Earth Defense Force 2025 Review (Xbox 360)
Earth Defense Force 2025 is a title that throws a horde of giant insects in your grill sans any apologies. Narrative nuance and eye-catching visual design are not its strongest features, but if non-stop action is your cup of tea, you've come to the right place.
Fans of the Earth Defense Force franchise already understand that variability is one of the keys to its success. Whether it's choosing a multitude of weapons and armor for your fighter or picking which mission to undertake, the EDF games have much more kick than your average alien-blasting third-person shooter. If you played the original, 2007’s Earth Defense Force 2017, can expect more of the same with Earth Defense Force 2025. Along with the new classes, there’s a wide array of weapons and armor that you will be available to your respective fighters after each successfully completed mission. Even with these additions, don’t expect a profound, creative sea change with Earth Defense Force 2025.
With the sequel, gamers will can choose such classes as the Fencer and the Air Raider, but EDF fans who are creatures of habit can also pick a Ranger. Although he's slower than molasses, the Fencer can hold up to four weapons and if you love hand to hand combat, arming these bad boys with a hammer brings an extra level of kick ass to the proceedings. Air Raiders' skill set centers on calling various strikes to obliterate the insects that are overrunning the metropolis and Rangers are best used if you want a jack of all trades, master of none type of fighter.
The Wing Diver is my favorite class, since flying through the city gives a broader view of the Earth Defense universe. When my Wing Diver's armor and health level is at an all-time low, I'll navigate her away from the fray and have her track down health and armor packs to replenish her strength. Eventually she'll fly the unfriendly skies for an alien bee showdown.
The actual gameplay requires the minimum amount of thinking or analysis. All that's needed is to check out the swarm red dots that are on your map icon and send your fighter to the battle zone. The missions will also have other EDF soldiers fighting by your side, but the ground troops usually offer minimal help in killing these space creatures. Unless it's an air raid coming down from the sky, much of the killing will come from your respective plasma rifle, rocket launcher or assault rifle.
Since Earth Defense Force 2025's main inspiration is derived from sci-fi driven B-movies from yesteryear, the title is intentionally over the top in its game play. Whether it's the cheesy dialogue from the EDF members or the spider webs that drape over Japan's skyscrapers, Earth Defense Force 2025 aims for pure entertainment. On that note, it completely delivers the goods. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re willing to plant your tongue firmly in cheek, there’s enough to enjoy in EDF.
Online multiplayer support is available for up to four players, which means you can create your own EDF crew and spend the entire day killing insects. Even though I'm a gaming soloist, my introverted tendencies didn't hinder my Earth Defense Force 2025 online experience. I simply entered a random room with an "easy" difficulty rating and entered the fight. Since the goal is to rid the world from gigantic insects, there is a genuine cooperative campaign spirit that will keep me coming back to EDF's online experience. Another excellent facet to EDF 2025 is that online play is integrated with the core game, as weapons and armor gained from all of your missions exist in both worlds.
Sandlot, the developers behind Earth Defense Force 2025, understand that giving gamers a purely visceral, gunplay-infused journey, if executed with panache, will keep them coming back for more. Don't expect any semblance of thematic depth from this alien invasion adventure, but if blasting giant spiders into kingdom come doesn't get your motor running, you're driving the wrong car.
This review was completed using a copy of Earth Defense Force 2025 for the Xbox 360 provided by the publisher.