Earth Defense Force takes the form of a sandbox action game, with each level offering destructible environments and swarms upon swarms of enemies, along with a simple goal of "kill everything." My brief time with the game put me at the controls of a Fencer, one of four unique robot classes available, and quite possibly the most accurate representation of what piloting ten thousand pounds of alien-stomping offense would actually feel like.
This hulking robot comes equipped with a standard plasma gun, a colossal hammer for melee attacks, and a rocket launcher made to take out enemy shields, though I couldn't use the latter on my own. Rather, the D3 rep – playing as another class, the Air Raider – first had to target the shield generator, which would give me the ability to lock onto it and fire. That said, the Fencer seems like a class for players who have a little more experience with EDF
; due to its sheer size, the Fencer's attacks offer a significant amount of lag that's hard to compensate for with hundreds of giant ants and alien robots swarming around your head.
For my second (and last) mission, I jumped into the Wing Dancer class, which offered much more mobility along with the ability to zip through the skies for a short period of time. While my defenses dropped by a huge margin, using this lightweight class gave me a better taste of the game, since my actions amounted to more than just trudging around and firing off the odd missile. Just before my appointment ended, I had started to ease into EDF
's mechanics, though 2025's technical deficiencies tend to subtract from any strategy you may have in mind. The combination of a jittery frame rate and a loopy camera in the show's build did its best to keep me completely disoriented through most of my session.
But Earth Defense Force doesn't feel like a game that should be approached thoughtfully – at best, it comes off as an arcade-style experience designed to be played with a buddy and some beers within reach. I'm not entirely sure if Earth Defense Force appeals specifically to me, yet it's somewhat refreshing to see consoles still have room for lightweight, b-grade fluff that doesn't intend to change the way you think about entertainment forever.