Publisher: D3 Publisher
Review Platform: PlayStation 3
Release Date: February 18, 2014
I remember watching the original Godzilla when I was a kid. I sat in my parent’s living room reveling in the fact that a monster could get so big. Godzilla fueled a small passion of over-the-top Japanese monster horror for me, along with the occasional cheesy sci-fi film. Cheesy is what Earth Defense Force 2025 does absolutely better than any other developer. I knew as soon as I saw the retro arcade menus of EDF: 2025, what I was in for. I would be getting a game where the entire point was to blow up enormous insects with laser cannons, destroy them with seismic hammers, and nuke them to tears with the game’s vast array of over the top weaponry.
I noticed immediately that EDF: 2025 sports 4 brand new classes, different from the previous iteration. (Excluding the “Ranger” class, as similar classes were found in previous installments). Every class plays extremely different. From the aerial “Wing Diver” class, which allows you to fly and traverse EDF’s huge battlegrounds with ease, to the “Fencer,” a slow moving tank class that delivers satisfying and destructive results. I particularly enjoyed using the “Air Raider” class, which allows me to call in air strikes and deliver power vehicles such as tanks, power suits, and helicopters to the playing field. While every class sure does play differently, I did not enjoy how every single class had a different control scheme. I would have preferred a universal way of play across all four classes. I would be embarrassed to say it took me a little while to realize that the “Select” button was the schema for entering vehicles.
Traditionally, EDF games have always supported a huge list of weapons and filled their playgrounds with completely destructible environments. This is not missing in Earth Defense Force: 2025. Every building crumbles, and every weapon retains an interesting factor. It was always satisfying completing a level and watching my character become stronger, and the weapons become more badass.
While the new character classes are interesting, and more complex than Insect Armageddon’s to its credit, Earth Defense Force: 2025 is not without its long list of issues. Long loading times plagued the missions, with up to a minute and a half in between some of the games various missions. While this game doesn’t intend to immerse you in its story, long loading times did break up the game’s energy. While the introductory levels are a bit on the boring side (Kill bugs, wait for more bugs, you did it!), the game does sport more varied mission design in its latter half, but sometimes the missions were a bit too long for my liking. Poor AI and voice acting muddle the campaign. Multiple times the AI NPC’s, shouting nonsensical story fodder, were nowhere to be found, and mostly did their own thing (Which consisted of running in random directions) while I was decimating the Ravager hordes. Unfortunately, it inherits previous installments’ poor graphics, with muddy textures and poor design. I often overlooked the graphical fidelity due to just how much dumb fun the game is to play.
Earth Defense Force: 2025 supports multiple levels of co-op play, and even injects a 1vs1 Deathmatch mode to spice things up a little bit, but it is a completely incomplete mode of play and not very enjoyable. The co-op play, however, is extremely versatile, enjoyable, and retains value. With the four different character classes, players can pick a role that best suits their level of play, and all four players can take on the giant insect hordes in a diverse way. The “Air Raider” class was very enjoyable in co-op play, as it allowed you to assist your partners more than any other class, but be cautious in picking the “Fencer” for online play however, as his speed is much slower than any other class. I found myself barely keeping up with my teammates. I rarely encountered lag playing on the PlayStation 3 platform, which made the online experience smooth as silk. If you don’t have four friends, you can also play with just one on the couch, and still have a great time despite the dipping frame rate which tends to dip way under 30 in some spots.