Sweet As Syrup: Earth Defense Force 2 Review

There are some games out there that just let you work off steam, while other games let you face your fears head on. Well, this is a game that lets you do both while giving you an explosive and silly experience at the same time! Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space is a bizarre game inspired by B-movie horror films. The entire game revolves around you protecting the planet earth from giants bugs, freakin’ godzilla, UFOs, and a crap ton of massive spiders. And despite all the weirdness and silliness the game tosses at you, it works phenomenally well!

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Totally not Mecha-Godzilla. (Image captured from my PS Vita. Gameplay images are property of Sony Entertainment, XSeed Games, and Sandlot)

Need To Know Information

Earth Defense Force 2 is the sequel to a game included on a disk known as “Simple 2000: Volume 31”. This disc contained all sorts of budget games, including the very first Earth Defense Force game. A few years later, it was followed up with “Global Defense Force” AKA “Earth Defense Force 2”. This game was originally only release in Europe and Japan, with America not seeing the name until many years later. After the success of Earth Defense Force 2017 (The third game in the series), XSeed decided to bring new releases of Earth Defense Force overseas.

EDF 2 was eventually brought to America in late 2015 as an enhanced PS Vita port. This port was known as “Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space”, which is a delightfully ridiculous title for a game. Earth Defense Force 2 was the second EDF game to be released on the Vita. Earth Defense Force 2017 made its way to the Vita a couple years before EDF 2 did.

Plot

The game doesn’t really have much of a plot. The general setup is that aliens, referred to as “The Invaders”, have been attacking the earth. They send out armies of giant bugs, spiders, and even Godzilla ripoffs to weaken the human race. You are a nameless soldier working for the eponymous Earth Defense Force. It is up to you, a random scrawny human, to fight back the legion of creepy-crawlies and aliens and protect planet earth from the inhuman threat. And that is about as far as the story goes. The game is loose on narrative and most of the plot just happens through random dialogue that is spewed at you while you shoot many bugs.

Gameplay

The gameplay is where EDF 2 really shines. You start the game from picking from the game’s 3 classes: Infantry, Sky Raider, and Pale Wing. Infantry are your basic all-around classes. They can use guns, rocket launchers, grenades, etc. They are best for ground combat. Most of your strategies involving this class will most likely involve you awkwardly backing up while shooting at bugs. It can get annoying, but it is still a fun class to play. Sky Raiders are bit more tricky to play. Sky Raiders can toss explosives, lay down turrets, and are mostly good for baiting the enemy. I found Sky Raiders to be a lot harder to use, mainly because they aren’t a class designed for fire-power and high damage. Both Infantry and Sky Raiders can use vehicles, which are unfortunately very hard to control. Vehicles found pointless and were difficult to aim with.

The last class is probably the best one: the Pale Wing. The Pale Wing is more focused on mid-ranged aerial combat. The best thing about the Pale Wing is her ability to fly into the sky and attack enemies from the air. She is great for fighting flying enemies and is extremely fun to use. The Pale Wing uses primarily laser attacks and is more about getting up in your enemy’s face and doing as much damage as possible before flying away to safety. The Pale Wing is fun to use, but has its limits. For one thing, the Pale Wing’s power battery is limited. This means when she runs out of her juice, she loses the ability to fly and fire certain weapons. This essentially makes her a sitting duck for any would-be giant monster to squish her. That’s why it is good to play strategically with Pale Wing, trying to do as much damage without depleting your battery.

The game boasts an impressive array of aliens and creatures to mow down. You’ll encounter giant ants, giant spiders, mini-UFOs, giant UFOs, alien walkers, mini-Godzillas, etc. There is such a good variety that it helped staved off the repetitive nature of the game. Yeah, the game unfortunately gets really repetitive after a while as most levels come down to you running and gunning while trying to stay alive. Despite the repetitive nature, the game is immensely fun and satisfying. This is not just because of the good monster variety, but also because of the weapons at your disposal. You can let loose with a rocket launcher or toss a grenade. There is a surprising amount weapons, including special weapons which have a variety of different abilities.

You collect new weapons by picking them up in combat. After destroying enemies, they have a chance to drop a green box, which contains a weapon in it. The higher difficulty you play the game on, the higher the chance of an extremely rare weapon dropping. Another pickup is the “Armor” pickup, which confused me when I first saw it. In most other action games of this nature armor is just something that gives you an extra layer of health. Not in this game! In this game, each armor box you pick up gives you 1 point to your total health bar. Armor is how you upgrade the amount of damage you can take, which the game fails to properly communicate.

The game takes place over 80 missions, which is a good number for a game of this genre. The game doesn’t feel too stretched out and it’ll take you about 10-12 hours to beat the game. The game itself is a third-person-shooter, but at times feels more like a bullet-hell game. There are so many enemies and monsters on screen at once that it feels like visual overlord. However, unlike the other games in the EDF series, this game does not chug due to the overload. This is because the game uses the graphics from its PS2 version, so despite it looking really dated it plays marvelously. The only time I ever experienced slowdown was during a couple of the later missions and on a few online missions. Other than that, the game feels very stable.

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Yep, I have that many health points. The enemies weep when they realize they can barely dent it. (Image captured from my Vita, content is the property of Sony Entertainment and Sandlot)

Visual Stimuli

The game’s graphics, as mentioned above, are pretty dated and bland. They are PS2 graphics after all, so they aren’t up to snuff with today’s graphics. Despite this, the lack of graphical finesse leads to smoother play. The game features a soundtrack that embodies classic giant monster movies, as does the voice acting. The voice actors ham it up with each scene there in. You’ll constantly hear the death-screams of soldiers in the background as you fight your way through the hordes of deadly insects.

In Summation

The game looks immensely dated, but it is a crap ton of fun. It is repetitive and lacks a true story mode, this is true. However, it is hard to write this game off as just trash. It is so satisfying to mow down giant insects and monsters. It is a great time-killer, but is sadly not anything more than that. It is no Gears Of War or Halo 2, but it is definitely worth your time if you hate bugs and like laying waste to them while at the same time accidentally (Or purposefully) obliterating cities. I can definitely say that without a doubt, EDF 2 is as sweet as syrup. I give this game a 6.5/10. Again, it won’t rock your world but it is a good stress-relieved. Enjoy, and have fun defending the earth!

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