Earth Defense Force 2025
It’s like this: if you cannot appreciate the idea of hunting giant ants across a large, generic, destructible Japanese city with a jetpack and a plasma caster – and more importantly, appreciate it for its own sake – you might as well back off now.
Earth Defense Force 2025 is not subtle, does not hold your hand, and does not pay a great deal of attention to a lot of things that we have, in the last fifteen years or so, come to consider important parts of an action game. There’s no tutorial, there isn’t even a manual, the physics barely exist, and the plot is both a flimsy excuse for shooting aliens and presented utterly without irony. It feels like a throwback to an earlier generation, and I mean that as a compliment.
The aliens from Earth Defense Force 2017 have come back for another attempt at depopulating Earth, and this time Earth has a larger variety of weapons and trained soldiers to counter them. You pick one of four classes and go through ninety-six stages with them, each with five levels of difficulty, blowing up giant insects, giant robots, alien motherships, and small fightercraft with everything from assault rifles to guided rockets to rapid-fire plasma weapons, and can do so in split-screen co-op with up to four players.
It’s likely that after a few hours with the game, you’ll come up with a laundry list of things you wish it did, or improvements that could be made. I certainly have. EDF2025 is content to act like a game from maybe 2002 much of the time, which both works for and against it. Some stages are an attempt to see just how many giant ants you can blow up in one shot from the most grotesquely overpowered gun you’ve managed to unlock, while others are sheer exercises in frustration as you go ragdolling across the landscape eight times in a row, unable to act, because someone equipped the alien robots with long-distance artillery. This game is an attempt to fit as many guns, as many stages, and as many explosions as possible into a single fifty-dollar disc and it’s abandoned everything that didn’t work expressly towards that goal: modern graphics, plot, voice acting, any attempt at realism, etc.
On reflection, I’m okay with that. This is a lot of game for the price, and while it gets repetitive if you try to play more than a few hours of it at a time, it’s great for get-togethers or an afternoon’s entertainment. Each of the four classes play differently enough that the stages genuinely do feel like new experiences depending on which one you’re playing, and going through the game on different difficulties unlocks new guns that can dramatically change up your approach and strategy.
A brand-new copy of Earth Defense Force runs you $50, which is one of the best entertainment values out there so far this year. As long as you can overcome your own biases and enjoy some old-fashioned plotless alien blasting, you’ll get hours of fun out of Earth Defense Force 2025.
Reviewed By: Thomas Wilde
This review is based on a retail copy of Earth Defense Force 2025 for the PlayStation 3 provided by D3Publisher.