Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable review: Alien bug squashing on the go

earth defense force 2017 portable review alien bug squashing on the go edf2017p 3d f 220xBefore we start weighing what’s good and what’s not about D3Publisher’s PlayStation Vita portEarth Defense Force 2017 Portable, let’s remember the most important thing: this is a portable version of EDF 2017. Now, thanks to the magic of technology, you can pick up your Vita anytime, in any location, and fight to save Earth from invading giant alien insect and robot forces. Judging the game purely on this fact alone, it is an automatic winner.

Make no mistake: the fact that EDF 2017 is now playable on a portable screen doesn’t actually elevate the quality of the experience. This launch window Xbox 360-exclusive from 2007 hasn’t aged well at all. The graphics look like they could have been handled by a last-gen platform, the controls are simplified to the point of confusion, and anything that didn’t work well six years ago is still just as non-functional now as it always was. And yet, that’s sort of where EDF 2017‘s charm lies. As imperfect a game as it may be, it still manages to deliver in spades on its simple concept of “lay waste to entire cities as you shoot everything at giant bugs and robots.”

earth defense force 2017 portable review alien bug squashing on the go edf

Let’s start with what’s new for the PS Vita release. Completing the game unlocks Pale Wing for use, a jetpack-equipped soldier that plays very differently from the landlocked protagonist in the vanilla game. There are some new weapons and levels, though in all honesty, with it being multiple years since EDF 2017 was last played on a Xbox 360, most will be hard-pressed to identify them. That said, the new bits amount to “more game,” and for an arcade-y shooter such as this one, more content is only a good thing.

The Vita release also adds some new multiplayer options, complementing local co-op with a new online mode that supports up to four players. In the time I spent reviewing EDF 2017 Portable, I was never able to find a Versus room to play in, but the co-op play is great. You can tackle any of the games levels on any difficulty with up to four players in the lobby. Restrictions can be set on weapon levels and health levels, and an assortment of similar filters can be applied when searching for a lobby to join. I ran into minimal connection issues when stepping into co-op matches. More importantly, EDF 2017 Portable really shines in co-op. Between the ability to revive teammates and the insanity of having four people firing massively destructive weapons in all directions, the carnage is a glory to behold.

Unfortunately, this is where the new additions stop. The port brings in some welcome bonuses, but none of the flaws of the 2007 game have been addressed here. Vehicles are the biggest offenders; while 2010’s EDF 2017 follow-up, Insect Armageddon, offered a revised approach to piloting machines of war — they became fun to play with! — no such tweaks were made to this Vita release. In truth, the controls weren’t touched at all in any meaningful way. Even when you’re just moving your standard footsoldier around the battlefield, there’s still the baffling absence of a reload button to cope with.

earth defense force 2017 portable review alien bug squashing on the go edf 2

For some, elements such as this only add to EDF‘s charm. That’s the audience this game is aiming to capture. If you didn’t like EDF 2017 before then you’re probably not going to find much in Portable to enjoy. It’s the same game, for better and for worse. The biggest issue of all is, unfortunately, the price. Given the minimal number of enhancements made for this portable port, it’s something of a shock that Sony is asking $39.99 for an item that you could pay $15 to play on your Xbox 360. Yes, this is the first time EDF 2017 is available on another platform, and yes having the option of online co-op is a great thing, but this is one of those rare cases where it’s difficult to recommend the game to anyone at the price that’s been set for it.


All that said, it’s hard to deny the raw fact that EDF 2017 Portable is still just as stupidly fun as it’s always been, and that you can now play it on the go. Speaking as a longtime fan of the game and the series, I can say that price wouldn’t be a factor here for me. Series newcomers might want to sample the 360 game first before taking the plunge, but if you love EDF and you’ve been jonesing for some alien bug-squashing on the go, this PSN-exclusive Vita release will most definitely scratch that itch. 

(This game was reviewed on the PS Vita using a copy provided by the publisher.)


‘Blockchain gaming’ startup gets $16 million in Series A funding

A gaming startup, Mythical Games, has raised $16 million in Series A funding to work on their concept of blockchain gaming. The aim is for the startup to develop games for the PC, console, and mobile markets.

The best PS3 games of all time

Choosing the right PlayStation 3 game can be a conundrum, especially when there are nearly 1,500 titles to choose from. Thankfully, we've rounded up the best games to have ever made it to the platform.
Home Theater

A recent Twitter leak may show the upcoming AirPods 2 model

Apple plans to release new AirPods much the same as it does new iPhones, and a wireless charging case, water resistance, and better Siri integration are among the improvements we can expect in future models.

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.

The best free-to-play games you can play right now

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.

‘Fortnite’ named Ultimate Game of the Year at the Golden Joystick awards

This year's Golden Joysticks, the gaming awards handed out by GamesRadar, have been announced and Fortnite has been named the Ultimate Game of the Year. It beat out Red Dead Redemption for best game, but Red Dead was named critics' choice.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Want to gift a Steam game so you can play with a friend? Here's how to do it

The holidays may have passed, but it's always a good time to give the gift of gaming (especially when there's a Steam sale)! Here's our quick guide on how to give a Steam game as a gift.

‘Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers’ to launch next summer with gunblades, Viera

Square Enix revealed that Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers will be released in summer 2019. The third expansion of the MMORPG will include new story content, dungeons, and raids, in addition to gunblades and the Viera.

The Fix PUBG campaign is over: What’s next for ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’?

The PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds development team declared that the Fix PUBG campaign was over. Here are the results of the three-month campaign, as well as the future plans for the multiplayer Battle Royale shooter.

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…

Get an Xbox One S or PlayStation 4 for just $200 at GameStop starting Sunday

GameStop is currently running an early Black Friday sale that offers an Xbox One S or a PlayStation 4 slim model for just $200 apiece. Both consoles come with a free game, and other games are also on sale.

Original ‘Diablo’ developer calls out Blizzard for disrespecting its employees

In a Twitch rant, an original creator of Diablo has said that Blizzard is more interested in caring for its shareholders and the elite one percent of the company than looking after its workers.

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.