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E3 2013: Earth Defense Force 2025 (Hands-On)

Posted by: Matt at 6/18/2013 1:05 PM
     I am not a fun of bugs, just getting that out there. So when I play a game like Earth Defense Force 2025 the experience is somewhat cathartic. Off the walkway between halls, D3 Publisher kept their presentation to a minimum opting to just let me jump in and see what the development team at Sandlot had been working on. After getting to play this latest build and all the playable classes and some of those sweet weapons, it's obvious that they've put a great deal of effort into making this the best Earth Defense Force title to date. 

     The Ravagers (those giant insects that EDF games are known for) are back, and this time they've also brought a lot more alien ships with them. But the Earth Defense Force is ready with an improved arsenal of weapons, and a new unit class for players to try. The Air Raider class is able to team up with other units like the Fencer to pull of particularly devastating attacks, and call in vehicles that other players can ride along in. The Wing Diver is an interesting class, she can fly for a limited amount of time until her energy supplies run out, but they must be managed carefully as her weapons are also powered by her energy supplies, and if they are drained you'll need to wait until they recharge before you can fly or attack again. The Fencer is a dual-wielder, giving him unprecedented offensive and defensive capabilities, but he is a slow and plodding warrior. And then you have the standard Ranger who is the jack-of-all trades character, able to do a little bit of everything, but not particularly excellent at any one facet. There's now over 700 weapons to collect and use against the Ravagers, giving players a ridiculous number of combinations for dealing with those giant insects, and the small taste I got on the E3 floor was certainly satisfying.

    The short demo gave me a chance to just mow down tons of insects and destroy some Japanese suburbs. The guys at Sandlot haven't changed much from that aspect, though the game is looking better than their original title. The buildings are still paper thin and can fall from the slightest touch, but that free destruction is one of the great draws to Earth Defense Force 2025. The game doesn't take itself too seriously, and it certainly makes it endearing with all the games that feature conflicts based on real threats in our world. Instead I was taking out giant shield projecting tanks that I had to take down from inside, or simply laying waste to bugs in what felt like a futile battle. Thankfully the D3 rep on hand, Kaori, was able to revive my fallen ranger while we played in split-screen co-op. Up to 4 players will be able to go at the insect hordes simultaneously, and characters can be customized to help differentiate between each other.

    The classic Inferno difficulty is also back for those who really enjoy a challenge, but for everyone else the game will be perfectly manageable with its different difficulty options. Hopefully when Earth Defense Force 2025 is released later this year I can convince my friends to get in on the bug hunting action, I always try to get them to give this series a shot, maybe this one will be one to do it when it comes out later this year.