Despite the futuristic name, “Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable” looks and feels more like a retro, throwback game than something belonging on the latest handheld console.
Released for the PlayStation Vita, “EDF 2017” puts you in the role of the leader of Storm 1, a specialized military force built for UFO attacks. You’ll face off against an extraterrestrial invader using giant bugs as their front line force. That’s it. No hidden agendas. No fancy tricks. Kill the invaders and live another day.
And that’s really enough to get hooked. Combat isn’t overly complicated. Choose two weapons at the beginning of each mission and go to work. You only get one life and I didn’t find any checkpoints or save spots so keep an eye out for armor and health that drops when an enemy gets smoked. Some weapons couldn’t be reloaded on the battlefield while others seem to have an endless supply of ammunition.
You will get some help from other soldiers who encounter and recruit on the battlefield, but they feel more like comic relief than an actual fighting force. For example, here is a bit of dialog from the soldiers – Soldier 1: “You scared?” Soldier 2: “No! Shut up!” They also do a lot of “Yeah!” and “Got him!” so scintillating conversations are nowhere to be found.
The outer space aliens are using giant ants for some reason (think “Them”) and giving them the ability to shoot acid. The feel is like a B-movie with flat textures, screaming civilians and aliens who can’t seem to hit a target in front of them. Doesn’t sound very challenging, does it? However, the alien robots are powerful enough to burn a hole through any defenses, but like all big baddies, have that critical weak spot to be taken down.
Wading through city after city and laying low more buildings with my rocket launcher than I saved, the game is a nice throwback to the arcade games I played as a kid. Using both analog sticks on the Vita, I could have just as easily been playing a tank game, but the tongue-in-cheek look and humor kept me interested and involved enough to want to go to the next mission.
Granted, this is a port from the Xbox 360 version from 2007 so it doesn’t benefit from any graphics advancements over the past five years, but who cares? It is a shoot and loot scenario that is campy, full of action, and level after level of baddies who just want to get in your crosshairs.
Sixty levels offer plenty of fun and giant bugs. The environments and the dialog repeats often, but this game is all about the carnage. There is a multiplayer feature that lets four others join, but sadly, no other players were around. I have a feeling it would have been a lot of laughs. A new character type is unlocked if you finish the game, but seems so overpowered that replaying is more an exercise of “how much more damage can I do” rather than a new challenge.
“Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable” is mindless and addictive with a touch of 1950’s monster movie style and arcade shooter fun. If I had to drop quarters into this, I’d probably be broke, but I’d be ultimately walking away feeling good without any real sense of accomplishments.
“Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable” is available for the PlayStation Vita as a digital download. It is rated T for Teen due to animated blood, mild language, and violence. This review was done with a provided digital download copy for the Vita.
When fighting big bugs, you are going to need big guns.
In the latest video from the new “Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon,” the destructive power of the bug splattering weapons take out the insects, but also carve through buildings like butter. But when you are saving the world, buildings are a small price to pay.
Thousands of insects and aliens descend upon Earth yet again, and only the Earth Defense Force can stop the carnage. Players can create a squad of up to three in co-op play using any four upgradeable armor types and destroy these monsters at all costs, even if it means destroying everything within sight.
The game is due to be released July 5 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It is rated T for teens due to animated blood, mild language, mild suggestive themes, and violence.