Review By: Eric Rehm
|Publisher:||D3Publisher of America|
|# Of Players:||1-2|
|Accessories:||Dolby 5.1 Surround, HDTV 720p|
Ever wonder what it would be like to play in a Godzilla or B-list monster movie? Ever wonder what giant ants and spiders are capable of when unleashed in the middle of a city? Ever wonder what these things would be like, if you had unlimited ammo to fight them with? Look no further, because Earth Defense Force 2017 does all that, and more.
From D3Publisher and Sandlot games, comes Earth Defense Force 2017. At first glance, it’s like Crackdown or Grand Theft Auto mixed with The Hulk and Godzilla.
Planet Earth is under attack from alien invaders labeled the Ravagers. The story starts in 2013, when scientists discover a communication from somewhere in space, finally proving we’re not alone in the universe. Over the years the scientists decipher the message, discovering that we’ll be visited sometime soon by the aliens. Most people hoped they’d be friendly, but having failed to contact the aliens before their visit, the Earth Defense Force was created just in case. Well, turns out to be a smart move when the aliens invade in 2017.
From the skies come giant ants, spiders, robots, dino-robots, flying gun ships...all to confound you and take over the earth. For your defense, you’ve got a number of weapons to start with, and 170 (yes, 170!) unlockable weapons in all, that you can get by playing through the story. With multiple difficulties, stronger weapons are unlocked as you play harder difficulties.
From rocket launchers to AK-47’s, the myriad of weapons is outstanding. There’s a type of weapon for everyone, you just need to find it. Split into several categories, the weapons all serve their purpose: destroying everything in sight. They even added a “Special” weapons category, for those unconventional weapon types like welding torches and mine launchers. All the weapons are fun, and relatively simple to use.
Traveling through 53 different missions you combat the alien invaders. The aliens drop different items, represented by a semi-crude 2D image, but it’s all in keeping with the B-list monster movie feel. The items are quirky looking, fitting right into the world, regardless of being 2D. Health packs, armor (boosts your health), and weapons are all dropped. Harder enemies drop multiple items, for example ants will drop one while giant robots drop three.
Each mission is rather short, but can become deceptively hard. You may think that your job is to finish off the giant walking fortress, but rather it’s just to survive and team up with your EDF buddies. Whichever mission you’re on, it all leads to some fantastic boss battles. From giant walking fortresses that shoot plasma cannons, to giant robot-dino’s that mean business, each boss is interesting and a lot of fun to play against.
From your first steps in the game, you realize a few things…everything is destructible, and the enemies are HUGE. Everything, and I mean everything, can be blown up. From stray missiles toppling a building, to an enemy stepping through a high-rise, everything gets destroyed in a satisfying plethora of chaos.
The graphics are gorgeous, despite some technical issues. It’s fantastic to see a budget title like this being able to play in 720p. The giant monsters are fantastic to look at (before they try and kill you) and the areas are gigantic. At least they look that way, as there are subtle edges to each zone, but you generally don’t even get close to them. The bosses are a sight to behold...you thought your enemies were huge? These guys are MASSIVE, and they’re amazing to look at. The walking fortress boss in particular has some fantastic lighting effects, coming from the ocean with a sunset behind it, making for some great atmosphere.
The sound isn’t as great as the graphics, however. The music is rather hokey, sounding like bad techno, though it fits in with the B-list feeling of the game. The monster and weapon sounds are fantastic for something you hear over and over. It seems like the sound was put on the back-burner to the rest of the game play. Another annoying little tid-bit is from your EDF partners. The first few times you hear their conversations and little quip’s is pretty funny. After that, it gets annoying…especially when you’re in the middle of 10 of them, all saying the exact same thing.
So, what could make this game better? Co-op anyone? Split screen co-op is a great feature included in EDF 2017. Picture all the crazy fast twitch game play, with a friend by your side. The main missions start with choosing one or two players, so the story can be played seamlessly with one or two people. But, the co-op is only via split screen, and not playable on Xbox Live. The main thing that would have pushed the rating for this game would be if it was playable online.
Granted, all good things have their problems, and EDF is no exception. While the graphics are fantastic, awe inspiring, at times it can slowdown or even stop completely. The frame rate drops in moments where there are so many enemies that they blot out the sky, but only slightly. The game does a good job of working around these problems, but they’re still around. I’ve only seen the frame rate drop three times; each time the chaos was so crazy that I sort of needed a break for a moment to catch my composure anyway. I’m not saying a dropping frame rate is good, but for a twitch-fest game like this, it’s a blessing in disguise at times.
The bottom line? Earth Defense Force 2017 is a great, fun game. Pure and simple, it sets out to be like a B-list monster movie, and succeeds. For only $40, this budget-priced game is a steal, with fantastic and fun gameplay to boot. Though, it should be noted that the game does get repetitive through the main missions, but it isn’t exactly intended to be played like that. It’s the perfect title to pick up, and blow off some steam when you get home from work or school. It’s a great sleeper title, and I’d recommend anyone to pick it up.
Posted: 2007-04-07 10:36:55 PST