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Games Time Forgot: Earth Defense Force 2017

3:04 PM on 06.17.2008 // Colette Bennett

 
Before I begin here, I have to preface this Games Time Forgot with a warning -- if you go pick this game up thinking that you are going to find a diamond in the rough when it comes to quality, this is not your game. The voice-overs are terrible, occasionally even cringe-worthy (although they certainly aren't Chaos Wars bad -- that's a whole new level of wretched), and the graphics are simplistic ... certainly nothing to write home about when it comes to looks.
 
Why, despite such major detractions, is this game so incredibly fun to play, then, leaving me laughing my ass off and determined to advance as far in it as I can?
 
Hit the jump, where I'll explain (from a very different standpoint than the usual drivel I'm always spouting) why a great story isn't always what makes a great game.
 

Story:

You play a soldier who is a member of a paramilitary group called Earth Defense Force, in a most distressing predicament -- you are fighting the Ravagers, a hostile extraterrestrial race hellbent on wiping humanity off the face of the earth. Frankly, there's nothing unique about it, and as I said before, this game's strength is not about the story. The fun begins in two major parts of the game -- the moment you see the Ravagers for the first time, and the moment you get your hands on a weapon and realize you can actually blow up buildings.

Gameplay:

The game allows you to play single-player or co-op and presents you with five levels of difficulty. The higher the difficulty level you play on, the better the weapons drops, which definitely challenges you to learn and replay the levels. A basic level will drop you and your team on the map with a few moments to prepare until you get hit with an onslaught of massive alien creatures. The key to what makes it so much fun is the scale -- first giant ants, then spitting spiders and eventually giant robots come after you. It feels like an invasion movie from the fifties without intending to, and you find yourself actually mumbling "holy shit!" as you try to get out of the way.

As long as the world is being invaded, you may as well enjoy what pleasures you have left, and in Earth Defense Force 2017, that pleasure is heavy weaponry. The game has over 150 weapons, not to mention the tanks, speeder bikes, helicopters and mechs you gain access to in certain levels. As for the weapons themselves, you can wield machine guns, rocket launchers and grenade launchers, some of which can do obscene amounts of damage, as evidenced by the video at the top of the article. If you get antsy (BAD PUN), feel free to target your enviroment to amuse yourself, as all structures around you are fully destructible.

Earth Defense Force 2017 is actually a follow-up to the PlayStation 2 title Global Defence Force (also known as Earth Defense Force, or published as Chikyū Bōeigun 2 in Japan). Some reviewers thought the original title was far better than the sequel, as it features more missions and double the weapons, but since these were budget games to begin with, the original got very little US attention. I can't speak on its quality just yet, but as soon as I track a copy down I have a feeling I'll be ranting about the fun of it all over again.

Why you're probably not playing it:

Simply put, the game looks like a generic piece of shit at a glance. It's 20 bucks full price, and it blends flawlessly with a lot of third-party shit that came out for the 360 around the same time period. I watched a friend buying it and was a little befuddled about why he was spending his money on it until I was blasting ants and scrambling to avoid my own demise a few hours later.

For a gamer as obsessed with solid storylines in my games of choice, I was impressed that I could have such a blast with a game that had a fairly inconsequential one. Of course, sometimes you just need to blow shit up, and Earth Defense Force 2017 fills that need to perfection. If that sounds like a great night after work to you, you should definitely consider picking this one up.

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Colette Bennett,
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