Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space is not a game to be taken lightly because of its long and diminutive name. Instead, players should step up to the challenge that this third-person shooter title has to offer and actually have good ol, plain fun. It’s not the most visually stunning game out there, but its gameplay more than makes up for it and its simplistic AI. Will this be the Vita game to buy this year or just something to wait until it’s on bargain?
Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From The Planet Space: PlayStation Vita
Publisher: XSEED Games
Release Date: 8 December 2015
Price: $29:99 [Disclosure Game Copy provided by Publisher]
Earth Defense Force 2 (EDF 2) basically describes all that the game is about in the title itself: Earth is getting attacked by invaders from space and you must defend it in force. The thing is that, since this is a futuristic setting, there are a bunch of nifty gadgets and weapons at the player’s disposal to add on to the experience. Not only that, but the sheer variety of weapons is coupled with a vast army of enemies to face that ranges from giant killer ants to flying spaceships. Many of these alien insects, dubbed Buggernauts (I know), have different attack patterns but are all pretty simplistic and head straight towards the player to attack or use projectiles from afar. It’s pretty easy to read the enemies and slay your way through their ranks, although many times the enemy AI also screws up and gets stuck in certain parts of the map. This causes them to be out of the action and not even opt to attack, which adds to the frustration factor as you’ll have to seek them out.
Your arsenal includes laser beams, plasma launchers, energy crossbows and more, all of these do quite nicely against the aliens that swarm you. There are a large amount of weapons to unlock throughout the game, creating more replay value in trying to unlock everything with each class. Players will find themselves trying to unlock all of them, and then trying to use them all just to see their effects on the Buggernauts. The balance of weapons in the game to use against certain enemies is great since it gives players a bunch of different choices depending on whether they’re flying or on foot. This all changes when you choose a different class of soldier, as well.
The different classes include Infantry, an on foot soldier who uses typical weapons; Pale Wing, a female character who utilizes a jet pack and futuristic weapons; and Air Raider, a new addition to the series that deploys turrets and support mounts. Each of these classes have their use somewhere, although I found myself mainly using Pale Wing to glide around the cities and battle airborne enemies or shoot grounded Buggernauts. For the most part, the game is able to handle well under the pressure of many enemies on the screen at one time. There is some choppiness but it is still able to run smoothly, which is the reason why the graphics aren’t entirely stellar as it would add on to the lag.
There are also vehicles to drive throughout the levels, which are mostly utilized by the Infantryman and Air Raider. Although these seem like the best way to mow down enemies, they’re hard to use and often clunky. None of these run smoothly enough to pull of kills with finesse. I found myself mainly using Pale Wing to zoom around the map with the jetpack rather than use any vehicles, in general. These may be an option for the player, but it doesn’t add any fun factor to the gameplay and instead enforces more frustration.
The multiplayer mode includes co-op and rumble, with either online or ad-hoc. The online rumble is a little laggy and, at times, booted me from the session. The online co-op is a little more stable with two players, and even holds pretty well with four players in the same game but still gets laggy often. This game feels like it would play better online on the PlayStation 4 instead of the Vita. I wouldn’t say that this is one of the best features of the game, but it certainly does have an interesting concept to play with another player against a large amount of enemies. It’s too bad that there isn’t another player with ad-hoc to test out the compatibility and stability within this mode. Otherwise, this hasn’t been the most redeeming quality for the title.
The Trophies that are earnable with EDF 2 involve accumulating a certain amount of kills for each creature or beating all the chapters on each difficulty, and with all three soldiers. This makes for an extremely grindy game and one that is also very difficult. This is only for those who are truly dedicated to the series out there as well as those who enjoy a good challenge. Beating the campaign multiple times doesn’t necessarily mean it has a lot of replay value, but that it just becomes annoying repeating the same process over and over.
At the end of the day, Earth Defense Force 2 is a fun game to pass the time while waiting for something else. It can be frustrating on the higher difficulties but unlocking all the weapons and trying every one of them on the different creatures whilst beating the campaign over and over will add a little bit more replay value. This does not, however, make up for the grindy Trophies that will have you going away at the game for a long period of time and eventually ruin the experience (if you’re a Trophy Hunter). The graphics are nothing special on the PlayStation Vita and look more like a PSP game if anything, but the simplistic gameplay and variety of enemies makes up for this. It’s recommended to get the game but probably when it goes on sale from $29.99, especially for the Vita.