Review: Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon
Yet another Earth Defense Force game has dropped and the bugs are back thick and fast in this Japanese made third-person shooter. A lot of you are probably yawning already after reading the title of the game, but that doesn’t always mean the game is going to follow in the same way. Sadly it does.
Insect Armageddon is set in New Detroit, a city filled with skyscrapers and people. A prime target for any insect invasion don’t you think? There isn’t much variation in the objectives you’re given, as they are quite simply shoot and kill anything that moves, other than the civilians that run past you in fear. The storyline follows on from the events that unfolded in Earth Defense Force 2017, which launched back in 2007. Shamefully, not much has changed since then and most of the gameplay mechanics remain the same, other than the odd few fixes that have been thrown in over four years.
As an EDF soldier you can kit up with various weapons you unlock by picking them up off bosses or “ravagers” as they’re called in the game. You can also select an armour type for your soldier, so the jet armour grants you a jetpack to fly around and use the rooftops of buildings as a vantage point for raining hell down on giant ants and spiders. Whereas the battle armour turns you into a walking tank. Throughout the game you’ll level up these characters and unlock bonuses for your armour and new weapons that will make bug exterminating even easier. The credit system is responsible for buying all your weapons, so it’s important to score big on Insect Armageddon. One thing to note is that some armour types are unbalanced and can offer just as much damage reduction as delivered, especially the tank who can deal heavy attacks with his gatling gun built into his arm, whilst wielding a powerful shield that can protect him throughout every level.
EDF: IA offers plenty of bug species, the best selection being the praying mantis and giant daddy-long-legs. Both of these can present a challenge to players, but with the right weapons, mainly missile launchers, they’ll be destroyed in no time. This is a great time to mention the missile launchers in the game, which seem to be the only weapon people use, mainly because they get the job done quickly. They lock on to targets instantly, so you don’t have to worry about missing and they deal the largest amount of damage in the shortest amount of time. This has created an easy game to complete and at the most will offer around 3-4 hours to finish the campaign alone.
Over time the enemies evolve into a mechanical form of ants and spiders, which up the difficulty of enemies, but this still isn’t a problem with the missile launcher about. I think the developers really needed to limit the ammo given to players on this weapon, as it’s overpowered, which means boss fights don’t last as long as they should do. It also quite hard to die, with most enemies dropping health packs or if you do die, your teammates can revive you by holding down Y.
One thing I did really enjoy about this game was the destructible environment, which mainly consists of buildings. There was nothing more satisfying than destroying 500 buildings for my achievement and I can guarantee you’ll enjoy doing this too. It’s also a useful way of killing insects that have latched themselves on the side of the wall, as the building will flatten them or throw them to the ground, ready for you to kill them at the bottom.
At this point you can then move onto the remixed Campaign mode or Survival mode, depending upon your preference. Personally I prefer the Survival mode because you get endless waves of enemies and it’s incredibly easy to reach wave 50 or higher. You could say that’s a bad thing because it isn’t challenging, but when you play with friends it’s also fun because it’s a quicker way to rank up your characters and unlock weapons with the credits you earn. All of these modes can be played in co-op with up to three other players, to which you can then play the six-player Survival mode, which makes it all that bit easier to complete, since there are more hands to help you.
The campaign mode also offers vehicle support in the form of mechs and tanks, which was a useful tool for dealing with mobs of ants or spiders that are charging at you. They also provide armour for defense and can last the entirety of a mission if you keep it protected for long enough. These were very mobile and reacted well to the controller, so there was no problem in getting around the level, even when collapsed building were in your path. You could easily drie straight over them and shoot the targets ahead of you in one blast.
That was one area I was impressed by, the fluency in movement, which was an improvement over Lost Planet’s movement system. The right bumper allowed you to dive and dodge enemy attacks and you could sprint with the left bumper. For the different armour types, your movement would change, so the jet armour soldiers would glide across the floor when sprinting. Then they can fly up using their jetpack with LT. I couldn’t have asked for an easier control scheme to use.
Let’s move onto graphics, which aren’t really that outstanding and that was expected. Based on the previous EDF title, the graphics remain the same and to my knowledge the same game engine is being used if not slightly updated for some of the destructible environments. The textures look flat on buildings and trees and the character design looks dull and very much the same throughout each trooper. The only colours you can add are preset, so there’s very little customisation, in terms of colour and appearance of your soldier.
The voice acting for objectives are fair to say the least, with a typical commander calling the shots and a female informing you of your objectives and how they should be achieved. Cutscenes and voice acting was one area the story could have been improved in.
Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is one of those games you’ll either hate or like. I wouldn’t say you would fall in love with the title, as there isn’t really any charm about it and in terms of innovation, there isn’t any at all. If you like a co-op shooter this may take up a small amount of your time, as the story mode isn’t long and the only thing that seems endless is the Survival mode, which was a blast, but not very challenging. The developers really need to push past their limits and create something that’s different from other third-person shooters out there such as Lost Planet.
Review: Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon Results
What we liked:
Co-op support for all game modes
Fluent movement system
What we disliked:
Lack of appealing features
Lack of cutscenes and voice acting
Overpowered missile launchers that made the game too easy