Lately, many gamers' PlayStation consoles are being taken over by insect aliens. First, PlayStation 4 fell victim and now your pockets aren't even safe. It's time to end this infestation and I think I know what it'll take; guns and lots of them!
Seeing as I've just reviewed Earth Defense Force 4.1, it's going to be difficult for me not to spend the majority of this review comparing the two. Therefore, I recommend reading that review first. Anyway, this installment of Earth Defense Force marks the second title available for Vita. The first was Earth Defense Force 2017 back in 2013 which is actually a port of the third game in the series. Talk about confusing! I have fond memories of that version so now that its predecessor is available, does it hold up in comparison? Thankfully, it does. However, don't expect anything new and exciting since at its core, it's still the same old Earth Defense Force complete with simple yet chaotic gameplay and delightful B movie setting. For some, this is a good thing because the utter cheesiness of Earth Defense Force's gameplay and atmosphere is what makes it such an enjoyable series. On the other hand, if you played any other title in the series then you've already seen and done it all before.
As veterans of Earth Defense Force have come to expect, the gameplay is phenomenally enjoyable at first yet it becomes stale rather quickly. This is due to the fact that nothing ever really happens to make the simplistic third-person run and gun action feel fresh. That being said, it's best played in short sessions so being on a portable console is quite fitting. One aspect of this version that is handled very well is its learning curve. I personally found 4.1 to have too many difficulty spikes that got in the way of my enjoyment but I felt that the challenge ramped up smoothly here. As I gained new weapons and increased my maximum health, tougher enemies and situations would put my newfound strength to the test. Even when I let the insects get the best of me, it always felt fair.
A problem that I had with 4.1 was the repetitive voice samples. Therefore, it surprised me to see that the locations of Invaders from Planet Space aren't particularly populated. Aside from seeing a few mute citizens fleeing at the beginning of some missions, you don't really get a sense of urgency. I found this disappointing since the chaos in 4.1 is portrayed extremely well while the action here simply doesn't come off as dire. It makes me wonder, would I rather have less mayhem or annoyingly repetitive voice clips? It's hard to say, but I know that either option definitely takes away from the overall experience. Hopefully they get it right next time aliens decide to invade.
Earth Defense Force 2 provides plenty of content to work your way through. With over 70 missions to conquer on five difficulty settings and hundreds of weapons to uncover, you know that you'll be at it for a while. Although the original PlayStation 2 version (known as Global Defence Force in Europe) had only two character classes, this version includes a third in the form of an Air Raider who uses gadgets to strategically battle alien forces. You can also drive vehicles but the selection is slim with only tanks, helicopters, and air bikes making an appearance. Finally, you don't have to play alone since the option to join in competitive or cooperative matches either online or using an ad hoc connection is readily available. Considering it's much harder to play Vita games with local players and find people online than it is on PS4, this version could have benefited from additional modes. In the end, it doesn't feel as complete as its console counterpart.
All things considered, Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space has both improvements and retrogressions when you compare it to 4.1. Although I find it to be better suited for gaming on the go, it remains an unrefined albeit enjoyable entry in the series.
- + Same great B movie atmosphere with suitably cheesy shooting action
- + Well implemented difficulty curve
- + Tons of missions and weapons to master
- - Like with other EDF games, it doesn't take long to get repetitive
- - Unexpectedly weak sense of urgency
- - Could use a few more modes