Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space - PS Vita Review

Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space (EDF2 here on out) benefits from a campy, enjoyable style that has actually aged quite well. It also possesses an excellent loot cycle that serves to keep players coming back for more. The term 'dumb fun' comes to mind, but it works here all the same.

So EDF2 is a better and bigger remake of the second game in the cult series. Giant bugs! Advanced weaponry! There is not a ton of narrative to be had here. You pick from one of a few classes that each have their own distinct style of play. By and large, that play consists of different ways of blowing up the gigantic insects that have begun to descend upon the Earth. Of course it is a ridiculous premise, and really outside of the introduction, the story just comes to you in bite-sized pieces at the start of each mission.

The mission structure feels right at home on the vita. Relatively short bursts of frantic action just play nicely here, given the mobile nature of the handheld. More than that, the core gameplay just works. Blowing things up is a somewhat mindless, often repetitive exercise that is actually a good deal more fun than it really has any right to be.

Part of that fun is the massive scale of the bugs. They are huge, an interesting blend of fascinating and frightening (depending on your feelings about insects), and the whole thing has a campy Starship Troopers vibe that is enjoyable. If you are new to the series, it might take a bit of time to figure out what is going on. EDF2 really does not do a whole lot of hand holding, and I can understand a newcomer to the series feeling the need to make use of the in-game help. Those who know what they are signing up for? You will feel right at home.

Because this is an enhanced version of the original game, the mechanics are all relatively the same. There is some additional content, and the visuals get a much-needed face lift. Visually, EDF2 is not the most impressive title on the Vita, not even close. I think however, if it were on a big screen television, the somewhat dated graphics would look a lot worse. Instead, the Vita's bright, colorful screen helps to take advantage of the colors used in the game, even if the textures are somewhat lacking upon closer inspection. However, the EDF games have often been known for visually chugging when the action ratchets up (which is rather frequently). The Vita handles the gameplay far more smoothly than I recall its predecessors, and it was great not having the lingering distraction of choppiness during really active battles.

However, where EDF2 really shines, is in its loot mechanics. Enemies will sometimes drop random goodies for you, and getting new weapons for your character is almost always a treat. Add that to the half dozen difficulty settings, and the development team at Sandlot has given gamers who enjoy the formula plenty of reason to go back and replay prior missions. Missions almost always boil down to the same basic thing. You are hunting swarms of bugs, alien ships or massive kaiju in your attempt to clear off the map. The aforementioned classes however, really help to stave off repetition. The Pale Wing is a jet pack class that is akin to a quick, dangerous glass cannon. The Air Raider is more slowly paced, focused on traps and supporting the efforts of others. Infantry? Well, that is exactly what you would expect. Grab a gun and some armor, storm on in and blow some critters up.

If you are looking for some campy, classic shooting action, Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space should fill that void in your life. Certainly there is some repetition to the gameplay, and there is a certain mindlessness to the action, but the EDF series has well-earned its cult following. Like the best B movies out there, EDF2 embraces its crazier moments - leading to some incredibly fun and unforgettable 'did I just do that?' moments that are worth experiencing.

Platform Sony PlayStation Vita

Developer(s) Sandlot
Publisher(s) Xseed Games
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single Player
Other Platform(s) None

Article by Nick

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