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

War Of The Worlds got nothing on EDF!

While it might not be the most visually stunning 'next-gen' title, EDF offers an experience similar to older skill based shooters. The visuals have a cheesy charm which parallel its low-budget cinematic counterparts. Couple this with equally cheesy dialog and you're in B-Movie wonderland!

You play a solider in a typical military squad, and your job is to shoot stuff dead. You'll face giant ants (ala the movie 'Them') giant robots ('War Of The Worlds') and giant dino-mech things (Woo! Godzilla!). The world around you is extremely destructible to the point of absurdity, where a single rocket can bring down an entire skyscraper. You'll navigate the concrete jungle and know your foe's location via a small map in your HUD.

The object of each level is the same, kill everything. It's got a very retro feel in its simplicity. In the same way you wouldn't stop playing space invaders until all the bad guys were gone, similarly your objective here is just as simple. What really impresses is the sheer size and number enemies you're expected to dispatch. Also there are a ton of weapons to try, but you'll usually end up falling back on some old standards (machine gun & rocket launcher for example). You'll get vehicles, but they feel a little clunky and despite their firepower can be less useful than being able to roll around and dodge attacks on foot. The audio can become repetitive as there aren't many different 'boom!' sounds, but the dialog of your squad communicating can be endlessly comical.

The game can be played co-operatively, but only a couple of levels have any replay value. One frustrating element is when you complete the game on a difficulty, you're awarded Xbox 360's gamer score points, but even if you complete the game on the hardest setting, you won't get any points for the easier difficulties. You'll have the play the whole game again on easy. Also there is no auto save, even if you complete the game. So one memory lapse after a long session could cost you a lot of progress.

Despite this the game is just dumb fun. Not a blockbuster, but a pick up and play title that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's great to see these games still being made alongside the big franchises, because there will always be a place for 'brain-in-a-jar let's shoot stuff!' action. As if a lot of big titles aren't just that anyway.

Amidst the barrage of hugely popular shooters on the Xbox 360, EDF2017 manages to remain unique because of its loyalty to it's alien invasion / monster movie heritage. While so many games attempt to justify their violence via plots and twists, this is all about shooting aliens. Then shooting bigger aliens. Then shooting even more even bigger aliens. Bring it on!

- DC

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