By Spencer . March 21, 2007 . 3:38pm
I’ve gone through even more of D3 Publisher’s Earth Defense Force 2017 and it’s pretty much the same thing I’ve already told you about. Well sort of. Things change in level 16 you’ll see holes, spawn points on the ground that keep spitting ants and spiders out until you plug them up. Gameplay changes here a bit. If you want to keep leveling up you have an endless supply of ants to kill which drop valuable armor power ups that increase your max HP and green weapon cards that give you random weapons. Now if you want to complete the level you’ve got to make good use of a powerful rocket launcher, grenades or a grenade launcher to plug up the hole from far away. So Earth Defense Force 2017 doesn’t change too much, but is that really a bad thing? It’s a game where you blow up giant bugs and later battle a huge dinosaur mecha in a helicopter. What’s good and bad about it?
The good thing is it doesn’t take a PhD in astrophysics to play Earth Defense Force 2017. You run with the analog stick, switch weapons with the right bumper, use the left trigger to dodge and hold down the right trigger to fire. The missions aren’t extraordinarily complex too since Earth Defense Force was originally part of D3’s “Simple 2000” series on the PS2. What makes you want to keep playing (or not) Earth Defense Force 2017 is that you’re character is constantly growing. Each armor power up and random weapon let’s you destroy more ants and survive the harder difficulty levels. Actually equipment is the only thing that restricts players from starting on inferno, EDF’s hardest difficulty. The enemies aren’t smarter, instead they give enough damage to kill you in one hit and you have to have the firepower from a super weapon to take a single terror spider down. Here in lies Earth Defense Force’s strange MMO like appeal where you’re slowly getting strong enough to take down stand up to stronger mobs on harder difficulty levels.
On the other hand there aren’t “quests” and missions don’t get much more complex than exterminating all of the aliens on the stage. So it gets repetitive, especially at the harder difficulties where you’re going to be replaying the same levels again and again to beat them. The problem is you just don’t have enough hit points to withstand swarms of orange ant acid and sticky web that slows you down. You’re pretty much forced to go back and play levels at lower difficulty levels to earn armor power ups until you have enough life to survive a swarm. Another problem with EDF is when you’re surrounded by a group of bugs or close to a giant robot’s gun the camera gets wonky. Since the giant creatures are taking up all of the space your tiny EDF soldier will bounce around in the sky and clip into buildings. Something that some people might be critical of is there is no real strategy in EDF you just shoot away. You can try to flank a group of ants, but you troops won’t follow you. They kind of wander aimlessly and get in the way of your rockets. There’s no real insensitive to save their lives either, except to use them as human shields for a future fight.
But even with all of these cons, there is something about shooting giant ants that’s mindlessly entertaining (best with a friend!) and worth checking out. Earth Defense Force 2017’s “B-movie” feel makes it a unique entry on the Xbox 360 and it shouldn’t be compared against games like Gears of War or GRAW 2. They’re in a different universe from EDF and they’re missing giant ants.