enough points, you get medals: those unlock new paint jobs for your Mech. What’s more, you can also earn new MODs during missions.
One thing to keep in mind: all rewards go into a collective pool for the whole team, so you will have to share them.
Finally, Nintendo details the Training Deck: a place where you can train in-between missions in Metroid Prime: Federation Force. There, you will find:
- the Shooting Range
- Combat Sim: you have to protect an (unmanned) Mech from waves of Space Pirate holograms
Metroid Prime: Blast Ball
Metroid Prime: Blast Ball is a futuristic version of football, played on board Mechs, which is part of the basic training for the Federation Force. You play in 3 vs 3 matches, and your goal is quite simple: shoot the ball, and score three times within the time limit (5 minutes). When you score, the opposition’s goal becomes smaller, so you will need to be more precise with your next shots.
Just like the Metroid Prime: Federation Force missions, Metroid Prime: Blast Ball can be played with friends via local wireless (compatible with Download Play), or via the internet. In fact, you can even play on your own, with the other players being controlled by the AI. The AI will also take over any remaining player slots if you can’t find enough people to play with online/locally.
Metroid Prime: Blast Ball has several modes:
VS mode: for players looking for competitive fun. You can play with friends or “rivals”, via local wireless or the internet.
Challenge mode: co-op mode which pits you against the AI. You have to go through a series of five matches, with the AI becoming tougher with each one.
Gameplay-wise, you can lock-on on the ball to shoot it in a specific direction, and use motion controls if you need precision. You can use quick, successive shots, or charge one: if you do, the ball will be sent flying in the air. Where you shoot the ball (the tip or the bottom) also makes a difference in where the ball will go.
Naturally, you have to move around not just to shoot it, but also to defend it from your opponents. Communication with your teammates is key, which is why you really need to use the voice commands (via the D-pad). Again, no voice chat, it seems!
One thing to keep in mind about the ball: if it hits you, you take damage. When you run out of XP, you’re taken out of the game for a few moments. Naturally, your opponents will definitely try to take advantage of that!
Of course, all this means you can shoot the ball at opponents on purpose, to damage them. In fact, you can even shoot them directly, but just be careful to not lose track of the ball (it would be pointless if the other team scored while you were busy trying to take down one of their players!).
During matches, you can use power-ups to defend yourself or to attack. For example, there’s a shield you can use if some opponents take too much interest in you. There’s also an Adreline rush if you need extra speed and power for a counter-attack. As for the Eject power-up, it does exactly what it says on the tin: eject rivals from their Mechs. When you’re on foot, you cannot defend or shoot back.
Finally, Nintendo details the Blast Ball profile: all players can see it, and it shows your rank (which goes up or down with each victory / defefeat). Just like in Metroid Prime: Federation Force, you can unlock paint jobs, in order to customise your Mech.
Here’s the latest screenshots/artworks for both Metroid Prime: Federation Force and Metroid Prime: Blast Ball:
Finally, here’s the European boxart:
Metroid Prime: Federation Force (3DS) comes out on August 19th in North America, August 25th in Japan, and September 2nd in Europe.