Earth Defence Force: Shadow of New Despair is so bad its good, Some might say that. To this I say, bah humbug!
To save our mother earth from any alien attack
from vicious giant insects who have once again come back
we’ll unleash all our forces we won’t cut them any slack
The EDF deploys!
Sure the allied AI is virtually non existent for allied soldiers. But do keep in mind that games does not really have AI. In virtually every game the CPU controlled enemies are just acting as scripted, with some decent path finding included. Sure collision detection on spiders webs was terrible, and even those have been improved greatly. (I have not been sniped through cave walls yet). As a game such as EDF has refined action gameplay down to its core. There are no quick time events, all voices and cut scenes can be disabled and any enemy attack can be dodged in some fashion. After all there is only one goal, kill all enemies and survive. The graphics are decent and does get the job done and had they been any more polished and insane, the frame rate would have been shot to hell. Which brings me to an important point, state of the art graphics does not make the game a good experience. Naturally Sandlot could have made it look like a AAA game, but then where would the 50 plus enemies go? What would happen to the huge screen shaking explosion and enough enemy attacks to blot out the heavens? Exactly they would have been non existent.
Earth Defense Force has not changed the concept since its start as a Japanese budget PS2 game. Four players have to cooperate in order to beat the alien horde. The enemy drop armor, health and weapons, which unlock new gear and increase the maximum health. Some of these weapons are insane and totally outlandish. There are 4 classes, Ranger, he can run fast, roll and uses more conventional weapons. The Wingdiver, a girl with big boobs and a jetpack, that uses plasma weaponry. The air raider, whom uses a lot of support weaponry, can field airstrikes and vehicles. Lastly there is the fencer, he is heavily armored, moves slowly, can counter almost anything while carrying big guns.
There are several new additions to the armory as well, such as a 50 meter tall mecha, that can punch things hard. An APC ambulance and more enemies on the map than ever. Naturally the developers have also included steam achievements, those are very important indeed. Replayability comes from completing all the levels, with all classes, om every stage and collecting the 800 plus weapons that comes from random drops.
One of the most negative things sandlot decided to do with earth defense force, is to put a weapon and armor level cap on the various difficulties. Eventually cap will be lifted but, that requires a lot of playing, which means that some grinding is needed. Keep in mind, this will only make things easier, it is not a prerequisite for completing the game. Vehicles also handle a lot better and the wingdiver can now use vehicle turrets. The voices and the music in the game is decent and can be switched from English to Japanese as one see fit. Those mostly braindead npc troopers that’s on the map will also react to some of the commands and words said on the chat wheel. Get used to hearing EDF!, EDF! a lot.
Helicopters still need a lot of work done. Not entirely sure, why developers have such a hard time with this. The simple solution is to have the helicopter hoover at current height, until you either descend or ascend. The air raider can now summon a wall crawling mecha in caves that summons instantly as well, but it moves like a spider, a very, very, extremely slow spider indeed.
In all of this brutal murder, where you will die a lot, there is also a B move story about an alien invasion and how Earth Defense force was made in order to best them. EDF does not even try to hide the cheesiness of it all, it is embraces it fully. Unfortunately I can’t recommend this game for anyone, even if I want to. It’s an intense action game with giant friggin’ bugs and explosions.
Njål H Sand