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COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: 'Earth Defense Force 2025' PS3 Review

Created: 02/27/2014 8:46 AM KSTP.com
By: Aaron Chalich

This past week I got an email from D3Publisher with a review code for their latest game “Earth Defense Force 2025” for the PS3.

I really didn’t know what to expect, but I thought that the game looked very interesting.  On the cover of the box, it shows a bunch of futuristic looking soldiers that are fighting a bunch of giant insects.

I downloaded the game, and I had a great time playing it.

In “Earth Defense Force 2025,” you play a soldier who is trying to protect the world from an invasion of giant alien insects called “Ravagers.”

The story is pretty simple, but the gameplay is awesome and very exciting.

When you first start playing, you can choose to play a single player game, an online game (four players work together to accomplish missions) or a versus game (two players play with a split screen and fight each other).

Once you choose the game mode you want to play, you can choose one of four classes which include a ranger, wing diver, air raider or fencer.  The ranger is a typical soldier, the wing diver can fly and uses wing energy for their attacks, the air raiders are for more experienced players and they can assist other soldiers by dropping vehicles such as tanks and helicopters.  Then the fencers are heavily armored and can carry up to four weapons into battle.  I preferred to use the ranger, and I felt more comfortable fighting with him.

You can also choose which weapons your soldier will have in combat, and you can choose from hundreds of weapons.  You unlock the different weapons as you complete missions, and some of them are pretty cool and get more powerful as you complete harder levels.

One neat option is that you can view your battle history.  You can see how many hours you have played along with all kinds of different stats.

After you select your class and weapons, you can start your mission.  New missions will unlock as you complete missions.  You can also go back and replay missions that you have previously completed.  This was nice because after I played with the ranger for a while, I wanted to play as a wing diver, and I could go back to an easier level to get used to controlling the wing diver.  Plus when you play an previous level, you can unlock new weapons for each class when you complete the mission.

Before the mission starts you can choose the difficult setting and there are five different ones to choose from.  There is easy, normal, hard, hardest and inferno.  The inferno setting is insane, and I don’t know how anyone could beat the game on this setting, but I guess with a lot of experience you could do it.

The graphics are awesome, and the aliens look amazing.  There are many different types, and they all have their own unique attacks.  There are giant aliens that look like ants and some are huge spiders that spin webs.

I was very impressed with the graphics.  There are times when the entire screen is filled with aliens, soldiers, civilians, items, and the game never pauses or slows down at all. 

I was also very impressed with the audio.  While you are playing, other soldiers are talking to you through their headsets, and it sounds like you are really wearing a headset.  I also felt on edge the whole time I was playing, because the civilians were constantly screaming and yelling and made some of the situations intense.

Controlling the soldiers and learning the controls is pretty easy.  There isn’t an in-game tutorial, but you will figure things out by pushing different buttons.

You can jump, switch weapons, shoot, and each of the different classes has its own set of controls that is different.  So, like I said earlier, you will have to experiment with the controls to learn them.

I really like how smooth and quickly you can switch weapons.  As you are running and shooting with one weapon you could quickly switch to your other one by pushing “R2.”  You weapons will reload automatically or you can do it yourself by pushing “square.”  Once nice this is that you never run out of ammo, so you can just keep blasting away.

At the top right of the screen there is a radar that shows you where the soldiers (blue dots), civilians (yellow dots), and aliens are (red dots or triangles).  This is very helpful because you know where you need to go, and in order to complete a mission, you have to destroy all of the aliens in the area.  As you clear out one group of aliens, a new group will appear on the radar, and you will have to go to that area.

When I first started playing, I thought the game was very easy, because I cleared the first few levels very quickly, but after about the fourth mission, my tune changed.  The aliens were getting smarter and had stronger attacks, plus there were new aliens to fight.  I mentioned earlier that there are aliens that look like spiders and they spin webs.  You can get caught in a web, and the spiders can shoot a web at you and drag you into their web.  In order to get out of the web, you have to kill the spider.  Other aliens can also grab you and drag you off.  While they are dragging you, you can shoot them, and they will drop you once they are destroyed.

After playing single player for a while, I decided to play online.  I really like how the online lobby is set up.  You can see all of the different games that are available and what the difficulty setting is set at.  I was able to jump into a game right away.  In the online games, you play with other people, and you help each other out.  This was a lot of fun, and I played several games online.  I didn’t have any problems connecting or getting disconnected, which I thought was great.

I really enjoyed D3Publisher’s “Earth Defense Force 2025” a lot. It really thought the story was great and I loved the idea of fighting off giant alien bugs.  The graphics and audio was very impressive, and I thought the aliens looked great.  The different classes were fun to play as, and I really liked experimenting  all of the different weapons.  The multiplayer and online was a lot of fun, and I know people are really going to enjoy it as much as I did.

If you are looking for an action packed game that is a lot of fun to play, I would highly recommend that you check out “Earth Defense Force 2025.”

“Earth Defense Force 2025” is rated “M” for blood and violence.

Aaron Chalich is a KSTP.com entertainment columnist.

Photo courtesy of D3Publisher

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