The lights are on
NOTE: There is honestly not going to be that much that I can really say about this game, considering it comes from a series that relies more on insane action than any graphics, story, or mechanics in execution. That having been said, this particular review will most likely be one of the shortest ones I've yet written. So if you came in expecting to read the usual ten paragraphs or more from me, you're going to be disappointed/elated (depending on if detail is your thing or not). Without further ado, let's get down to some alien butt-kicking, bug crushing business.
There have been plenty of Earth Defense Force games over the past five years or so, and as with many series there have been ups and downs in these games. Thankfully, what started off as a very rough yet arguably cult-classic formula for a game has evolved enough that it still retains the whole B-movie persona, but has upped the ante a little bit with each successive entry. Sure, some have bombed miserably, but EDF 2025 is definitely a high mark for the series, and in my personal opinion, the best game to date in the EDF catalog. To be sure, none of the games are perfect, or even great- however, they excel at what they promise to offer you: the chance to squash as many aliens bugs and machines as you wish.
Not much has changed since the original game (EDF 2017) or the main sequel it spawned not too long ago (Insect Armageddon), but that doesn't mean there isn't anything new at all to be found here. Bugs and robots have invaded Earth and all the story you need to know is that they must die in order to ensure the survival of the human race. Kill them. With extreme prejudice. Or without- either way, just kill them for the one hundred or so missions you must play. As bad as that sounds, you'll easily slice and dice through the first twenty or so before things get too difficult, and the addiction will keep you coming back for more and more carnage and adrenaline rushes. In some ways, this reminds me of what the upcoming 'Edge of Tomorrow' (formerly known as 'All You Need is Kill') movie seems to embody.
Each level/stage only lasts roughly fifteen minutes or so, dependent upon your skill level and the strength of your foes- both in numbers and in terms of formidable foes themselves. The simplicity of both design and gameplay are easily made up for in the action, even if all it is seems to be mindless shooting and continual movement around the expansive maps. Simplicity is beauty, right? For the first half of the missions, you can pretty much forgo any actual strategy, though later on you'll have to pick and choose wisely when it comes to weapons and main classes- after all, it only takes one poor choice to get swarmed and absolutely annihilated by massive bug soldiers. There are four distinct classes- each catering to a different style of play, from more aggressive to more supportive, and there are also scattered weapons caches for you to upgrade your arsenal and discover entirely new weapons of mass obstruction (of the alien hordes).
The only true upgrades you'll receive deal with essentially looted gear and health boosts, which you receive for spending time playing as the same class- and won't carry over to each class unless you play pretty evenly with all four. There is a noticeable difference in certain arsenal weapons- some being flops and others being overpowered, but this only adds to the roster of things that employ strategy later on, and could mean the difference between survival and denial. So pay attention to the endless menu screens! And get rid of the crappy guns first. Obviously, what little strategy there is doesn't require much more than a few tweaks to style here and there anyway, but it makes the game more enjoyable regardless.
You do have the option of playing cooperatively with other gamers as well, which can be great for some of the more supportive classes- however be prepared for the already choppy framerate to become even more abysmal. There are several technical issues with the game, however they won't hinder the experience as much as you would expect, and only really detract from the action in the larger, harder battles later on- which are frustrating enough already. Again, though relatively unforgivable by today's standards, I'm willing to let most animation and design related mistakes and issues slide by considering the low-budget B-movie, campy feeling this game was meant to and thoroughly does elicit. The game laughably throws the story out the window pretty much from the first minute, recognizes that the only thing we care about is shooting giant bugs, and then sets players free to do as they wish.
If you want a truly impressive science fiction shooter, go play something ambitious like Mass Effect. Otherwise, if you're looking for a relatively large time-sink and something that is purely thrills that should pass an otherwise boring time, play this game.
Concept: Bugs, robots, and your gun or teammates' gun(s). Prepare for battle, and a hilariously botched attempt at a story, coupled with some great campy moments. This is basically the Starship Troopers of gaming, with a lot more B-movie to it.
Graphics: They work, barely, but that's fine. You won't really focus too much on them anyway when the giant horde of bugs descends upon your position from all sides. It's the little things in life- or in this case, the big things from space.
Sound: You'll never know what exactly you should be expecting from the audio, as at any given time you could hear strange noises and words spewing from your cohorts. Also, the soundtrack is pretty minimal, as you wouldn't want to pay too much attention to it and not the game...yeah, sure- that's the reason...
Playability: EDF 2025 is a pretty open game as far as controls and overall experience go, and although it does have several separate classes, each of their main functions work the same so there isn't much of a learning curve to be worried about. You'll do just fine rookie.
Entertainment: Who could've thought taking on nearly infinite hordes of giant bugs and robots could be so fun? It certainly seemed a lot more grim in Crysis.... Hmm... Be sure to collect as many supplies as you can, from weapons to other content upgrades- you'll need them almost positively later on...
Replay Value: Moderate.
Overall Score: 7.0
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