By Spencer . March 17, 2007 . 12:31pm
D3 Publisher’s Earth Defense Force 2017 is the most explosive game I’ve played yet. While you’re holding off giant ants that spew orange acid with a flamethrower you’re also demolishing the city you’re trying to save. The action is in a word chaotic, but maybe not in a bad way. Remember the scale in those old Godzilla movies where everyone panics and runs around in circles? Earth Defense Force 2017 does a great job representing it and you feel like an insignificant speck compared to the mammoth sized ants you’re fighting. Before you enter a mission you’re allowed to select two weapons to carry with you. At the start of the game you only have an assault rifle and the stingray rocket launcher that is soon to become your best friend. In the early missions you’re surrounded by waves after waves of terror ants which you can shoot from a distance with the rocket launcher or the machine gun when they close in. You don’t have to worry about ammunition, after you run out of bullets, rockets or whatever you stop shooting for a few seconds and automatically reload.
In the later levels you’re still… shooting stuff. You’ll graduate from ants and move up to assault spiders that spew web that slows you down and later Ravager gunships will assault you from the sky. As you progress through missions in Earth Defense Force 2017 you “level up” in a very passive way. Every time you shoot an ant or blow up a gunship there is a chance that it will drop an armor power up, that permanently increases your HP. Besides dropping precious armor you can pick up green weapon icons that bestow you a random weapon. If you’re lucky you’ll pick up a powerful homing missile launcher or a new shotgun. Or if you’re unlucky you’ll pick up a weapon you already own. There are hundreds of weapons to collect, but for some reason I’ve picked up the same Volcano three way rocket launcher more than five times.
Earth Defense Force 2017 mixes up gameplay a bit by changing mission goals. Just when you figure out the best strategy against giant ant attacks you’ve got to aim for flying saucers in the sky that are dropping ants on the ground. Later you’ll run into “Hectors” huge robots that are your first real threat. These giants have a rapid firing green laser gun that can wipe out your EDF soldier if you don’t pull the left trigger to dodge. You don’t have much room to hide, since most of the buildings turn to rubble after a few missed rocket hits. Your best bet against the Hectors is to ditch the assault rifle and have a grenade launcher or rocket launcher. If you foolishly equip the flamethrower and shotgun you’re going to have a hard time fighting against Hectors and their walking quadruped (read AT-AT like) fortress. So far Earth Defense Force 2017 has lived up to exactly what I thought it was a game where you sit down and shoot stuff nonstop, sort of like Dynasty Warriors, except with guns and aliens.