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Earth Defense Force 2017 – Review

Brad Gallaway's picture

Earth Defense Force 2017 Art 

I am supremely disappointed in Sandlot.

When I played Robot Alchemic Drive on the PS2, I thought it was sheer genius. The game's giant transforming robots left cities in rubble and their enormous sense of scale completely won me over. I had nothing but praise for that title, and I earmarked the house as a developer to watch for. When I heard that they were behind Earth Defense Force 2017, I was ecstatic.

Now that I've played it, I'm tearing up my Sandlot fanclub card and crossing them off my favorites list. An overpriced, underproduced piece of junk, I'd feel pretty sketchy paying $20 for EDF2017. The fact that it's actually retailing for $40 is brass-balled robbery.

In Earth Defense Force 2017, aliens arrive on earth and they're completely hostile, natch. Featuring an array of super-sized enemies like spiders as big as houses, 50-foot tall robots and giant dinosaurs with cannons mounted on their backs, players hit the streets for some extremely basic third-person shooting on the road to reclaiming earth for humanity.

Earth Defense Force 2017 Screenshot

On paper this seems like a fantastic idea—at least from a sci-fi enthusiast perspective. I mean, blasting hordes of ants crawling across a skyline like one of Uncle Milton's farms gone wrong seems like can't-miss quality entertainment, and who doesn't like giant mechanoids spewing lasers? I sure do. In practice, Earth Defense Force 2017 is a stunning display of cheap production values, poor planning, and grinding repetition. In fact, the only qualities that EDF has in common with RAD are its sense of scale and the way buildings collapse into huge, chunky polygons.

Technically, EDF is a joke. The graphics are pitifully underdetailed, the collision between objects is nonexistent, and the physics make absolutely no sense at all. It's clear that realism is not a quality the game is shooting for, but it doesn't even meet the minimum standards that most would reasonably expect, especially on the 360.

I burst out laughing when a skyscraper came tumbling down after being hit by a single rocket, but not in a good way. Meanwhile, nearly infinite swarms of bugs and thick mobs of robots clustered together so tightly that they clipped over and into each other, blocking off all view of anything except more bugs and robots.

Earth Defense Force 2017 Screenshot

After playing the first handful of levels, the game had no surprises left to offer. Open, non-interactive (unless you count demolishing buildings) and bland areas host plague-like numbers of enemies that exist solely to be mowed down, without even the barest hint of artificial intelligence. There are some rudimentary power-ups to be collected in an effort to survive the massive onslaughts of later levels, but I hardly see the point. I can't imagine any players sticking around for 53 missions' worth of mindless blasting when they're all carbon copies of the first.

Run, shoot. Shoot, run. EDF tosses in a few ill-conceived vehicles, each controlling like a differently-shaped brick and doing little except to get the player killed even faster. I could maybe see this being entertaining for a single afternoon with a co-op partner aboard, but the game doesn't even support multiplayer over Live—unbelievably, the only multi option is single-console splitscreen. Cue vomiting.

A bad play structure, no complexity or true feeling of progression, no bells or whistles, no unique ideas, outdated multiplayer—even the achievements are junk. (One for completing the game on each difficulty level, and one for collecting all the weapons. Who's going to sit through this garbage long enough to finish it even once, let alone multiple times?) I could go on and on, but why bother? This is the worst 360 game I think I've ever played with nothing to redeem it. Earth Defense Force 2017 can't even stack up against the recent Burger King games, and those were little better than minigames on a disc coming in at four dollars each. The only possible future I see for Earth Defense Force 2017 is gaining the notoriety as one of those "so bad it's good" games, but don't be fool yourself—it's just bad.Rating: 3.5 out of 10

Category Tags
Platform(s): Xbox 360  
Developer(s): Sandlot  
Publisher: D3  
Genre(s): Shooting   Arcade  
ESRB Rating: Teen (13+)  
Articles: Game Reviews  

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What a Shame

Wow, that's just too bad. While I was doing the screenshots for this game, I thought it looked like such a fun and crazy concept. With such good pedigree in the developers, its truly disappointing. Did anyone else play this one yet? Do you agree with Brad?

I disagree

Ok, so its graphically uninspiring and repetitive but a game doesn't have to do masses of techincal effects to be good.

This game harks back to when games were more simple and a lot more fun. No complicated missions, no time trial game modes, no puzzles, just leave-your-brain-at-the-door shooting the crap out of anything which movs.

Way too harsh review

EDF is far from a great game, but it is a good one -- and there are a few elements in it that ARE indeed great.

Comparing it to a b.s. corporate marketing tool from Murder King is terribly unfair. If you're going for laughs or shock value, fine, but you better turn in your gamer card if you truly believe that. Again, EDF is no masterpice but still better than 80-90% of the crap many studios produce.

Or maybe you just don't like killing things. Go play your Wii and leave hardcore games for the, uh, hardcore.

When i wrote the review, i

When i wrote the review, i knew that there were going to be players out there who disagreed-- no problem, i totally respect your opinions.

however, i do think that most people are far too lenient on the game. it's very shoddily constructed, and simply "shooting lots of things" is hardly a winning game formula. in fact, it's probably the most basic concept that exists in videogames...

simply being able to shoot things isn't significant enough to be a selling point, IMO... especially when so many other aspects that make a good game *should* be there, but are totally absent.

Not significant enough? Really?

Not that I'm going to deny that Earth Defense Force 2017 is the most simplistic of concepts drawn out to insane lengths, or even that most of your complaints are completely unfounded (the game is none-too-attractive, vechichles are awful, and the game, much like its $40 "budget-priced" brethren Rockstar Table Tennis, is pretty low on content for the asking price), I feel like you're missing the point, Brad. As I see it, the game is very much a throwback (not to speak of the rest of the Simple series) to a sect of shooters that has all but gone the way of character-based music games: fast-paced arcade (or arcade-style) shooters such as MDK2, Spawn: In the Demon's Hand, and GUNVALKYRIE; games where the point was to give you copious amounts of firepower, place you up against a ridiculous number of enemies, and shout "SHOOT 'EM ALL! SHOOT 'EM ALL! GO FOR THE HIGH SCORE!!" Of course, you could make a compelling argument against this kind of games, which, with games like Halo and Timesplitters proving that you can make a console FPS comparible to one on PC, and third-person-shooters trading their DOOM and arcade-based roots in favor of FPS-level complexity, is probably why the genre essentially died with Dreamcast. Perhaps this isn't the type of game you're looking for, but as a fan of this genre (as well as someone who has probably logged more hours in Outtrigger than Halo and Halo 2 combined), I'm all for it. Besides, there's no way you can tell me that going insane with an acid gun while you're attacked by juice-shooting ants on all sides or barely leaping out of the way of a laser blast from a giant robot as you reload your rocket launcher isn't totally awesome.

I suggest you turn your brain off, go with the flow, and let yourself get into the madness next time, Brad; you're seriously expecting way too much.

Another point

I wrote the previous before reading your (rather vicious) consumer guide. From reading that, it seems to me (and I'm fully willing to eat crow if I'm wrong) that the problem is that you just don't like arcade-style shooters, since your major complaints (bland, repetetive, crude, etc.) could be said about every single arcade-style shooter, the ones I've listed included (aside from the artless comment; that just strikes me as, once again, missing the point). Granted, whereas most arcade-style shooters (redundant much?) are expertly designed and fine-tuned, EDF is, admittedly, a bit on the loose side, yet it doesn't really change the fact that it seems to me like your review of EDF is more of a criticism of the genre than the game itself.

Hi John, and thanks for your

Hi John, and thanks for your comments.

If you'll go back in the archives and look at the games i've covered since 2000, you'll see that i'm actually a fan of shooters and action-oriented games... i'm not critiquing the genre or against it at all.

in the case of EDF, it's a full-priced game for what was (IIRC) a bargain-priced release in Japan. like i mentoned in the review, $20? maybe.. $40 is outrageous for something that's so untuned, simplistic and unrefined.

shooting big bugs is great, but shooting big bugs when the bugs are clipping into each other and i can't see what's on the screen while the camera swings upwards and, oh wait, am i in the water? i think so.. maybe not... yes, i am in the water and what the hell's going on, and i brought the wrong weapon so i guess i have to restart the level anyway...

that's not a game i can get behind. ; )

This is the worst review

This is the worst review I've ever read. Seriously. You either know nothing about games or you just hate fun. Technically this game is a triumph and the gameplay is pure fun. Not the sort of fun you seem to be after but that kind of pick up and play fun that you don't tend to see these days, at least not since the Dreamcast died.

Ignore the above review. It's idiotic in the extreme.

Heh, well it seems clear

Heh, well it seems clear that EDF2017 has its fans... for you folks who loved it, make sure you check out The Red Star on PS2. it's every bit as shooty but a lot tighter and way more structured. no giant bugs or 50-story tall robots, but it's an awesome action experience. if you liked EDF, then you'll probably love Red Star.

Wow

Anonymous...harsh, much? Look, I totally agree that I feel like Brad missed the point with his review of EDF, but it's not like he doesn't have actual points. The game is pretty much, for lack of a better term, a shitshow, with ugly graphics, janky design, vechicles that are almost completely useless (the tank is actually pretty damn good), and repetitious level design that if it doesn't grab you the first time, it never will. Yes, to us, the stupid fun balances it out (not to mention the crazy stories I've had with this game), but it's not like these problems don't exist, and he doesn't like the game because of them, it's his business.

Besides, you're treating the review like he doesn't back up his points. While I disagree with him, he does completely back up his arguments. So in other words, ignore Anonymous' coment. It's idiotic to the extreme.

Absurd Review

This game is a classic, and the complaints raised in this article are total rubbish.

The graphics and sound are, yes, sub-par. But the game was made on a shoestring budget, mind you, for a Japanese audience, and by people who strived to make a game they wanted to play. This aspect shines through perfectly. It feels like you're a character in a B-rate sci-fi film, from the way the characters move jerkily, to the way the voices are all overacted, to the sheer scale of the alien forces massed against you. And seriously, with that many things onscreen at once, slowdown is a good thing. No, it's a godsend. Ask any shmup fan.

Destructable buildings, again, are a staple of games like this. RAD had buildings that collapsed the same way, the only difference being the size of the weapon you used to destroy them. Also, if a building can be destroyed, it means the environment can be interacted with - otherwise, the building would just stand there and develop a pretty pockmark.

Gameplay is extremely basic - kill waves of enemies and come through with at least a single point of life. But because this is so simple, the game can through any number of things at you at any given time, and you have all the information needed to prevail. It comes down to three things - gamer skill, weapon selection, and the length of your life bar.

The game does have progression - in later stages, you fight unique enemies, large enemies, larger swarms, and in higher difficulties, they're smarter, attack faster and more often, and have more health. What the game lacks in diversity it thus makes up for in focus.

The vehicles are hard to learn, but also very fun once you get the hang of them. Besides, they're never necessary, so you don't have to wrestle with the controls unless you want to.

Honestly, it seemed like this reviewer wanted some entirely different game, and felt free to punish EDF2017 for failing to meet his expectations. This isn't the next blockbuster Halo epic, this is a mindless romp through a destructable city. This is Metal Slug in 3D. This is DoDonPachi on foot. This is twitch gaming at its finest, where the plot and the polygons have a nap in the backseat while the challenge, gameplay, and explosions drive the car.

Have a look at nearly any other gaming site to see how the reviews stack up. Just don't read the review here unless you already knew you weren't buying the game and wanted someone to validate your position.

Additional Note

The game, by the way, is NOT full price - a quick check will remind you that all 360 and PS3 games come with a $60 price tag. It IS a budget title.

No hard feelings, Brad - you just seemed to totally miss the point with this one. Cheers.

Everybody's got an opinion

Everybody's got an opinion and it's pretty clear that you like the game... not going to debate you on that one, but i will say that even though $40 may be "budget" compared to the overpriced $60 MSRP attached to most of the other 360 games, it's still ludicrously high for EDF. the quality of the game is just not there, and i think i would have been at least a little more forgiving if it didn't cost as much. i completely sympathize with developers on a shoestring... i champion them on this site all the time. however, the fact is that the publisher should have taken an honest look at the product and position-priced it accordingly.

NO

This is one of my favorite games so far this year. All the negatives he says are true, but none of them make the game any less fun.

8.5/10 from me.

I disagree

I couldn't disagree with this review more. EDF is rough around the edges, it is simple, it is just a shooter. But when it's as magnificently fun and hectic as this game is, you'd need to be dead inside not to enjoy the ride. This is the kind of game that puts a smile on your face and if you can get a friend around to play co-op then there's not much more fun to be had anywhere.

Best 360 game by far

Up until recently the only game I had played on the 360 for more than a few hours was geometry wars but Earth Defense Force is by far the most fun I have had with my 360. Single player or Co-op this game is great. The reviewer is a complete tard. I don't know how anyone could possibly say its the worst game on the 360. People now a days are too hung up on if it doesn't look as good as gears of war then its crap. This game may have crappy animations and simple graphics but I'd take this game over gears any day of the week.

actually i found this to be

actually i found this to be a pretty sweet and innovative game

To everyone who's enamored

To everyone who's enamored with EDF, check out my Lost Planet review coming soon. if you like EDF's action, you'll *love* Lost Planet's.

You clearly loaded up the

You clearly loaded up the game, selected Easy as your difficulty, and got bored within 10 minutes. Guess what, that's the same for any console game. Try the game on Hard, Hardest, or Inferno, then let me know if you still think it's a mindless killing game filled with grind. $5 says you can't beat the first 10 levels on Hard. I find it laughable you are reviewing games, expecting advanced AI and needing to invent strategies on the fly ... all on Easy mode?

I find it laughable that

I find it laughable that this wretched game has so many vocal defenders... but six of one, half dozen of the other. ; )

Retort

Well, I must say you were a Little harsh. I admit the game has wretched physics and collisions. However, the game all-round provides hours of stupid fun. I myself was a fan of the Robot Alchemic Drive. And when I first played EDF, I noticed the similarity in style of action, certain mechanics, and sound effects. You cant make much of a comparison to RAD and EDF, as out of my group of friends they loathed RAD and found it impossible to play but Loved EDF and its simplicity. So it really is a matter of to each their own. I feel with this game you are either going to love it or hate it. The wide variety of weapon variations is something that hasnt been used in God knows how long, and really with the sort of game it is. Has some of the best graphics one could ask for. RAD wasnt anything too spectacular for the PS2, but I found it fun. The voice acting in both RAD and EDF is horrible. As Ive heard others say its sort of like a B-Movie you can play. Which in its own right earns humor and entertainment. I agree also that the multiplayer is entirely Crap. But then again the RAD one wasnt that marvelous either. Sandlot and their style of things has a tendancy to ride towards agonizingly long games with poor multiplayers. However EDF in this sense has not much of an excuse for being a Next Gen title. This is easily the cheapest 360 game out there however. I payed $31.17 at a store the day it came out. Where-as any other 360 games are going to cost you twice that. You could have cut the game a little more slack. I would think personally youd enjoy the game a bit more if you enjoyed RAD, RAD was long and terribly repetative. The only unique thing about it was the gameplay and controls. The rest, much like EDF, is similar to a bad anime in story and concept. This game can atleast give you impossibly difficult tasks to frustrate and haunt you. Anyway to close this up. A good review, just a tad harsh.

This game rules.

Man I got this game because me and my little brother wanted a multi-player to play because Call of Duty 4 wasn't in and there really weren't any other good multi-player games in. We began playing it and got hooked despite its graphics and its obvious lack of gameplay variety. I was shocked by the amount of space there is to move in the stage even more so on the beach. Co-op is awesome and the only way to beat Hardest and Inferno earlier on. The AI's get really smart on Inferno so much so they blocked me off a strategy that had worked on Hardest and killed me. I admit the vehicles seems chunky at first but get easier as you use them but reticles on them would be nice you really can't tell where you are firing. The only one I don't like with the vehicles is the bike because you get on, get going, blow up thats pretty much all it does save for fire. Killing the creatures is just fun and never seems to get tiring unless you do a level of hard and its really long on solo, then you might want to take a break because that gets to be exhausting.

Overall it wasn't what I expected so it gets a 8/10 from me. Thats what I think.

harsh

I'd like to say that, yes, this is a bad game. By most every standard in the industry this is a bad game. But the standard of fun is subjective. Naturally, Brad would be doing a disservice to his profession if he said this was a good title. Obviously he didn't find it personally amusing. But this game is fun. One of the most fun games i have ever played. I love it for the same reason i love Shadow of the Colosus. I love the cheezy voice acting way too much. And i think it looks damn good because i still compare games to Nintendo 64 graphics (to do otherwise would seem ungrateful). Keep in mind what i said earlier. It's the most fun shitty game i've seen. Not in the "so bad it's good" way. But in the "I don't care what the people say, this game is fun to me, and to deny myself this experience because most professional critics say it's bad would be a terrible way for me to not only make decisions but to live my life" kind of way.

EDF worst 360 game ever?

Did you really play this game? You say no one would waste there time playing this game, but me and my friend have spent at least 60 hours playing this game and it is still not old. Sure the graphics suck, the animation is awkward, a the dialogue is a bunch of crappy lines, but it is one the funnest games ever made. Say you take Call of Duty and take away the graphics, story, multiplayer, and all those other things. Would you say that was the worst game for 360. Pick the game up again and play it for real. Don't hate on a game because it is not next gen graphics.

In my opinion, EDF is one of the greatest 360 games made.

Defending Defense Force

I completly disagree with him. I think it is one of the better games for 360. I have spent at least 60 hours on in. That is more than most games i play and i am still having fun with it

Brad, Picked this game up

Brad,

Picked this game up after reading Dan's article comparing this with Halo 3, and I agree with many of your points: the graphics are atrocious, the physics are laughable, the clipping problems are constant. And, of course, the vehicles are essentially useless. But, never once did I find it repetitive. There's something about shooting down a giant mechanized Godzilla, or whatever that thing is called, that never got old for me. And look, there's green ants AND red ants to shoot! Haha. EDF really feels like a 3D version of Smash TV to me. The game just reminds me of the early 90s when technology forced a game to play to its lone strength, whether it be platforming, exploration, or plain old shooting. But I'll also say that I never would have paid more than the $20 than I did for it.

It seems to me like he

It seems to me like he played this game expecting a new, ground-breaking action title. He wasn't the only one puzzled by such an archaic game on a next gen system back when it game out. But EDF is content to be an old-school arcade style shooter and its among the best of that type of game. That's what makes the game so wonderful to many of us more retro-style gamers. If it strived for realism or had accurate physics and a real story it would just be another generic third person shooter and I wouldn't enjoy it much.

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