There’s a lot of things to grab a couple of $20s for, but few have as much replay value or goofy thrills as D3′s “Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon.” With an already bargain bin price of $40, this one’s an easy decision. And it would be worth it as a full-priced game. It is not deep, it is not moving the ball forward on any level of video game evolution, and it’s even a bit repetitive. Guess what? You won’t care because it’s fun.
The bugs are back in this sequel to the sleeper hit from a few years ago (Earth Defense Force 2017). That one was a cult classic, this one is refined enough to reach mainstream success. Set in New Detroit, the game offers up to three players the chance to blast through the campaign online or you can also play local co-op. You can choose from different soldier classes, purchase weapons, and level up as you kill B-movie bugs and monsters in a destructible city. There’s also the now-ubiquitous Horde mode ripoff, called “Survivor,” that throws the humans into non-stop waves of giant enemies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see that Gears of War 2 has spawned a Horde mode of sorts in nearly every game that involves guns. And in this game, it fits perfectly.
In the campaign you will, however, quickly get tired of killing ants. It doesn’t take long for new enemies to appear, but the floaty ants with their indistinct hit detection are easily the most boring enemies the game has to offer. That changes quickly, and you’ll be relieved. I was partial to the robots. D3 has also touted the amount of weaponry in the game – “over 300 unique weapons” – but don’t expect visions of Borderlands to come to mind. In the end, you’re pointing guns at giant enemies over and over again. Which is, as I mentioned, just fine.
The campy fun inherent in these types of games can be easily lost if the game itself isn’t fun to play. That’s not the case here. As someone who plays a lot of games for what I loosely call “work,” it is refreshing to sit down and kill silly enemies in an arcade shooter that has no pretense whatsoever. I suggest playing with a friend or two – you’ll enjoy it longer that way – or simply keeping this game around to pick up and play when you need a break from solving puzzles, equipping a wasteland warrior or mastering a new cover system in some other, deeper game.
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