Distributed by D3Publisher
Rated T for Teen
Available for Xbox 360 (reviewed here), PlayStation 3
Turn to your left – here comes a swarm of giant ants. Turn to your right – giant spiders are bombarding you with webbing like a tank battalion. Look down – a giant robot is erupting from the ground right beneath your feet. Look up – the sky is filled with attacking UFOs being air-dropped in by larger UFOs. Did you destroy them all? Good. Because in a few moments giant wasps are going to swoop in, a gargantuan robot mantis is going to charge you, legions of big ticks will be jumping on your back trying to suck your blood, something that looks like The Iron Giant’s really pissed off cousin will slowly stomp in your direction, and – hey, what’s that looming over the horizon? A Godzilla-sized robotic daddy longlegs spider blasting death rays and dropping hordes of cyborg spiders is also fast approaching.
Use your vast assortment of assault rifles, shotguns, rocket launchers, grenade launchers, missile launchers, and sniper rifles to clear the area, secure the location, hold your position, set the bomb, and prepare for evac. Cars explode. Buildings implode. Gas station go boom. Helpless citizens run screaming for their lives. Better hop into that mech. Make use of that heavy tank. Man the anti-aircraft turret. It’s only you and two of your closest EDF allies and the female voice guiding you through your mission objectives standing between these extraterrestrial Ravagers and the extinction of mankind.
Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is Starship Troopers by way of Crackdown as produced by Toho Studios. This is not a game of tremendous depth in terms of story or gameplay, and it is certainly a game targeted at a niche audience, but if everything you read in the first two paragraphs sounds like the sort of frenetic chaos you’d love to be smack dab in the center of, then this is most certainly a game for you and your friends.
The first thing you need to know about Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is that the game doesn’t come with an instruction manual (at least the Xbox 360 version doesn’t; the PlayStation 3 version does). For some games you desperately need an instruction manual. This is not one of those games. The controls are simple to pick up on and what very little storyline there is, is self-explanatory (except maybe in terms of wondering who are these alien invaders that employ robots, bugs, and robot bugs and what exactly is their reason for invading Earth).
The second thing you need to know about this game is that this is not really a game geared toward being played solo. You can play it all by yourself with only the game’s A.I. as back-up. While the A.I. is smarter than the A.I. in other such games, it’s not the same as having human allies watching your back. It’s harder to play solo, gets dully repetitive fast, and just isn’t as much fun. Part of the joy of this game is hearing friends on headsets freaking out at the sheer scale of some of the larger Ravagers, the ferocity with which they attack, or simply reveling in the level chaos and destruction they’ve caused.
As a member of the Earth Defense Force, you have four classes of soldiers to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Tons of weapons will be at your disposal as you level up and unlock firepower that will fill the screen with blinding fire, firepower that will send flaming bugs flying out of the frame, firepower that will bring down entire skyscrapers. Believe me when I tell you you’ll need it. Believe me when I tell you the mass destruction caused be some of these weapons will make you happy.
The game consists of three levels, each comprised of five chapters that will have you roaming an open-ended cityscape fighting off Ravagers out the yinyang. Complete them all and you’ll get what is described as “remix levels”. You can play these three levels with up to three teammates on three different difficulty settings, the hardest being “Inferno”, which might as well simply be described as “Friggin’ Impossible!” Completing these chapters on normal can be daunting; on “Inferno” mode just lasting a couple minutes is an accomplishment.
Best of all, the only bugs on the screen are the ones you have to destroy and not within the game mechanics itself or the frame rates.
If you want to play with more than two of your friends, then you can always go for online survival mode. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and up to six people can work together to see how many waves of Ravagers they can survive on a single board.
And, well, that’s about it. Again, not a whole lot of depth or variety, but what there is will certainly keep you busy for hours, and word is that some upcoming downloadable content will add even more variety. It’s the perfect game to get together with some friends online and have a blast blasting the hell out of monsters and machines.
If you’re looking for a game to just sit down with by yourself, look elsewhere. If you have friends of the same mindset that enjoy big scale monster destruction, for a budget price of $40 you will most definitely get your money’s worth.
3 1/2 out of 5
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