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- Earth Defense Force 2025
Bitten by the same bug.
My primary experience with the Earth Defense Force franchise was Insect Armageddon, a third-person fragfest against giant alien ants which I gave a solid 'B' in July 2011. It's also a spin-off, a fact which I was told multiple times at a hands-on preview event last week mainly because the crew at D3 Publisher wanted to make sure I understand the pedigree of the series as a chart-topper in Japan. In fact, Earth Defense Force 2025 has already been released in Japan, last year on America's Independence Day to be exact, and it hopes to reap success here in the States in February.
The Earth Defense Force can't seem to catch a break against the Ravagers. Only eight years ago in 2017, giant insectoids, robots, Gozilla-sized lizards, and UFOs began attacking the Earth which responded by unifying its military force (adding to the argument that it will take an alien threat to force the human race to resolve their difference and finally work together). With their combined strength, the Earth was able to prevent annihilation and extinction, but it's not before long that the Ravagers reappear. And they've brought spiders this time. (Jessica Vazquez will not be thrilled.)
Fans of Earth Defense Force will feel right at home with this 2025 installment, as the core concept of eradicating as many ants, spiders, wasps, and eight-legged freaks as they disperse from holes in the ground, up the side of buildings, and from wherever in the sky hasn't changed. But just to make matters worse, the aliens have somehow aligned themselves with dragons. Yeah, dragons. Because we need an onslaught of fire-breathing demons spearheading plagues of biblical proportions.
That said, the four classes won't have any trouble taking down the beasts. The standard, easy-to-use Ranger class has all-around power, capable of equipping most weapons and having a high HP rate for collecting regular Armor drops on the field. The female-exclusive Wing Diver, however, will likely be the most favorable class despite having a low HP threshold. Their ability to soar into the sky makes them the most maneuverable class, making them able to dodge most attacks and becoming death-dealing valkyries.
The tactical Air Raider is a slightly more difficult class to master, as its power is in comes from deploying field generators and force shields, summoning vehicles, and ordering air raids. They might seem weak at first, but they're the only ones with the power to command a regenerating, missile-firing mech. Of course, you can just roll as the new Fencer class and never feel weak again. Though slow and lumbering, the Fencer can switch between four weapons including a blast-hole spear, a deflective shield, a Gatling gun, a vibro-drive hammer, and a hand cannon. Well, maybe he's compensating… for his massive power.
The single-player campaign spans 85 missions, with the four-player co-op online campaign including 9 additional ones, so there will be plenty of opportunities for one of the 700 different weapon drops. Upping the difficulty to Hardest or Inferno will make enemies hit harder of course, but the rate for rare drops will increase significantly, so you can obtain weapons like the Mirage 15WR which can fire multiple homing shots at once. Some of the online interaction has issues with framerate, but hopefully that will be smoothed over in the final release.
Earth Defense Force 2025 will arrive in North America on February 18, 3025 for Xbox 360 and PS3 for the slightly lower cost of $49.95.