Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable

When Adam Ant sternly advised listeners not to tread on one of his kind in his glorious 1980 hit, he was actually warning against an impending insect armageddon.

And now the days of peace and love are over. Just four years from now, all of mankind will be forced to cower as wave upon wave of attack of gigantic superants and their alien buddies will begin exacting their sweet revenge.

To be fair, you were warned.

In preparation for this cataclysmic event, you can train yourself in the art of incessant blasting with Sandlot's utterly unhinged third-person shooter.

Released on Xbox 360 to a mixture of bafflement and acclaim back in 2007, EDF 2017 was a game so ludicrous and intense that it was easy to overlook its long list of flaws.

Given a bit of a sideways look, it's arguably one of the most ridiculous pieces of dumb fun ever created. There's no complicated exposition, and no need for a tutorial. You're just straight in, running around skyscraper-filled urban streets, mowing down aliens the size of buildings while trying to dodge their incoming projectile attacks.

Cheap thrills

Meanwhile, amid the chaos, your EDF buddies scuttle around in a mixture of fear and amped-up triumph, hollering the kind of nonsense that you kind of expect from low-budget Japanese cult offerings such as this.

The whole effect is one of giddy wild-eyed abandon, as you sprint around town loosing off endless rounds into the incessant onslaught of oversized entities filling the sky. When your cohorts chant and holler, it's tempting to join in.

As with the 360 original, there's little concession to any of the slick production values we now take for granted, and it's hard to get away from the fact that EDF 2017 is - by any standards - extremely rough around the edges.

The controls feel loose, the animation is stilted and unconvincing, and the garish environments wouldn't look out of place in an early PS2 game. On top of that, the combat lacks any impact whatsoever, and the comical physics make the enemies feel like polystyrene props.

Six years ago, it was easier to find this technical haplessness all rather endearing. In the face of super-serious, big budget sci-fi shooters, EDF 2017 was a welcome dose of light relief - and it retailed for a little over £20 (lest we forget, unusually cheap back then).

Price point

In the harsh light of 2013, though, quirky indie offerings are cheap and plentiful, and yet EDF 2017 has been wheeled out at an astonishing price of £34.99. Even die-hard fans will wince at the prospect of shelling out that much, while everyone else will look on with a mixture of pity and confusion.

That said, if such bothersome issues as spare cash don't enter into your synapses then it's undeniable that there are many hours of saucer-eyed entertainment to delve into across its 60 mission campaign.

The deeper you get into EDF 2017, the more chaos you'll have to endure, and it's certainly not a game lacking in variety. New weapons and accompanying upgrades come thick and fast, and a tide of ever more absurd enemies appear from the skies to torment and challenge.

It's relentless, routinely unforgiving, and one of the most resolutely Japanese action games you'll ever play.

Multiplayer modes have been beefed-up considerably for the portable version, with online or local four player co-op and versus mode to sample. Sadly, by far the best EDF multiplayer experience was split-screen co-op, and the magic never quite translates to handheld.

The other issue, of course, is that the online community is practically non-existent currently, so the only chance you're ever likely to have to getting some multiplayer action going is if your pals all stump up the cash to buy it too - and, let's be honest, they're not going to.

As much as there will always be a place in my gaming heart for EDF 2017, its arrival on PlayStation Vita at a premium price is a curious thing. The opportunity was there to build its cult legend by making it more accessible, but instead it will remain as little more than a quirky curiosity for a select band of hardcore fans.

Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable

Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable remains one of the most demented, wild-eyed shooters you'll ever play. But as funny, ragged, and carefree as it is, until it's available at a lower price it's hard to recommend to anyone but those who revel in flawed cult classics
Kristan Reed
Kristan Reed
There's no such thing as 'not enough time' in Kristan's world. Despite the former Eurogamer editor claiming the world record for the most number of game reviews written before going insane, he manages to continue to squeeze in parallel obsessions with obscure bands, Norwich City FC, and moody episodic TV shows. He might even read a book if threatened by his girlfriend.