I have the unfortunate luck of suffering from both entomophobia and arachnophobia, meaning that I have a fear of insects, spiders, and the like. So when a game series like Earth Defense Force comes around, I’m usually a little wary of playing. After all, if I can’t stand the site of a normal ant, how am I going to deal with one that’s bigger than a bus? Thankfully, the Earth Defense Force games supply you with plenty of weapons to dispatch these giant insects, and it’s beyond satisfying.
Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space is a PlayStation Vita-exclusive remake of the second game in the series (originally released as Global Defense Force in the U.S.), which fans of the series often consider the best entry. After pouring hours and hours into the game, it’s not hard to see why. Invaders from Planet Space beautifully does exactly what it set out to accomplish by offering tight controls and a hell of a lot of fun.
Invaders from Planet Space puts you in the role of a member of the elite group known as the EDF, or Earth Defense Force. When aliens come back to invade Earth, it’s up to you to put a stop to it by blowing up anything and everything that stands in your way. The story is on the lighter side, but it’s still a goofily fun tale that harkens back to classic B-movies from the 50’s, especially Them!—there’s a reason the first level of the game has you battling giant ants.
The main draw of Invaders from Planet Space is its gameplay. Before each mission, players can choose a class of soldier. There’s the Infantry class that can use a wide array of guns, offers good starter health, and can pilot vehicles; the all-female Pale Wing class, which can’t use vehicles but gives you a jet pack and access to energy-based weapons; then there’s the heavy-hitting Air Raider class, which can call in air strikes and can pilot vehicles better than the Infantry class. My personal pick was the Pale Wing, as she offers swift movement and the ability to fly out of a situation if it’s getting too hairy.
Gunplay is satisfying and the controls work wonderfully with the Vita. I experienced no issues using the left and right stick in conjunction with each other, which is more than I can say for some Vita games. As you go around killing these nasty alien invaders, you’ll collect loot drops, such as an increase to your overall armor or new weapons. The higher the difficulty, the better the loot. Because there’s over 400 weapons to collect and missions are so short, the game encourages replay value. If replaying isn’t your thing, then have no fear, as the game boasts 78 missions. There’s also an online mode, although I unfortunately wasn’t able to check it out.
The game isn’t without its faults. Invaders from Planet Space has bugs in more ways than one, as it’s not uncommon for enemies to clip through each other or buildings, for your character to go flying across the screen after one random hit, or for the frame rate to take the occasional dip. Still, there’s a certain charm to a budget title that’s a homage to B-movies having bugs like this. I’m not excusing them, but it’s hard not to chuckle when the corpse of a giant spider gets stuck in a building.