Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space Review

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Title: Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space
Developer: D3 Publisher, XSEED Games
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download:  278 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital | Retail

EU Availability: Digital | Retail
PSTV Support: Yes

The Earth Defense Force, or more commonly abbreviated as EDF, series is something of a guilty pleasure of mine.  This is a series of third-person shooting games developed to be like old B-movie sci-fi movies about giant monsters and aliens invading and attacking the Earth.  Being a huge fan of those kind of movies, I had decided to try the Vita’s first EDF game, a port of the Xbox 360 game, Earth Defence Force 2017.

In all honest, I fell in love with the game.  It’s not AAA material and it’s not made to be.  Everything, from the voice-acting to the production costs to the gameplay and settings are meant to mimic B-movies.  Being able to be a soldier of the EDF, which is actually a real organization used in several Toho movies, including The Mysterians (1957) and Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), was a really nice experience for me.

Today, a new EDF game for the Vita comes out, alongside the first PS4 EDF game.  Being a remake of the PS2 and PSP Japan-only game, Global Defense Force, here is my review of Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space!

Story

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EDF 2 takes place in 2019, two years after the repelled alien invasion that took place in EDF 2017 Portable.  With supposed peace reigning around the world, the people have rebuilt their homes while the EDF has been developing new classes and technology, in case the world becomes under threat again.  This is mostly in the form of new classes of soldiers, the Pale Wings and Air Raiders.

It proved to be put to use far sooner than planned when the same kind of giant bugs and aliens appear in 2019 and the EDF is forced to take action to defend the planet, once again, from alien invaders bent on destroying mankind.

The story and dialogue are just as cheesy as in 2017, and that’s part of what makes this series so great.  The dubbing is bad and over dramatic, just like you find in virtually all Toho movie dubs.  The story, itself, is interesting enough to warrant playing it, as there’s more to this game than there was to 2017.

Gameplay

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EDF 2 is a third-person shooting game that pits you in huge sandbox environments against a host of enemy units, from ground-based giant insects to aerial insects and saucers to robots to giant Godzilla-like monsters.  Just like in any of the games, it’s a third-person shooter, but it does have some driving and flying elements thrown into the mix.

Before we dive into the game, let’s talk about what’s different.  First, let’s talk about what’s different between 2017 and EDF 2.  The first thing is that you have 3 classes, instead of only 1 and they’re all available from the beginning of the game.  The other elements here are that there’s more content, different environments, and a bunch of new enemy types.  EDF 2017 had 60 missions to it.  EDF 2 has almost 80 missions to it.

Now let’s talk about how this game is different from the PS2 version of this game.  As with EDF 2017, there are more missions.  In the original version of Global Defense Force, there were 71 missions.  In EDF 2, there are 78.  The third playable class is also new, as you could only use Infantry and Pale Wing in the original game.  In summary, there’s more content in this version.

As you progress through the game, you will play through missions to take down hordes of enemy forces and defend the planet from invasion.  You can go into each mission with any of the three classes.  You have Infantry that is a default ground soldier that handles conventional firearms like assault rifles and rocket launchers.  This was the default class in 2017.  Then, you have Pale Wing, a special class that specializes in energy weapons and has high mobility due to having a jetpack to use.  This was the unlockable class in 2017.

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Finally, we have the Air Raider.  This is a class that first appeared in the PS3 title, EDF 2025.  Unlike the Infantry and Pale Wing, they can equip 3 weapons at a time instead of 2.  Their specialty is using vehicles, like cycles, tanks, and helicopters.  While Infantry can also use some vehicles, Air Raider can use all vehicles, including some of their own that are exclusive to that class.

The mission structure is the same as it was in 2017.  You go into a mission with a set goal, which is mostly defeating all of the enemies on the map.  There are some missions that have side objectives, like destroying nests and underground tunnels.  In these missions, the enemies will respawn endlessly until the tunnels are taken down.  They won’t always tell you this in the in-mission dialogue, so it’s important to read the briefing before heading in.

Missions take place in large sandbox environments, mostly in the form of a city or an underground maze of tunnels.  As you explore these environments, there will be waves of enemies coming at you.  You have the normal enemies from 2017, like giant ants and spiders.  However, as I said above, EDF 2 adds new enemies.  You now have multiple UFO Saucer types to deal with, giant four-legged robots similar to those seen in The War of the Worlds, giant fire-breathing monsters that are a huge nod to Godzilla, among others that I won’t reveal and spoil.

As you defeat enemies, they drop three types of items.  The first are Health Packs, used to regenerate your health during the mission.  The other two are Weapons and Armor.  Just like in 2017, Armor pickups will increase your maximum health after the mission is over, and the Weapons will add new weapons to your arsenal.

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As far as difficulty is concerned, you’re in for quite a challenge.  EDF 2 is a lot harder than EDF 2017.  I won’t deny that many of the missions in 2017 were difficult, but some of its missions were easy compared to the later missions of this game.  Some will have big emphasis on using certain classes, like the mobile Pale Wing class, which I used for nearly my entire play through the game.  Some of the final missions, though, are tough as nails and will make you want to chuck your Vita across the room.

If you’re looking for some help, you can just pop online.  The game has both local and online multiplayer features, for co-op and versus.  So, if you’re having a tough time with as certain mission, just pop online and get someone to help you get through it.

Length is good.  As I said before, there are more missions than in 2017.  I would wager that you’ll be spending at least 12-15 hours in EDF 2 by the time you even reach the final boss, let alone defeat it.

Controls

Controlling the game isn’t too hard to do.  There are two control schemes.  Technical and Original.  Technical is the default control scheme, and is exclusive to the PS Vita buttons.  Original is a little different and uses the buttons and touch screens.

In the default control scheme, the Left Analog Stick is used for moving and the D-Pad is using for chat messages if you’re using Multiplayer.  The Right Analog Stick is used for aiming and moving the camera.  The L trigger is used to jump with Infantry/Air Raider and fly with the jetpack for Pale Wing.  The R trigger is used to fire your weapon.

As far as the face buttons are concerned, the X button isn’t used at all.  Square is used to reload your weapon and firing when you’re in a vehicle, and Circle is used to change weapons.  Finally, Triangle is used to zoom in when you’re using a sniper weapon.

Presentation

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Visually, there’s not a huge amount of different between this and EDF 2017 Portable.  The gameplay engine looks very similar, but EDF 2 has a lot more detail given to environments, especially city buildings and enemies.  This says a lot, since 2017 was originally an Xbox 360 game and EDF 2 was originally a PS2 game.  Don’t expect a massive upgrade, but an upgrade, all the same.

There is a complaint, though.  In many stages, the lighting is a bit off on items, making some buildings and items very blurry around the edges.  This is clearly not intentional, since enemies in the same stages are not blurred at all.  It’s a minor issue, but something that came up a lot as I played,.

As far as performance goes, I only have one complaint: Frame-Rate.  Frames drop in certain areas, and that’s mostly when there are too many enemies on-screen for the game to handle, or too many enemies and not enough environment.  As huge as the sandboxes are, those underground tunnels will start to lag a bit when you’re got 30 or 40 enemies right on top of you.  It happened to me maybe 4 or 5 times as I played the game.  Most of the drops aren’t anything bad, but one was pretty heavy that affected how well I could play.

Finally, the sound is very in tune with the theme.  If you listen to the menu and combat music, a lot of it does sound reminiscent of the music they used in those movies back in the 50s.  It fits the theme well.

Summary

Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space is just as action-packed, cheesy, and fun as 2017 Portable was.  The game does slow down a bit when the game is flooded with enemies and the night stages makes some things rather blurry.  Looking past this is a game far superior to its predecessor in content, features, and difficulty. 

8/10

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