03rd Mar2014

‘Earth Defense Force 2025′ Review (PS3)

by Phil Wheat

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The insects return from dormancy to disturb the peace with over-the-top action and massive city-leveling explosions that will entrench the EDF and the citizens of earth into a state of emergency in Earth Defense Force 2025, aka Chikyū Bōeigun 4, the latest game in the Earth Defense Force series and a direct sequel to Earth Defense Force 2017, skipping the events of EDF: Insect Armageddon (the only EDF game to be developed in North America).

The reason for skipping over Insect Armageddon? Well Earth Defence Force 2025 sees Japanese developer Sandlot, creators of the EDF series, return for the fourth installment of the long-running franchise – a franchise which they started with the original game, The Chikyuu Boueigun, back in 2004 on the PS2. Now I’ll admit I’ve never played any of Sandlot’s Earth Defense Force games before. I did pick up and play EDF: Insect Armageddon for a short while (and enjoyed it quite a bit if I’m honest) but it eventually got lost in a sea of video games in my ever-growing backlog pile. However I was excited to see what series creators Sandlot would bring [back] to the table for this round of insect-killing action…

Run and gun third person shooters are ten-a-penny on consoles these days, from the likes of the fantastic Gears of Wars, to the less than stellar Damnation, so it’s takes something special to stand out from the crowd – and that’s Earth Defense Force 2025 does. It REALLY stands out. It’s safe to say that the game takes everything that fans have come to love about the EDF series and turns it up to 11. Arming players with 700+ weapons and adding four new soldier classes: Ranger, Wing Diver, Air Raider and Fencer is one hell of an upgrade and brings, especially in the case of the new classes, a whole new way of playing the game (even if those classes are a mash-up of some that have already appeared in the franchise).

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The Ranger is your typical 3rd person shooter character, capable of carrying two weapons of varying ranges and power, or you can swap one of his weapons out for healing abilities. The kind of character class typically seen in many shooters, including previous EDF games. It’s a good place to start for those new to the franchise, or looking for a more fast paced, yet controlled, game experience. The Wing Diver is an aerial soldier class (and in this case a female soldier) which is armed with more long range and faster firing weaponary. The Wing Diver has weakened defenses over other character classes, but her speed and flying ability more than compensate for it. The perfect character class to have on your team in co-op gameplay, playing as a Wing Diver totally changes the way you can play Earth Defense Force 2025 – instead of waiting for the bugs to come to you, you can take the fight to them and believe flying into the heart of a huge swarm and kicking ass feels so satisfying!

The other two character classes are suited more for multiplayer combat, with the Air Raider able to lase targets for both missiles, bombing runs and Fencers. They can also call in vehicles that can be used as combat support. Air Raiders are a perfect compliment for the Fencer character class, as you lase targets for the much slower, and much more powerful character class. Armed with a gatling gun (which in typical fashion takes a moment to really get up to shooting speed) and a shield that, along with melee weapons such as a spear and a hammer, can be used to defend against attacks or in close-combat, the Fencer class is for those that like to take their time with a game, planning out a strategy and not just running head-first in to battle.

But it’s not just the character classes that have been improved – this game features the largest number of missions in series history (seriously, the number of missions available is HUGE, making this perfect for single player games) and upgraded the four-player local co-op to four-player online multiplayer – and trust me, you’ll want to utilise all four character classes in online co-op, it makes for one hell of a “team” game.

However the real reason to buy Earth Defense Force 2025? Because it is a hell of a lot of cheesy, B-movie fun! The type of pick-up and play slaughter-fest that you used to find in the arcades, which is now sadly lacking from the console experience.

Earth Defense Force 2025 is out now on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 from D3 Publisher.

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