Sunday, 2 June 2013

Earth Defence Force: Insect Armageddon Review

Earth Defence Force: Insect Armageddon is one of those games that can get away with being really cheesy and over the top games because it is madly addictive and incredibly fun to play. Throw together, blasting your way through a horde of alien invaders, that coincidently look like various insects, with massive boss fights and insurmountable odds and you have a winning combination. For lack of a better comparison think of Earth Defence Force as like Lost Planet, but without all that nonsense of fighting other humans. Combine all these features with co-op, character upgrades and replayability and you would think it would be amazing, right? Well let’s see shall we?

Firstly let’s focus on what Earth Defence Force is all about: gameplay. At its core, Earth Defence Force is an objective based third person shooter. The enemies range from ants to spiders, but they also throw space ships and giant robots at you. The game can have loads of enemies running you and your comrades down at any moment from both the air and ground. Oh, and by comrades I mean either AI players or if you jump online you can grab a buddy and charge through both campaign and survival maps.

Weapons. What more could you want to devastate your foes that a massive range of weapons? Earth Defence Force comes with a range of classes in the form of armours. The armours are: Trooper, Jet, Tactical and Battle. Each one fills a role in the battlefield and the game works best if you have one person playing as each. However, if (like me) you can rarely coordinate your pals, then the game's AI takes the place of the other three soldiers and you can still enjoy the game. Like I said before, each armour has its own weapon set and play style. Such as, the Jet Armour is all about flying about and raining down fire from the skies. Whereas, the Battle Armour sits you under loads of health and a big gun on the ground. So as you can see, there is a lot to play about with in Earth Defence Force. Alongside, the ability to upgrade your suits by gaining XP and the choice to buy and equip a range of weapons before each mission. This gives you a lot of customisability. As you upgrade your armour and it becomes more powerful and better weapons become available. You are however limited to 2 weapons per hero for the mission and this means if you make a bad choice then it cannot easily be swapped.

Earth Defence Force might not be the prettiest game, but it does manage to have tonnes of enemies on screen at once without any issues. The textures are a bit flat and there isn't much in the way of detail. However, since you are about to kill hundreds of enemies in a matter of minutes you don't even get much chance to take in the details of your enemies. Most things in Earth Defence Force are destructible. This includes: buildings, cars, trees and whatever else gets in either sides way. However, they just crumble and it isn't exactly the most beautiful and lifelike demolition. Again though, the sheer scale of the maps and the amount of destruction means you don't really mind. Especially, if you are about to be overrun by ants.

Missions in Earth Defence Force set you and your squad to help clear out the city by closing ant hills and clearing out areas. The missions that do not involve the massive bosses, that make Earth Defence Force shine, can get a little boring. Go here, kill that, and activate this. It can be a little uninspired at times. As you crank up the difficulty this can make it more interesting, as the insects become more difficult to kill. Although, overall gameplay is the same apart from harder difficulties meaning you can upgrade your armour to higher levels.

Alongside the regular missions there are a wide number of survival missions that throws greater and greater numbers of enemies at you and making you try to live as long as possible. However, this doesn't differ any from the campaign except that the bugs don't run out. This mode is best played with friends because otherwise it can get stale quickly.

While regular missions can get a bit boring and repetitive, boss fights are exciting. They generally involve something that is massive and seemingly invincible. When you reach your first boss fight in Earth Defence Force it is such a massive creature. It stomps about the maps making you feel tiny in comparison and there is a great sense of achievement when you finally defeat it. This feeling is sustained through further boss fights throughout the campaign. Each boss and some other smaller enemies use 'weak spots' that must be attacked in order to do any damage to them. The fact that you can only really damage them at a certain time and only in short bursts can be irritating, but it means you need to play tactically in order to you defeat it. 

I would like Earth Defence Force to only be the boss fights, since I began to find the regular missions too repetitive. Although, when playing with other people this is mitigated because competing to get the highest number of kills is brilliantly fun. I would prefer it to have had local co-op so I could play the co-op more often. A great amount of customisability and explosive gameplay makes for a wickedly fun game, which is best played with friends.

Score: 79/100

General Information

Game Name - Earth Defence Force: Insect Armageddon 
Developer - Vicious Cycle Software, Inc.
Genre - Action, Adventure, RPG,
Bundle - Indie Bundle - Ultimate Bug Out Bundle