Earth Defense Force is one of those franchises that seems to fall by the way side every time there’s a new release. Earth Defense Force 2017 came out at the infancy of the Xbox 360 and didn’t get a good foothold; now its sequel comes out at the onset of the new console generation. Hopefully this won’t hurt the games reception this time around because D3 has crafted an amusing, lengthy and campy game.
Earth Defense Force 2025 is very much like the overlooked Dynasty Warriors games, but only to a point. The game drips with Japanese influence and is very deep. EDF alone is 85 missions, and that’s before you replay them using different classes. There are four in all, Ranger, Wing Diver, Air Raider and Fencer. The Ranger is the typical foot soldier, can drive vehicles, holds two types of weapons and is easy to control. This is the class that I took through the game. The Wing Diver is an all female squadron of flying soldiers with advanced alien tech strapped to their backs; they zip in and out while blasting bugs, but ammo and the jet pack operate off the same power supply. The Air Raider is basically a promoted Ranger; he can call in air strikes, and specializes in explosives and grenade launchers. Fencers are heavily armored mech wielding soldiers that can carry up to four weapons and use jet bursts to dodge and jump. Though every class can be used in all 85 missions, some are better suited to specific environments and enemies than others, and we all love those trophies.
Being eaten by giant ants or sucked dry by a mutant spider would be a horrible fate, yes? Luckily the controls in the game are so spot on, you can dodge those giant creatures with ease. Unit movement is handled with the left stick and aiming with the right. This is the only constant as different classes get different functionality for the R and L buttons. As a Ranger I relied heavily on the Shotgun and a ten shot, homing, missile launcher to make mince meat out of those bugs. Controls were tight and easy to pickup, allowing me to hone my skills instead of struggling. Even when I was surrounded like one of the soldiers in Starship Troopers, I stood my ground and laid waste to the hoards of squishy bugs.
The controls carry over very well to the online multiplayer, but sadly the multiplayer feels a bit tagged on. I sat in a waiting room to join some unknown people in battle for about ten minutes before giving up. After starting my own room no one joined me, but the online is basically the campaign with a TON more bugs. I played multiplayer by myself and had to hack my way through hoards of beasts, successfully of course. Going into the multiplayer by yourself may be a bad idea, but if you can get 3 of your friends to join you it would be an amazingly fun time. On top of the multiplayer this game offers split-screen co-op. You basically get four campaigns, one for each class, then five difficulties to tear through, that’s well over 50 hours of gameplay, and for the completionist who has to have all the artillery, let’s add about ten more hours of bug killing fun.
The story in this game is very “B Movie.” Giant bugs have come up from the ground again after being defeated seven years ago, which the first mission lets you know ad nauseum. The story for the most part is told through very short cut scenes as in-game voice overs let you know what events have bearing on the game. As you progress through missions, more story is revealed through radio transmissions and voice overs, and it feels more and more like an old Ed Wood movie. Which is totally fine, I grew up watching THEM! and The Day the Earth Stood Still, so this game was right up my nostalgic alley. If you want a deep, moving story, look elsewhere. This story is more reminiscent of Independence Day than Citizen Kane.
The sound in this game will shake rattle your speakers as the start screen music makes you think you’re about to watch anime, and that’s perfectly fine with me. This game knows exactly what it is and it embraces it. Sadly, there’s very little music during the missions. Seeing as you’re destroying bugs and trying to save citizens from a horrible demise, explosions and speech are most prominent. The citizens dialogue is hilarious if limited, but once they quickly die or run away you don’t have to hear it anymore. The soldiers have their own voice overs as well. Luckily they change with different missions so you won’t hear the same things over and over again, just don’t let them get trapped in a giant web, or you will NEVER hear the end of it.
EDF 2025 definitely doesn’t have stunning visuals. When you compare it to The Last of Us‘s lifelike graphics, EDF looks like a PS2 launch game. That lack of visual prowess doesn’t take away from the game though. The ants look great, the spiders give you the heebie jeebies, and the city looks like a nice place to live – before you destroy it. The game isn’t ugly by any means, just bland and uniform. That may turn off some gamers who have to have 1080p and 180 FPS, but not as much as the lagging framerate. Considering the bland graphics it is stunning that the PS3 can’t keep up. Whenever more than four buildings start crashing down, something that happens frequently, the game slows to a crawl. It won’t get you killed if you’ve kept track of enemies on radar, but there’s no excuse with how basic the building modeling is. Even if it isn’t all smooth sailing it’s fun, and if I’m having a great time mowing down bugs it gets my stamp of approval.
Nowadays gamers are looking for a bang for their buck, I know that I am disappointed if I beat a campaign in a little under six hours after spending sixty bucks on a new release, Call of Duty I’m looking at you. So I’m pretty frugal about what I go full price on. I’d happily do so for EDF though. Like I said earlier there are 85 missions to beat, you cannot complete this game in one sitting, and I wouldn’t even try that. If you don’t like to stray from big publishers you’re seriously going to miss out.. If you’re like me and enjoy quirky games that may go unnoticed, then EDF 2025 is the gem for you. It strays away from the gritty realistic AAA formula and offers something unique to gamers, an outlandish premise and tight gameplay. Pick this game up and enjoy the non conformist, bug killing action.