Earth Defense Force 2025 is the latest entry in a series of games that follows humanity’s attempt to stop an alien invasion. It’s up to the heroic Earth Defense Force(EDF! EDF! EDF!) to act as the last stand against the Ravagers alien race.
It’s a very simple plot line that feels like it’s been ripped out of a hilarious 90s action film. It certainly shares more than a few similarities with cult film, Starship Troopers. For starters, they both have a flimsy excuse for a storyline.
In EDF, the Ravagers just can’t seem to resist attempting to conquer the planet Earth as they are back for yet another all out attack. This is but a perfectly valid reason to give players another trip down the merry land of extermination. The use of such a word is not an exaggeration given the sheer number of bugs that players fill with bullets and other ammo, over the course of the story.
The plot in EDF makes the one for Starship Troopers seem worthy of an Oscar. Not that it matters since the main goal here is to aim a weapon at anything that moves. For those new to the EDF games, it does mean having to fight giant bugs that closely resemble Earth’s insects.
Anyone that has a bug related phobia or that might like to keep them as pets should perhaps stay clear of EDF 2025. Expect such delightful(more like creepy) sights such as overgrown spiders slowly reeling in humans with their webs – perhaps for a tasty mid-afternoon snack. Not that every mission in the game consists of killing all sorts of giant sized insects. EDF also introduces Ravager robots for players to destroy with their various weapons.
Those paying attention will no doubt have noticed that the main idea here is to shoot. Every mission pretty much consists of going in and then promptly shooting anything that moves and isn’t human. It’s certainly a good stress release after coming home from work, if mindlessly shooting through waves of giant enemies sounds like the perfect night in.
Anyone looking for more than a mindless shooter should stick to something else. At times, it feels exactly like playing through a classic arcade game. There are multiple difficulties to tackle and various soldier classes to play around with. Yet look beyond the shooting and there really isn’t anything else. This should make it nothing more than a shallow offering that is condemned to oblivion.
Yet EDF 2025 defies all logic by ending up being an enjoyable – if somewhat flawed – experience that is best played with others. Playing through the various story missions with other is essentially another excuse to shoot oversized bugs and cause some serious mayhem with others. There are many missions but they all consist of shooting all targets. Online sessions are made that much better thanks to the hilarious word selection which players can use to communicate with each other.
One of the only downsides to playing with others, is the fact that mission progress for clients isn’t saved. A strange decision given how this vastly improves the game and would mean players could help each other get through some of the tougher missions. There is also some noticeable frame rate issues when playing missions infested with creatures online. Other multi-player modes include a local co-op mode for two players and another local mode that pits players against each other.
Controlling each of the characters is fine and most of the basic functions are there. Yet inexplicably basic functions like running or zooming in with a weapon are pretty much missing in action. In all fairness some of the characters sort of make use of these abilities – such as the Fencer’s boost. But it’s not the same as every character having access to such basic abilities. It makes it annoying to slowly get from one area infested with bugs to the next one.
It’s actually quite difficult to get to grips with some of the characters. The only entry level character that players can easily play with is the Ranger. Others like the Fencer make use of complex button schemes that require some patience to master. One idea that is done correctly is the inclusion of giant tanks and mechs that players can control with certain characters.
There are also many weapons to unlock for each of the classes. A few of them are quite bizarre which is great as it is in keeping with the eccentric theme of the game. There’s even a level system for the weapons which felt like it was never properly explained. It’s a shame that character customisation seems like an after thought since it feels like it has some potential.
The basics are there but it is missing the functionality that would make it essential to try and making the most of it. The idea of a bug fighting game with some character RPG themed levelling up elements sounds fantastic. Instead it is far easier to just stick with 1 class(most likely the Ranger) and just shoot your way through mission after mission.
It’s a shame that EDF 2025 seems content with being a mediocre shooting experience. Its over the top destruction and gravity defying physics make for some truly striking sights. Yet it’s difficult to not imagine a much more in-depth shooter that still contains these fun elements.
Those easily pleased by a few hours of relentless shooting will get excited over playing this- even more if they are fans of Starship Troopers. For all it’s worth, the over the top bug shooting is still one of the strong points in Earth Defense Force 2025 and it’s clear that the development team knows how to please fans.