The Earth Defense Force series has always held a certain place in the hearts of people who enjoy campy sci-fi flicks and movies about giant creatures invading the land that must then be repelled by a much smaller force. This charming nature of the series may have made EDF a hit for fans but for quite some time gamers in North America weren’t able to play some of the first games in the series. Now that the second title, Global Defense Force, has been remade as Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space, now we have a chance at getting into one of the original titles. The question is, does it still offer the same type of campy charm fans have come to expect thanks to later games in the series?
For those who have never heard of these games before, you’re in for something of a treat. While Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space doesn’t offer much of a story, it does offer a decent start to the conflict. When aliens appeared and began attacking Earth, the freshly created Earth Defense Force was able to repel the enemy and destroy their mothership. While this seemed like the end of the conflict, the peace was short lived.
Now with giant bugs coming up from nests within the planet and the alien’s various UFOs, walkers, and more attacking locations all around the world it is up to the Earth Defense Force to once again kill every bug and oversized creature they see. This serves as a simple enough plot to place players in the boots of a soldier as they are sent on over seventy eight missions where quite a bit of background dialogue is provided through radio transmissions to help spice things up, though those looking for enemy motivation or any kind of depth will find it lacking here. Not that that is much of a bad thing in this case.
Setting up for a mission in Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space is incredibly easy. Players will be given a list of missions that all fall within the same category, kill everything that shouldn’t be on the planet. These battles all take place in various parts of the world, usually in city landscapes but occasionally in underground areas as well. Before shipping out to the field they are able to select from one of three classes equip various weaponry to fit their play style or occasionally one that is best for taking down a certain type of enemy, and then set out to kill everything ranging from swarms of numerous giant ant species as well as a variety of giant spiders and of course, alien UFOs with a few kaiju battles mixed in here and there.
The three classes that players will be able to take into battle come in the form of the simple Infantry soldier, futuristic Pale Wing, and the new support oriented Air Raider. The Infantry class uses modern weaponry, is able to absorb quite a bit of punishment, and is able to use the various military vehicles that appear in most stages. The Pale Wing, my preferred class, is a fast female unit that utilizes a jet pack allowing her to fly into the sky and use her heightened mobility to avoid enemies and deal damage from afar.
This class utilizes an energy pool that constantly is refilling but using the jet pack to move around or utilizing certain futuristic weaponry drains that pool and if it runs out, will temporarily leave a Pale Wing unit grounded and unable to fire an energy needed weapon or reload a standard weapon, a dangerous situation thanks to the Pale Wing having the lowest health of all classes. Finally we have the Air Raider, a class that appears best suited for support in the game’s online mode since the class primarily makes use of traps and various techniques to damage enemies rather than simply bringing the fight to them like the other classes.
With each class having its own set of unique weapons players will find that there is a lot of replay value to be had in Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space, especially since there are multiple difficulty levels to experience for those who wish to challenge themselves and obtain even better equipment since higher difficulties result in higher chances of good weapons dropping from defeated opponents. Alongside weapon drops the enemies will also drop armor upgrades, adding one to the current class’ total health per pick up after a mission is completed, and health kits to heal up in battle.
Outside of the enjoyable, albeit slightly repetitive, single player mode Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space also offers a couple of multiplayer options. Players will be able to take part in highly enjoyable co-op missions with up to four players at once and also fight against one another if you feel like testing your skills against other members of the EDF.
Visuals & Audio
Being released on the PlayStation Vita a number of the enemy models appear to have been given a revamp over the original release, creating smoother and far better looking enemy models to face off against. This, plus the fact that the various mission stages have a decent amount of variety, help keep things feeling fresh, especially since various objects in the environment, such as buildings and foliage, often will get destroyed while fighting against enemies.
That being said, there are some issues when it comes to how Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space looks. It is still fairly evident that this game originated as a PlayStation 2 title as many textures are rather rough looking and, especially while playing as the more agile Pale Wing, the draw distance and pop-in rates suffer greatly.
The soundtrack found in the title is fitting for the series’ nature and it is worth noting that XSEED Games has provided a complete English dub for the title, which works wonders for describing the flow of battle since the cries of civilians and other soldiers reporting in or discussing your feats on previous battlefields help keep battles from becoming entirely monotonous, though if you happen to die while there is some dialogue playing, it won’t allow you to restart until the characters are done talking.
Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space offers all of the campy fun that the series has become known for in a trimmed package that allows players to drop into bite-size missions while on the go and take down numerous enemies with the title’s easy to learn combat system. Offering plenty of replay value to unlock equipment and try out the classes as well as some online modes to stretch things out, this remake on the Vita is a great fit despite its flaws. Fans will find that this title still contains everything they love while even newcomers may want to take a chance at this smaller release.
Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.