It's extremely buggy.
If all insects were wiped off the planet, most life would end. If all human beings were wiped off the planet, life would flourish. That might put the importance of our species in much-needed perspective, but after playing Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon
, I don't care. Anything with more than four legs is going down
knows what it is—
a cooperative third-person fragfest
with the heart of an arcade twin-stick shooter—
and it doesn't apologize. Sure, it's not the most intellectual or the most polished shooter on the rack, but it delivers where it counts. It knows that you want to shoot swarms of giant bugs with cool weapons and a couple of friends without having to worry about a complicated story.
The sense of scale between you, the bugs, and the city skyscrapers is extraordinary, and unlike the original Earth Defense Force
, the frame-rate chugs only when there's a horde of ants and spiders, flying gunships
and carriers, and a couple of gargantuan Hector robots parading the streets. With rows of exploding cars, destructible buildings ready to fall at the whim of a missile launcher, and the gift of infinite ammo, New Detroit is a merrymaking festival of demolition.
Whether it's firing and switching between assault rifles and grenade launchers, locking on incredibly irritating wasps with a burst of four homing missiles, reloading your gun with a precision bar that Gears of War
fans will immediately recognize, or dodging the poisonous spit of twenty-four oncoming ants, firefights
keep the intensity high throughout a level. Gaining points fills your experience meter towards upgrading one of four classes—
trooper, tactical, jet, and battle—
and earning higher-tier weapons. Anyone hoping to get through Campaign on veteran and elite difficulties as well as waves of multi-legged spawn in Survival and Campaign Remix may want to grind.
The trouble is that after about five levels of vaporizing bugs, the formula begins to wear out. The game introduces new weapons and enemies through its three-chapter campaign, but there are only so many anthills you can plant explosives on, so many gunships you can shoot down, and so many lines of dialogue that you can hear over again before the game loses its luster. Leveling up also takes too long with only eight tiers, spreading weapon upgrades too thin despite being able to pick up new gear as items drops from difficult enemies. It's also obvious that this doesn't have the best production values with merely satisfactory graphics, narration where you have to follow instructions seemingly from customer service based somewhere in India, and only two options for controller setup.
Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon isn't some fancy-ass, top-of-the-line flea bomb, but an inexpensive can of Raid that gets the job done. It's appropriately priced at forty dollars $40 at retail, even though I can see it knocking it out of the park as a $20 downloadable title. The ending for the campaign's normal difficulty hints at the possibility of a better ending on the harder difficulty settings, and the desire to wield a tier-eight weapon will likely lure a small community of followers to replay the title more than once. Anything that reinforces the killing of apocalyptic bugs is fine by me. I mean, it never hurts to get in some practice, right?