Review: Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space (PSV/PSTV)

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Extras:

  • PlayStation TV Compatible Yes
Title: Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space
Format: Game Card / PlayStation Network Download (279 MB)
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Publisher: XSEED Games
Developer: Sandlot
Original MSRP: $29.99
ESRB Rating: T
Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space is also available on PlayStation Portable (JP) as “Earth Defense Force 2 Portable” and PlayStation 2 (EU) as “Global Defence Force”.
The PlayStation Vita download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space (EDF2) was originally released on the PlayStation 2 back in 2005 and then for the PlayStation Portable in 2011 in Japan, but finally EDF2 is making its North American debut on the PlayStation Vita.

This one is focused on gameplay more than it is story. With just a quick intro setting up the world’s current invasion situation, the game throws you into the action where you pick a class and jump into missions.

EDF2 1 EDF2 2

There are three classes to choose from: the Infantry class which is a the standard foot soldier, the Pale Wing class which is equipped with a jetpack, and finally the Air Raider which has support weapons like turrets.

For the majority of my playthrough I used the Infantry class because it plays like a standard shooter. The Pale Wing class does have its advantages with its verticality, but the early weapons for this one were not to my style. The Air Raider class felt like it would play better in a multiplayer session than it would single player.

Either way each class type adds different options to tackling missions and the differences in the weapons available for each class leave plenty of reasons to go back to a mission and try different strategies. The solid shooting mechanics work well with all three class types and make for a great time shooting swarms of giant insects.

… the game feels almost endless at times …
The missions take place in big spaces like cities and open fields as well as smaller, tighter areas like bug nests and subway tunnels. The large areas are impressive in their size for what the game is, but do have some issues when a lone enemy gets separated from the herd and you spend several minutes tracking the enemy down.

The smaller areas deal with some framerate issues when the game tosses a bunch of enemies at you at once, but in the grand scheme of things those issues are minor. Overall there are so many missions to play that the game feels almost endless at times.

EDF2 3 EDF2 4

Enemies include plenty of different types, from giant ants to spaceships. The game does a good job at switching out enemy types from level to level to keep things fresh. The spaceships tend to be harder to deal with and require you to change up your play style as they have more defensive and offensive abilities. The difficulty ramps up significantly with the different enemy types and it requires you to change up your strategy on a level by level basis.

In order to change up your strategy you can either change classes, or if you want to stick to a specific class just change out your weapon loadout. How you acquire different weapons is through random drops from fallen enemies. This means paying attention to when a weapon or piece of armor drops from an enemy and picking it up before the mission clears because if you don’t pick it up it’s not yours after the mission.

… a fun shooter with lots of variety …
There are many weapons to collect and even after collecting over fifty for the Infantry class, I was apparently only at the ten percent mark of all weapons collected in the game. This type of loot and the amount available to collect is a big reason this game has a lot of replay value.

The technical issues are not frequent enough to take away from what is a fun shooter with lots of variety and reasons to play over and over. The mission structure and loot drop cycle is filled to the brim with content and feels like a game meant to keep you going and going.

EDf2 5 EDF2 6

Visuals:
When you take into account that this is based on a PS2/PSP game then you understand why this is not a visual tour de force. It’s more concerned with delivering a lot of content than trying to be a shiny technical marvel. This is not to say this game is bad looking, but visually it is on the bland side and suffers from some technical issues in some spots.

These spots are mostly when the missions take place in tunnels or small areas while still sending dozens of enemies at you. When this happens the framerate struggles to keep up and it can be hard to see what is happening. These missions/issues are not too frequent, but when they do come up it can be frustrating.

As mentioned, the game features some large levels throwing many enemies at you at one time and for the most part the game runs smooth in these situations. The environments are not very detailed, but the scale of the enemy and their numbers make up for the somewhat bland visual style.

… easily join other players through the lobby system …
Audio:
EDF2 features English voiceover for the banter during missions though it is only for mission updates and the occasional screams of fallen allies that you never actually interact with. For what it is, the little bit of voice work is fine and that can also be said for the sounds of the battles.

Guns sound like they should and the enemy creatures make noises when they are hit and give a oddly satisfying sound that helps indicate when they have been taken out. The different sounds made by the enemy creatures are a nice choice as they help you in knowing that progress is being made and enemies are being dealt with.

EDF2 7 EDF2 8

Online/Multiplayer:
EDF2 features two multiplayer modes that can be played via online or ad hoc. These are Online Co-op, which lets up to four players take on the single player mission, and Rumble Mode which is a versus mode.

I tested out the online co-op for my review for a while and my experience in terms of connectivity and ease of joining a match was great. I was able to easily join other players through the lobby system and it ran nice and smooth.

This game is a blast with others, especially when the difficulty is cranked up. Communication would probably be very helpful in higher difficulties and the game provides plenty of text messages that players can send during a match if no one is using voice communication.

… not a huge emphasis on the visual presentation or story …
The amount of missions to play and the ability to have all the classes working together in a mission is a great experience and might be my favorite way to play.

When it comes to the Online Rumble mode I unfortunately was unable find anyone playing it, therefore I cannot speak to how it works. I spent an hour waiting in the lobby hoping someone would join my game and also would frequently check to see if others had made a game, but to no luck.

All I can say is that connecting to the co-op was easy and hopefully the same can be said for the versus mode. The community appears to have embraced the co-op mode with open arms and seem hesitant to do any Rumbles.

EDF2 9 EDF2 10

Conclusion:
Earth Defense Force 2 is from a simpler time that was a great time in gaming. There is not a huge emphasis on the visual presentation or story, but what the game focuses on is having fun gameplay with many reasons to keep playing.

The large amount of missions to go through accompanied with the large amount of weapons to find and armor to upgrade helps to deliver a very meaty game. Some technical hitches come up, but in the grand scheme of things they do not do enough to hurt the overall package much.

Going through the game solo or with co-op are both great ways to play and the amount of content in EDF2 will keep players busy for hours.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Vita’s built in screen capture feature.

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Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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