Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Earth Defense Force - Insect Armageddon

It was literally less than an hour after I posted my last update that I finished this beauty, and while I could have updated the progress report then and there, I decided to put it off because why not. Anyway, Earth Defense Force is a long running series of action games in which the player controls an infantryman that's faced with the task of purging the earth of thousands upon thousands of giant ants, spiders, flying saucers and all manner of other nasty things. That's really all there is to these games, seriously. 


The game takes place in the near future, in and around the city of 'New Detroit' during an alien invasion. Apparently these hyper advanced beings decided that the best way to wipe out humanity was to drop supersized versions of household pests all over the place. You play as a soldier in the titular EDF who's been sent in to wipe out the enemy in the area. That's about the extent of the story the game gives you, and outside the small snippets of dialogue you get from your handler and the scientists who talk into your headset the game might as well be devoid of a plot entirely. 

I think there's some sort of really loose tie-in between this game and  Earth Defense Force 2017 for the Xbox 360, but it really only ever boils down to "aliens bad, shoot them with guns". Not even the ending is safe from this, as it literally just cuts back to the main menu after you finish the final mission. Apparently if you beat it on the hardest difficulty it changes slightly, but that's something I'll never be attempting.

Ironically, these small enemies were the hardest to handle


Now this is where the game shines. 99% of the time you're going to be in 3rd person mowing down wave after wave of giant insects and flying saucers with your squadmates (who when controlled by the AI are of dubious help), but you also get access to tanks, turrets and the occasional mech to keep things fresh. The game starts you off facing basic ants and slowly ramps up the variety of enemy until you get to one of the later missions and you're battle giant metal ants, spiders and wasps while a 50 story tarantula bombards you from above and flying saucers zip around taking pot shots at you.

It gets very chaotic, and the fights -can- be a bit drawn out from time to time, but the whole premise is just so badass that more often than not you're way too into what you're seeing to realize you've just been shooting the same machine gun at the same enemies for the past few hours. I can only imagine the game is even more fun if you manage to find friends to play with, but the community has long since moved on to newer entries in the franchise (in fact, a brand new game in the series was just released a day or two ago!) or new games entirely. Such is the fate of most multiplayer shooters that aren't Team Fortress 2 or Counter Strike.

A fairly typical scene in Earth Defense Force


While quite different from my usual fare of RPGs and obscure import titles, I had fun and I'd still say Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon deserves a play through, -especially- if you can rope a few friends into playing it with you. That said, the graphics are somewhat dated and you might be better off just grabbing the most recent entry in the franchise.

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