Publisher: D3 Publisher, PQube
Platforms: PS Vita, PS TV
Tested on: PS TV
Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space – Review
To many it may not come as a surprise that the Earth Defense Force franchise is heavily inspired by the older Toho movies, which contributed their fair share to the creation of ‘monster movies’. While these movies are often considered rather cheap or fall in the B-movie category, they still have a huge following and the same can be said for the Earth Defense Force saga. We’ve come to love the EDF and their brave soldiers who fight off giant mutated Ants, Spiders, Robots and of course very cheesy looking UFO’s. Even though we can’t offer you a brand new installment of the series today, we can offer you the remake of the second game, which was never released outside of Japan before. EDF – EDF – EDF!
Earth, in a distant future, 2013 (well, it once was), Aliens have begun their assault on our precious blue planet, but the Earth Defense Force was successful in vanquishing the enemy, and life turned back to normal. Nonetheless, four years have gone by and out of the blue, reports are pouring in stating that giant ants have been destroying entire cities. It seems the alien scourge has returned, stronger than ever, trying to destroy the human race once again. Sadly for them, the EDF has grown in numbers, has become more powerful and is ready to fight back properly. You will be one of the unnamed soldiers that serve in the Earth Defense Force, keeping evil at bay.
The plot is cheesy and simple but suits the game quite well. Before every mission you’ll receive a bit of information about the aliens you’ll be fighting and what area they are currently trying to destroy. Whilst this might not sound like much, it’s certainly more than enough for a title such as this.
Earth Defense Force is quite known for its rather shoddy graphical quality, while still remaining very appealing. Just like nearly every game in the series, the game purposely looks like an old school, low budget monster movie and truth be told, it’s extremely charming for a game like this. That being said, seeing this game was originally released on Sony’s PlayStation 2, the developers revamped the original title a bit and made it viable on the PlayStation Vita (and PlayStation TV/Vita TV). This means that the game will not use the Vita’s capabilities to its fullest, but it never truly looks bad either. Most of all, the characters and enemies will be the focal point of the game, as the buildings are reminiscent of the cardboard box houses that are used in series such as the Power Rangers, which is again a subtle wink to the Toho movies.
Just like in the newer installments of the series, the enemies are rather diverse, making it quite fun to fight your way through the missions and see what alien invaders are truly out there. The same can be said for the different types of weapons and their attack animations.
The only mishaps in the entire equation might be the severe popping issues the game has, especially when you’re soaring through the sky, and the frequent frame drops when you’re getting swarmed by many enemies all at once, especially in smaller areas such as the underground missions.
Invaders from Planet Space’s soundtrack fits the monster genre properly, due to the rather intense music that is constantly going on, all while the muffled screams of your fellow soldiers and panicked civilians sound in your intercom or all around you. The overall atmosphere the game creates again extends the monster movie feeling further, getting you in the proper mood. The cheesy dialogues, all with rather stereotypical voices will make you either rather passionate about vanquishing the monsters from space, or make you cringe and laugh a little, providing heaps of good old fashioned cliché fun.
At its core Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space is a simplistic third person shooter, that allows you to play with three different classes, all while attempting to drive back the hordes of alien monsters that are slowly taking over the Earth. While everything will prove to be very straightforward in this cheesy, yet loveable title, you’ll find yourself in a pickle more than once, as the different difficulty levels will surely test your skills.
The game itself is divided in 78 rather short missions, where you’ll always have to occupy yourself eliminating all the alien hostiles in a specific area. Before starting the mission you’ll be able to choose from five different difficulty settings, but it’s advised to start at the lowest difficulty or perhaps the normal difficulty, as the higher ones will prove to be way too hard at the beginning. If you start off playing at the lower difficulty settings, you’ll be able to collect new weapons and armor for the three different classes, making sure you can handle bigger threats or sturdier enemies.
You’ll have to make sure, before choosing a mission, that your desired soldier class is selected in the weaponry section of the game, as this will become your active class. The difference between the different classes is quite big, as the infantry represents a normal soldier, which can handle rifles, shotguns and the occasional rocket launcher, whereas the Air Raider will have vehicles, turrets, air strikes and other slower weapons at his disposal. Lastly there is the Pale Wing, which is a class that has a jetpack which allows her to fly through the sky, thanks to the aid of the alien technology. She tends to be a bit trickier to handle, as her jetpack and weapons consume the same energy, thus you can’t always crash into a horde of monsters, hoping to live another day.
Overall the premise of the game is simple, as you’ll mainly have to concern yourself by shooting the enemies in front of you. This tends to prove more difficult than one might imagine, as there are loads of enemies on your screen at all times, making it hard to find cover, or use the right weapons for the job, as detonating explosives on an alien near yourself might get you caught in the explosion as well.
The controls of the game are rather simple, except for the vehicle controls, which can prove to be a bit unresponsive and harsh at times, but overall, it’s still fun to drive a tank or fly a chopper from time to time. The only annoying part might be jumping, as the roll and jump button are one and the same, making you roll instead of jump or vice versa in many situations you wish you performed the other action instead.
Multiplayer is a feature in this game as well, but it’s pretty much the same as the single player, just with more than one. It’s certainly a fun feature, especially when playing the game on your PlayStation TV, it proves to be quite fun to be able to start playing a multiplayer game on the big screen.
A small bug from which the game suffers is that when your fallen foes drop items, they often get stuck in a wall, on a high building or wall of a cavern, making it impossible for you to reach them and collect them.
Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space is a very welcome addition to the EDF releases that made it to the west. While the game might appear dated to some, the gameplay is still very up-to-date, and the overall concept of the Earth Defense Force games remains enjoyable, be it an old release or a new one. If you wish to fire up your Vita for some good old fashioned action game, that involves you defeating hordes of enemies, this one might be an interesting title to try out.