Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable Review

Title: Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable
Developer: D3 Publisher
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 628 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes

Did you ever watch those horror and science fiction movies back in the 1950s and 1960s about alien invasions or giant monsters attacking the population?  If you have, then you can probably recall exact movie names.  Them!, the movie about giant, radiated ants investing the desert.  Tarantula, about a genetically-engineered spider that grows to an enormous size, again, in the desert.  Godzilla, the infamous giant radiated Lizard that terrorized Tokyo for more than 50 years.  Earth vs the Flying Saucers.  All of these are what are called “B Movies”, which are low-budget movies that rely on cheap effects and more to provide an entertaining experience.

You didn’t watch these movies because they were AAA products.  You watched them because they were entertaining and the whole plot element of having to defend the Earth from these monsters and aliens was cool.  Some movie producers still try to make movies like those in recent times, but many don’t turn out the same as they were back then.  Outside of movies, though, D3 Publisher game developer also tries to create this environment through the Earth Defense Force series of video games.

Earth Defense Force has seen four main games in its lifetime, and is all about defending the planet.  In the games, you are fighting off alien invasions, consisting of UFOs and giant monsters.  They are B Movies turned into videogames.  The PlayStation Vita also has access to one such game.  Earth Defense Force 2017 was ported to the Vita with new additions through the PlayStation Network to let you blast giant alien monsters on the go.  Here is our official review of Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable.

Story

The plotline of the Earth Defense Force games are like the plots of B Movies that feature giant monsters and alien invasions.  In that sense, they’re very minute and they are not the focus of the game.  When you watch one of those old B Movies, most are not looking for a deep, amazing story.  Instead, they are looking for action-packed and fun scenes and battles between the people of Earth and the invaders, or even between different invaders against one another.  The same is true here.  D3 makes the storyline in Earth Defense Force 2017 given to you in each of the missions, but very minute compared to the action actually happen on-screen.

In EDF 2017 Portable, an enormous Alien Mothership has come to Earth and is unleashing a fleet of UFOs to deploy giant bugs, monsters, and robots across the globe to eradicate the human race and claim the planet for themselves.  You are placed in the role of Storm 1, an experienced soldier of the Earth Defense Force army, and you are deployed to stop the invasion by reducing every enemy you see to nothingness.  Equipped with weapons made special for the Earth Defense Force, you are sent out with others as support to stop the Alien Invasion.

The story is very small and minute.  It fits the formula they are trying to replicate with this game, but that is a fair warning.  If you are coming into this game, expecting an amazing story, you’ve come to the wrong place.  Like B Movies, story is easily shadowed by the gameplay and action.

Gameplay


As the story suggests, you will be spending this game fighting off giant monsters and aliens in your efforts to repel an alien invasion that seems bent on eradicating the entire human race.  It has a Third-Person Shooter formula.  You will be thrown into various environments to combat these enemies.  These environments include a city, beach, mountains, underground tunnels, caves, and more.  You will see many different types of environments and they will mostly pertain to different types of enemies in different places.   Some of the large, skyscraper-sized enemies you will not be seeing in the underground tunnels.

The enemies come in many varieties.  You will be pitted against giant-sized monsters.  These range from Ants, Spiders, Humanoid Mechs, Walking Fortress Robots, UFOs, Android Monsters, and more.  Along with this, each type of enemy has a few variations, giving it a different arsenal of attacks and abilities to use against you.  There are also variations of different sizes.  For example, while the normal Spider enemy is about the size of a tank, the larger variation is the size of a large building.  By the game’s end, you will have encountered a lot of different enemies.

The environments has two qualities to them that you will want to know.  First of all, this is a sandbox-type game.  This means that every environment is a huge place that you can explore while you are running from and gunning down your enemies.  They are big in the fact that I ran and explored for quite some time in some missions and never found the end of the map.  If you want to find the edge of the map, you will be spending several minutes running in a straight line before you find a single edge of the map.  So, as the explanation suggests, these environments are absolutely massive.  This is important because there are very few sandbox-style games on the Vita right now.

The second importable part of the maps is the fact that objects from within them are destructible.  If you’re in a place with buildings of any shape and size, they can be obliterated.  If you are running around with a powerful weapon, like a Rocket Launcher or Missile Launcher, you can launch a rocket at a building and watch it crumble before your eyes.  This I found to be fun.  In some missions, I spent more time destroying buildings than enemies.  This is useful when you’re trying to fight with long-range weapons and there are buildings between you and your target.

The game is mission-based, and there are 60 missions for you to complete, across five difficulty settings.  Missions mostly boil down to you progressing through areas and annihilating enemies.  There are some variations, as some missions only require you to defeat certain enemies, like the UFOs that endlessly unleash hordes of monsters against you.  But, for all intents and purposes, your goal in each mission is to kill anything that moves that isn’t you.

Before you go into the mission, you can set yourself up with two weapons.  These weapons have infinite ammunition and are varied, along with new weapons that you can acquire as Item Drops from enemies in missions.  The Weapon Number in this game is huge.  The original game had over 400 weapons you could acquire, with the item drops being different across different difficulties.  This version has all of those, plus more to unlock and collect once you finish all of the missions and unlock the secondary character.

Aside from Weapons, you can also collect Armor and Health drops from enemies as you defeat them in a mission.  Health Drops will restore any health you have lost since the beginning of the mission.  These fall into two varieties, Small and Large Health Packs.  Armor, however, is something more interesting.  Whenever you collect an Armor Drop and finish the mission, your maximum Health Points (HP) goes up by one.  So, the more armor drops you collect, the higher your Max HP becomes, so that is something to think about and watch for, especially when tackling the harder difficulties.


Once all 60 missions have been completed on any difficulty, you will beat the game and see the credits.  However, you will be able to go back and replay any of the missions with newly-unlocked weapons.  Getting past the Credits also unlocks the secondary character.  New to the portable version of this game is Pale Wing, the Jetpack-equipped flying troop from Earth Defense Force 2.  Pale Wing is unique that she plays different.  She has an Energy Meter, which is consumed when you’re flying with her jetpack as well as firing any of her weapons.  Energy Consumption is something to consider and makes you strategically choose how to fight as her.

Apart from that, there are also Co-Op and Versus Game Modes, so you can connect to Wi-Fi and play with your friends.  Whether you want to compete or help your friends complete missions, you can take part in multiplayer.  The multiplayer, itself, plays very well.  I have played through several matches and encountered no lag or slowdown at all.  It plays very well and without issue.

In the long run, there is just a lot to do with this game.  If you want to rush through the game and complete all sixty missions on the Easy difficulty, it will take you about 9-10 hours to finish, not counting any time you want to replay missions to boost your Max HP with Armor Drops.  It’s got a good bit of length to that, and you can easily double that if you want to go through and beat it as Pale Wing and even more if you want to unlock all of the 500+ weapons available in the game.

Controls

Being a Third Person Shooter, you could probably guess a lot of the controls for Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable.  But there is one thing that I will say.  If you do not like touchscreen controls, then you should be okay with this game.  The touchscreen and rear touch panel will not be used at all in this game.  The only controls  you will be using in this game will be on the various buttons of the PlayStation Vita, and even then, you won’t be using every button as you play the game.

Moving around is done with the Left Analog Stick and the Aim/Camera can be moves with the Right Analog Stick.  This is standard, both for the genre and for 3D games in general.  This works both when you’re on the ground and in the air.  You move the Analog in directions once you’re airborne as Pale Wing, and you can move in those directions.

You will be using the Circle button to switch between your equipped weapons, along with R for firing that weapon.  If you have a weapon that has an equipped scope, you can press Triangle to zoom in with the scope.  Finally, you can use the L button to Jump.  Jumping works as the normal, Storm character.  If you are playing as Pale Wing, you press and hold down L in order to use her Jetpack.  This will work until either your energy runs out or you let go of the button.

All in all, it’s a pretty simple control scheme to get the hang of.

Presentation

The presentation is something that some people hate, but also fits in with the theme.  In B Movies, the visual effects and picture weren’t great quality, and after some time, they weren’t meant to be.  Cheap effects and quality is something that defined this genre of movies.  As such, they have done that with this game.  It definitely doesn’t look like a high-end game for the Vita.  It looks more like a high-end PSP game, though that does fit the bill with this type of game.

This results in a mixed reaction from gamers.  Some people want amazing visuals, and you will not find that here.  However, the game makes up for it in how smooth it plays.  Once you get a mission loaded up, the game plays really smooth and I rarely ever saw it lag or slow down.  The Load Times were pretty decent, though.  Each time you load a mission, you will be waiting a good 10-20 seconds until the Mission will be available to go in and play.

Another hiccup is in the game hanging and crashing.  From the first time I played it, I found that every so often, when you are transitioning between saving the game and going back to the Main Menu, the game will hang and freeze at the Loading screen.  Sometimes, it hangs for a few seconds, but other times, it just hung and froze at that screen and never loaded.  I would say once every five times I booted the game, I encountered this problem.  It’s annoying, though not game-breaking.

Overall

If you’re a fan of B Movies or running around and blasting away giant monsters, then Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable is the game for you.  It’s got fun combat, and a huge number of weapons to unlock across both characters as you play through the game.  There are a few technical hiccups with crashing, but all in all, it’s a fun experience that any Toho or Classic Monster Movie fan will not want to miss.

The PlayStation Vita Review Network Rates Earth Defense Force 2017 an 8.5/10.

Related Posts