Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon (X-Box 360)

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

The premise of Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is to put you and your friends in the lead roles of a classic monster movie. A massive force of insects has invaded and while Tokyo was the first target, now the bugs want the entire world. And that means even New Detroit is on the menu. You play as a member of an elite squad of EDF agents known as Lightning. While other ground troops and air assets are involved, you are the key to the operation. As you and your team explore the area and leave a trail of dead insects behind you, you learn just how much the odds are stacked against you. Since EDF intelligence has little to no information on the bugs, you have to discover the weaknesses yourself, then put down an entire invasion. After all, if you don’t take up arms and fend off the bugs, the world is certain to be overrun.

Earth Defense Force 2017 came as close as possible to a “cult classic” in the world of video games. Hundreds of hours were often invested in order to obtain the best weapons, stack armor, and stockpile health. Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon makes the process a lot smoother and less punishment, but you’ll still want to spend countless hours on this sequel. Just as in 2017, you battle what seems like endless waves of ants, spiders, wasps, and even massive robotic insects. As you go through the 15 level campaign, you amass guns of all kinds, gain health upgrades, and improve your armor’s special talents. You can choose from four armor types, a sniper, a gunner, a soldier, and an engineer, all with unique weapons and special abilities. So even if you manage to level up one armor type to the maximum threshold, you’ll want to explore the other armor types as well. You gain some nice perks as well, from faster sprints to quicker revives to stronger personal turrets. Having the classes really adds a lot to the experience and the leveling aspect removes much of the brutal grind of the original.

While 15 levels might seem short when compared to the original, these levels are much longer and more involved than most of those from 2017. You venture through an entire urban landscape here as well, whereas much of the original’s 53 levels were the same few maps over and over again. As before, you can turn your weapons toward anything on screen, which includes bringing down even the tallest skyscrapers. The rubble falling, cars exploding, and other environmental destruction adds another dimension to the chaotic warfare, which is great. The downside is that much like the original, this is a grind to get yourself prepared for the Inferno difficulty level. But the process is much improved this around, especially since on-line co-op has been added, so a total of three soldiers can take on the bugs. A survival mode is also included, which allows up to six players to join forces to take on wave after wave of the invading insects. Even the achievements have been improved, as we’re offered a wealth of them here for doing just about anything you can think of within the game’s world.

I can see why some folks wouldn’t want to grind through the same levels numerous times, but this is a common staple in games, so its not new ground. The addition of the upgradeable armor makes the journey more fun as well, since you always have some new unlocks to look forward to. Some of the over 300 weapons must still be found via random drops from the insects, but you can gain a potent arsenal even without those around. Even with the streamlined additions, you still will have to log a lot of hours on the same 15 levels to get the most powerful equipment. So if you’re a “one and done” kind of gamer, you will miss out on the depth of the upgrade system. I also disliked the “active reload” implemented, as the pace is so frenetic, it is a distraction to have to worry about your ammo being slow to reload. And I have to mention that while there is a story of sorts, it is not told with rich cut scenes, instead some audio clips during each mission. But while Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon has its flaws, it is a marked improvement over the already fun original, so it more than deserves a strong recommendation.

Video: How does it look?

The visuals here look good, but this game isn’t going to dazzle you. I was impressed that even when the screen overflows with enemies, the framerate remains high. This is true even when I was in three player on-line co-op, so that is impressive. The graphics are not bad either, the bugs look good and the various weapons all fire cool looking projectiles. The destruction looks good and in this case, that’s good enough.

Audio: How does it sound?

The sound is great, from buildings turning into dust to the various bug related noises. The weapons also have a good sound, even if some don’t have the kick you might expect. The voice work plays into the B movie vibe, with several performers regular games are sure to pick up on. The audio here isn’t blockbuster, but it gets the job done.

Supplements: What are the extras?

While not a supplement in the usual sense, it is nice to have access to extensive stats on your performance. You can see your overall progress in armor types, weapon unlocks, and more. You can also see how close you are to the various achievements, which is always welcome. There is also a Campaign Remix mode, which takes the normal missions you have completed and shakes up the enemy types you face down. I was glad to see this, as it offers a nice change of pace while you’re climbing the ladders involved with the armor upgrades and weapon hunt.

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