I like killing bugs as much as the next guy. In fact, just a couple of days ago, I took out a real-life wasp nest in my back yard with a big can of Hot Shot.
It takes quite a bit more to exterminate the giant insects in Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon, and unfortunately, you don't get quite the satisfaction that you do in real life, even though the bugs are laying waste to our planet.
The game opens with you manning a turret during a short flight over New Detroit. Thrust into the middle of a battle for the survival of Earth, you're soon dropped off and have to mow down swarms of giant ants. Your aircraft crashes nearby, and you have to fight your way to it to activate its transponder and set it to self-destruct. Unfortunately, this describes about 95 percent of the game.
Each step of the way, you are given orders by your operations officer, who sounds a lot like the voice in my GPS, with her pleasing yet monotonous British accent.
Soon she lets you know that in addition to insects, a giant robot is after you. After you push some buttons at the crash site, find some waypoints and dispatch the robot, you're taken back to the lobby to select any weapons you might have unlocked or change your armor.
There are 15 levels like these divided into three chapters. As expected, bigger and tougher enemies are introduced as the game progresses, with a boss level near the end.
The bits of story in the campaign are told through boring conversations between your operations and intelligence officers. But they never really progress much beyond giving you orders to kill bugs and push buttons on crashed aircraft.
By completing the game once, using mostly the tactical armor, I unlocked only a few of the 300 or so weapons. By playing the game over and over with various armor types, you can unlock armor- specific weapons, but once through was enough for me.
I found the game monotonous — find a waypoint, kill ants, kill spiders, kill maybe a wasp or ticks for variety, take down giant robots and alien spacecraft, rinse and repeat.
You can pick up weapons by killing some of the larger enemies, but you can use them only the next time you start a level, and then only if you have been ranked high enough in a specific armor class.
Also, there are no checkpoints. If you go down, a friend or a bot can revive you, but if all three go down, you have to restart from the beginning of that level.
At its core, Earth Defense Force is an action shoot-'em-up with decent graphics that is best played with a couple of buddies. The online component offers various modes, including a survival one.
If you don't get tired of killing bugs and robots and spacecraft over and over with no real objectives, you can spent countless hours unlocking weapons you might or might not get to use one day. But the incentive's not that great, much like this game.