EDF provides ridiculous bug-killing fun

THE JET CLASS, PERCHED on a downed lander, launches a volley of rockets at a large group of spiders across the ditch. Its speed and ability to fly make the Jet an extremely versatile class.

James’ Take

Heads up, fellow humans. We are being invaded by giant alien bugs from outer space, dubbed Ravagers. Ants and spiders the size of vehicles, in both organic and robotic varieties spawned from anthills and crawling up from underground, make up the majority of their ground forces, complemented by smaller spiders known as Ticks, which grab onto their victims and then explode. Somehow, these mutant insects have air power as well, for they are supported in the air by gunships, carriers that spawn massive numbers of enemies, and even wasps, again coming in metal and organic versions. Bigger foes occasionally accompany these grunts, fearsome in their power and stature. Bomber Spiders, bigger than tanks and with about 50 times as much health, spawn Ticks from their attacks, which makes them frightening and extremely annoying. Hectors are giant robots that shoot lasers in beam and machine gun modes and have rockets as well. They can only be harmed by shooting them in their giant glowing red chests. Mantises jump around and release explosions of energy which knock back everything that gets too close. Daddy Long Legs spawn enemies, shoot lasers, drop bombs, and are only vulnerable while their spawning bay is open. And of course there are bigger versions of the Hectors, which do more damage, have more health, and wear armor over their weak spot which must be shot off before they can actually be hurt. Heading up the swarm is the queen ant, the biggest bug you will ever see.

All that stands in their way is the Earth Defense Force. Comprised of four types of specialized troopers, this battle-hardened bastion must ensure humanity’s survival by destroying the hordes of bugs threatening our planet. In Insect Armageddon, you play as a member of Strike Force Lightning, some of the EDF’s most elite troops. You can play as the Trooper, an all-around soldier type class with slightly augmented medical abilities. You can play as the Jet, a superfast flying unit with plasma weapons that light up enemies with pretty colors and explosions. You can play as the Tactical, a support unit who puts down turrets and radar. Or you can play as my personal favorite class, the Battle. The Battle has ridiculous amounts of health, heavy weapons, and a plasma shield which, in addition to blocking attacks, can be used to zap nearby enemies or release an energy pulse which will temporarily drain the shield’s batteries. The Battle gets assault rifles that are more like machine guns—the better models do as much damage per shot as several of the missile, rocket, and grenade launchers. (The Battle also gets excellent missile, rocket, and grenade launchers, by the way.) Other weapons in the game include shotguns and sniper rifles, which I personally don’t like as much because they seem to be less useful for the massive amounts of killing the game requires.

The game also offers a few vehicle type weapons, including an incredibly powerful plane turret, a mechanical assault robot, a tank, and anti-ground and anti-air base turrets. These, while fun to use, cannot match the damage output of the better weapons in the game, and so if used amount to little more than extra health (which is admittedly important).

The one gripe I have with the game is that it only allows for three-player co-op. The multiplayer campaign is quite a lot of fun, and I would love to enjoy it with more than two friends. Up to four can play Survival mode, but that’s not as fun as the main storyline. Despite this drawback, however, Insect Armageddon is a great game and tons of fun to play. I heartily recommend it to anyone who likes the idea of shooting lots and lots of bugs. It’s hard to go wrong with that.

David’s Take

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is a fun and hilarious spiritual successor to Earth Defense Force 2017, both published by D3 Publisher and released in 2011 and 2007 respectively. I say that it is a spiritual successor rather than a true sequel because of the vast differences between the games mechanically and in terms of story continuity. Having said all of that though, both games have a fairly small demographic, so no one really cares.

Both games are an absolute hoot, especially when played in a group with friends. Insect Armageddon adds classes, class specific weapons, and a heck of lot of fun to the original through an expansion of co-op. Each of the classes are unique: one is a walking tank (side note, your tank can also drive a tank if you’re feeling like Xzibit), one flies, one can drop turrets, and one doesn’t have anything special about it. That last one is the soldier and no one loves him. I’ve been playing as the Jet class for the most of my experience with the game, and it has confirmed to me the fact that jetpacks are the greatest thing ever conceived by any man ever for life, the universe, and all time. Full stop. Problem solved. Give that man a Nobel prize, a crown, and a solid gold toilet. Glorious victory.

Anyway, moving on from that, I had a lot of fun flying through the air with infinite ammo shooting infinite missiles at what seemed like infinite enemies. I enjoyed playing the flying character because its guns all fired plasma projectiles, as opposed to the straight missiles and bullets of the other classes. While that means nothing mechanically in the game, it does mean that all of the projectiles were very different and interesting colors. My class added a lot of fun colors to all of the situations, spreading blue, green, teal, and glorious purple explosions around the map with somewhat wild abandon.

As a rule, the game at no point takes itself seriously. The dialogue was nonsensical, stupid, and funny. The army intelligence group had no idea what it was talking about, the operations officer was standard, which is to say calm, collected, and female, and the pilot you run with is as though you mixed the movie Airplane! with an actual airline pilot. His lines are the best part of the game in terms of dialogue.

The enemy design is not what I would call inspired, but it is alright. It included enough difficulty to keep the player interested, with small hit boxes in some places, and extreme mobility in others, but had very little originality. They didn’t really stray from their source materials, which is to say their bugs looked like bugs, and therefore kind of boring.

Overall, buy the game. It’s pretty fun the first time through alone, and it keeps being fun if you can do it with friends. If you have a completionist spirit then you can keep at it for a long time as well. I think it’s a good time, and you should consider investing in it.

Wesley’s Take

So the terror and aversion I typically experience when encountering giant insects or spiders in movies or games was strangely absent from this experience. I thought that, with the game portraying the titular event with thousands of the six- and eight-legged buggers, I wouldn’t be able to play that much of it, and would wind up watching my friends playing while they blasted away at the onslaught.

I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. In fact, the game’s myriad machine guns, rocket launchers, and grenade launchers meant that my many-legged foes never got near enough that their ugly insectoid features bothered me. In fact, this might have helped me get over my hatred of insects, at least a little bit.

The game is pretty fun to play with friends, though I think that without the co-op, the game wouldn’t be that much fun. However, with friends, it’s a blast going through the game coordinating with people in the same room as you to fight the deluge of giant insects.

The difficulty is well-scaled and the challenge ramps up in a satisfying way as the campaign progresses. Overall, it’s fun to play with friends, but I’m not sure it would be that great to play alone. So if you can find a few friends who want to join you, grab a few copies and spend a night fighting seemingly endless forces of insects.