Bev Chen
07 Sep, 2011

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon Review

PS3 Review | Somehow, it just bugs us...
We have to make it very clear that certain members of the staff team love games that would be considered 'novel' for various reasons. The Earth Defense Force series is one such example, with the games starring a member of the titular Earth Defense Force, which defends the planet against bugs known as Ravagers (and the occasional giant mech). As the title describes, Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is no different. This time around, you play as a Lighting Alpha, leader of the elite Strike Force Lighting squad, and along with your other squad mates (and occasionally, other resistance groups), you must defend the city of New Detroit from the alien invaders. Expect no further story development here; chances are if you’re looking to pick up a game titled Insect Armageddon, your expectations of narrative depth will be minimal anyway.

So let’s move on to the beef – the gameplay. Insect Armageddon, like most of the games in the series, is a third-person shooter. At the beginning of each level, you choose the type of unit you want to play as and your weapons. Insect Armageddon has all your bases covered in this regard, as you have a choice from over three hundred weapons (some gradually unlocked, others that are found during the game) and four different types of armour: the standard Trooper armour, the ultra-light Jet armour, the supporting Tactical armour and the powerful Battle armour. It’s nice to see that the developers have found a way to appeal to a wide range of playing styles, but unfortunately, this effort falls a little flat when it’s time to play the levels themselves.

That sure isn't like any insect I've ever seen...

That sure isn't like any insect I've ever seen...
You see, every level more or less has the same objectives which are achieved in more or less the exact same way each time. It’s always 'defend this point' or 'head to this point' or 'kill all the Ravagers'. Sure, we’re talking about a budget shooter, but considering the size of the maps and the unrestricted access you have around them, it feels like there is so much wasted potential. Which brings us to the next and most niggling problem that we had with the game – most of the shooting feels deeply unsatisfying. Because let’s face it, Insect Armageddon is something you want to pick up and play to relax after having a few drinks and the way you’re going to get any satisfaction out of that is by actually feeling like you’re shooting some bugs. Sad to say, there’s barely any feeling of that here; it simply feels like you’re pressing a shoulder button, sparks come out of your gun – so what?

Despite all this, the other aspects of gameplay are decent enough. The controls are quite well thought out, with actions such as reloading and dodging mapped naturally. We liked the fact that the game features a rather arcade-esque scoring system, with points rewarded whenever you shoot a member of the insect race dead. Your A.I. controlled team-mates are competent too and prove to be an excellent source of humour, frequently saying overly gung-ho things (although at one point, we swear we heard one of them cry, “Oh my god! It’s raining MEN!”). There are also certain parts during the game that allow you to hop into turrets or mechs, which turn the aforementioned boring shooting gameplay into something much more fun and action-packed.

In addition to the single-player campaign, Insect Armageddon also features online and offline co-op. These, as you can expect from any game that involves shooting hordes of bugs, were actually quite an entertaining experience. Thankfully, we didn’t run into any technical difficulties as far as playing online was concerned. Insect Armageddon is also home to a Survival mode, which if you’ve played Gears of War 2’s Horde or Call of Duty’s Zombies, you will be right at home with. This mode accommodates up to six players and sees you and your team defending against endless waves of bugs. Truth be told, we found this to be more entertaining than the core campaign, if only for some of the player antics (no pun intended).

Now would be a good time to duck and cover.

Now would be a good time to duck and cover.
Audio-wise, there wasn’t really anything we expected Insect Armageddon to do outstandingly. As we suspected, the voice acting is rather terrible, but in a good way, highlighting the game’s campy and B-grade nature. The music, on the other hand, is forgettable, but not offensive. The same can be said of the graphics, as while some of the visuals are really quite atrocious, we are willing to overlook this given the roots and style of the game.

We honestly tried very hard to like Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon, but somehow, we found that it didn’t end up quite being like what we expected it to be. While most aspects of the gameplay are fine, we’d never have guessed that slaughtering giant insects would feel so boring. Fingers crossed this is just a phase and that the next Earth Defense Force (if there is one) is more fun to play.
The Score
Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon may be a reasonably competent game given its budget roots, but somehow ends up being rather unsatisfying to play.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Content

Red Faction: Armageddon Review
22 Jul, 2011 Armageddon outta here.
PALGN Weekly Releases - 19/07/11
19 Jul, 2011 Insect invasion!
Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon trailer
23 Jun, 2011 Squishy squishy.
2 years ago
You've broken my heart bev, and i thought you were one of us.....

i'm out of here
2 years ago
icon_sad.gif i ruv you 4eva fetidchimp
2 years ago
"we"??? Bev and who??
2 years ago
they always say we, makes it sound like there is palgn office icon_y1.gif
2 years ago
Dude, the back of a bus is an office.
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