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E3 2011: Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon hands-on preview – campy, over the top action

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Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is the type of video game that knows it’s a game and revels in it. The game sports a plot similar to that of a B-level action flick – massive insects have begun an invasion of our planet and it’s up to the Earth Defense Force to put a stop to it. Having gotten our hands on this goofy title at E3, it took us no time at all to figure out why developer Vicious Cycle’s previous EDF games have gathered such a loyal cult following. Put simply, the game is fun. Big, stupid, constantly one-upping itself fun.


EDF’s setting is in the ruins of New Detroit. One of the major improvements that players will notice right off the bat is that the graphics look a hell of a lot better than the previous game, Earth Defense Force 2017. The amount of enemies appearing on screen at one time has definitely increased and the insects and EDF forces show a greater level of detail. It’s still not quite AAA quality, but at least it’s a little easier on the eyes this time around.

To combat the threat of massive wasps, gigantic ants and spiders the size of dump trucks, the game has four EDF armor variants for players to choose from: Trooper Armor (a class that has the highest damage output), Jet Armor (they can fly…this class rocks), Tactical Armor (support class that can deploy missile turrets, gun turrets, mines, etc) and Battle Armor (most defensive of all the classes). Before each mission, players select their armor variant, their special armor abilities and two weapons. Likewise, every one of these classes utilizes a special meter for their abilities.

A new addition to EDF is the ability to play cooperatively with two other players; however, if you’re a sad husk of a person with no friends (or you just want to go solo), the game will automatically team you up with two AI-controlled teammates. Don’t worry, from what we experienced, the computer was actually somewhat intelligent in this regard. The combat controls were incredibly tight and an in-game radial menu made selecting special abilities in the middle of skirmishes a snap. EDF also features a new quick-reload function identical to the mechanic seen in Gears of War. As we fought through hordes of mammoth insects, the game allotted us with a score that doubled as experience points. The points can be used for all the basic stuff you’d expect such as upgrading abilities, buying new weapons, increasing your special abilities meter, increasing health, etc.

Aside from EDF’s main campaign (which will last up to eight to ten hours), there will also be a horde-like mode where endless waves of enemies will attack your team of EDF soldiers. There will also be a much more interesting game mode called “Remix Mode,” which will spawn random monsters for players to fight.

Like we said, the game is fun. What else can we say? In one instance, EDF pit us against a daddy-long-legs the size of a skyscraper that was giving birth to giant tarantulas. This game sort of rocks.

Jun 14, 2011

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E3

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11 comments

  • Zufield - June 16, 2011 11:41 a.m.

    Just to clarify, the previous Earth Defense Force games were developed by Sandlot, not Vicious Cycle.
  • radcliff007 - June 16, 2011 1:28 a.m.

    been a fan since the first one...cant wait for this!
  • reson8er - June 15, 2011 6:30 p.m.

    Pre-ordered my copy a few days ago. I am really looking forward to playing this.
  • tacoman38 - June 15, 2011 3 p.m.

    @OohWiiUILookJustLikeBuddyHolly YES!! i totally used that grenade before. and killed myself and my buddy on inferno near the end of a level. oops.
  • OohWiiUILookJustLikeBuddyHolly - June 15, 2011 10:22 a.m.

    You know the first one was great when it had the most powerful grenade that cant be thrown further than its blast radius... This one looks even better...
  • Yeager1122 - June 15, 2011 3:06 a.m.

    Looks cool.
  • Kyo - June 15, 2011 1:55 a.m.

    Hell yes I'm getting this game. If I was a little iffy about it before the online co-op feature made me decide to get it for sure lol. Also, a giant spider space ship thing crapping out slightly smaller giant spiders.. that's not intimidating at all now is it?
  • EricBratcher - June 15, 2011 1:13 a.m.

    My biggest concern is actually that I'll get tired of just juicing bugs. I loved the way 2017 went from ants to robots to godzilla-alike to UFOs and back to ants... that kind of thing
  • usmovers_02 - June 15, 2011 1:07 a.m.

    I still haven't seen a single screen that shows swarms even half the size of those in 2017. I also hope that the game has as many levels as 2017.
  • spawny0908 - June 15, 2011 12:51 a.m.

    *Sees HUGE FUCKING SPIDER* *Immediately faints*
  • FatherTime - June 14, 2011 11:05 p.m.

    Hell fucking yes!

Showing 1-11 of 11 comments

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