Having recently reviewed Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair for PS4, I’m back to splat more giant insects in Earth Defense Force 2: Invader from Planet Space for Vita.
Story-wise it’s very thin on the ground with all you need to know more or less being written in the title with invaders from outer space coming to invade Earth and, guess what, it’s up to the Earth Defense Force to rid this massive threat. This is essentially the entirety of the story as humanity fights to survive and win their home planet back, and there’s zero character development either. Anybody looking for a story-driven game will not find it here but at this point I don’t think anybody is looking for that – they’re looking for fun action available in both single player and co-op which is provided in abundance in Earth Defense Force 2.
Admittedly, I prefer the PS4 game as its mechanics are better overall, but I can’t deny that I enjoyed Earth Defense Force 2 on Vita. It’s simple to play and provides a great handheld experience, with it more or less reflecting what its PS4 sibling does. You can pick a class and weaponry before each mission along with a difficulty, and then you’re deployed to slay various massive insects – it plays out quite similarly too, down to when new enemies and environments pop up. Regardless, there’s a lot of fun to be had here especially with its 4 player co-op, but it faces the familiar issue of becoming repetitive with its abundance of missions – which isn’t an issue itself – that see you killing dozens of enemies each time with little to mix it up.
You get to take two weapons into battle, which vary from short, mid and long range laser weapons and missiles, and ones that can destroy several enemies at once with a larger blast radius. You reload with square and fire with R, change weapons with circle and activate your classes special ability with L – I played as Wing Diver so I would find myself flying around when pressing L. It’s an incredibly easy game to play although the game itself can ramp up difficulty, although it prefers to ramp up enemy numbers rather than genuine difficulty, and once you’ve played a few missions you’ve more or less experienced it all. It does a good job in bringing you back for more, but I found it hard to spend long periods of time on.
Visually it’s not bad but there are a few issues I have with it, notably how things in the not so far distance look blurred and the character animations can be slip and sliding all over the place! As a Wing Diver, I’d hit the floor and be running at an unnatural angle before regaining their normal composure. The environments are pretty bland with mostly grey skies and a few buildings (the Big Ben is pretty cool, though) and greenery around to provide most of the environmental nature. The game manages to run smoothly despite all of the on-screen action and it has little slowdown, but it’s hard to deny that visually this isn’t going to blow anyone away.
Audio does very little to, well, do anything really. There’s little music, little voice-acting (although it has been dubbed in English) and the sound effects and voiced lines are repetitive and reused several times per mission. What’s there is decent, bar the music which is almost non-existent and would have helped considering how repetitive the missions quickly become, but hearing the same things over and over again becomes grating and reminds me how low budget this game really is.
Earth Defense Force 2 is fun, it really is, but that fun will wear off quickly if you’re playing alone, and even with a group of friends I find it hard to imagine that each of you will be able to continue playing for long periods of time without a few breaks. It’s hard to recommend but I think it’s worth giving a go when it goes on sale, but as a full priced game I’m not seeing the price reflected in the content. It’s far from a must own on Vita, and I think I’ve had my fill of Earth Defense Force for a while.