Earth Defense Force 2017 - 360 - Preview

When the planet is invaded by aliens that, in turn, throws a number of monsters and mutated Earth dwellers at Earth’s nations, what is a world to do? Well, it can turn to the Earth Defense Force, a planetary elite fighting unit that steps up to battle the invaders and its cohorts.

Earth Defense Force X is also known as Earth Defense Force 3 in Japan, and this translation, from D3Publisher and Sandlot Games, is gearing up to be a non-stop and intense third-person shooter for the Xbox 360 console platform.

The game takes place in a near-future Japan and tries its best to incorporate all the elements that would make up “B” monster movie fare. D3Publisher showed the title off during a recent event in San Francisco and GameZone.com was on hand for a little hands-on action.

“Anything we could throw on the screen that was over the top or absurd, we did,” a D3P representative stated, smiling.

Over the top? Absurd? Maybe, but it was a whole lot of fun!

The controls are easy to learn and the action feels non-stop. Early on the monsters that were on the rampage were mutated giant bugs – like red army ants – that poured over the landscape, coming at the EDF forces from all angles. Using rag-doll physics, the game sparkled with eye candy and visual fun, with mobs flying off from explosions – some in pieces – and even EDF members getting fragged by fellow EDF squad mates.

The environments are interactive and there is an impressive array of weaponry. How impressive? There are seven different types of weapons, but in all there are about 400 total weapons in the game. Not only that, but there are also four different vehicle types (battle tanks, armored mechs, attack helicopters and hover bikes) that can be driven into the fight, and an AI-controlled squad that will follow your lead. Weapons will not only severe harm to the enemy (which is not only bugs, but Godzilla-type creatures and even flying saucers), but you can wipe out squad mates and even, if not careful, yourself. One of the weapons is, more or less, a nuclear missile that does 1,000,000 damage. Say bye-bye to the environmental structures, the monsters, any squad mates that are nearby and even yourself if you are too close to ground zero.

Earth Defense Force X screenshots

The game sports more than 50 levels (a game rep said 53 at current count), and the action takes place in a variety of environments, from urban settings to rural. Watching giant spiders crawl over top of downtown buildings, or seeing the aforementioned red ants surging over a hill into the canyon (which is cut in half by a stream) was quite the treat. Yep, it’s a target-rich environment, but unfortunately, you – as the game player – happen to be one of the targets.

The game also has five different levels of difficulty, from easy to inferno, and sports co-op multiplayer, but not through online connectivity (at this point).

While there are a host of weapons, players can only carry in two of the unlocked (found – the game is big on drops from kills, not only of weapons but armor; the weapons have unlimited ammo, though some have reload/recharge timers) weapons into a mission level. Boss battles are their own levels, and there are checkpoints throughout levels to help players who may have a spot of trouble. The game auto saves progress when you finish a level.

EDF X is gearing up for a March release and at this point, is looking like it will be loads of shooter fun. The game will be translated over to English, for the most part; non-essential dialogue will likely remain in Japanese.

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