Earth Defense Force 2025 preview: co-op creature extermination

Oversized monsters are ready to once again destroy our feeble human cities. Earth Defense Force 2025 takes the best qualities of its predecessors, shines them up, and expands with new weapons, characters, and multiplayer dynamics--all whilst keeping its B-movie charm. The core mechanics haven't changed much from previous installments: you either work alone or in split-screen co-op to exterminate all of the behemoth enemies--from giant insects to extraterrestrial creatures. 2025 expands the formula, adding over 700 weapons, and featuring more than 80 missions. focalbox For the first time in the series, players can also choose from four different characters. Familiar characters include Ranger, a standard soldier, and Wing Diver, the only female character with flying capabilities. Newly introduced in 2025 are Air Raider, who utilizes the "guide kit" to assist allies, guide air attacks, and air raids; and Fencer, a heavily armored, slow-paced soldier who can dual wield and carry two support items. As Wing Diver, I can take out enemies with a number of high-tech weapons while flying between and over buildings. If you get too close to one of the giant insects though, you'll get trapped between its mandibles until you manage to break free. Your co-op partner can come to your rescue if you take too many hits or get overzealous with your explosives.

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In addition to taking out the oversized baddies, there's a good amount of fun to be had decimating the environments (which you're technically supposed to be protecting, but shh). In the Tokyo environment, you can easily bust up large overpasses and tall skyscrapers with any homing weapons, or terrorize the poor, albeit strangely invincible, civilians running frantically around you. While gameplay remains largely the same, online multiplayer interactions reveal the most noticeable differences between this game and its predecessors. Producer Miki Takahashi says that they wanted players to "enjoy" multiplayer modes, so "some weapons can only be used [during] co-op." She explains that "Air Raider, for example, has a weapon that doesn't have any attack power, but... Air Raider can lock on and then Fencer can attack. So sometimes combinations [are] very important between characters." Developed by Japanese developer Sandlot, Earth Defense Force 2025 has been three years in the making, and is now in the early stages of the localization process. According to Takahashi, since the game was originally developed for Xbox, it took some "effort" for Sandlot to convert to PlayStation 3. And, of course, for nostalgia's sake, the "EDF! EDF!" cheering is still intact. "In this new title, soldiers are actually singing around you," Takahashi says, "so [players] probably can enjoy that." The game is due early next year.