Earth Defence Force: Insect Armageddon (Review)

The EDF (no relation to Red Faction’s EDF) games have been something of a cult hit on the 360 for a while now and the series has finally made its way to the PS3 too. New recruits listen up; your mission in this arcade third-person shooter is to defend the planet from an invasion of giant bugs. Ants, spiders and wasps have all been super-sized to form an alien army of nature’s bastards. Over-turned cups and rolled up newspapers aren’t going to cut it anymore.

The carnage over the game’s fifteen levels is simple enough to grasp: kill everything in sight and occasionally plant a demolition charge. The single-player campaign missions match those used for multiplayer, so levelling up is consistent across the board. Playing offline is clearly not the way the game was intended to be played, as your AI team-mates struggle to focus on taking down bosses, although they are impressively reliable for reviving you, which is more than can be said for some players online.

It’s great to see the game include the almost extinct two player-splitscreen for co-op. This doesn’t have an impact on the graphics, namely because they’re hardly pushing the boat in the first-place. You can’t take your sofa buddy online though for the three player co-op campaign or the six player survival matches.

The campaign missions are a real grind, often taking thirty minutes a time and the disheartening amounts of ammo you have to pump into bosses will make you consider if this is what you want to be doing with your spare time. The Survival mode is even worse as it just throws waves of bosses at you. There’s only so much circle-strafing you can take in a day.

There are four class-types to choose from, the standard Trooper, the slow but armoured Battle class, Tactical for deploying handy turrets, and the new Jet class for moving quickly and flying for brief periods at the cost of a low defence. The weapons cover all the bases of assault, sniper, shotguns, rockets and so on, but all of them feel woefully underpowered against the swarms of enemies, especially the bosses who only have a vague darkening centre to display you’re slowly chipping away at their health. An overhead health metre would have been much appreciated.

The infinite ammo is offset by small clips and horrendous reload times. The inclusion of a Gears-style active reload doesn’t help as the window is too narrow for most weapons. It doesn’t give your ammo a boost anyway, just a quicker reload. Things pick up when you find one of the miserly placed tanks, manned turrets or mechs to lay down some serious damage.

The budget price of the game belies the simple ambitions that point to the fact that the game may have been better suited to a PSN/XBLA release. Fans of the series will enjoy the new Jet class but probably find little else to justify the purchase.


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