Earth Defense Force 2025 is the highly anticipated sequel to Earth Defense Force 2017, developed by Japanese developer Sandlot and published by D3 Publisher. The game series is quite absurd in both premise and execution and because of that it has built up a cult following. What does this new game add to the series? Hundreds of weapons, new vehicles, and much more mayhem.
Earth Defense Force 2025 picks up in the year 2025, 7 years after it is believed that all of the giant insects that had invaded earth have been killed off. Naturally this isn’t the case and you quickly find out that the giant insects have been reproducing underground. As if that isn’t enough you find out that the Ravagers, the evil aliens who originally brought the giant insects to Earth, are back with a vengeance and are dropping even more giant insects, robots and more. The story is about as quirky as you can imagine. You progress through the game by playing through 85 different missions, each in a different location fighting against an assortment of enemies. You can play through the game in one of four different classes: Ranger, Air Raider, Wing Diver, and Fencer. Each class has their own unique play style, weapons and their own special purposes. Across the four classes there are hundreds of weapons to find and use. The game also has 5 different difficulties, from Easy to Inferno, the latter making the missions truly difficult to complete.
There is plenty to love about EDF 2025. From the levels in which everything is destructible, to the hilarious dialog from your fellow troops. The hundreds of weapons and variety of vehicles to choose from give you an array of different ways to go about trying to complete your missions. The multiple difficulties allow you play the game with any amount of skill from beginner to advanced gamer. One of the major highlights of the game is it’s support for co-op play. Up to two players can fight together locally, or up to four players over PSN/Xbox Live. As fun as the game is, it is even better when you’re playing with friends. Local co-op is especially nice, and while missing from most new releases, works really well for EDF. EDF 2025 also has a unique way to acquire weapons and health which works very smoothly. After you kill an enemy they have a chance to drop either a health, armor or weapon crate. Health will boost your immediate health while armor will raise your health cap. Weapon crates will unlock a random new weapon for you to use. The harder the difficulty you play on, the higher the level of weapon you will receive. Of course the weapons and armor are only gained upon the completion of your current mission. One interesting thing about this loot system is that the system actually changes slightly between local and online co-op. In local co-op you will gain armor and weapons exclusively for whoever has picked up the crates, while in online co-op the picked up crates are shared among players. It doesn’t make too much of a difference but is a slight incentive to choose online co-op over local. Either way the loot system is well designed and works great with the game’s play style. On top of everything else the menus reminded me of the menus from the classic Playstation One game Megaman Legends which gives a great nostalgic feeling. It’s direct and straight to the point in an easy to navigate and easy to use menu.
EDF 2025 isn’t all great though. In fact the game has some major issues that unfortunately ruin some of its appeal. The game’s biggest killer is the frame rate. When in the menus or at the very beginning of levels the frame rate will be fine but as soon as enemies start to spawn or buildings blow up (which is extremely often) the frame rate shoots down to what seems like 10-15 frames per second. It’s a true shame and can kill the excitement and energy of an ongoing fight by creating such a terrible lag. The frame rate will pick up after a while but the constant drop/recovery ruins much of the experience and a lot of the fun. The other huge issue was the game’s loading times. They are some of the worst I’ve experienced in a very long time. The shortest load time I’ve experienced on loading a level was 48 seconds. The average load time was in the mid two to three minutes. One level even took a full four and a half minutes to load. The worst part about this is that if you fail and what to change a weapon you have to exit and then re-load the level. The constant waiting is just awful. The levels are definitely sizable but not large enough to make a 2-3 minute load time each level acceptable.
EDF 2025 has smaller, annoying issues as well. Glitches like spider webs going through buildings to hit you are a regular occurrence. These would generally be enough to make me complain but considering the games larger problems of load times and frame rate I actually found these to be bearable. Yes they are annoying but you will be forced to simply redirect your fire to the current enemy attacking you. It also wasn’t too often that I found that glitch happening. Other complaints I had were involving enemy spawns, the player getting knocked down, and the games overall graphics. The enemies will mass spawn in specific times so if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time you will essentially insta-die, or if you just wait in the right place you can spawn kill everything. This generally only occurs on close range missions but it can be a joy kill. If your character gets knocked over in battle it takes so long to stand up that by the time they do it’s very likely you have been killed. Lastly I’m not normally one to complain about graphics, but EDF 2025’s graphics were way worse than I expected. When the game first begin I felt as if I was playing an early release title for this generation, not one towards the end of the consoles life cycle. As you play through you tend to forget about the graphics due to the fun nature of the game, but it would have been nice to have had higher quality graphics. Now to be completely fair, I’ve only played the game on the Playstation 3 so the Xbox 360 version may be free of all the issue’s I’ve posted.
Overall, Earth Defense Force 2025 is a solid title. It’s extremely fun, quirky and has just the right amount of insanity. EDF has tons of content and enough replay value to keep you coming back for more. It was a game that I very, very much enjoyed playing and if it wasn’t for all the bugs (glitches, not in-game enemies) I would have loved to rate it much higher. I would love to see nothing more then a patch to improve things like load times, and frame rate issues and even some of the glitches. As of where the game stands right now I’m going to give it a 6 out of 10.
• Very Fun, exciting combat
• Large fully destructible levels
• Huge variety of weapons and vehicles
• Four unique classes create four completely different ways to play
• Graphics are pretty bad – looks like a launch game from this gen, not a recently released game.
• Has occasional glitches that will result in your death creating very annoying situations
• Multi-minute long loading screens
• Game has major frame rate issues during battles or explosions
If you couldn’t get enough Earth Defense Force 2025, it has, since release, had new expansion packs launch on PSN and Xbox Live. Mission Pack 1 adds five new missions for the low price of $2.99 while Mission Pack 2 adds twenty new missions for $8.99. If that wasn’t enough the Fencer and Wing Diver Weapon Packs have been released completely free of charge.
Earth Defense Force 2025 is out now for the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360.