The Best Games You’ve Never Played: ‘Earth Defense Force 2017’

We spend a lot of time talking about the biggest and the best videogames here on The Bonus View. Just as with movies, it’s entirely possible to overlook some absolute gems if you’re only sticking with blockbuster titles. The Best Games You’ve Never Played will be a new semi-regular feature focusing on those games that you may not have had a chance with, but that are sorely deserving of attention. I’d like to start off with a personal favorite: ‘Earth Defense Force 2017’.

If you haven’t had a chance to play ‘Earth Defense Force 2017’ (or simply ‘EDF’), then you’ve been missing out on one of the most entertaining co-op shooters on the Xbox 360. In Japan, the game was a 2006 release for the 360. It hit the States in March of 2007. It’s an early title for the system, and that shows in every way possible. The achievements are awful and don’t get awarded to the second player, the controls are lacking, and it doesn’t look anything like current games on the system. The enemies in particular don’t look much better than they did in the last generation of videogames.

Despite all of the negatives, ‘EDF’ is still one of my favorites for the Xbox 360. I think it’s because the designers went into it with the sole intention of making a game that’s fun. There are no grand aspirations of a “cinematic” experience or a complex branching story here. It doesn’t even try to develop rich characters – or characters at all, for that matter.

‘Earth Defense Force 2017’ puts you in the shoes of an EDF soldier, defending against alien attacks. The aliens in this case look much like enlarged versions of Earth’s insect population, just like in old sci-fi movies. In each level, you’re tasked with taking out whatever’s coming down to the Earth.

The level design isn’t anything remarkable. In almost every instance, you’ll be in a city with enemies dropping down from ships. Sometimes you’ll be in a cave, but mostly you’ll be outside in a city. The nice thing about the city is that all of the buildings can be destroyed.

The game’s destruction mechanic is unsophisticated. A single rocket will level an entire building in most cases. But who ever said that we needed complexity and realism to have fun?

In fact, that’s the whole appeal of ‘EDF’. It’s pure and simple fun. Take rocket launcher, blow up giant ant. Lay mines, blow up spiders. Fun.

Whatever you do, don’t play ‘EDF’ alone. As a single player game it’s repetitive and dull. When played in co-op, though, ‘EDF’ blooms into something special.


  1. Tim

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but…Shadow of the Colossus. For a hardcore tamer, it’s a disgrace that I haven’t played. I do plan to get the PS3 HD rerelease though. So that counts for something, right?

    • You know, I’m having an incredibly hard time going back to 3D games that don’t have a 16:9 aspect ration and HD resolution. I can do old side scrollers and RPGs and such, but games like ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ and ‘God of War’ are just so difficult to play.

      Admittedly, I haven’t played ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ either. I definitely plan on picking it up in HD though. 🙂

  2. Barsoom Bob

    I have heard this rumor that Shadow and Eco were going to be upgraded and released for PS3. You guys seem pretty definite about this, any idea when it will be available? Played Eco all the way through, very beautiful, fun game. At the end, if you let the credits finish you are put back into the game on a beach. If you walk to the end of the beach you find someone you lost along the way. It was a special game.

  3. BMH

    I played all of EDF two years ago. It isn’t an unknown game, but it is a budget title.
    The thing the game actually lacks is proper physics for dead giant insects. Typically, when you kill say, a giant ant, it will flip over with the weight of a feather, continue to move about with super low weight, and then disappear on camera without any kind of fade or remains. This is actually more disturbing than the simplified collision that you will find as you move from block to block around rubble.

    For a co-op experience it is surprisingly lengthy, and there are levels later on that take place in huge underground ant colonies. There, the lack of detail and lighting make navigation tough, and it is easy to become (hopelessly) separated from the other player.
    I fell a thousand game feet down a shaft and had to fight the ant queen alone. Of course, the queen was huge and obscured me, but the poor hit detection allowed me to kill her… eventually. Some things are so bad, that they are good.

    There is a nice variety of weapons, and a nice amount of strategy when picking a loadout from your arsenal. Also, there are mechs that you can pilot. It’s fun for two players to race to get a mech, and then see how they change up a level.
    EDF is a great co-op experience. Good co-op games are hard to come by, and it is fun shouting “EDF!,” “EDF,!” at the end of the levels.

    • Oh those physics are so bad aren’t they? Then again, I really enjoyed messing around with the ultralight corpses. 🙂

      And boy those colony levels – my friend completed one without me because I couldn’t find my way around!

      I’m excited for the new game, which makes getting weapons a bit less of a grind. I just hope they don’t take out the cheesiness 🙂

      • Patrick A Crone

        For those interested, a sequel is being released this year Called Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon. I really enjoyed the original for what it was. It was buried by higher profile games at the time so it’s nice to see it still has it’s fans.

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