PS3 Review – Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is a game based around the idea of killing bugs over and over, making you feel as if you have stepped into a Starship Troopers movie. With the thought of slaughtering those mean old bugs, this game has to be a lot of fun right? I really wish I could say that that is the case, but Vicious Cycle Software’s EDF: Insect Armageddon has a few too many holes and not enough strengths to push it above mediocrity. Read on below to find out our full thoughts.

The premise of the game is that insects and alien robots have invaded the Earth and it is up to the Earth Defense Force, or EDF, to step in and save the day. This is about the farthest the story will go, pretty much leaving the player to tackle mission after mission without the aid of any kind of story driven narrative. While this isn’t really a bad thing, it might have been nice to have a story to help push along the single player missions.

Insect Armageddon‘s single player is composed of 15 missions that can be played alone or with a friend in split-screen. If you want something more you can take the campaign online to play with 2 other people but that doesn’t help much. Missions boil down to running around an uninspiring city, shooting at everything that moves, and then running some more. In these missions you will most likely be shooting down a carrier, destroying an ant hole, or defending positions and that is it. The structure is void of any sort of variety and things will become stale a few missions in, leaving you to grind your way through level after level wondering the whole time, “didn’t I just play this level?” Even going online to play the campaign doesn’t give you much relief as the missions are still the same bland objectives you played solo. All of this would be OK if the gameplay felt good but even that could use some work. The controls are decent but with no option to change your control scheme, it will leave some people frustrated.

EDF tries to spice things up with multiple classes and plenty of weapons to unlock but these don’t do much to inspire. The classes or armor as they are called in the game are: Trooper, Tactician, Jet, and Battle. Each of these have their unique abilities and strengths, such as the tactician being able to set down turrets and the jet being able to zoom around the streets with a jet pack. Each armor can be leveled up as you gain experience throughout the levels and this leveling up unlocks new weapons. Now, maybe I am being picky here, but when I unlock a new weapon and equip it, shouldn’t it look different? In EDF, every assault rifle you equip looks the same and it only changes between armors, meaning the trooper’s assault rifle looks different from the tactician’s. You can also change the color of your character with a set of pre-made armor colors but it would have been great to be able to customize your character even further.

The environment is fully destructible, and luckily that lends to the feeling of impending doom and invasion, but things never feel like they are ever on a grand scale. Some enemies are huge, but even then you never feel endangered by anything and none of the enemies really present a challenge outside of just their raw numbers at times. Mech suits and turrets help break up some of the repetition, but aren’t enough to stop the campaign from becoming stale. Heck, there isn’t even ammo to pick up in the world because you never EVER run out, leaving gamers carefree in the world and, while that might work for some people, if you are wanting anything deeper than that, you might be better off elsewhere.

If you are getting tired of the campaign mode, you can take things into the survival mode, which boils down to surviving waves and waves of enemies. This mode is, of course, best played online when you can join up with 5 people and take it to the insects and aliens. Even though this can be a lot of fun, after a few waves things quickly become repetitive. Making matters worse is the fact that when playing survival, you are relegated to selecting the trooper, taking away the other armor classes. The online features a quick or custom match option, but the game could really benefit from a party or lobby system to help friends connect in the game.

Presentation, like the rest of the game, is a bit shallow and leaves a lot to be desired. Insects and robots actually look pretty good, but the buildings and overall environment not so much. There is not enough variety in the buildings with most streets looking the same and, while it’s not a huge thing, it would have been nice to feel like you were in a real city that was once inhabited by humans. Sound wise, your characters will spout the same 2 or 3 lines the entire game and the guns lack the audio firepower to make you feel like you are really kicking ass Johnny Rico style.

Overall Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is a game that comes up short in almost every category. Yes, it is fun to kill insects and robots – everyone loves to do that. However, there is not enough variety in the enemies, missions, or classes to keep things from becoming stale rather quickly. Add in the fact that you never have to worry about ammo and you have mindless running and gunning at it’s finest, with no depth to back it up. 6 player online co-op should keep this game from hitting rock bottom right away, but survival mode won’t last long before its beer goggles wear off. As a full retail game, I can’t really recommend buying this game, but for a weekend rental there is definitely some fun to be found in killing rather large insects for a few hours.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

– Lack of modes and single player length are disappointing

– Character customization is lacking

– Online modes do little to enhance experience

4 out of 10