Earth Defense Force 2017

boyward - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: Xbox 360 (Microsoft)
Produced by: D3Publisher
Price Range: $11-20
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Teens
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

     Reviewed By: Phil Rownd (boyward)
     STAFF REVIEWER

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆
Genre: Action
Christian Rating: 4 of 5 (good)
Gameplay: 4 of 5 (good)
Violence: 3 of 5 (mild)
Adult Content: 4 of 5 (barely present)


Earth Defense Force 2017.  Illustration copyrighted.

Insects and robots and saucers, oh my! From the box: “Planet Earth is under attack from alien invaders, and the EDF is our only chance for survival. Grab your gun, join your squad, and repel the attacking forces. You are Earth’s last line of defense.” The part about joining “your squad” is actually pretty funny to me because most of the game involves your soldier, codenamed Storm 1, taking on the entire alien army almost singlehandedly (or with the help of a friend if you take advantage of the split-screen co-op option). It’s an experience that borrows heavily from cheesy 1950’s alien and rubber monster movies, and like its cinematic inspiration, EDF 2017 isn’t good enough to be taken seriously. But blowing things up in EDF is fun enough to enjoy for hours and hours, and clean enough that Christian teenagers and adults can enjoy it with a clean conscience.

The story begins when alien spacecraft begin to hover over Earth’s cities. Shortly thereafter, gigantic ants appear on the streets and civilians run in all directions, screaming, “Aaahhh!” (The writing in EDF 2017 will not win any awards.) But the ants keep coming, and are soon joined by thousands of giant web-throwing spiders, long-legged humanoid robots, Godzilla-sized dinosaur robots, alien fighter ships, and mother ships from outer space. Every enemy in this game has been ripped out of a cheesy 1950’s alien invasion movie, and as Storm 1, you’re the only one who can blow them all off the planet.

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VIOLENCE
Storm 1’s arsenal includes assault rifles, shotguns, missile and rocket launchers, grenades, sniper rifles, mines, bombs, automatic gun turrets, flamethrowers, and numerous experimental weapons. There are 150 weapons for Storm 1 to find. He can also pilot helicopters, drive tanks, mech suits, and air bikes. Most of these weapons are capable of causing massive damage, and it’s a good thing the cities have been evacuated because EDF’s large-scale battles often leave every building in the city reduced to rubble. You are not required to keep Earth’s cities intact and there in no penalty for demolishing the empty houses and skyscrapers. Your only goal is to destroy the alien invaders, so there is quite a bit of destruction going on. The giant insects bleed green juice and when they die they go bouncing around like rubber toys. It’s actually pretty funny seeing these bus-sized ants and spiders tuck their legs beneath them and go tumbling around the city. Alien motherships crash and burn, and the robots tumble and explode into super-heated fireballs. Most of the defeated enemies fade away after they are killed. Friendly fire is a factor in this game. Your lame-brained squadmates will often wander into your gunfire and blow themselves up, but there is no blood when this happens and the player is scolded for being so careless.

LANGUAGE
Angry EDF soldiers are heard shouting threats at the alien invaders, calling them “bast—-s” and generally daring them to come close because they want to kill them. The ESRB correctly defines this as “mild language.” A lot of the soldiers’ comments are unintentionally hilarious, but in the end I decided to take advantage of the option to turn down the voice volume. Doing so eliminates the profanity completely, and you won’t miss ANY of the story either.

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EDF 2017 is a technical mess. The animations are hilariously bad, vehicles control badly, voices glitch into static, and there are all kinds of pop-up and clipping issues that make you wonder if the game was even finished when they released it. But EDF gets it right where it really counts. The collision detection is spot on, so you never feel cheated of a hit.

EDF 2017 gives you a lot of game for your money. In the past two years I have logged over 30 hours of play time onto Earth Defense Force 2017. In that time I have completed each of the 53 missions three times (once with the cooperative help of a friend), picked up over 2800 individual armor upgrades, and nearly 150 new weapons, and yet I am only 60% done with the game (there are 5 difficulty settings) and I’ve gotten only half of the achievements. The game keeps track of all your upgrades, and you’re constantly adding to your armor and getting new weapons, so there’s a satisfying sense of progress each time you see the Mission Complete sign because you get to keep everything you collected. The 53 missions do not have to be played in order, so if you get stuck on an early mission you can skip it, get a little stronger, and come back and try again later. Lately, a neighbor has been coming over the house to help me beat the game on the harder difficulty settings. The challenge ramps up considerably as you go, so it’s nice that a friend can help play in co-op mode. My friend hadn’t been playing at all, but the game shared all of my armor points with him so we could be on the same level together. This system makes it easy for players to join in at any time. There is no Xbox Live support.

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Many action-shooting games are so full of profanity, human death, and gore that it’s hard to recommend them. I have a different opinion of Earth Defense Force 2017. The profanity can be turned off, any and all violence is committed against giant bugs and mechanoids, and in spite of its many technical flaws, the game is just plain fun. Now that it’s a budget title I can fully recommend EDF 2017 to gamers who want to blow up bugs and robots.

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Year of Release — 2006

[tags] 4 stars, Action, Xbox 360 (Microsoft), T (Teen), D3Publisher [/tags]




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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