Earth Defense Force 2025 – Review

Title   Earth Defense Force 2025
Developer  Sandlot
Publisher  D3 Publisher
Platform  Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PlayStation 3
Genre  Third-person Shooter
Release Date  February 21, 2014

It may not be the most technically proficient or cerebral of games, but Earth Defense Force 2017 remains one of the top ten that I’ve played in this generation (fuck the Xbox One and PS4, they haven’t gotten started yet). There’s no complicated explanation required as to why. All anyone needs to know about Earth Defense Force is this: big fucking ants, lots of weapons, chaos, robots.

It was one of those games that unashamedly felt like a game. It wasn’t a bullshit attempt at being like a film, it didn’t try to justify itself as art and it didn’t waste your time with endless story beats and cutscenes. It was just a game about a guy with access to a lot of weapons and level after level of alien bastards to shoot at.

Since saving the Earth from the intergalactic fuckpigs of 2017, we’ve waited seven long years for a sequel – a wait made infinitely worse by Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon, a Westernised take on the series that took everything good about EDF and stripped out all the magic, leaving nothing but tedium. So when Sandlot, the original developers, announced Earth Defense Force 2025 cocks were set to ‘wank’ and pre-orders were placed.

It didn’t take long to reassure me that everything was back the way it should be. From the familiar music and sound effects on the abysmally-presented menu screens to the ridiculous bits of story dialogue, starting up 2025 is like jumping seven years in the past.

The basic premise of any Earth Defense Force title is that the Earth is under attack from The Ravagers, a race of space-faring cunts who use giant insects and advanced technology to fuck your shit up and ruin your day. You start out in the middle of a city that is under attack by these foes and it’s up to you to wipe them out. The early levels begin with you facing off against enormous ants that are crawling around various buildings and generally being a nuisance. As ever, you have just enough firepower to take them out as well as anything else in the general area. The EDF can be effective, but they arguably do more damage than any of the alien hordes they are fighting.

As the levels progress you are introduced to more dangerous enemies, many of whom will be recognisable to 2017 veterans, along with some new types. The action may start off being chaotic but it gets so much madder as you go along, which is what gives EDF its charm – it just doesn’t give a fuck. When you’re being chased around by truck-sized insects as everything around you is being destroyed, there’s really nothing else like it. Forget that Horde Mode fad from a couple of years back, that was just a polite gathering.

Having been reassured that everything is as it should be, and that we can strike Insect Armageddon from the records (although I’m not calling off the contract on Vicious Cycle any time soon), it’s time to see what 2025 brings to the table. Thankfully, this new iteration comes with some very welcome new features.

The best improvement over 2017 is the introduction of new classes. Now, this has also been in other EDF titles, including Insect Armageddon and the recent PS Vita port of 2017, but is extremely welcome here. Aside from your basic Ranger class (a decent all-rounder and essentially the same as your Storm One character from 2017) you also get three more classes.

The Wing Diver uses a jet-pack to get around and is a ton of fun to play as; the price for her enhanced manoeuvrability is a severe lack of armour, but that’s less of an issue when you’re on top of a skyscraper firing off sniper shots from a distance.

The Fencer class is your basic tank; he has lots of armour and can carry more weapons. The compromise here is that he’s slow and aiming his weapons reminds you of the last time you were horribly drunk. While being a difficult class to get into, the Fencer is definitely my favourite and has quite a few tips and tricks to make him more useful than you’d think.

Last up is the Air Raider. While his movement is much like the default Ranger class, his arsenal is focused on support items and heavy airstrikes. Calling in some of his weapon strikes is like pressing a Michael Bay button. The Air Raider creates absolute chaos and can summon vehicles, yet is fairly useless in regular combat, but EDF’s other main improvement negates that a little.

You see, EDF 2025 now comes with four-player online co-op. Where Insect Armageddon added online co-op, it toned down the size and scope of the enemy and made everything feel diluted. If you’ve played 2017 then you’ll know that Sandlot don’t give a fuck about such things as performance and slowdown and as a result haven’t made any effort to calm things down. You’ll face the same enemies in huge amounts online and, shockingly, it works a treat.

Online play is an absolute joy and holds together better than most co-op games I’ve played recently. The classes complement each other well and add a layer of strategy on harder levels, especially those set-pieces where you face off against a huge boss-type character. There is still some slowdown, of course, but once you’ve experienced it, you are likely to fuck the single-player mode off entirely.

With all these enemies on-screen and the combined assault of four players flinging futuristic ammo all over the place, it’s impressive that EDF 2025 looks as good as it does. Critics often said that 2017 looked cheap, graphically speaking, but I always thought it looked great and 2025 is definitely an upgrade. The environments are more detailed, while still looking clean and crisp, and there is a bit more variation in level types. It’s not exactly Crysis, but that series never had to process this much chaos. The new classes, weapons and enemies push the 360 much harder than before.

Experimenting with the various classes and the huge number of weapons in the game will keep you interested for quite a while. It’s also hilarious to see how the developers have compromised super-powerful weapons with huge limitations but you will eventually find the combinations that work for you. EDF 2025 is such an odd game when it comes to those kind of decisions but is, again, all part of the charm.

Where EDF 2017 weighed-in with fifty-two levels (as opposed to Insect Armageddon’s measly fifteen), now there are ninety or so to get through and they are often incredibly tough. A strict weapon and armour limiting system stops you from drafting in more powerful players as well, so you’ll be struggling for most of the time, but it is all quite satisfying. Achievement hunters may well want to reconsider getting this though as it requires that you beat all those levels on four different difficulties with each of the four classes. Even by EDF standards that’s a bit of a cunt. Unfortunately, Sandlot seem to think this is what the fans want; if any fan wants months worth of grinding, then they’re a fucking idiot.

EDF 2025 does have some other nuances that may not to be to everyone’s tastes. Fans of 2017 might be disappointed that buildings take a lot more damage before they crumble now, and the poor presentation and fucking baffling online lobby menu system will probably irk a few players. Other possible issues such as the odd weapons, terrible voice-acting and occasional performance drops are forgivable however, as they truly are what EDF is all about.

For all of its shortcomings, I can’t help but love Earth Defense Force 2025. It won’t be for everyone with its ridiculous achievements and over-the-top difficulty, but it’s still a great way to let off some steam without having to engage your brain too much. If I were producing the game, I’d easily have made it a lot less of a chore but, then again, its main strengths probably only exist because of the same troubled minds that make it sometimes feel like a grind.

  • A true sequel to EDF 2017.
  • New classes add some much-needed variation to the gameplay.
  • Online co-op makes everything better.
  • More of everything.
  • Maybe a little dated.
  • Difficulty may put some off.
  • Single-player mode is now irrelevant and almost impossible with some classes.
  • Occasionally your 360 will act like it has been kicked in the balls.
  • Badly judged achievements.

Earth Defense Force 2025 adds everything you would have wanted as a fan of 2017. It's funny, insane, and so much fun. Especially online. It is also punishing, much too long, and too similar to 2017. Lightning rarely strikes twice and so where 2017 was a game that I truly loved, 2025 is one I prefer to play in small doses. However, when it is doing what it does best, there's nothing better.

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  1. Ian Ian says:

    I now really, really want this game. Richie, your enthusiasm is infectious

  2. Ste Ste says:

    Set cocks to wank!

  3. Lorna Lorna says:

    How are the vehicles in this one? 2017′s were fucking atrocious. Also, killer wasps? Fuck right off.

    That aside, I like the look of this. Won’t be maxing it out though – not enough hours in the universe. I rolled my eyes at girly with the huge boobs, but at least that class will be great for taking out the Hectors and other robotty shit.

    How are the locations? I remember that one of the complaints about IA was that they were all in the city. No beach, no rolling hills, and no bastard-hard underground levels.

  4. SImonjk says:

    Loving this game so far but dreading the Inferno Playthough, lol. Yes, Lorna, the hills, beaches and underground is back but over 85 offline levels they do get a bit familiar. I would say the achievements are a downside, they are quite standard – do difficulty levels with each class, find weapons, kills and a little stuff on co-op and once you compare the sheer amount of enemies the grind isn’t that grindy. I’d personally say the annoying random nonsense speech the back ground AI soldiers say is more grating. Playing it makes me want to play 2017 again now that I’m more seasoned a gamer.

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