death_burnout's Earth Defense Force 2017 (Xbox 360) review

EDF 2017 Is An Action Packed 3rd Person Shooter From Japan

Fun has always been the quarter-stone of old-school shooters, not graphics or anything else you will find in current day titles, just pure unprecedented fun, and that’s exactly what you get in Earth Defence Force 2017, huge enemies, huge explosions and huge amounts of fun, plain and simple. Sometimes too simple for its own good however, EDF is something of an acquired taste, while it does have a budget price (and budget restrictions for that matter), the game still might not apply to everyone, but to anyone who has enjoyed classic shooters back in the day, will most likely appreciate EDF 2017.

The whole premise of the game is that earth is being invaded by aliens (go figure) dubbed the “ravagers” and its up to the “Earth Defence Force” to save humanity form the evil aliens, this is inherently Japanese and since it’s a Japanese game, one can expect the most crazy Japanese sci-fi horror ever seen in a video game. Surprisingly the story is enticing, and since you never know what to expect, you eagerly want to know how this battle for mankind unfolds, and what a battle it is. You will be fighting giant ants and spiders, huge walking robots and (you guessed it) Godzilla like monsters, all in the comfort of Japan and a 3rd person perspective.

The main goal of the 53 missions, is to eliminate all the enemies in the area, and while this seems far too simple, the game does a good job of mixing up scenarios so you don’t get bored, its basic but it sure is a lot of fun for just shooting huge enemies in the mountains or in the city. You wont be fighting these huge monsters alone, you are part of the EDF and the EDF fight together, your AI team mates really add the sense that you are fighting for mankind, they talk to each other during battle, and chant and cheer as they march on into the fray of destruction, in fact, they are often hilarious when fighting. Not only do the EDF act great but they are also crucial to your success in a battle, they provide a good distraction for you to kill the enemies without them noticing and attacking you, you will surely want to have them around in the later difficulties because it can get really hard.

There are 5 difficulty settings, easy, medium, hard, hardest! And finally inferno. inferno mode is simply insane and only the most skilled players who know the all the exploits and weapons down to a tee will be able to complete it at this level, but as for the other levels of difficulty its more accessible to more casual players, and players who want to play the game without suffering. The difference between the difficulties is mainly the enemies, they will have more health and much stronger attributes, so an ant in easy moves as slow as you’d expect a giant bug to move, but in inferno or hardest, it moves as fast as a real ant…fast!. Strategy is required, you are only allowed to take 2 weapons into a battle, and as the menu voice will tell you over and over again, you need to think hard about the weapons you are going to take into battle, there is a whopping 150 weapons in the game ranging from assault rifles and shotguns to rocket launchers and missile launchers, and while they sadly don’t differ in looks, they all have unique stats and types of fire, the harder the difficultly you play on, the better weapons you’ll most likely find, so searching for powerful weapons is crucial for you to at least succeed on inferno. With all these difficulties, the game becomes instantly re-playable and will take you a long time to beat the game on all.

There are vehicles scattered around certain missions that are there to help you annihilate huge swarms of enemies, or so they should. Only 1 of the 4 vehicles at your disposal are actually manoeuvrable, the mech, helicopter and hoverbike are all hard to control, the tank is the only one that will at least get you out of tight situations in a hurry, that’s not to say the other vehicles aren’t powerful, the mech specifically will take down the largest of enemies super easy with its chain cannon, flamethrower and rocket launcher mercilessly hammering away at the enemy. In short the game features a lot of simplicity but since when did that stop the likes of Smash TV from being fun, its simple in terms of gameplay, and its also simple in terms of graphics, since its a budget title, you can’t expect the most astounding of graphics, but it does try its best.

The animations are poor throughout the game, the way your character moves has a lot of comedic value, and the bugs also don’t animate in the most conventional of ways, they will often climb walls and become jaunty in the process, when aircrafts hit the floor, they will clip right through it. The environments are fully destructible, every building, tree and object will collapse, but often just through the floor, with all these shortcuts the game still suffers from occasional slowdown and framerate drops ,especially when there are a lot of explosions going on, but one cant help look at them over and over again because they are awesome, when a robot gets destroyed it doesn’t just blow up once, it blows up, hit’s the floor and blows up again, the flames literally engulf the screen with a glaring haze. The overal graphical quality is slightly medicore, but its easily understood why.

Things sound perfectly fine, everything sounds as it should, gunfire, explosions and the general bug noise all sound reasonably well done and pitched perfectly on a sci-fi level, the games music score is also something that brings the eerie sci-fi theme to life. The voice acting (as with any other Japanese port) has comedic value from the start, however it does have its charm, and even though the menu voice will get on your nerves from time to time, its still over the top stuff which is always welcome in a game that features giant robots and bugs. One of the highlights if the voice acting is Michael McConnohie who has done countless voiceovers for anime films and television programs as well as games, his talent here is probably at its best, its captivating and enjoyable all the while still being a little humorous.

With its simple style of gameplay comes simple and disappointing achievements, there are only 6 total, and while they do add a considerable amount of replay value, it does seem that there is a lot of missed opportunity with the achievements, completing the game on a certain difficulty is the common achievement and the collecting all the weapons is the only unique achievement. The game also has a battle mode between 2 players and its such a terrible mode its not even worth mentioning.

Earth Defence Force 2017 is certainly simple, but its fun, and is always fun no matter how many times you play it, its simplicity will alienate some people, but for old school shooter fans or anyone who wants to blast away robots, bugs and a deathstar looking mothership, this game is a must have.

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