Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable

PSV! PSV!

Earth Defense Force 2017 invades our favorite handheld. Is it too late?
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: January 30, 2013
It’s not exactly every day that a near-launch budget title from a competing platform makes its way over to the portable system of its arch-rival. But that is exactly what just happened with Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable from D3 and Sandlot. There is a BIT of a precedent since EDF: Insect Armageddon appeared on the PS3, but we were still a little shocked to find EDF2017 ported to the Vita. So how does this version of the campy classic hold up?


For those who haven’t been exposed to the series before, imagine if someone made a game of 50’s Sci-Fi b-movie “Them!” but they only had about 3 real ideas for the game. The very definition of a budget title (making it a bit of a downer that it’s a full price Vita game) the entire plot is that terrible aliens (mostly HUGE ants and spiders) have invaded the planet and wiped out everything but Tokyo. You have joined up with a ragtag band of soldiers to put a stop to this creepy crawly menace the only way you know how – massive firepower.

The 60 or so missions average from 5-10 minutes apiece and during that time you’ll slaughter waves upon waves of bugs and the occasional flying ship that looks kind of bug-like. Those bugs drop one of three things – health, armor (increases max health) and weapons. That’s it! This is a really simple formula that has about four things going for it:


1) There are a LOT of enemies coming at you at once. Think old-school here.
2) Everything, and I mean everything, can be blown up.
3) The scope and variety of weapons you can grab is staggering. Well over a hundred of them.
4) Co-op!

Granted, if you wanted to levy some complaints against EDF it wouldn’t be that hard. The graphics are straight out of the PS2 era, the level design is incredibly dull and repetitive, and the game doesn’t really change a whit from beginning to end. Grab a buddy and start tearing into those ants though and it will become apparent that the game is just plain zany. When you see a skyscraper little crawling with giant ants and you launch a huge homing rocket right into the center of it and the whole thing collapses with any carcasses flying everywhere and your best buddy is cheering you on along with all the computer dudes it is one of those moments we play video games for.

After you burn through the main campaign on any of the five difficulties (and know that higher difficulties lead to better weapon drops) you’ll unlock the second playable character who has an advanced jetpack that lets you fly around dealing damage from both the ground and air. There are also a few vehicle sections in which you’ll commandeer some very poorly-controlling tanks and helicopters. As you might expect from a title of this quality, they didn’t put a whole lot of effort into refining those sections and you’ll find yourself hoping to get back on the ground ASAP.

Later in the game they do throw a few new MASSIVE enemies at you. If you think the bugs themselves are huge (and they tower over individual soldiers for sure) that is nothing compared to the motherships you’ll take on in the late game that have a sense of scale that rivals God of War 3. These can be some epic battles where you (and hopefully a friend… this game really needs a co-op buddy) will take on something straight out a Godzilla movie and you unload massive munitions for a minute or more into its maw. How can you not feel giddy after that?

Not too much was added in for this port from the old 360 version other than online play (I don’t THINK that was in the original) and the bonus character for completing the game (that’s actually a nod to an earlier game in the series) so if this is a series that you’ve played to death already don’t expect anything new and exciting (other than the ability to play at Starbuck’s or your bedroom). If you like your games heavy on the polish with dynamic and changing gameplay, still stay away. If you don’t care about anything but chatting with your friends while expelling huge amounts of ordinance into the faces of poorly rendered bugs, well then shit, sign up son!
The Verdict
6.5

The biggest flaw in EDF (other than graphics and gameplay) is the pricing. Charging more for a six year old game than you did on release is a tough sell for something so clearly rooted in the "budget" category from Day 1.

5.0Graphics:

Yeah, they are pretty bad. They may actually make your eyes bleed! The models are barely textured, the building are bland and the pickups are flat 2D heavily aliased objects. It's a hot mess!

6.5Sound:

Terrible voice acting has its charms, and they are on display here. The weapons are somewhat flat sounding and the bugs are surprisingly quiet. The banal team chatter is really the only strong suit here.

8.0Control:

It is hard to find fault with something this simple. As far as I can tell, they eschewed shoehorning in unconventional controls and stuck with the basics which holds up just fine. Controlling vehicles is an exercise in frustration though.

7.0Gameplay:

Fun distilled down to its most base form. Blasting the baddies is a good time, but the repetition is a killer unless you have a co-op pal to shoot the breeze with while playing. Having other difficulties unlock new weapons give some replayability.