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PlayStation Vita  header logo

Earth Defense Force 2: Invasion from Planet Space - Bugs, bugs, and some framerate issues


For: PS Vita

Shoot a nuke down a bug hole, you got a lot of dead bugs

Product: Earth Defense Force Portable V2 | Publisher: D3Publisher of America | Format: PS Vita | Genre: Action | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Earth Defense Force Portable V2 PS Vita, thumbnail 1
Earth Defense Force 2: Invasion from Planet Space is an homage to over-the-top giant monster movies.

It's a game that has garnered a devoted cult following, with a campy and ridiculous mentality that capitalizes on the absurd, delivering a fundamentally enjoyable 3rd person shooter experience.

Whether it's giant spiders or flying saucers, EDF 2 manages to give Vita owners something to sink their teeth into, if only for a short time.

The gameplay suffers slightly in a few key moments though, and the missions often leave a lingering aftertaste of repetition.

Virtually no plot, and that's actually a good thing

The first thing that you'll notice about the plot of EDF 2 is that there really isn't one. The basic premise is that you're a soldier dedicated to two things - saving the world and blasting aliens.

The non-existent plot actually accentuates this general purpose by eliminating extraneous fluff from the core gameplay. In fact, what plot there is acts merely as a frame to view the unspeakable alien carnage your character has wrought.

And while people who are looking for a substantial storyline with character development will be sorely disappointed, if what you want is an enjoyable way to spend 20 minutes on a commute, EDF 2 is your game.

Visuals are smooth and polished, but far from dazzling. The controls have translated well to the Vita, offering crisp character and reticule control, with the option of incorporating the rear touch pad and touch screen.

Of the several features that were added in this remaster, one of the most enjoyable is the English dub.

The cast makes sure to deliver each hammy line with absolute sincerity, bringing to mind movies like Starship Troopers with the charming-yet-contrived dialogue.

Bugs of a different kind

EDF 2 is broken down into bite sized-missions. These range from a few action packed minutes to 20 minutes of unrelenting onslaught. You have the option to choose a different class -Infantry, Pale Wing, and Air Raider.

Infantry is your reliable jack-of-all trades, with a generic arsenal that can get you through any mission. Pale Wings take to the sky and require a little more finesse and strategy.

And, along with the new dub, the Vita version adds a new class of character, known as the Air Raider.

This new class specialises in tactical combat and powerful explosive weaponry. It's especially useful when backing up others in multiplayer mode, but it can feel a little slow in some of the faster paced missions.

With these three classes and over 70 missions, along with a detailed and varied arsenal, there's no shortage of possible in-game combinations. But as enjoyable as that variety is, EDF 2 suffers from a few technical difficulties.

One of the major appeals of the game is the idea of tackling hordes of monsters and emerging victorious on the other side. However, in an attempt to achieve this sort of epic magnitude, the frame rate understandably suffers.

It turns out you can only torch so many bugs with a flamethrower before the visuals start to get choppy. This, combined with the rag doll physics of dead enemies blocking your movement as well as your firing line, creates a frustrating dynamic that feels like forcing your way through treacle.

While EDF 2 is fun to play, don't expect anything to really change or evolve during the course of the game. What changes is the scope and magnitude of the gameplay, rather than the basic formula.

Bugs get new abilities and more formidable stats, and alien robots get better aim and more health. This keeps the level of difficulty progressing at a manageable pace.

But it all boils down to the simple idea of shoot, dodge, and reload. Tactics usually bow out to superior firepower, but the adventurous player can work all sorts of weapon combinations to create their own personal challenges.

Despite the technical shortcomings and the somewhat dated visuals, it's easy to see why this series has gathered the following it has.

It can be easy to focus on any one particular flaw of EDF 2, but as a whole the game is fun and engaging. It sticks to its guns and works the one angle it does best.

The game will become repetitive after longer play sessions, but it may have found a perfect home on the Vita. EDF 2 won't win any awards, but it will win you over if you give it some time.
 
Earth Defense Force 2: Invasion from Planet Space - Bugs, bugs, and some framerate issues
Reviewer photo
Tom Farndon | 9 December 2015
It's a little buggy, and a little repetitive, but if you put the time in you'll find a bombastic game that fits nicely onto the Vita
 
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