Review: Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space (PlayStation Vita)
- Release Date (NA): December 8, 2015
- Release Date (EU): February 12, 2016
- Release Date (JP): December 11, 2014
- Publisher: PQube
- Developer: Sandlot
- Genres: Action
- ESRB Rating: Teen
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space is an enhanced port of Global Defense Force (Earth Defense Force 2 in Japan) released for the Playstation 2 in Europe in 2007 but was never localized in the US. This was changed almost a decade later as it was recently released for Sony’s handheld in all regions. This port features enhanced visuals, a new playable class (Air Raider) and an online multiplayer mode.
Mission 1: Nightmare in England... or Gamer’s Nightmare?
Following in the tracks of the series, EDF 2 plays simply while aiming to be fun. It does not focus much on narratives and plot-lines. You jump straight into the gist of things. Indeed, the very first mission "Nightmare in England” could very well be a nightmare for those playing the series for the first time.
You start off by choosing your desired faction from the 3 available: Infantry (EDF ground force), Pale Wing (jetpack-equipped, best for aerial attacks) and Air Raider (drivers and pilots, mostly as support class; worst for solo missions). Each faction has its own dedicated weapons inventory which expands as you progress through the game. Choose your mission and the difficulty level (you have the choice of Easy, Normal, Hard, Hardest and Inferno) and if you’re a first-timer, it typically plays as follows:
With very little information and no tutorial, you find your unit (more like one-man army) in the streets of London surrounded by giant ants threatening the whole city! You hear voices from somewhere telling you to secure the citizens and kill the Buggernauts. Amidst all the confusion you fumble around with the controls and manage to understand how to look around, switch weapons, aim and shoot. As you look around you see 2 vehicles at your disposal, a tank and a speeder bike, which could prove to be helpful to exterminate the giant insects. After further control fumbling, you discover that you can enter/exit the vehiclesby pressing Select. Now you just have to try to adapt to their horrible control and aim while escaping from the menacing oversized ants. Better leave and continue on foot!
This like-it-or-hate-it approach to starting the game does not necessarily serve as a good first impression. However you'll eventually manage to get a hang of the controls, and really the premise is simple: Wipe the map from all invaders.
Mission 2: Chaos in London
Although the game allows you to roam freely à la open world in the beautifully recreated London (and all other cities featured in the game), it’s not to take photographs of the picturesque landscape. More and more of the alien insects are rampaging around the city and citizens are running all over the place, fleeing for their lives which you have to secure! But some elements don't exactly seem to be right.
We don’t have to be "Einstens" to notice that the game physics is kind of off. For instance, you can: bring down whole buildings by firing just under them; jump from a skyscraper and land unscratched; touch civilians with your tank and they will fly metres away... Oh, and did I mention that you can wipe out the Londonian landscape from Big Ben and company with 2 tank rounds, while you walk in the Thames without ever drowning. Best yet, trees explode in the same way buildings do, and Michael Bay isn’t even in the credits!
Sounds ridiculous yeah, but EDF 2 does not care. It never has. These “inconsistencies” might actually help you get a better footing at fending off the aliens. Rather than focusing on realism, the game feels like it's almost made bad on purpose, just for the kicks. How likely are you to find giant bugs, flying saucers and kaijus rampaging around anyway?
Mission 3: Spreading Disaster
Well, if you think I’m making up those titles, then I have to tell you that I’m not! However they coincidentally fit with the game’s breakdown. Let’s get back to it!
Holding true to the series, EDF 2 wants you to replay the whole game if you wish to get stronger. As you beat a mission, you unlock more powerful weapons which will allow you to take on harder levels. In short, there’s no way to begin the game on Inferno difficulty, no matter how badass you are. You have to start at least from Normal and make your way up as you strengthen each faction so they can tackle every difficulty modes. Whether you are a completionist or just want to get stronger, this will undoubtedly give you hours and hours of play.
If you're planning to replay this game, you can't help but complain about one feature: the poor voice acting. There are around 3 people whose voices you can hear over what appears to be radio communication and who try to make sense of the whole situation for you. They vary their intonation to pass on information, maintain a sense of apocalypse or praise you when appropriate. Agreed, narration is not the main focus of the game but if you have to play it over and over again to increase your artillery count, they will become unbearable in the long run.
Mission 4: Multiplayer Mode a.k.a Fun Mode (not an actual mission name)
If the game’s contents didn’t appeal to you so far, this one surely will. In Multiplayer mode, you can choose between Online or Ad Hoc, both including Co-Op and Rumble modes, and play with up to 3 other gamers. Your progress from the offline missions are shared, so the more you’ve progressed and the more weapons you’ve unlocked, the more useful you’ll be to your comrades in Co-Op.
While Co-Op allows you to take on the offline missions with the help of other EDF 2 gamers, Rumble is basically a versus mode. However, the game’s online community seems to have forsaken this mode in favor of Co-Op. The Rumble lobby was completely empty every time I visited.
Poor voice acting, questionable game physics and weird controls are all forgotten as you engage with others to exterminate the Buggernauts for some stupid fun. This is the game's strongest point, as it has generally been with the series. You can even communicate with the others using the preset messages and some of them will even prompt a vocal output! EDF! EDF!
+ Fun multiplayer mode
+ Highly replayable
+ Additional features from original PS2 release
- Poor game physics
- Poor voice acting
- Poor controls of vehicles
- Bland overall presentation
The game looks and feels like a B-moive. The menus look bland, the graphics are not the best and the voice acting is almost a pain for the ears. However this is no movie and given that it is an "enhanced port", it could have done better. It's hard to tell if it was deliberately left so or not.
Although not intuitive, you eventually get to know the controls. However, the flawed controls for the additional vehicles make them practically unusable. and the Vita's touch controls does not make anything easier.
EDF 2 will definitely get you playing for hours on, provided that you can bear with the voice acting. But the multiplayer mode will definitely get you hooked regardless of the game's cons.
out of 10
(not an average)
As frustrating as the game gets at the beginning, it sort of grows on you. Give it some time and you'll get to accept its flaws. The multiplayer mode is definitely its forte and might be the only reason you'll need to play this game. However you cannot ignore its weaknesses altogether. Clunky physics, redundant voice acting and an overall poor presentation cannot be overseen for a game that has been remastered almost a decade later.