Game of the Month, July 2011

Winner: Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon

Do we dare to add a so-called “Budget Title” into our semi-serious pantheon of the years’ greatest games? We dare indeed! What Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon lacks in Triple-A polish and overall innovation, it more than makes up for in slap-happy thrills delivered at a mile a minute. You could call Insect Armageddon “dumb,” but to us, it’s like the Grindhouse of games, as it cheekily embraces everything you truly want to experience in a balls-nasty shooter, while shrugging off next-gen crutches, like *bleh* character development and story, that needlessly elongate what should be interactive entertainment first and foremost.

Above: “KILL ‘EM ALL! (Now with Jet Packs)

EDF is already well aware it’s a B-grade game, so it doesn’t bother with all the pretentious padding that modern games have tricked you into believing is actually important. Yeah, the game doesn’t set out to do anything new, however it’s borrowed the solid third-person shooter mechanics from several dozen great games that’ve come before, and refined them all splendidly for its own simple purposes. Kill waves, and waves (and WAVES) of giant insects. Now don’t stop ‘til you get enough!

Above: There’s an Achievement/Trophy for killing 25,000 of these and you’d be surprised by how effortlessly you might unlock it

Of course, all of that aforementioned same praise could be lavished upon the last entry in the cult-tastic, blisteringly Japanese EDF series, yet Insect Armageddon does kicks it up several notched by adding crucial new features. Online is no longer ignored, and co-op with buddies drastically enhances the nonstop insecticide one thousand fold. Plus, the added option of upgradable classes, featuring battle drones, jetpack equipped-soldiers, and turret-laying scouts, are enough to make you forget that you’re essentially killing the same handful of enemies over and over.

Above: Survival Mode might be the greatest thing to happen to gaming in 2011

Look, this month had no shortage of noteworthy titles to choose from. Bastion, Ms Splosion ManCatherine, are well worth cheering for. Hell, NCAA Football 12 technically got a higher score from us! However, we’d like to point out how rare it is for a “Professional Gamesz Journalist” to play something to 100% completion for the purpose of a review, and then continue playing it from home afterwards. Well, Chris is still playing it every day! That’s how deep EDF: IA has its mandibles in us.

Runner-up: Catherine

It can be described as, perhaps a bit uncharitably, Q*bert with boobs. And yet, the description sticks, because at its heart, Catherine is indeed an action-puzzle game, one that involves all manner of blocks, obstacles, and challenging encounters. But Catherine is so much more. It’s a game about growing up, about facing the fear of settling down, about measuring the saucy vice of infidelity against the serious virtue of love. It’s about nightmares populated with boxer-short-clad, sheep-horned men facing the same challenges as hero Vincent Brooks. It’s about choices, with Vincent chatting with his friends in anime cutscenes, responding to text messages from his girlfriend Katherine (as opposed to his temptress, the titular Catherine), and answering queries in a nightmarish confessional booth — all of which come together to affect the final ending(s). So sure, it’s a puzzle game with pretty pictures. But it’s also the most mature game of the month, and we mean that in a very good way.

Aug 1, 2011


  • Cloud1Fair3 - August 4, 2011 3:55 p.m.

    I'm gonna call GR out on this one and say Catherine over EDF:IA. But to be fair I haven't played EDF:IA. However, Catherine was one of the most refreshing, interesting, and addicting games I have played in a long fucking time. That's including many of my favorite games like God of War 3 or Dead Space 2. While those games rocked I haven't made a happier day 1 $60 drop in a long, long time. So, I give Catherine a 10 for sheer addictiveness, especially co-op or vs.
  • JBizFoShiz - August 2, 2011 8 p.m.

    I sincerely hope Catherine sells well. I don't want another Shadows of the Damned case to happen to it.
  • Errrrbo - August 2, 2011 7:17 p.m.

    Seriously? EDF over Catherine? Catherine is one of the most unique and brilliant games I've played this console generation, no way does EDF beat that. And yes, I've beaten EDF. But hey, that's my opinion.
  • philipshaw - August 2, 2011 2:54 p.m.

    I think the winner and runner-up should swap places
  • HereComesTheHypeTrainCHOOCHOO - August 2, 2011 1:29 p.m.

    You can definitely see who wears the pants in the US offices (hint: rhymes with "smells like pizza"). I'd like to see the UK team do a monthly Game of the Month article as well, just to see what their thoughts are.
  • statutoryreparez - August 2, 2011 12:46 p.m.

    Catherine is definatly my game of the month, im going through playthrough 2 now
  • avantguardian - August 2, 2011 8:34 a.m.

    "Goddamn bugs whacked us Vincent." -catherine
  • Y2Ken - August 2, 2011 8:06 a.m.

    I'm going to go with Bastion. I was really looking forward to Catherine what with it coming from Persona team, but it just had a few too many gripes between the puzzles getting a little repetitive, Vincent's actions not altering enough depending on the path you're taking, and some off the mechanics like the texting system being a cool idea that sadly just ended up getting in the way of the gameplay and story. Bastion on the other hand just got better and better, everytime I thought I knew how it was going to go it turned around and surprised me, whether with a plot twist, crazy level or new design element. Definitely GOTM for my money.
  • ichigoame - August 2, 2011 7:35 a.m.

    that earth defence game is what Gantz should be should they make a next gen game of it
  • ObliqueZombie - August 2, 2011 7:07 a.m.

    /thinkingovergettingthese. Wait, no! Must save up what money I have left and buy other games... but so cheap... UUGH!
  • nyef - August 2, 2011 6:17 a.m.

    Yes, killing bugs is fun, but mentioning "make you forget that you’re essentially killing the same handful of enemies over and over," shows that although it may be fun, it does not bring anything new to the table. I think this should have went to a game that separates itself from the everyday game, such as Catherine, or Bastion. Man I loved Bastion. Its fun combat system, narrative, and art style is flawless, and the soundtrack is one of the best I've heard in a game :)
  • TheGreatWeskby - August 2, 2011 6:07 a.m.

    Catherine is most definitely GOTM for me
  • Yaro - August 2, 2011 5:26 a.m.

    Hmm, I'll still take Catherine thank you. Shoji Meguro and Persona team's Catherine is just so impossibly superior to EDF. If it weren't for this article I would never even think about those two games in one sentence/thought XD.
  • kicking222 - August 2, 2011 3:48 a.m.

    Best possible choice (and yes, I'm saying that as somebody who has played "EDFIA" for 80 hours thus far). Bravo, GR.
  • dizzzydragon - August 2, 2011 3:42 a.m.

    i personally would of went with catherine, every1 bashes on the puzzle segments but their like fun mind ****s that give u a since of accomplishment when you have beaten it similar to portal or super meat boy!
  • McSpermie - August 2, 2011 3:33 a.m.

    I'm sorry I can't believe you guys thought the new EDF was better than Catherine. It was fun, but not as good as 2017. Where Catherine is a fresh new IP. All the little details in it show how much love went into it, but whatever.
  • gmknoble - August 2, 2011 3:12 a.m.

    I found it laughable that there was a pic from NCAA in the mix under the headline. No way would you guys give it to a sports game, (which is fine with me by the way).
  • Yeager1122 - August 2, 2011 2:26 a.m.

    I would have given it to Bastion personally but then again i havent played Defense Force.
  • CrispyPuppet - August 2, 2011 2:24 a.m.

  • codystovall - August 2, 2011 2:19 a.m.

    Defense Force is cool, catherine not so much. Seems to much like an anime I like.

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