Earth Defense Force 2025 Review

GIANT INSECTS.

Posted By | On 18th, Mar. 2014 Under Article, Reviews | Follow This Author @will_borger


Them! is one of my favorite movies. I was just a kid the first time I saw it with my dad, but it really resonated with me in a way that few movies do. It follows a group of law enforcement officers in New Mexico as they investigate a number of mysterious deaths and disappearances. As it turns out, everything is the work of giant ants that were exposed to extreme doses of radiation during the testing of the atomic bomb.

This may sound schlocky, but Them! is actually a great movie that focuses on suspense and horror rather than creature effects. The film, which was released in 1954, was the first of the “big bug” movies, and is often cited by critics as one of the best science-fiction films of the era. Somehow, it managed to make the concept of giant insects work without feeling silly or ridiculous, and its intelligent script, direction, and acting elevated it above its subject matter.

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"The game is pretty simple: you’ll be dropped into a combat area and tasked with clearing all of the red dots from your minimap, which usually represent giant insects. Once you do, the game will usually spawn more giant insects for you to kill, and you’ll repeat this same basic formula until the game has decided that you’ve killed enough giant insects and rewards you with the mission complete screen."

Needless to say, Earth Defense Force 2025 is nothing like that film. This is a B-movie game that revels in how absurd it is, and follows the titular Earth Defense Force as they battle giant insects, aliens, giant robots, and other ridiculous things in their quest to save the Earth from total destruction. The game is pretty simple: you’ll be dropped into a combat area and tasked with clearing all of the red dots from your minimap, which usually represent giant insects. Once you do, the game will usually spawn more giant insects for you to kill, and you’ll repeat this same basic formula until the game has decided that you’ve killed enough giant insects and rewards you with the mission complete screen.

EDF 2025 is a long game, featuring more than 80 missions. Killing foes will reward you with armor upgrades, which increase your character’s maximum health, and new weapons. There are seven hundred of these spread out over the game’s four classes, and each level can be played on one of five difficulty settings ranging from Easy to Inferno. Completing the game on every difficulty with every class will take you twenty playthroughs, and that’s just if you don’t bother to try and collect all of the available weapons. If you’re a completionist, Earth Defense Force 2025 will keep you busy for a very long time without ever feeling repetitive thanks to the diversity of the game’s classes.

The Ranger, for example, is a basic foot soldier. He can be equipped with two weapons, usually an assault rifle and a rocket launcher, and is the best class for simply wading into the giant insects and destroying them. It is the easiest class to use, and the sheer size and scope of his arsenal means that he’ll always be equipped for a given situation, but the Ranger also the least unique class available to you, and most players will probably grow tired of him pretty quickly.

The Air Raider is the polar opposite of the Ranger. He’s a support class that can call down vehicles, air strikes, and focuses mostly on weapons that fire grenades detonated manually by the player. The Fencer is easily the toughest of the bunch: he’s a soldier in power armor that can carry up to four weapons at a time, including shields, which will absorb the brunt of nearly any attack. They’ve got the advantage in defense and firepower, but they pay for it with an incredibly slow movement speed and long reload times on their weapons.

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"Each class plays very differently from the others, and all are viable in most of the game’s missions. For example, the Wing Diver is great for players that like to swoop in and out of combat, nimbly avoiding the giant insects while raining death from above, or for those who want to get up close and personal with the devastating energy shotgun."

My favorite, however, is the Wing Diver. Wing Divers are an all-female outfits equipped with jetpacks and energy weapons, and both draw from the same energy pool. Managing the two is key to victory with the class, because Wing Divers don’t have much armor, and rely almost completely on their unmatched mobility to stay alive.

Each class plays very differently from the others, and all are viable in most of the game’s missions. For example, the Wing Diver is great for players that like to swoop in and out of combat, nimbly avoiding the giant insects while raining death from above, or for those who want to get up close and personal with the devastating energy shotgun.

The Fencer’s unmatched defense makes it easy to wade into a sea of foes without taking much damage, but the sheer firepower available to the class also means that you can succeed by staying back and pelting enemies with chain gun fire, too. The Ranger is a good all-around choice who is just as comfortable wading into enemies with a rocket launcher as he is picking them off from a distance, and even the Air Raider, who was largely designed for the game’s multiplayer, is capable of clearing entire missions on his own thanks to his vehicles and air strikes.

Solo play is all fine and good, but EDF really shines in multiplayer. There’s a versus mode that pits two players against one another in split-screen combat, but the real meat of the offering comes from the game’s cooperative modes, which support up to four players online and two players locally. You can play through the entire campaign this way, and just as in the single-player, every class has a role to fill. This is by far the best way to play the game, especially if you have a friend on the couch next to you, but EDF still fun if you’re on your own.

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"The graphics aren’t particularly great, but the environments are huge and often completely destructible, as are the enemies you’ll fight, and the most exciting missions are the ones that will have you shooting down enormous transport ships (and watching with glee as they crash into the ground in real time), or defending a beach against an army of giant robots."

The problem, if there is one, with EDF’s campaign is that it takes a while to get going. The first few missions are pretty standard, and in all honesty, more than a little boring. The gameplay is pretty simple – every class has unlimited ammo, and there’s little to the game mechanically aside from aiming and shooting – so things feel kind of dull initially, especially when the first few levels task you with shootings giant ants, and little else. Stick with it, though, the game really opens up. What will really sell EDF to most people is the sense of scale on display.

The graphics aren’t particularly great, but the environments are huge and often completely destructible, as are the enemies you’ll fight, and the most exciting missions are the ones that will have you shooting down enormous transport ships (and watching with glee as they crash into the ground in real time), or defending a beach against an army of giant robots. These are the moments that make Earth Defense Force worth playing, and the game is definitely at its best when the sense of scale exceeds your expectations and presents you with something you’ve genuinely never seen before.

Thankfully, the game is still entertaining even when the missions are more standard, largely thanks to the story and voice acting. Characters say GIANT INSECTS at every given opportunity, and put an almost unnatural emphasis on the words. The dialogue is as cheesy as it comes, and characters ham it up at every given opportunity, shouting lines like “What’s going on? Why are there GIANT INSECTS?” and “GIANT INSECTS again after seven years, but soon they’ll be an endangered species!” with reckless abandon. Cheers of “EDF! EDF! EDF!” are just as common, and you’ll even hear from a scientist who does his best to seriously educate you on the GIANT INSECTS. All of the dialogue is delivered with tongue planted firmly in check and a cascade of knowing winks. It’s clear that this is the sort of thing Sandlot was aiming for, and they pull it off well without ever forgetting why it’s successful or pushing the jokes too far.

Earth Defense Force 2025

"It’s not a great game, per se, nor is it a classic, like Them! but it is a good game that’s packed with content. The fact that characters respond to questions like, “Why’d you get married?” with “No choice,” and scream GIANT INSECTS is just icing on the cake."

The rest of the sound design is a bit inconsistent. Voices are often a little too loud and some weapons just don’t pack the auditory punch that they often should. You can tweak all of this in the options menu, which helps quite a bit, but it doesn’t change the fact that certain weapons and effects just don’t sound as good as some of the others do. It’s a minor qualm, but definitely something that you’ll notice when you realize just how puny the Ranger’s assault rifle sounds next to the Wing Diver’s energy weapons.

Despite all of its problems, however, Earth Defense Force 2025 is an enjoyable game with a lot of content, and there’s definitely something to be said for a game that eschews all of the narrative and cinematic tropes of modern shooters so you can get down to the business of shooting big bugs with ridiculous weapons.

It’s not a great game, per se, nor is it a classic, like Them! but it is a good game that’s packed with content. The fact that characters respond to questions like, “Why’d you get married?” with “No choice,” and scream GIANT INSECTS is just icing on the cake.

This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.

THE GOOD

Fully destructible environments and massive enemies to fight. Allies go on and on about GIANT INSECTS in the best possible ways. Four classes that are fun to play, useful, and distinct. More than 80+ missions to pay alone or in co-op. Lots of different weapons to unlock.

THE BAD

Dated graphics. Inconsistent sound design. Some of the early missions are kind of boring.

Final Verdict

Earth Defense Force 2025 won’t appeal to everyone, but if you are down with the game’s B-movie attitude and like content-packed games that place all of their focus on shooting enormous enemies with ridiculous weapons, this is the game for you, especially if you find a buddy to play it with.

A copy of this game was provided by developer/publisher for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.

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