Earth Defense Force Insect Armageddon Review for Xbox 360

Earth Defense Force Insect Armageddon Review for Xbox 360

The Non-Descript Alien Ants Are Going To Eat Us!

You know, sometimes you don’t want an FPS filled with deep strategy. Sometimes you don’t want to take your time camping strategic points while ducking under cover. Sometimes, all you really want is a game where you can blow up everything around you. That’s exactly what Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is. A guilty pleasure game straight down to its $40 price tag, Earth Defense Force is about shooting the ever loving crap out of giant insects and not much else. Like Rambo in a space marine costume, it’s up to you and the sheer force of your manly bullets to save the world from an alien invasion.

Let’s start with the story. Hah! Sorry. I couldn’t type the word “story” in relation to this game with a straight face. You are a member of Strike Force Lightning, a futuristic platoon that is apparently made up of eighties action movie stereotypes. An alien race that happens to look exactly like giant insects and moves around using ant-hills—yet somehow still manages to be totally unrelated to the insects of earth—has started invading the planet in the only logical place, Detroit. Kill them! Kill them all! Don’t stop killing them until your thumbs are ready to fall off. That’s literally the extent of the story.

Earth Defense Force Insect Armageddon Screenshot

The dialogue is so bad it feels like you’re watching a B movie. You will constantly get updates from HQ over your com, but the person doing the voice work of your dispatcher sounds completely awkward. Her lines are just so dumb it’s strange to think that anyone put these down to paper at some point. “We call those large aliens that look like genetically mutated Earth insects ‘ravagers,’ because they are ravaging Detroit.” No really, is that why?

The rest of the dialogue isn’t much better. Your squadmates shout random quips like “E-D-F!” and “Man, I love being a part of Lighting,” and “Anyone notice these bugs smell bad?” It’s like someone tried to write the worst dialogue imaginable so that it comes full circle and become absolutely hilarious.

Once you realize you are better off just ignoring the story, you begin to see that there is actually some depth to the gameplay system here. Before you go off on your bug-killing rampage, you have to choose between one of four armor classes. Each armor class has its own spread of five or six different weapons to choose from, and it can equip two of them at a time. Each weapon category also has tiers of weapons that unlock as you level up by killing bugs and completing missions, and each weapon tier has multiple weapons in it that can be purchased from credits you acquire in the same way. All in all, there are about 300 weapons to unlock and customize your armors with. And there’s variety, too. There are homing rockets for people with bad aim, explosive shotguns for people who like close range combat, assault rifles with clips longer than my small intestine, and sniper rifles for people who honestly don’t get the concept of “blow up everything around you.”

Earth Defense Force Insect Armageddon Screenshot

That doesn’t even begin to take into account the special abilities of each armor class. You basically have an MP bar that constantly regenerates, which you spend on nifty abilities that might as well be magic. Defensive armor classes can cause huge shockwaves that destroy everything around them, while offensive classes increase their damage. Also—and this is very important—there is a jet pack class that basically gives you full aerial mobility to rain death upon your insect enemies from above. Maybe you didn’t hear me: This game has jet packs! What more do you want?

When the game starts, you’ll notice a few things right off the bat. First of all, you have infinite ammo. The only thing preventing you from laying volley after volley of bullets into your enemies is each gun’s reload time. Second, each gun has an active reload function that you can activate with decent timing, pretty much making reload time a non-issue. Third, you have a lot of health, even if you play a weaker class, and health packs drop plentifully, even on the hard difficulties. It’s nearly impossible to die in this game, and that feels great.

Earth Defense Force Insect Armageddon Screenshot

So you drop into the bug swarm and are immediately told to go toward the waypoint marked on your map. When you get there, you are told to kill some bugs. Then you are told to go to another waypoint to blow up an ant-hill. Then you are told to go to another waypoint and blow up some more bugs, then another ant-hill, then another waypoint. This is basically all the game has to throw at you. Sometimes you’ll be asked to kill bugs from the cockpit of a plane, sometimes you’ll be asked to kill bugs using a mounted turret, sometimes you’ll be asked to kill giant robot bugs, and sometimes you’ll be asked to kill lots of bugs while you wait out a timer. In the end, it’s just “go here; kill bugs,” and that’s about it. But the missions are short, and at the end of each one you’ll be seeing that experience bar go up and those weapons unlock. It’s really hard to stop playing.

Oh, and the replay value for the game extends as long as your attention span for its B-movie gameplay does. You can play the game single-player, multiplayer, or online in both cooperative and competitive modes. You can play through the whole campaign with buddies or alone, leveling up as you go, or you can play in a survival mode that lets you blast away until you die. Heck, there is even a campaign remix mode, and you can randomize the stages and difficulties you play on. There are so many options to customize your experience with, but it’s all really the same thing. It’s the same missions, the same repetitive gameplay, and the same experience grind no matter what mode you play in.

Earth Defense Force Insect Armageddon Screenshot

The game is absolutely infested with faults outside of its repetitive gameplay. For example, there is no strong visual, tactical, or audio confirmation that you have hit or killed an enemy, so the game is largely spray and pray. The mini-map is very hard to read and waypoints are very hard to find. Mission objectives can be ambiguous, causing you to wander around for no good reason when all you really had to do was wait. Perhaps worst of all, there are no checkpoints. If you die at any point in any mission, you’ll have to start the mission all over again.

However, the visual aesthetic of the game just keeps me coming back. Spiders crumble buildings all around me as I pump an infinite number of rockets into them. Huge bipedal wasp things fire plasma cannons at innocent civilians as they scream and run away. Explosive ticks latch themselves on to me only to get blown up by my suit’s shockwave first. It’s just the kind of B-movie schlock that made me watch flicks like The Thing when I was a kid.

I’m honestly astounded as to how any game can be so good and so bad at the same time. Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is mindless and dumb any way you look at it, but I just can’t stop playing. I feel like that one guy in the back of every Michael Bay movie that’s laughing hysterically while everyone else is putting their face in their hands and groaning. You know, that’s exactly what Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is, the Michael Bay of third-person shooters. There are big guns, jet packs, explosions, and other action movie tropes all around you, and you don’t even have to watch Shia LeBeouf attempt to act. I’d say that alone is worth forty bucks, wouldn’t you?

The graphics in the game aren’t very good, but there’s an undeniable charm in seeing a giant spider wreck a skyscraper. 2.7 Control
Can you hold down the right trigger? Then you can play this game. 1.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
“It’s eating them! And then it’s going to eat me! Oh my god!” 4.0 Play Value
If anything can be said about this game, it’s that it’s really fun to play if you are into blowing up insects and Detroit. 3.0 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Intense squad-based action with three-player online multiplayer form start to finish, and six-player survival mode.
  • Split screen co-op returns for local multiplayer action.
  • Hardcore ‘Inferno Mode’ for elite gamers.
  • EDF’s trademark gameplay: killing thousands of swarming giant bugs and robots in a completely destroyable city.

  • To top