Monday, September 30, 2019

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 92 - Earth Defense Force 2017

Earth Defense Force 2017, despite being old and decidedly clunkier and jankier than the games that followed, still holds up incredibly well. It nails the core fun of the franchise - killing bugs and blowing stuff up - in the most clean and straightforward way possible and benefits greatly because of that relative simplicity. EDF5 is the best the franchise has to offer, mostly because it turns the crazy up to 11, but EDF2017 is a solid second even after all these years (and sequels). Read more and watch gameplay here.

Click here to shop Earth Defense Force games at Amazon doesn't allow direct linking to EDF 2017 for some reason. Probably because they're dumb.

I originally reviewed EDF 2017 back when it launched in 2007. At the time I was still in my "sort of crappy reviewer" phase, so I slapped a 3.5/5 on it and said it was goofy fun while complaining about ugly graphics, janky controls, shallow gameplay, and all of that typical stuff that people who don't really "get" EDF always say. Looking back on it, I would say it was due equally to a reluctance to step out of line and break from the mainstream consensus on stuff, but also because I genuinely didn't "get" it at the time. To be clear, I'm not so much bothered by the score I gave it - I gave EDF5 an 8/10 and I LOVE that game - it is more to do with the text that went with it. Now days I'd mention the bad things and then immediately say they don't matter because the game is dumb fun.

From a totally objective perspective, the EDF games are ugly and janky and have bad performance and are shallow. I admit it. But they are also super double plus good fun in spite of all of those things, and that makes up for a lot of it. You can shut your brain off and just blast away at bugs and it is incredibly fun and rewarding and satisfying. But every site, and every reviewer, has a mental hangup on that and says "Thou shall not get higher than a 7". That's nonsense.

Not every game can be measured on the same scale and certainly not every game that gets an "8" is exactly the same quality as other games that get an "8". People only ever see scores and never think at all about context. People also think that scores have to be based on mainstream accessibility and acceptance and that any game that gets an 8 or 9 or (definitely) 10 is automatically a must play for everyone. That isn't the case, kids. 

There isn't any magic formula that says if a game ticks all of these boxes it gets a good score. Dumb people will tell you that reviews have to be objective - which generally does work well for most things - but because games can be wildly different experiences between different people due to skill level or play style, game reviews HAVE to be subjective. That is why trying to reach a consensus on quality of a particular game is always so pointless. People that tout the Meta Score for a game as why it sucks or why it's good are totally missing the point. You have to look at individual reviewers and find ones you actually trust and like and who have similar tastes that you do. People need to actually READ reviews and not care so much about scores. 

Well, that went on a weird tangent, and I'm not sure I said what I really wanted to say, but there you go. EDF2017 is fun and most reviewers get it wrong for not just this game, but most quirky janky but fun games.