After a spinoff flirtation with a Western studio, Sandlot are back in control of the EDF franchise for 2025, another crazed battle with the Ravagers which picks things up from where they left them in 2017, ramps everything up a few notches, and serves up exactly what the fans demand: low-end third-person action, with ridiculous weapons shooting at things like giant ants, spiders, and daiju robots. This is another slab of incredible fun, which asks you to check your brain firmly at the door on the way in.
EDF 2025 sees you saving the World from alien destruction across a series of short levels, a pleasing structure which makes worrying about save points and losing interest in the task at hand irrelevant. There are numerous difficulty levels ranging from easy to inferno, and like the previous outing, the harder you choose, the more exotic the weapon drops get, allowing you to unlock from the wide array of ordnance available. Although levels are plentiful, they are mostly pretty short – but it is highly rewarding to replay back through them in the higher difficulties, as you will be able to unlock the kind of hardware, armor upgrades and permanent stat boosts that make progression later in the game easier. There are trophies tied to completing every level not only on the varying difficulties, but with the four different EDF soldier types at your disposal. One of them involves killing 20,000 ants – without the use of a boiled kettle, if you catch my drift.
Nearly all of the bite-sized stages involve destroying the many rampaging enemies that swarm around your EDF soldiers en-masse. Sometimes you will have additional tasks – such as freeing up allies caught in sticky spider webs, or taking down a huge airborne mothership whilst having to contend with invertebrates trying to kill you on the ground. The enemy AI seems to be a lot sharper this time around, give or take a few wandering straggler beasties per level that don’t seem to be bothered about attacking you, and there are also many more NPCs to worry about – from the crowds of mewling general public who flee from the Ravager terrors, to your teammates who will fight alongside you.
Visuals are definitely a lot slicker than we are used to for a Chikyu Boueigun title. It does slow down quite horrifically at times, with the split screen co-op mode a particular casualty in the framerate stakes. But there are moments where – dare I say it – it actually looks pretty tasty. Gazing up into the sky at the vast Ravager craft, or watching as giant buildings and structures loom into view can be quite thrilling. The dialogue throughout is consistently hilarious, with voice acting that tries to solemnly convey both the blood curdling terror and the military parlance that accompanies an alien invasion, but comes across as completely and utterly daft. Repeated use of the term “GIANT INSECTS!” means repeated laughs, particularly the initial disbelief that “The giant insects were wiped out….seven years ago!” Even the mission preamble is bonkers. “We have reports of “huge bug” sightings. Probably a prank after so many years, but I want you to check the location”.
Jokes aside, taking on the overwhelming threat of the Ravagers is as fun as ever with your basic Ranger class EDF soldier, but there are now three other Classes to play around with. Brand new to the series is the Fencer – a mech suit that can carry four types of weapon (including shields) and plays out like a slightly more awkward take on From’s Armored Core mechs. Still infinitely better than most of the haphazard vehicles found in 2025, the Fencer can be quite devastating in the right hands, and you have to congratulate Sandlot on trying something different.
Air Raiders are another brand new idea. Best employed during co-op or online play, as a Raider you can call in air-strikes, deploy health regen points, and shields to the battlefield, and ever arrange for vehicles to be sent into the action. Being in charge of such wanton destruction is, as you can imagine, a great deal of fun, particularly in co-op, with one partner a Ranger taking down enemies in order to build up enough in-game credit to “buy” Raider airstrikes. Rounding things off are the Wing Divers which previously showed up in the Vita re-imagining of 2017. They are able to fly, but are difficult to control, weedy in attack, and spend most of the missions where you encounter them as NPCS tangled up in spider webs.
VERDICT: Sandlot have crafted another ludicrously entertaining, utterly bonkers sci-fi romp. There are more enemies, more guns, more nutty speech, and more missions. It does have limitations. It isn’t going to trouble the best that your PS3 has got to offer in the aesthetic stakes, but I dare anyone – even the most staunch graphics-fan or gaming snob – not to get a kick out of EDF.
After about half an hour of plugging rounds into gigantic, swarming insects, levelling buildings to get a better view of said critters and listening to the hilariously cheesy dialogue, it dawns on you that the commendably put-together, yet rough around the edges majesty of an EDF game is akin to playing the B-movie of your dreams. It is Sharknado, Starship Troopers, and The Day The Earth Stood Still all rolled into one, with a splendid gung-ho, kill-everything sense of abandon and anarchy.
VERY GOOD. An 8/10 is only awarded to a game we consider truly worthy of your hard-earned cash. This game is only held back by a smattering of minor or middling issues and comes highly recommended.
Review code provided by publisher.