Giving an objective opinion on the latest EDF game is like giving an objective opinion on life. It’s one of those game series that you either look at and shrug and wonder what all the fuss is about or sit glued to until way beyond the end of the last mission.
If you’ve already played EDF 2017, or even the US spin-off Insect Armageddon, then you’ll know exactly what to expect here. The formula hasn’t really changed much in this third console entry. The task is simple; giant insect creatures that have lain dormant under the Earth are ravaging the world and it just so happens that an alien invasion is happening at the same time. Coincidence? I think not.
Choosing from an initially-small range of weaponary, it’s up to you and the other EDF troops to save the planet by blasting anything that doesn’t look human into a million pieces. That’s pretty much your brief for the whole game.
Of course, these games are also about grabbing crates dropped by dead insects and aliens and the more you gather, the more chance there is of finding cool new weapons to lock and load. Some crates provide instant healing, some armour that can be added to your suit once the level is complete, and other contain weapons that are opened up after you finish the mission. The weapons are random and most will be guns or grenades that you already own, but that chance of getting the next big missile or over-powered rifle is always there, daring you to go pick up the green crate right under that giant robot’s feet.
Big weapons are certainly needed for later missions and some suit certain types better than others. Taking down spacecraft is much easier with a rocket launcher than even the most powerful guided missile as you’ll find it hard to get a good lock on in time. Missiles are better for other large targets, though, so knowing what the mission holds is essential. This often means that playing each level once and dying becomes a normal event, before going back with the right guns to finish the job.
Graphics have been tidied up since the last game, but only a little. There is still the sense that the developers don’t really care too much about insect legs sticking out of the wrong side of walls, just so long as they can show 100 insects on screen and make them all go squish. Between this and the frankly laughable random dialogue from your team (including such choice lines as “Do you have a girl back home?”, “Why did you get married?” and “Let’s go to that one place when we get back”) there is a real sense of B-movie budget to the game, but that’s good, it all adds to the atmosphere.
Yes, it’s hard to be objective about a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously but has a heart of gold and a bigger trigger finger than an 80’s action hero and I’m not ashamed to say that a smile crosses my face every time I sit down to play it. Earth Defence Force 2050 may be a shoddy one-idea game with laughable dialogue and effects but it’s just so damned fun.