Bug hunters of the world unite because the Earth Defense Force is back and buggier than ever in Earth Defense Force 2025 Achievements ... in a good way, that is. With Sandlot, developers of Earth Defense Force 2017 Achievements, back at the helm, the series has dug back to the roots of the franchise while building upon what Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon Achievements did right.
Seven years have passed, and gone are the insects and the Ravager armies that plagued the Earth... or so the citizens thought. Laying dormant underground the insects are back and more powerful than ever. Players can fight their way through over 90 different levels and hordes of insects, spiders, and Ravagers either alone, in two-player split-screen, or four-player online co-op. While it is possible to go solo throughout the campaign, it is clearly tailored for you and your buddies to go marching through each mission one by one.
EDF: Insect Armageddon introduced classes into the series and the sequel adopts the formula as well. There are four different classes to choose from: Ranger, Wing Diver, Air Raider, and Fencer. The Ranger is your basic EDF soldier that most gamers will be able to pick up and play without any real issues. Shotguns, grenades, and machine guns are the Ranger's forte. The Wing Diver is able to fly above the action for a limited amount of time (due to flight draining their energy gauge), and use plasma and long range laser weapons - which also rely on the energy gauge. A player could find themselves in trouble if landing in the middle of a group of enemies with their energy gauge drained. While this class isn't hard to play, they do have the lowest armor and armor gain making them basically your sniper class.
The Air Raider serves as your support class and can deploy shields, health generators, and even energy boosters to help out the Wing Diver's energy gain. They rely on grenade launchers, mortars, and auto-turrets to cause maximum damage to the insect hordes. This is also the only class that can call in air support and vehicles. Oddly enough, certain classes are restricted to what they can do in vehicles. Only some are able to drive and the others can only man the turrets. The Air Raider can also summon mech suits, that are at first a bit difficult to control. Each analog stick controls something different: one controls the way you are moving, while the other aims. It takes a getting used to because while you may be pressing for the mech to go forward, it turns so slowly that it feels like an eternity for it to actually get turned the direction you're wanting. By that time, whatever it was you were trying to see/kill has most likely moved, which can bring on some controller throwing moments... or at least some very unfriendly words. The mech also lacks a targeting reticule, or at least the one I used, so hitting the target takes even more skill unless it's a huge Ravager that's directly in your face. If using this class, prepare beforehand as to which classes you and your friends take into the game.
Lastly, the Fencer class - the tank. This is the only class that allows you to have two separate loadouts (one for each hand). Pairing up the weapons is crucial for this class. The best combination I found was a hammer (think Halo's Gravity Hammer), with a mortar cannon. The main thing about the Fencer is that he is slow, but he can take a lot of punishment. He can shoot far away with the mortar and when the bugs get up in his face he can lay down the hammer! The dual-wielding versatility of the Fencer makes him a massive damage dealer.
There are a few new enemy types that have been introduced. The most annoying are the large spiders, called Retiarius, that weave their webs high up in the city skylines. They are the perfect trap for Wing Divers to fall into if they aren't paying attention. The one thing that really bugs me, pun intended, is that these Retiarius can shoot you with a web that drags you up to the mouth of the beast. That part is okay, but the fact that it can shoot through buildings and catch you halfway across the map is frustrating to say the least. Familiar enemies that EDF veterans will recognize include bees, ants, Ravager ships, and Hectors. Another new type of enemy are dragons, which resemble Chinese dragons rather than the ones you'd see out of The Hobbit films.
While this game is a blast to play, it doesn't do well explaining the controls of the game. The non-existent tutorial may turn off some users for the lack of detailing how the game works. While there's not really much to the game, it did take a minute of button mashing to figure out how to get into the vehicle I had summoned. It's not that big of a deal, but it could have easily been explained the first time a gamer started up the Air Raider and summoned a vehicle. Even within the game controls menu, there wasn't any mention of how to enter the vehicle.
On the achievement side, completionists may want to think twice before starting this game. This may possibly be the most time-consuming entry in the Earth Defense Force series thus far, if your goal is the full 100% completion. Truth be told, the list is quite bland and uninspiring. Kill so many of this, complete this class on this difficulty, and so forth. Back is everyone's favorite achievement from Earth Defense Force 2017, collecting all of the weapons. While I'm glad that the original developers are back with the series, the achievement list could use a bit more originality.
This is a game for gamers who are looking to share good times with co-op friends and are fans of blowing things up more than a Michael Bay film. It's perfect for people who want to sit down for a few hours and enjoy a relatively easy game to pick up and play without requiring much investment. While it doesn't do anything to break out of a generic third-person shooter, it does stick to the working formula that previous EDF games have incorporated: run, shoot, collect, repeat. The controls, apart from the mech control, work as well as previous entries in the series. If you're a fan of the other EDF games, you should be able to jump right in and not have much trouble with getting used to the controls.
Don't come into Earth Defense Force 2025 expecting a stellar story, flashy graphics, or A+ voice acting. That's not why these games have developed a cult following. EDF is about cheesy dialogue, having fun with your co-op buddies, running for the weapon pick-ups, and blasting the hell out of overwhelming forces of bugs, aliens, and spiders. It is the best looking game in the series and boasts the most weapons ever in an EDF title. It combines two of the best things about the previous two games: Insect Armageddon's classes and 2017's random loot pick-ups. Earth Defense Force 2025 is a must-buy for veterans of the series and newcomers who enjoy running around blowing up bugs, buildings, and aliens are sure to enjoy it as well.
The reviewer put approximately twelve hours into the game, playing each of the four different classes. While blowing up all manners of ants, spiders, and aliens, he managed to unlock three of the fifty achievements in the game. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.