In defence of Earth Defence Force 2017 – A Review

Posted on August 10, 2007. Filed under: Games, Life, Sci Fi |

“You’ll either love it or hate it,” is a phrase often used to describe a painting, TV show, film or similar. It’s not often used to describe a Video Game (although it’s often used to describe a genre, i.e. stealth, FPS, and RPG).  However, the phrase is being bandied about at the moment in regards to a Japanese game released on the X360, namely Earth Defence Force 2017. Some reviewers, both professional and gamers, have given the game a score of 8-9 out of 10, some have rated it as low as 1-2 and called it ‘the worst game ever for the console.’  There seems to be no middle ground.

Cons against the game have been that, its ‘last gen,’ the graphics are awful, the music’s dreadful, there’s no plot to speak off, laughable dialogue, no online multiplayer, nothing new in game play, it’s at times very choppy, it’s repetitive (all you do is shoot and blow up stuff) the AI is woeful, the players model moves like a constipated manikin. The pro list by comparison is minuscule; it’s fun, addictive fun.

My opinion…. Well, for me the sound is very bright and tinny, so harsh in fact I have to adjust the tone on my TV set to smooth it out. The background music is so bad for the first time ever I am using music I have put on the HD, in this case especially to play within EDF, Holts’ ‘Mars’ if you must know. Yes, I agree the game chugs and is choppy when a lot of action  is going on. Usually, most of the above, and certainly all of the above together, would have me using the disc as a Frisbee. But it hasn’t, I love the game, it’s fun!

Let’s have a look at the cons:

• Graphics. These aren’t ‘awful.’ They aren’t GRAW, – but that has V-sync issues. I have a standard WS TV and the game looks fine on it, better than GOW, which on anything but HD has far too many jaggies, etc for me. Its streets a head of many full priced games (did I mention it was a ‘budget’ game?), yes Godfather I am looking at you! Not as many detailed textures, etc, as some games, but remember everything is destructible. In short, the graphics pass muster for me and I am a bit of a graphics-tart.

• Dialogue. Yes its cheesy, but its, I believe, deliberate, the voice over artists seem to have had a great time taking the Mickey out of their Japanese counter parts – its funny in a ‘Water Margin’ and ‘Monkey’ kind of way.

• The game chugs and is choppy. True, but that’s because there so much going on and as a universe full of bugs and bots are trying to get a piece of you, all at once, it’s an acceptable price to pay.

• The AI is woeful. But, your enemies do not need to be smart when there are thousands of them on screen. Your ‘team’ is also dumb – “die nasty wall wall die.” However, in the main they do actually help you to kill off the enemy. And the dumber they are the more clever you look.

• The game play is nothing new and its repetitive. True, but being new doesn’t always mean cool. Lots of newish games claim that you can use anything you pick up in the environment as a weapon. What that usually means  is a piece of lead pipe or a stick! I am a veteran gamer and I can tell you a stick is not a match for a BFG. There are 150 weapons in EDF, none of which are sticks. They play is repetitive to a certain extent, but hey how many games have you played that try to break up the game play and end up being boring during those stages?

• No online multiplayer. I’ll say it here and I’ll say it first, 98% of online multiplayer games suck. The 2% is for games that have co-opt modes online. Why then, you ask, is the industry going ever further down the multiplayer track? Well of course one reason for the fat cats to push MP is that it generates more income for them (the price of going on MS ‘Live’ etc). I don’t rate online MP because its more often than not like soccer played by seven year olds – a goal keeper at each end and a ruck of kids in the middle trying to hack at the ball. It’s a mess, it’s repetitive, its dumb, its as far removed from reality as Posh is from being obese. It’s also scary, one day all games may be aimed at the MP market, shudder…. However, EDF has split screen co-opt, not new but in this case brilliant. In fact my first 10 hours experience of the game was in co-opt mode with my wife. We enjoyed it so much; she put the Elder Scrolls on hold to continue playing it with me. We played so long into the night the game play seemed like a waking dream…. And it’s a long time since a game had that effect on me.

My wife said that EDF was like a combination of Starship Troopers (the movie) and Serious Sam. She’s right! Also, the game has loads of “OMG did you see that?!” moments – only matched by the new ‘Stranglehold’ demo. It’s a return to old fashion gaming values. But, more importantly, it’s ant shooting, spider burning, building mashing, robot toppling, FUN!

I want to see more games like EDF. More split-screen offline co-op! More non-stop action! Longer single-player campaigns (GRAW 2 single player can be completed in 4 – 5 hours thats a cost of £9 – £12 an hour! Shouldn’t this game have been put out at at budget price? The company could have picked up extra revenue with the heaps MS ‘Live’ makes on its MP offering). Oh and an updated, ho-res shiny new version of the original Goldeneyes (I can but dream!).

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