Monday, October 28, 2013

NYCC 2013: Earth Defense Force 2025

For four days, people came to the Javits Center in New York City to experience one of the largest conventions on the east coast: New York Comic Con 2013!  Fans of comics, movies, television shows, and toys came together to revel in their hobbies, and with them came video game companies to show off their wares for the upcoming holiday season and beyond.  We here at 3RM attended a few of those days, and we have impressions and video to provide from our experience!


In ShiftyLook and D3's booth, D3 Publisher showed off upcoming titles in their licensed franchises, but the company also showed off a demo of the upcoming sequel to its original IP, Earth Defense Force 2025.  We got to play through a mission of the game, and from what we experienced, it will be a treat to those who liked the series before, even if it retreads a bit on the chaos of its prequels.

Earth Defense Force 2025 is the latest in the revived Earth Defense Force series.  Much like its predecessors, EDF puts players in control of the Earth Defense Force, the last line of defense made to protect the world from alien lifeforms whose sole purpose is to destroy the human race.  These aliens use their technology to create gigantic bug monsters as well as to develop their own mechanical monstrosities to level the landscape and end humanity.  Not only are these monsters large and in charge, but there are a vast multitude of them attacking in hordes.  This creates for extremely intense situations, but at the same time, it makes completing these assaults on a myriad of alien enemies highly rewarding.

Earth Defense Force 2025 is a third-person action title, and in each mission, the players are given a goal to complete, usually revolving around the mass murder of giant bugs or warships.  Players have the ability to choose one of four different classes of soldier: Ranger, Wing Diver, Air Raider, and Fencer. Rangers are  basic foot soldiers, capable of using basic weaponry as well as vehicles and other artillery available within the battlefield.  Wing Divers have jetpacks and laser weapons, allowing quick mobility in the air around the enemy.  Air Raiders can set up air raids and larger attacks from the sky, and finally Fencers are heavily armored and weaponized warriors.  Between these different classes and the large assortment of weapons to collect in each mission, the game is full of variety, and seeing as there are many difficulty levels for each mission, replayability is even further emphasized.

In my playtime with the game, my brother and I worked together to kill off a myriad off ants as they ravaged through the city, attacking any passerby they encountered.  I personally chose the reintroduced Wing Diver, and I found it to be a delightful experience.  While I was much weaker than my brother, who played as a Ranger and later a Fencer, I was able to fly over the enemies and use highly-destructive lasers and rocket launches from afar.  In usual co-op fashion, I accidentally killed him at least once with a large pulse of my weapons, but thankfully players can revive each other with minimal loss of time.  Still, there is definitely a need for cooperation if every player wants to make it out alive.

The graphics for the game have improved a bit over that of Sandlot's previous installment, EDF 2017.  The city has more variety, and citizens do not simply appear and vanish quickly in front of us.  There is more detail in the buildings and monsters, but there are still some lower polygon areas, especially amid the rubble of the battlefield.  Also, as is the norm in EDF, the framerate starts slow enough, but when action gets heavy, the game can quickly become a slideshow.  There are just so many monsters and explosions happening at once that the game can barely handle it, but with as many enemies as there are, perhaps it is for the best for things to slow down a touch in order to ensure correctly-timed dodges.

My only major concern is repetitiveness.  While the game shows plenty of promise with different weapons to gather and now four different classes to control, I wonder exactly how much of the game will be similar to that of its predecessor.  Thankfully, since the game is pushing more toward a cooperative experience, it is likely that the experience will remain fun and intense with friends much more than when playing it alone.  Regardless of that concern, if it can please me as well as it has in the past, I can say this will be a go-to game for anyone into an action-packed alien massacre with city-leveling explosions on top.

Earth Defense Force 2025 releases February for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.


At New York Comic Con 2013, I got a chance to try out Earth Defense Force 2025, the latest edition of the EDF franchise. Having played earlier games in the franchise, I looked forward to playing this action-packed title, filled with large insects and massive explosions, and it did not disappoint.

In my hands-on, I played the first mission through the game's co-op mode, a franchise staple. The mission briefing opened up with an emergency call claiming there were alien invaders in the city. Although the group thought it was just a prank call, it did not take long for the crew to be proven wrong as gigantic ants began terrorizing the city, attacking anyone nearby in a very gruesome way - more violent than I remember from the other games. Just like in the other EDF titles, it was our duty to hunt down and destroy the invaders (with the city landscape as collateral damage). In this first level, all the objectives revolved around heading to different parts of the city to kill all of the ants there. Once they were exterminated, we would receive another order to take down a new cluster of ants invading another part of the city. This continued until the mission ended in victory.

Before the mission started, I was able to select from different classes of EDF soldiers. The one I selected was the Ranger class, armed with a shotgun and grenade launcher. The satisfaction of blasting away alien monsters and the occasional building was still there, complete with explosions and falling debris everywhere. I did notice that the buildings had more resistance than in the past, but I guess that is more realistic than the fragile buildings of yore. I think character movement had reduced itself somewhat, as it felt slow-going to get down streets and face off against more bugs. Once I got used to the new movement and readied my shotgun, I found myself blasting away ants like it was my job, which it was.

Compared to its predecessor (2017), the details of the city and alien ants were much improved. However, I felt that the low framerate made all the on-screen action rather hard to follow, but this may have been because the demo I played was using split-screen co-op. Despite the framerate, EDF 2025 was still a blast to play in co-op with explosions, buildings, and alien parts going everywhere.

I really enjoyed my short time with Earth Defense Force 2025. My only concern is whether the framerate will improve any before launch. Besides that, the game is sure to make EDF fans happy with alien-killing action and destruction everywhere.

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