Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Come on you apes! You wanna live forever!

When I do these write-ups for games, Im not previewing the game. I just thought Id put that out there just in case. What Im doing is gathering up as much info as I can, drafting it all into a blog post and then editing it before posting it here for you guys to feast on. While this information is available elsewhere, I hope the fact Ive brought it all together into one place is helpful enough. Theres no need for thanks, a bowl of Ramen would do instead!

Today's game is going to be Earth Defense Force 2025, so before I begin I know there's something we all need to get outta our system -


All done? Good. Since D3 came along and announced that an EDF game was in the works for the Ps4, Ive gone into a low-level hype mode. The unusual thing there is that I dont usually get hyped at all. What about GTAV? pffft. While Im interested in giving it a go Im not hyped whereby I have it preordered or Im gonna camp outside a store at midnight to buy a copy at launch. EDF on Ps4? OMG! OMG! SO FRAKKIN AWESOME! Yep, that's my gaming habits in a nut-shell. Since the annoncement Ive been playing EDF: Insect Arnageddon again on Steam (bought it for £3.49 in the summer Steam sale!) and itching at the thought of buying EDF 2017 Portable on the Vita (I hope enough content has been added seen as its still £23.99) I decided last night after gunning down a huge robotic daddy long legs that Id have a look into EDF 2025 for the blog seen as its still a few months away from release. SO here geos....

EDF has always had a paper thin story. This tidbit from 2025's Wikipedia page is pretty much it, literally -
The Earth Defense Force, a unified multinational military sponsored by nearly every country, is founded after detecting an impending alien visit in case the aliens prove to be hostile. In the year 2017, that proved to be true and the EDF fought against the Ravagers, an alien race that attacked Earth with giant insect-like creatures, UFOs, robots, and gigantic, 120 foot tall lizard-like creatures. Eight years after defeating the last Ravager in Arizona, they attack again with new creatures, evolved from their underground nest. Among them is the Retiarius, a spider-like creature which makes gigantic spider-webs, and giant bees. In the year 2025, the EDF must protect the Earth again from the alien invaders.
Earth Defense Force has always been about its gameplay. Its B-Movie charm married to gameplay mechanics that get the basics spot on equals a game thats just fun to play. At times the intensity was cranked to 11 on Insect Armageddon (same with 2017 at times) when you have about 20 ants clambering over a building, a dozen spiders shooting web and pouncing, Bomber spiders spawning ticks, a few wasps spewing acid and a giant Hector smashing its way through skyscrapers. Its your job to kill all that too. Its reall good fun. So what about 2025? More of the same? It looks to be. Although development was put back into the hands of Sandlot so the game will no doubt feel more like 2017 to play than Vicious Cycle's Insect Armageddon (deosn't bother me as I like both IA & 2017) The class system has been kept from the previous release though, makes me happy for sure. They are now labelled as Ranger (typical Jack-of-all-trades foot soldier) Wing Diver (Female airborne unit using high tech weapons) Air Raider (Support specialist) and a Fencer (Heavy armoured class). Ive found no mention of the ranking system from the previous release as of yet but Im sure there info somewhere on it. Theres also vehicles to drive around in as usual. Theres a Motorcycle (with a side car), Armoured Ambulance, APC, MRL, Tanks, Helicopters and Mecha suits. Im sure the Motorcycle is going to be a hoot. Certain vehicles can only be used by certain classes too, which comes into play especially in co-op. During a short playthrough via Co-Optimus at E3, there was a small part of the article regarding the co-op that sounded really good - Miki suggested I hop into a nearby APC. She took the wheel and drove me to the next firefight. (Fencers can't drive APCs, so you'll need a buddy to drive your cumbersome bulk to the battle.) She could also paint targets for my heavier weapons. There was a real feeling of cooperation with two players. I can't wait to take on the Ravager hordes with with three other players. Sounds to me like each class has abilities that no doubt can be used to boost teammates, a nice expansion on the class system and should hopefully entice people to teamwork instead of the point-whoreing that plagued Insect armageddon online. You'll also be glad to know that the loot system from 2017 appears to be back, so no predetermined loot drops like in Insect Armageddon. I remember that being one of the most controversial design choices taken up by Vicious Cycle but it didn't bother me as much as it did everyone else. Multiple difficulties are also available too, including the 'inferno' difficulty. As with 2017, better loot drops appear on higher difficulties and health/armour is dropped by enemies to boost your characters stats.
Graphically it looks to be a marked improvement. The drab colour palette of Insect armageddon is gone in favour of 2017's colourful art style. The 'skinny' Ants & 'Hairy' Spiders are back! The art style is firmly back in 2017 style so Id say this is a true sequel to that cult classic. To be honest Id say Sandlot seem to have the more menacing character design. The spider in the screenshot below would give anyone the shivers. Seen as the game is already readily available in Japan the internet is awash with gameplay videos so its easy to see how things are looking. The effects work looks solid, framerate seemed to be pretty stable, Animations seemed much improved over Sandlot's previous effort and detail levels seem higher than both releases this generation, especially in the Ravager designs. I quite like the return to Sandlot's design style for the series
So in Summary:
  • Improved graphics engine
  • Offline co-op (2) Online co-op (4)
  • 4 Character classes with unique abilities & weapons
  • 13 Vehicles in total to use
  • 19 different ravager types
  • Random Loot system
  • Destructible enviroments
  • 5 Difficulty levels
  • 50+ levels to complete.

So you haven't played EDF before? Then check this Gameplay footage and have a peek at an E3 interview by Co-Optimus and then return here suitably hyped! Personally I cant wait for its release in the west on the 4th February. I could import & play the Japanese version on Ps3 right now (Ive played EDF Portable 2 on PsP in Japanese, so it is doable) but I think Ill wait as Ive a few games I need to finish up as it is. I find the EDF series to be one of the most enjoyable Japanese niche series on the market and when 2025 arrives n the west next year, I hope you'll be joining me for a bug-hunt!

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