'Earth Defense Force 2025' - Battling The Big Bad Bugs Again
February 20, 2014
Since its first release in the United States in 2007, the Earth Defense Force series has established quite a unique reputation. The franchise has seen only a couple of releases, three less than Japan, but its over-the-top take on the third-person shooter genre puts it in a class of its own. The E.D.F. games aren't know for their quality, or their graphics, or their solid frame rate. No, in fact, it's just the opposite - they're known for being so bad that they're good... the "B-Movies" of video games. Earth Defense Force 2017 helped show western gamers the insanity that Japanese fans of the series had already known for years by putting players face to face with giant, alien bugs and monstrous invading robots. Its follow up, Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon was a bit of a departure, as it was the first game developed outside of Japan, and not by longtime developer Sandlot. Some of the changes in Insect Armageddon were for the better, and others were for the worse, moving the franchise away from its signature gameplay. The series' latest release, Earth Defense Force 2025 is a return to form, and a direct sequel to 2017. The bugs are back, and they're out for blood.
It's understandable if you're not be too familiar with Sandlot, since they're primarily a Japanese developer, but they have been releasing games since 1999. Much of their focus has actually been on the Earth Defense Force series, since the games date back as far as 2003, with the first three games being released on the PlayStation 2. You may also know some of their other work if you played one of Enix's last releases, Robot Alchemic Drive (R.A.D.), as that is their only other game to see a stateside release. Earth Defense Force 2025 is their fifth entry in the series.
It's a game about giant bugs, and frankly, that's awesome. E.D.F. 2025 doesn’t mix up the overall concept of the series too much, giving players the story of Earth, seven years after E.D.F. 2017. The gist of this release is that the bugs are back, they've evolved, and it's up to the Earth Defense Force have to stop them. 2025 does mix up some things, most notably in the gameplay department. For this adventure, players have the option of choosing from four different characters, each of which feels unique, and actually offers quite of bit of variety to the gameplay. The four soldier classes include: Ranger (your standard E.D.F. foot soldier), Wing Diver (a speedy, aerial assault class), Air Raider (infantry and airborne attacks), and Fencer (basically a slow moving, human tank with lots of armor, with some serious guns). The options to choose the character that best fits your play style is a nice upgrade for the series, and it makes the split-screen co-op and the online battles seem a bit more personal. Also, the return of scavenging the battlefield for new weapons really brings the series back to its roots, and makes 2025 feel like a true E.D.F. game.
Earth Defense Force 2025 is the first E.D.F. game to launch on multiple platforms. Bug hunters with either an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3 can join the fight, and help save the world.
If you've never experienced an Earth Defense Force game, then now is the perfect time to jump in, and be blown away. There is something really satisfying and addictive about mowing down hordes of giant bugs with a chain gun (or rocket launcher, or plasma gun, or whatever crazy weaponry you can find and equip). The E.D.F. series has always bucked a lot of video game conventions, and that's part of what makes it such a great franchise. Polished graphics and frame rates that can handle the hundreds of on-screen robots are the kinds of things you find in big budget blockbusters. E.D.F. doesn't need 'em. The imperfections are part of what makes an Earth Defense Force game an Earth Defense Force game, and 2025 brings the series home, truly living up to its namesake. Look out giant bugs, we're coming to get you... again.