If you were one of the many poor unfortunates who missed out on 2007’s phenomenally fun third person shooter Earth Defense (it’s not a typo, blame the Yanks!) Force 2017, then you’ve probably got no idea just how insanely enjoyable really crappy games can actually be. Riddled with bugs, both literally and figuratively, EDF 2017 managed to earn itself the type of cult following that has been somewhat missing for this generation of games. Thankfully, D3 have bowed to fan pressure and decided to let Vicious Cycle take the reins for this (kind of) hotly anticipated follow up.
Vicious Cycle have been busy beavering away over the past few months to implement a wealth of brand new features
It would be a lie to suggest that the EDF games are cultured, well designed, good looking or even technically competent, but that’s kind of what makes them so special. Instead of focussing on bells and whistles like so many other games do, the core aim here has always been to deliver unadulterated fun from start to finish, something accomplished by placing you in a large, fully destructible city populated with attacking alien bugs and asking you to shoot until your thumbs bleed. The games have very little else about them, but when they’re this enjoyable they don’t need to.
Enter Insect Armageddon. The pitch is the same, only this time the ante has been upped somewhat. Not only have the combat areas been increased to dwarf their predecessors, but the enemy count is way up. You’ll come up against giant ants, wasps, spiders, robots, spaceships and god only knows what else, all the while destroying your surroundings in the fictional New Detroit cityscape.
In a bid to address some of the issues in 2017 (and there were many), Vicious Cycle has been busy beavering away over the past few months to implement a wealth of brand new features. The major change that could likely split existing fans is that you’ll select a player class this time around, and upgrade your character by virtue of earning points during each level to spend on upgraded weapons and load outs. Part of the charm of 2017 for us was that you never had any idea what weapons you were going to earn from each outing until the mission had been completed, adding a sense of randomness to proceedings, and we’re undecided as to whether this new upgrade system will live up to that – although we are being promised over 150 weapons this time around, which does soften any potential blow quite a bit.
Vicious Cycle have chosen to omit the local multiplayer, and instead replaced it with three player co-operative online play and six player survival mode. Co-op looks to be something special, with each player choosing a class and hopping into the fray with their friends. A big plus this time around is the fact that you can now revive fallen allies – something which was curiously absent from 2017.
The flying armour from the PS2 title makes a return, and should add some variation to play when added to the large number of land and air vehicles you’ll be able to commandeer, as well as various weapons turrets. Although the graphics still scream budget title from the top of their lungs, it does look like the slowdown issues of old have been addressed, even at this early stage.
With three campaigns offered, each with five missions, Insect Armageddon may sound like it’ll be a short affair on paper, but if it’s anything like 2017 it’ll offer a hell of a challenge to those of you who fancy tackling it on the harder difficulty settings.
EDF:IA is set for a launch this Spring, and we’ll be sure to let you know exactly how the final product turns out. In the mean time, try and hunt yourself down a copy of 2017 online if you’re still an EDF virgin – you won’t regret it... and if you do, I’ll buy your copy off you since I’ve misplaced mine.