Free Pizza Video Game Review - Earth Defense Force 2017
As you can tell from our last review, yes, I’m an enlisted man now. Who’d’ve thought that the Earth Defense Force was accepting slightly overweight 40 year olds?
We’re back and this time we’re going back in time…to the distant year of 2017…as we take a look at the first game in the modern EDF games, Earth Defense Force 2017. This one’s an Xbox 360 exclusive…but I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t show up on a PlayStation system at some point, as the Vita has already seen one older EDF release (the Japan and European PS2 release, Global Defense Force) and any future games (Iron Rain and EDF 5) look to be PlayStation 4 exclusives. [Which means we have to buy the damn system…and we are SERIOUSLY out of room for game systems! – Ed.] Anyway, let’s strap on our helmet and fire up the chants of “EDF! EDF!” and see if Earth Defense Force 2017 has what it takes for Free Pizza.
Earth Defense Force 2017 was created by the originators of the series Sandlot and so, coming at this as I did (playing the second one first), I won’t say it’s a jarring transition, because the basic fundamentals of gameplay are all there, most importantly the 2 weapon limit and the infinite ammo with the occasional pause for reloading. However, I will say that you need to either have an instruction book with your copy or look up the controls on the internet before you start playing…unlike the second game they are almost NOTHING like the controls we see for most of these types of games. For example, the face buttons (A, B, X and Y) are only used when piloting vehicles (I guess…I haven’t reached a stage where I can do that yet, but they keep showing vehicle controls on the loading screens so I guess it’s there). All of your trooper controls are in the triggers and the shoulder buttons. I lit up when I saw that the LB has a zoom feature…but this must be specific to certain guns, as I couldn’t use it with my standard assault rifle…which, by the way, remains a badass weapon that I’ve yet to stray from. Another big difference is that with this being the first game, you really only have one option when it comes to your character…the Trooper. So no flying around or dominating in your exo-suit this time, you’re just the standard grunt…which honestly, I didn’t mind so much.
Where this game outshines its sequel is open to interpretation, but personally, I felt the brighter overall appearance of the game, from the menus to the giant alien bug action, gave the game a more fun feeling…and when the robots and gunships and more mechanized aspects of the Ravager horde arise, they feel more in line with 50’s Sci-fi films. Also adding to the fun was that your fellow troopers have a lot more to say this go ‘round. There’s lots of chatter, ranging from the standard sci-fi tropes (“I just proposed to my girlfriend…AAARRRGH! WHY? WHY???”) to the sorts of phrases that could only emerge when translating Japanese to English (“Do you like Death? Then die!”). Missions here are also more bite-sized than in the sequel…and while I do find that these little morsels of missions can help string you along into playing more and more of them, it’s also fantastic to know that if you’ve got about 10 or so minutes to kill, you can still get your Orkin-Man on.
Being an older game, however, means that there are some flaws. I do have to admit that I miss the character selection, given how partial I was to the Jet Trooper. The bigger problem though is that the game can slow down at times as the programming has a hard time keeping up with all the destruction. To be fair, this only happened once on my play session…and given the length of my play session, that’s to be commended. [Well, just go ahead and spoil the damn thing why don’t you? – Ed.] Given that it occurred when a lot of buildings were being shot down/destroyed, I wouldn’t be surprised if this slowdown happens again. It isn’t a deal breaker for me…but it’s one of those things where you’re on this almost euphoric high of killing bugs and something sullies that, well, you notice.
So, I pretty much already gave it away…but since it’s the theme, we have to ask, does Earth Defense Force merit a Free Pizza?
Playing time: 1 hour, 11 minutes.
Earth Defense Force 2017…your pizza is FREE!
The only thing that pulled me away from the game this time was that the wine was kicking in…and a drunken trooper isn’t going to last long against a swarm of giant ants. Besides, I have to survive a few more years…my next deployment is in 2025!