Earth Defense Force 2025 is the fruit of the Global Defence Force tree, the same tree that gave life to Earth Defense Force 2017 and Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon. The games all share the same DNA, putting you into the shoes of a soldier fighting off gigantic alien bugs. Game developer Sandlot isn’t breaking the mold here, as again aliens attack, this time in the form of evolved bugs with new skills and abilities. Seems like they’ve been lurking in an underground nest and licking their wounds ever since you gave them hell in 2017. Luckily, you’re powered by improved Japanese technology, and you still have the skills to pay the bills.
The bugs are back. So it’s been eight years since the events of EDF 2017, and things seem fairly normal – right up until the Ravagers wake from dormancy and treat Tokyo like a punching bag. The game is full of the over-the-top action that the series has long been known for, and the only thing missing is a mustache-twirling villain who can spout lines like “Sorry, didn’t mean to BUG you! MWHAHAHAH!” as they attack. Instead, you’ll be treated to gigantic explosions that can level cities, and new enemy types like the Crustaceous Giant who can spew acid and the Giant Spiders who can trap you in enormous webs.
700 weapons?! “Shoot bad things” is still the silent mantra behind EDF 2025, although you’ll have a lot more weapons to make that happen this time around. You’ll also be playing as one of four different classes in the game: Ranger, a simple foot soldier who is a few steps above “cannon fodder,” and can use vehicles and mechas; Wing Diver, an airborne class made up of women armed with alien technology and jetpacks; Air Raider, these guys call in air raids, drop shields, heal other units, and summon vehicles; Fencer, a heavily-armored class with limited jump jets, a shield, a hammer, spear, and other goodies.
But like we said, shooting is what it’s all about, and there are over 700 weapons in Earth Defense Force 2025. That might seem excessive, but as the PR person told us during our hands-on with the game, “We’re not the prettiest or the most graphical, but we are tons of fun.” Which basically means that since they have a lower polygon count, you’re getting a lot more weaponry to play around with to distract you from the fact that the game might look … not exactly last-gen, but definitely not cutting edge-gen. Although it does play a bit last-gen. And sometimes the camera feels a bit last-gen.
Explodey fun. But, they weren’t lying about the fun. Despite the graphical drawbacks and nitpicking with the different control scheme (hit the back button to enter a vehicle… what?!), there is something intrinsically enjoyable about hopping into EDF 2025 and shooting everything that moves – except your fellow players, because friendly fire is a factor here. The game supports up to four players online, which is where the vehicles come into play, although some of them will have you riding in the cargo section with only slits to peer out of, not shoot. Of course, you can jump out whenever you want, but we’re not sure why they included “passenger” gameplay.
Local hero. Although the Japanese version hasn’t launched yet, they have already revealed a large amount of DLC for the game, and and hopefully that will make will head our way as well, providing some long legs for this title. Earth Defense Force 2025 will be out on July 4 in Japan, but we won’t get it here until February of next year, as the localization is taking a long time. There will be four times more dialogue in this game than the last one. We’re hoping that gets turned into actual English dialogue, and not just walls of text.
We hope the Japanese setting stays just like it is in the game, however, because running around Tokyo while its being ripped up by giant monsters makes you feel like you’re in a Japanese monster flick from the 1970s.
We can totally appreciate it when a developer is honest about their title, and while it’s true that the game doesn’t look like it’s pushing the envelope of either the Xbox 360 or the PS3, there is definitely a fun factor to behind the game. It’s a disc-based title and no price has been mentioned, but look for it in February of 2014.