Every once in a while everyone sees a game or movie that they want to try even though it may not be a Hollywood blockbuster. Earth Defense Force 2017 is a game that falls in line with the idea of a B-Flick, but for games.
The game features a very basic story that involves aliens trying to take over earth and the Earth Defense Force is called in around the world to fight off these aliens. Various locations within Japan are the setting for this game and will see players visit the country side to the city with large buildings. There is not a titular protagonist, as players will be in control of a random soldier that is part of the Earth Defense Force.
Gamers should also not expect there to be a defining character arc that goes out there to develop the characters in the game. The characters that appear in the game are either citizens running away from aliens or other members of the Earth Defense Force. Most of the story elements of the game are provided through mission briefings and various radio communications throughout each mission, which provides an interesting way for the game’s story to unfold and set up future missions.
EDF 2017 actually unfolds over the course of sixty missions with five different difficulties that provide more to do in the game and more to unlock. Each of these missions usually has players trying to eliminate all enemies, except for a few missions that require certain enemies to be taken out while ignoring the minor foes.
Players are given an opportunity to change their weapons at the mission briefing screen and have the ability to equip two different weapons. This game will have players hunting for various weapons and gathering armor to increase health to make handling missions or harder difficulties slightly easier. By playing on harder difficulties, players will have an opportunity to gain better weapons than can be found on the easier difficulties. Just trying to get every single weapon plus other unlockables and beating every difficulty gives this game so much to do even after you complete all the levels once.
The game is fairly easy to pick up, but those players looking for a tutorial to break them in will not find one here. This is not so bad as long as players make sure to bring weapons that complement each other. There were a few situations early on in the game where I found myself equipped with the wrong type of weapons and had to quit out of it to re-equip. But the game features arcade style game play that has players facing off against hordes upon hordes of enemies and taking them down with extreme prejudice to save the world.
Many would think a game like this would be very repetitive, but the game is designed to introduce new enemy types at the right times to keep things varied for gamers. After an hour or so of getting used to the game and its arcade-style game play, the game becomes very addicting and enjoyable with all the enemies and satisfaction of seeing giant space ships explode because of you. There are also vehicles scattered about in some of the missions that allow for more options to clear large amounts of enemies quickly or pummel down on a larger foe.
Multiplayer is also included in the game with local and online play that features a co-op mode and versus mode. The versus mode is shallow, which leaves much to be desired, and it appears as though most people avoid it as it took quite some time to find a match. Co-op is where the game becomes even more fun because it places players in the same missions as single player but with three others. Enemies are stronger in co-op but allow for players to team up and have some fun in these missions as a team and try taking on harder difficulties.
The gameplay does have some rough patches that includes moments where the camera focuses on a story element of a mission while the player is surrounded by tons of enemies and cannot aim at them until control of the camera is returned. When there is a ton of stuff on the screen, the game will begin to lag slightly until some of the enemies have been eliminated. There are also a few minor issues that include the lack of intelligence with EDF AI, physics that get players stuck on dead alien bodies, and a very difficult to control and use helicopter that is best to be avoided at all costs.
Speaking of points where the game doesn’t shine, let us talk about the graphics of the game. This game is downright ugly in terms of graphics, and has no real visual appeal in terms of NPCs, scenery textures, or vehicles. Enemies do not look so bad but when the player is next to them, it just makes the bad player model stand out more. Anyone interested in this game should know going into this that graphics were not the priority and even the simplicity of the menus is proof of it.
But, some of the best parts of the game are actually provided by the game’s audio tracks and music at various moments. Mid-mission briefings can be oddly hilarious at their timing while players are actually looking at what is being described moments before the heads up. The music actually fits this game and the tracks are properly placed at moments that work, giving a sense of danger or hyping the player up to eliminate every enemy in the way. Truly the sounds of this game shine best when the other NPCs are talking and spouting out lines that can leave you laughing at what you just heard.
Earth Defense Force 2017 is a unique game and is essentially the B-Movie of video games. This game is not the most beautiful game, nor does it feature a riveting story that takes players on an epic journey or develops characters in an endearing way. There are also some issues with gameplay, but there is something about this game that really hooks you in with its pure arcade fun that makes it difficult to put down. While it is difficult to say to pick up this game at $39.99 because it will be up to gamers spending preferences, this is a game that on paper would sound like a wreck but ends up working pretty well on the Vita.