â€œEDFâ€¦EDFâ€¦EDFâ€¦â€, so goes the chant of your fellow EDFers as they as they go headlong into a brutal battle against another wave of giant ants, web spurting spiders, spear throwing bees, giant mechs, and motherships amongst a plethora of alien invaders threatening to take over the Earth. Sound like a script for a 1950s B-movie? Well you are probably not far away â€“ welcome to EDF!
The latest incarnation is EDF4 â€“ the Japanese version which has been re-titled EDF 2025 for the localised Feb 2014 western release and is bigger than any other version, with more enemies, more weapons, more vehicles and more levels.
Whatâ€™s it all about then?
EDF is a third person shooter where you take one of four characters and proceed to take on the enemies level by level â€“ simple, no?
The series has been going since the PS2 days and has a deep cult following, the game will never sell as many copies as the big guns but once you get past the surface there is a hugely deep and rewarding game to be found, unfortunately most people donâ€™t want to invest the time which you need to do to ultimately â€˜beatâ€™ the game because itâ€™s tough, very tough!
So is it like a third person version of COD albeit with insects?
Comparisons with COD are like apples and oranges, MW3 is a graphical feast for the eyes, fantastic looking, lots of particle effects, high quality textures blah blah whereas EDF4/2025 graphically isnâ€™t in the same league. Put simply MW3â€™s graphics are closer to PS4 than PS2, for EDF swap that around.
However, games like Call of Duty, particularly MW3 hand hold the player through a level usually by ensuring you follow a team-mate so taking a particular path â€“ â€œcan I go down this other street insteadâ€ â€“ noooo, sorry son youâ€™re on the COD train and you need to stick to the rails!
EDF is vastly different, the levels are huge and you can roam over large distances (probably a reason for the weaker graphics) which helps with tactics as you may want to get to a particular section of the map to take on the enemy â€“ donâ€™t worry theyâ€™ll always come to you! You may also want to level a large area to give you a tactical advantage â€“ yes, you can take down virtually every single building if your weapon is strong enough. One of the characters which has a moderate flying ability can even get to the top of the tallest towers and buildings for a breath-taking view!
The other good thing about EDF (and again relates to the shallower graphical levels) is the sheer number of enemies or other things going on at the same time. You really have to experience it to believe it; one level has a huge mothership coming down firing lasers in every direction whilst tens of spiders are mobbing you on the ground and a similar number of small alien ships are zapping you from the sky â€“ this is only around level 25 by the way. Your average FPS may have only twenty or so maximum enemies in comparison but for the most part less than ten to deal with at any one time.
One other thing to note is EDF is an arcade game at heart which means that for those who remember video arcades and cans of coke for 20p or using film in a camera youâ€™ll be well at home, and while many games today are criticised for being too easy – even on the highest difficulty setting the CODs of this world use checkpoints – EDF doesnâ€™t as you need to complete each level on one life, so after blasting the enemy for thirty minutes if you end up dying then you just have to do it all again â€“ did I mention it was tough?
So how tough is it?
There are five skill levels, easy, normal, hard, hardest and inferno.
There are 85 levels (yes you read that right), and on normal setting youâ€™ll probably start to panic around level twenty to thirty, depending on character being used.
Tell me about the characters then…
The four are Ranger, Wing Diver, Air Raider and Fencer.
Ranger is a soldier type, quite quick over the ground decent armour and carries two weapons.
Wing Diver is female whoâ€™s armour is quite weak at the start, carries two weapons of the laser/particle type but can fly.
Air Raider is akin to spec ops and although weapons are a bit weaker can carry life regeneration modules, mobile rocket sites and also a third item which is a vehicle â€“ tank, armoured car, helicopter, mech suit etc.
Fencer, is a mech suit and slow over the ground but carries four powerful weapons and has loads of armour to start with, can boost into the air to evade enemies.
Levels follow a much similar theme: destroy the alien invaders, but there are also other objectives for example destroying the dropships carrying the enemies. This may be easier said than done… one level has three ships but each flies at a different altitude, therefore you need to ensure your weapon has the â€˜reachâ€™ to destroy them all, data on which can be sourced in the main characters menu.
The levels take place in built up city centres, residential areas, underground and also in hillsides and valleys which gives another dimension to the game.
Once destroyed an enemy may drop one of four items, small health pack, large health pack, armour or weapon â€“ some weapons are better at farming these packs more than others.
Health packs are self explanatory but the other two need a bit more info. Armour packs increase the armour level of a character from the next level onward. So for example if your character has 100 armour points, as you get hit that level goes down and you need to pick up health packs to stop you from dying but your max armour/health level will only go to 100. If you also collect armour packs lying around, once you finish the level and go back to the main selection screen you may find your new armour level is now 102 or some such, as you progress through the game youâ€™ll soon find your base health level increasing to 200, 300, 400, 500 etc â€“ just keep collecting the armour packs!
Weapon packs give you new weapons to play with from the next level onwards, the only drawback is you arenâ€™t guaranteed a new weapon in each pack â€“ a bit like collecting football cards!
To be successful at EDF particularly on the more difficult settings itâ€™s all about tactics and choosing the correct weapon as there are loads to choose from, you also need to think about staying with your CPU team-mates or leaving them to do their own thing â€“ you can also get them to follow you to a certain degree as well so you do have a bit of control in that regard.
In summary EDF is great fun, something which can be lacking in todayâ€™s more serious titles. As said EDF titles are massively deep once you get below the surface and if you go into the game with an open mind and forget about the simple graphical style and just enjoy the huge explosions and weapons youâ€™ll have a great time!