Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable is a Vita port of Earth Defense Force 2017, an Xbox 360 game of almost the same name which came out on the Xbox 360 back in 2007. As a member of the elite Earth Defense Force, developed to protect the planet against hostile aliens, you are the first to fight against the crazy insectoid aliens that invade Earth. With overpowered guns, destructible environments, and hilariously terrible voice acting, the game ends up being just about perfect for the portable environment. But if you’re looking for anything groundbreaking, you’re sure to be disappointed.
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Genre: Third-Person Alien Invasion Simulator
Release Date: January 8, 2013
ESRB Rating: Teen
Let’s just get this out of the way: there’s a lot of straight up fun to be had with Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable. As an EDF soldier, you’re the front line against the Ravagers in Tokyo. These giant insects are a blast to kill, whether you’re blowing them up with rocket launchers or shooting them at point-blank range with your machine gun. There are over 150 weapons total for you to choose from, though you can only carry two at a time. In between missions, you can change up your weapons, adding in new ones you just picked up or swapping them out for old favorites.
There are 53 stages in the game, full of massive ants, spiders, robots, and ships, all hell bent on destroying you and your buddies. Each stage is full of pickups, upping your health and unlocking weapons and armor. As the difficulty ramps up, you’ll occasionally need to go back and grind through earlier stages in order to build your armor and health up more – or maybe you’ll just grind because, like me, you simply enjoy grinding.
But this replay has another benefit as well, as each stage can be played on one of five difficulty levels. Grinding on these higher difficulty levels will net you even more powerups, and will also give you the chance to fight the stages with different weapons. Want to experiment with the grenades? Tired of your rocket launcher (how could you be)? Swap them out and test any combination you like.
Frankly, there’s nothing all that great about Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable. The graphics are terrible, the camera angles can be infuriating, and sometimes it’s frustrating when you can’t figure out exactly how to beat an enemy and they annihilate you and your (slightly stupid) teammates. But there’s something gleeful about blowing up hordes of awful-looking ants and bringing down a building covered in giant spiders. And, as I said, if you’re the type of person who enjoys the grind, and loves building up your arsenal and testing out different weapons, this is absolutely a game you’re going to sink an embarrassing amount of hours into.
There are also new local and online cooperative modes, which weren’t included in the original Xbox 360 version. Grab a friend and mow down massive groups of raging insects, or hop online and team up with a stranger. The killing is just as satisfying with two people as it is with one.
There’s nothing especially different or innovative about Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable, yet there’s plenty of fun times to be had here. There’s no shame in loving an old-school over-the-shoulder shooter where you unapologetically get to kill anything on the screen (though do mind the civilians, please). And there’s especially nothing wrong with picking up this game when you’ve trickled through the small list of good games on the Vita. If you’ve got a long commute and you’re tired of everything else you’ve got, give Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable a try. You might enjoy saving the world.
Review Disclosure: A review copy of Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable was provided by D3 Publisher for the purposes of this review.