God, Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon totally would’ve gotten a 10, if only it were a better game… Does that make any sense? No, it’s not my first time reviewing. It’s just that, on sheer awesome principle, Earth Defense Force is exactly what I want out of a shooter. For me, it’s a sublime, damn near perfect interactive experience. However, it’d be ridiculously ballsy to score it up to the echelons of a Gears of War 2 or Halo 3.
To give you a little background, Earth Defense Force is a cult, blatantly Japanese series of bug-killin’, budget-priced beauty. Insect Armageddon is the direct sequel to EDF: 2017, the first title of four EDF games to ever see a stateside release, and has since become a high-cost rarity as Westerners eventually caught on to B-grade charm after the publisher had given up on the title.
Not that that really matters. There’s no story to speak of, let alone continue. More importantly, just like 2017, Insect Armageddon delivers everything it sets out to do. Thing is, it doesn’t set out to do all that much. Kill waves and waves (and WAVES!) of a handful of mutant insect variants with infinite ammo, get to a checkpoint, blissfully repeat. Some may call it monotonous; I call it one of the most satisfying experiences available on PS360.
Visually, Insect Armageddon is certainly an improvement over its predecessors, although it noticeably, often hilariously, lacks the flare and polish of a Halo or a Call of Duty. Tons of clipping, enemies occasionally get stuck in environments, and you’re basically doing the same thing, in virtually the same place, over and over. Yet, to EDF’s credit, the framerate rarely flinches when displaying an impossible amount of mutantoid bugs and towering alien cyborgs on screen, the load times are whip-tight, and since it lacks the modern pretense of story or cutscenes, players are essentially getting more of the carnage they desire, pound for pound, delivered faster and more efficiently than most games that have come out in 2011.
Speaking as someone bored to death with shooters that pad themselves with overwrought narratives and surface-level immersion elements, I fell batshit in love with Insect Armageddon’s mountainous ton of relentlessly dumb fun once again, plus the enhancements brought to the sequel make it all the better. As you play, you’ll unlock new tiers of weapons and upgrades, and now the game’s introduced distinct character classes in order to suit the style of the modern players.
The classic Trooper is still the best all-around class, and the others come with unique abilities, as long as you’re okay with sacrificing the traditional EDF aspects. Assuming you’re willing to act in a more supporting role, The Tactical class allows you to lay mines and spawn turrets, while Jet Armor is every bit as awesome as you’d expect from a class gifted with jetpack-enabled flight, although he’s significantly weaker. I went with the turtle-paced Battle class, since he’s stronger, more powerful and can fire through a defensive shield that can eventually be modified with battlefield clearing lightning upgrades. Again, awesome.