Spectacular-looking, simple playing giant-bug and robot shooting festival
Earth Defense Force 2017 is just simply an awful lot of fun to play. It's easy to get involved with, there's a pretty short learning curve, and the basics are similar to lots of other games that we've all played. Within minutes of firing up the game, you will be blasting away at giant alien bugs with gleeful abandon.
At first, I was a bit confused by the decision to equip the player with only two weapons, and not have the left trigger be a "grenade" weapon by default as most shooters do (the left trigger, confusingly, is a "jump" button). But after some time with the game, I realized that it has its weird little charms to the control and firearms setup. One amusing factor is that when you do equip grenades as your current weapon, your other weapon (guns, flamethrowers, whatever you have equipped) disappears from sight and your character is basically hustling around with grenades in his hands, wild-eyed look on face ready to blow stuff up. It's also entertaining to bring things back down to the gameplay of shooting bugs and blowing things up - there's no process of finding new weapons and switching to them. You equip two weapons (I usually pick two guns, one with small rockets and one that's a machine-gun type), start the level and that's what you're stuck with, so you spend more time running, following the radar, finding the bugs / robots / enemies to kill, and having at them. It's a very visceral game that really gets to the root of the fun with no hurdles or mental blocks to prevent you from enjoying it.
I enjoy also that your counterparts in the game have a lot of well-acted (if you like 50's sci-fi schlock films) chatter as you're all fighting giant robots to save the earth. It adds a level of excitement to the proceedings, that's for sure.
Most impressive, I would say, would be the graphics. Now it is true that as you get to sections where hundreds of bugs / robots attack at once, there is some upsetting "slowdown", and this is disappointing, but you do get over it. Especially given how detailed, well-textured, well-drawn and massive everything in the game is. It's really at some points quite breathtaking, the sheer scope and size of the enemies you face. Looking up the leg of a giant robot, it really feels like you're facing a 50-foot tall enemy, and not many games succeed in painting a picture so brilliantly.
I also am glad that the game is a budget title ($40 USD new at release, %33 less than the going rate for new releases), which helps to forgive such things as the occasional graphics slowdown.
As mentioned, the slowdown, if infrequent, is disturbing and a flaw. Also, it could be said that the game is perhaps too simple (not enough mission types, they're all kind of "go shoot these aliens", not enough weapons, not enough landscapes maybe, I don' t know), and I wouldn't argue it too heavily, but I kind of like the games bare-faced simplicity.
The Bottom Line
I would highly recommend at least giving Earth Defense Force 2017 a try, there's a free download on the Xbox live Marketplace, so there's not a lot to lose in testing it out. I for one fell in love with the game quickly and enjoy it as one of my favorite games for the 360. It's not trying to be the next Halo, or the next RPG - it's just a really fast, really great looking shooting game, and it makes no bones about it. For this, I salute it, and play it repeatedly with a huge grin on my face.