A Look Back – Earth Defense Force 2017

With Earth Defense Force 2025 releasing soon, it’s a great time to look back at where the game’s roots lie. The first North American version of Earth Defense Force released in 2007. While the first game was only received mediocre scores initially, it soon became a niche classic. In 2011 the second US release of the series was released entitles Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon. While the core gameplay remained the same, new vehicles, weapons and the introduction of armor classes and online multiplayer made the game more diverse. The latest installment builds on all these foundations yet retains some of the newer features of Online and Armor Classes.

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Citizens of Earth: Our planet is in peril. We are being invaded by giant bugs and 50’s cliché robots. Many cities have fallen to their awesome destructive power. US is the last defense against these alien life forms. Our team leader, Storm One, has been eliminating threats but the carnage continues to ensue. Please send your thoughts and prayers to Storm One. He may be our last hope for humanity.

Synopsis

Earth is being invaded! The only hope is to take control of the only person able to tackle these alien invaders and save Earth from being taken over in this 3rd person-shooter. Guide Storm One through 53 levels of insect-killing, robot-destructing mayhem. Other than that, there isn’t much of a story or character development which is a slight disappointment. Levels start out easy to ease you into the game, and as you would expect, will gradually become harder. Along the way you will collect new weapons to help destroy the threat and collect armor to increase your health. Although there are 53 levels, there are only about 10 enemy variations from two main enemy types.

Enemies

spiders

As stated previously, there are only two main groups of enemies: Robots and Bugs. We’ll do a quick introduction for each and the some of their sub-groups.

Bugs

Ants: Ants are the most abundant of enemies in the game and can range from harmless to deadly. In the ant category there are still 2 sects of ants to address. There are black ants that, at first, do not attack and serve to help the player become familiar to the controls. Later on, these will be able to emit a nasty orange liquid that will damage your armor. The second class of ants are red and attack by directly attacking you head on. Think of them as ranger and warrior classes respectively.

All those red dots? They’re enemies…

Spiders: These are the most annoying and cheap enemy in the game. While they normally do not walk, they have the ability to jump insane distances and heights to get to their next location. They attack by shooting a sticky web that, once attached, sucks health and slows you down. Against these aggravating arachnids, a single shotgun blast often takes care of business.

Robots:

Walker Robots: These robots come in two sizes: big and small. While size does matter, the destructive power of either is enough to easily destroy if you’re not careful. These robots usually will have 2 weapons that help with their destructive madness. Hit them with everything you’ve got to take them out.

Gunships: Gunships are flying ships designed to piss you off. They will fly around the area, blast you, and then dart off. While they may be quick they can be taken out with homing missiles or widespread shotguns.

These are some of the enemies, but there are others that I’ll let you experience first hand and enjoy defeating them.

Gameplay

It is not difficult to get the controls down. However, you’ll need every available maneuver to dodge the onslaught of attacks at later levels. Along the way you’ll be able to gain new weapons and armor dropped by defeated enemies. These new weapons can be as useless as the Welder (yes a real weapon) or as awesome as the Goliath rocket launcher. In addition to these items, there are restoration items in the form of health packs and ration kits.

When you start each mission, you are able to equip two weapons for the level. You can switch between the weapons at will, but if a reload is needed, the reload time will pause when you switch to the other weapon. Luckily, almost all the weapons have an infinite amount of ammo, and you’ll need it. I can recall times where I have emptied my 999 bullet clip at least 10 times throughout a mission.

The firepower also comes in handy when destroying buildings that stand in your way – a vital strategy for surviving the onslaught of enemy attacks.

There are 5 levels of difficulty that you may choose, ranging from easy to inferno.

4player-coop

In addition to 1 player mode, this game does have a 2 player mode but does not support Xbox Live. Some levels look like you would need 2 people to be able to finish, particularly if playing on the hardest of the game’s five difficulty settings.

Presentation

The game overall looks graphically. Visuals are well done and crisp, but I offer one word of advice: Turn off screen shake. When enabled, I found the game extremely unappealing.

The background music is nicely done. It’s not too loud, and not too soft; but just right. However there are some nuances that I noticed when playing that I will cover in the next section.

Pros & Cons

Pro: The game is highly entertaining. D3 is one of my favorite publishers, and they are good at making simple yet addictive games (Puzzle Quest fans know what I’m talking about.)

Con: There are some annoyances in various game sounds, such as menu selection sounds. They are a little high pitched and somewhat grating to the ears. Luckily, these are not heard often since you don’t spend too much time at the menu.

Pro: This game has a scalable difficulty. If you have problems with the game at first, ‘easy’ is a cakewalk and can let you hone your skills. This can be helpful when learning the ropes.

Pro/Con: On later difficulties, be prepared to die… a lot! This is good as it shows there is a challenge in the game but the constant deaths are a little depressing though it also makes that victories that much sweeter.

Con: No Auto-save. You have to save from the menu in between missions/deaths. No biggie really though.

Con: My biggest con… NO LIVE INTEGRATION! If this had live integration it would be the best multiplayer game in my book but alas it is local only.

Final Judgment

This is a game that should be picked up. It is no longer an expensive hit and can be bought new for around $20 at most game stores. Even though the game has some flaws, it is a definite addition needed in any collection. Trust me.

Earth Defense Force 2025 hitting shelves for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 on February 18th 2014!

Posted in by Derek Prim on February 12, 2014