Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Review #332: Earth Defense Force 2025

 It's been, what, about four years since I played Earth Defense Force(USA) back in the day? Often lauded as the worst in the franchise, it was an american take on the series, and I liked it a lot, but then again, it was the only EDF game I had played. Earth Defense Force 2025 was the last EDF game released on last gen consoles, now left obsolete by the PS4 enhanced rerelease. Regardless, current-gen still hasn't managed to pique my interest, scummy DLC practices and incomplete games(I believed in Street Fighter V, and it failed me! DAMMIT, CAPCOM.) doesn't help, so this'll have to do.

 The game's story is as follows: Giant alien insects invade the Earth, Storm Team is the Earth's mightiest defense against these evil aliens, so they do battle with the aliens. And that's it. There's a tiny bit more to the story, which progresses through audio communication while you play the 85 missions, which last about 15 hours, but it's not meant to be taken seriously. You'd do both yourself and the game a disservice if you played it for the story, Shakespeare this is not.
 The game is a traditional third person shooter, so no fancy 'over-the shoulder' aiming, in which you have to kill giant ants. And then giant spiders. And then giant Bees. And then flying space ships. And then alien bipedal robots. And then H. G. Wells-inspired robots. And then dragons. And it's as fun, chaotic and ridiculous as it sounds, and it's amazing. Most of the missions take place in city-like arenas, filled with buildings and bridges that probably won't survive the whole ordeal. As fantastic as it sounds... the game runs like crap. The framerate in single-player is acceptable, it dips a lot, but it can be tolerated. But when playing split-screen... it's awful. But it's also when the game shines the brightest, I played the entire 85 missions in split-screen co-op, and it was a riot, so much so that it was easy to ignore how frequently the framerate went into the single digits. It's that bad. But it's also so much fun.

 There's four different classes, each one with specific weapons and attributes. Honestly, if you are gonna play by yourself, you are better off sticking with the average, all-around Ranger. The Wing Diver is fun, but it's a bit too fragile, the Fencer packs quite a punch, and the only class that wields four weapons, but it's very, very slow, unless you bring a melee weapon, that allows it to dash, so it'll be an eternity as you move from area to area, and the Air Support class is built around co-operation, which makes it a terrible character for solo play. And it's a shame, because the other classes are so much fun to play, in a co-operative environment! Each character also gets dozens upon dozens of different weapons. Sure, a ton of them are simply higher-level versions of other weapons, but there's probably 12-20 different weapon models for each different class, which translates into a lot of weapons and a lot of set-ups.
 And I bet all those weapons sound oh so appealing, don't they? It's a bit of a double edged sword. Weapons are found on green crates, randomly dropped by enemies. What weapon you get is entirely random, and it may even be a weapon you already own. This also means that if you like a particular set of weapons, you may be stuck with low-level weapons until you finally get weapons that suit your style. Since I was so fond of my Fencer's 900 damage cannon, I wound up with 3 different level 15-20 weapons and my level 10 cannon, since I couldn't find its enhanced version or a weapon that could take its role in my arsenal.

 Another issue with the game, besides the terrible framerate, are the long, looooooooooong loading times. And then there's the camera... Sometimes it tends to get stuck on debris behind you, or for whatever reason, your character itself. It's not unusual to be aiming at something only to suddenly get a close-up on your character's behind. Now couple this with single-digit framerate moments and it can get quite annoying.
 Despite being such a technical mess, the game is undeniably fun. It can get a bit repetitive, sure, but trying new weapons is always fun. That said, the game is obviously meant to be played with other players, going at it solo is decent, but when you've got different character classes co-operating with each other, there's were the game shines... and it's also when the game runs the worst! It's definitely not a game for everyone, it's a very campy game, and it knows how ridiculous it is, and it makes the most of it. It also runs like garbage, has a ton of technical issues, so it takes a special kind of person to put up with them and appreciate the game for what it really is.
 7.0 out of 10

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