Sandlot
D3Publisher
Action
1-2
03.20.07

Earth Defense Force 2017 (Xbox 360)


Remember those old school shooter games we all used to play on the Super NES and Genesis? The games where you would just run around and keep your hand on the fire button blowing away anything in site that moved. Well take a trip back in time with Earth Defense Force 2017 by D3 Publisher/Sandlot. This exclusive Xbox 360 budget title doesnít offer spectacular graphics or next-gen gaming, but makes up for it by delivering an arcade thrill-a-minute ride.

Gameplay

As the title indicates Earth Defense Force takes place in the near future 2017. The planet is being attacked by a legion of ruthless aliens in the form of giant insects and clunky robots, and itís up to the brave Earth Defense Force (EDF) to blow them back to where they came from.

You play as an EDF soldier in third person perspective, toting only two weapons at a time, but through completing missions your arsenal grows, providing machine guns, shotguns, rocket launchers, grenade cannons and all other types of weapons of mass destruction.

Your movements are very limited, up-down-left-right and very odd jumping manner that makes you character hop like heís on a pogo stick. The HUD flashes with red blips displaying how many enemies are attacking and where they are, and all you have to do is head their way and shoot to kill. Simplicity is top priority in this game, which is a nice change compared to the complex gameplay of most of todayís titles.

Overall, there are 53 missions to blasts through, taking you across huge city streets, country terrain, caves and tunnels. You mainly fight on foot, but certain missions allow you to take control of vehicles that range from tanks, air bikes, helicopters and armored mechs. These vehicles donít really add anything to gameplay because of their clunky controls, particularly the helicopter, which is so unresponsive that it makes you just want to get out and walk.

As you blow the enemy invaders away, extra ammo, shields, and health packs line your path, so you will never have to think before you shoot, or be damned to repeat the same level over and over again until you get it right. Earth Defense Force encourages you to sweep through the missions easily, even on the most difficult level, because it understands why gamers play shooters --- To shoot, shoot, kill, kill, with no thinking or strategy involved. Total stress release.

Yes, for most of todayís gamers this will become very repetitive really fast, because thereís nothing else to do. There are no puzzles to solve, no clock to beat, and no real objectives. You pretty much keep your finger on one button and keep aiming. The game can be completed in about a dozen hours or less depending on the difficulty, so it makes for a perfect rental or quick buy for gamers on a budget who are just looking to get a quick rush.

Graphics

There is nothing next-gen about this game. The graphics and AI are as flat as a board, and the frame rate can hiccup like a jumping bean when thereís a lot of activity happening on screen. There are a few nice moments, such as when you destroy a building with a rocket launcher and see it crumbling down in the distance, or blowing one of the massive UFOís out of the sky. But too be fair, this game was never trying to win any visual awards, it was intended to be a run and gun thrill ride, and on that level it succeeds.

Sound

The sound effects are pretty cut and paste. Your teammates continuously repeat the same lines of dialogue, one explosion sounds exactly like the other, and the music feels like it was done on a Casio keyboard. The audio choices are simply enough to get the point across.

Replay Value

After sweeping through the game in solo mode, there are no online multiplayer options, but there is a Co-op mode that can make playing the game again fun with a buddy to watch your back via split screen. Oh yeah, it would have been sweet if you couldíve jumped onto Xbox Live and dropped into a team deathmatch, but this game is not trying to compete with the big boys.

Bottom Line:

Earth Defense Force is like one of those cheesy B-Movies that we all love as a guilty pleasure. Itís fast and fun and doesnít apologize for not being in the realm of Gears of War and Halo. If you want to play a game that doesnít ask for anything other than you have fun while shooting and blowing up everything in site, then this is the game for you. If you want something deeper, there are plenty of other titles out there that will fit your fancy. Maybe there will be an Earth Defense Force 2 sometime in the future that takes advantage of the next-gen hardware and still manages to maintain the classic shooter feel, but for now you can get a lot out of this game if you lower your expectations and just go for the ride.

Related Links:

Official Website for Earth Defense Force 2017

-Johnny McNair




6.0
5.0
7.0
6.5
7.0