The Earth Defense Force have been rather busy over the years, often being called to defend Earth against all manner of things from giant insects, to lizards and even huge robots. Earth Defense Force 2025 sees that theme continue as the Ravagers (the main protagonists in Earth Defense Force 2017) are back to continue their invasion of Earth with an even larger force. And you know what, we're rather thankful they decided to make the effort because it makes for some fun, crazy and cheesy gameplay that isn't matched anywhere else.
Let's get one thing clear, while there is a back story that helps to keep the world of Earth Defense Force ticking over, the narrative is pretty comedic at the best of times. Its delivery, however, isn't. There aren't too many cutscenes throughout the single player campaign, with most of the story being delivered through audio/visuals are direct part of missions. It's through this system you will hear about the overall struggles against the Ravagers, but various people will talk about their feelings and how they managed to fight off the Ravagers in 2017.
To try and fight off the Ravager invasion, the Earth Defense Force provide players with four different classes: ranger, wing diver, air raider and fencer. Ranger is perhaps the most obvious choice for starters, as it handles in traditional third-person shooter fashion. However, there's nothing to say you can't start off as any of the other classes "“ they just might take a little bit more time to get used to. Wing Divers, for example, are very mobile and can fly, while Air Raiders are mainly a support class, able to summon huge airstrikes and vehicles. Fencers on the other hand lack mobility, but effectively act as a walking battle tank.
Having such a diverse range of class types means the game offers a large degree of freedom. You might at one point decide the Ranger class is a little boring and it's pleasing to say that changing class very much changes the experience "“ not just because of how they handle, but because of the weapons offered.
Each class has literally hundreds of weapons to find as you play through the game and this is perhaps one of the game's strongest points. Not only does this present something amazing for those who love a good collection, it also gives you a genuine incentive to keep playing the game, something which is often missed in this genre. Take the Ranger, the more "standard" class, as a prime example. They can use assault rifles, shotguns, snipers, rocket launchers, missile launchers, grenades, flame throwers and acid launchers. And that doesn't even mention the sub-types.The beauty of this weapon system is that part of the excitement of playing the game is checking out a new weapon. It's one thing reading the descriptions, but until you actually try it in action, you won't quite find out what the weapon does. It can lead for some rather awesome experiences and some rather hilarious ones too, thanks to some ironic game design.
Each weapon sub-type has numerous derivate, which get progressively more powerful. With something like a shotgun this is quite straight forward as they offer improved base damage, clip size, accuracy and reload speed. To try and port this over to other things, the design deficiencies become laughable. For example, if you are playing as the Air Raider, the basic versions of most vehicles are almost impossible to use, but the top tier ones are amazing. It means you might end up waiting 7-10 seconds for your helicopter to take off, cursing the reason you even decided to take it. But once you figure out that that's how they tier weapons in that class, it all makes perfect sense.
It's little nuances like this that make Earth Defense Force 2025 all the more special, as it's such a creative (albeit sometimes frustrating!) way to go about designing the game. Still, we should still mention that the gameplay isn't quite on the top tier side, and the controls could have been better in almost all instances.
Presentation also has the same similar irony. If you decide to use explosives, frame-rate drops are almost permanent. This would often be seen as a bad thing, but in Earth Defense Force 2025, it feels strangely like a positive. There's nothing like firing off a huge volley of grenades from your grenade launcher, only to see skyscrapers crumbling and ants/spider parts flying everywhere, all in slow motion. It's like all your favourite action film dreams came true and despite it being quite frequent, you are never left feeling as though it diminishes the experience in any way.
With close to 800 weapons, 85 missions and 5 different difficulty settings, bang for your buck is a common theme throughout the game. Anyone who invests in Earth Defense Force 2025 will get their money's worth, that's for sure. But even if you only play the game for 5-10 hours, you will still not feel like you wasted any time. It's just a shame that the online and offline couldn't have been synced up better, as completions in one don't count for the other. It's also rather annoying that the game's online caps can't be removed unless you either play on Inferno difficulty, or you've managed to get 100 percent completion, something which needs a ridiculous amount of mission completions to achieve.
Earth Defense Force 2025 is a very refreshing experience in so many different ways. The sheer number of missions to play through and weapons to collect ensures the game will keep people busy for a considerable amount of time, but there are also some rather quirky design choices thrown in too. There are a few niggles with the separation between online and offline and yes, the gameplay could be better, but that doesn't detract from what is ultimately a fun game.
|Blowing up tons of ants.|
|Seeing the blown up ants fly through the air in slow motion.|
|The sheer volume of weapons to collect.|
|Gameplay can feel a little ropey sometimes.|
|The fact online and offline completion rates are separate.|
|Trying to use low-tier vehicles can be painful.|