You kill bugs good in “Earth Defense Force 2025” on the PS3 and Xbox 360. There are hundreds of first-person shooters on the market featuring big guns and brawny soldiers, but there are very few that feel as much like a campy, low-budget B-movie as “Earth Defense Force.” “EDF 2025” is a sequel to last year’s “EDF 2017” and continues the story, ramping up the excitement in this action-packed bug slaying extravaganza.
The Earth Defense Force is a unified multinational military sponsored by nearly every country, and it is tasked with detecting any impending alien attacks and determining if they are hostile. In 2017, the planet Earth is under attack from giant insects and robots called the Ravagers and it’s up to you and your teammates to defend. In “EDF 2025,” set eight years after the previous game, the bugs are back after being dormant underground all these years. Now the bugs are bigger and badder than ever, with some new evolved types. Among them are the new spider creatures, ants, dragons, and even giant bees.
You can choose to fight with a group of A.I controlled soldiers or team up with some friends in one of the co-op modes. Most of the battles aren’t too long, about 10 minutes or so, but there is a lot of variety in the 80-plus missions throughout the campaign. The game takes place across levels featuring destructible environments, in settings such as cities, beaches, hills, underground tunnels, and more. One of the things that make it so much fun is to see how much you can destroy in each mission map; the level of destruction can actually get quite absurd. There is no penalty for collateral damage, so feel free to destroy as much as you want.
There isn’t a whole lot of story exposition; most of the missions are just “kill everything that moves,” but there are several different classes to try out and a bunch of enemy types to keep you on your toes. There are four different types of soldier you can play as, each with their own selection of weapons at their disposal. Each of the soldiers can pick up to two weapons per mission to go into battle, and there are over 175 different guns to choose from, making it the biggest selection in the series.
First, there is “The Wing Divers,” which is an airborne fighter group composed of women with jet packs and high-tech laser weapons. Next is “The Rangers,” who are your foot infantry; they are the most versatile because they can use almost every type of weapon. Then there are “The Fencers,” which are the heavy armor class who can carry four guns at a time. Their speed is low, but they are very powerful. Last but not least is “The Air Raiders,” who assist “The Rangers” and “The Wing Divers” by using explosives and force fields, and they can also summon a variety of vehicles into battle. There are several different types of vehicles that you can use, such as tanks, helicopters, and even mech-like power suits. Trying out each of the different classes and vehicles really adds variety to the gameplay and creates several hours of replayabilty for completionists that want to get the most out of the game.
This game is just non-stop action and is best experienced with a group of friends in one of the multiplayer game modes. You can play split screen or online, which can be great, but the frame rate does slow down a bit when the action gets too crazy. The graphics and animations aren’t really the greatest, but they are passable. It doesn’t really matter that the graphics aren’t great – the game is hilarious and fun to play. There are several different difficulty levels to add even more replay value; the higher difficulty levels allow for more customization and some different guns for you to play around with.
“Earth Defense Force 2025” is just plain fun; it is mindless entertainment through and through. If you are fan of campy action movies in the vein of “Starship Troopers,” then you will want to know more about this game. If you are looking for a great story and excellent graphics, you might want to look somewhere else. This is a really fun game to just shut off your brain and have a fun night with some friends killing giant bugs. You will find better shooters out there, but few that are as silly and fun.
-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.