Monday, July 11, 2011

MashButtons gets their hands dirty reviewing EDF: Insect Armageddon

 Yes, we got ourselves a review copy of the new Starship Troopers Earth Defense Force title, Insect Armageddon for all you shooter and online coop button mashers. This time around the Earth Defense Force is put up against mutant insect giants with a side of aliens in this arcade shooter that largely focuses on coop multiplayer gameplay. What this game boasts is character customization between four different armor sets and over 300 different weapons to acquire through points earned blasting bugs. The bugs are also not the only bystanders as all of New Detroit is incredibly fragile and destructible.
 To start, don’t expect an epic storyline or game changing experience. With that set aside, this game is a total guilty pleasure to pick up, play, level up, unlock more weapons, and repeat. I mentioned Starship Trooper at the start and aside from the bugs, the feeling I walked away wish afterwards was about the same. Seeing that this was a budget title at $39.99, I didn’t expect much from the game, but caught myself grinning from ear to ear when things got hairy then immediately going back for more if the objective was failed. Aside from the simple fun, the graphics looked good and the spiders were big enough and real enough to give me the heebies jeebies as someone deathly afraid of spiders. This is also definitely an online title, though it does have single player gameplay with bots, the most fun I had was playing the story mode online and seeing what I unlocked to use for the next mission. The thing that I loved, not liked, was that it felt like an arcade game, just played with other people around the world instead of at a cabinet, missions were short enough, action quickly gets frantic, and there is a reward for your performance to make you do it over and over again. What is also nice, was that weapons are specific to each class, so as you complete missions with let’s say the Battle class, you are not able to use a lot of the weapons you unlock as they are specific to a Level 4 Jetpack class.
 The things I didn’t like with the time spent playing online was when I was matched up with people who were levels above me toting weapons that I just couldn’t compete with. It also took some time to learn the interface, mainly when it came to trying to learn which weapons I prefer and how to access the weapons in which were unlocked. I also preferred playing through the story over the survival mode as it started a little slow in the first few waves and though it got pretty frantic the further I got, I have yet to play the survival mode where it ended with the same people I had started with as teammates were always dropping in and out. Lastly, I did notice lag from time to time playing online when there were large amounts of bugs onscreen, and though it did speed back up, it does take away from the moment. Here is something which may bug some, no pun intended, but when the insects are killed, they dissolve and disappear as opposed to piling a mile high in carcasses, but there was actually a reason for this, as per the developers at Vicious Cycle, it was done to keep the gameplay frantic and to increase the number of enemies on screen coming at you at the same time.
 All in all, the best way in which I can sum up Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is that it is Starship Troopers with the gameplay of Left 4 Dead, level progression of Call of Duty multiplayer, and destruction similar to that seen in Red Faction: Guerilla. Though it does not have the depth of story seen in those titles, it does take what worked so well for them and added it to the existing EDF formula making a simple yet fun game with enough replay value of a full retail priced game at the price of a bargain bin title. This review was completed after playing through the online story mode on normal and then starting over on hard to increase the level cap, and will continue coming back for more to complete Inferno mode with the Trooper, then it will be on to the next class.

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