Earth Defense Force X Preview
If you've ever wanted to see something like a Godzilla movie meeting the frantic, monster-filled action of Serious Sam, then this one is definitely for you. Earth Defense Force X is the first game in the EDF series, developed by Japanese developer Sandlot, to get a release in the US (officially, this is the third game in the series). It's an Xbox 360 exclusive and it's got huge monsters, massive levels, tons and tons of third-person action, and over 400 weapons to choose from.
You'll start off with a pristine set of city blocks and one little guy with some very powerful weaponry. As the enemies start pouring in, you'll need to frantically spin around and keep the monsters off you as you mow stuff down by the dozen. There's a big focus here on large enemies, so you'll be spending a lot of your time looking up at huge robots, insects, and yes, big standing lizard-like creatures who threaten your immaculate city.
It turns out that the cities won't stay immaculate for very long. With massive damage happening to everything around you as the explosions fly, you'll realize that you're going to have to level at least a couple of city blocks just to keep the horde off of your frail form. Luckily, the weapons you get allow just that. There are seven total weapon categories: rifles, sniper weapons, shotguns, guided missile launchers, dumb-fire rocket launchers, explosives, and special weapons. Split across these categories are a total of over 400 weapons you can choose from; some will have tight, pinpointed damage while others have a massive spread. Some will reload quickly while others will fire much faster.
Some of the weapons we saw on display were really fun to fiddle with. There was a solid M16-looking rifle with a massive ammo capacity to start, but then there was the machine gun that fired over 30 rounds per second and just riddled anything with holes. Then there were the overpowered rocket launchers, the very handy sentry guns that could be thrown down, and even a hilariously huge gun that caused a few solid acres worth of real estate to go up in flames all at once.
Of course, you don't get all of these kickass guns right off the bat. Amongst the powerups that you can pick up to replenish life or ammo, there are weapon pickups as well. Snag one of these, and a random new weapon will be available for you to choose when starting the next level. It's important to choose your guns wisely, too, based on the kinds of monsters you'll be fighting, as some monsters have weaknesses and others are just more practical for the kind of fighting you'll be doing. You can really make things difficult for yourself if you don't put together the right two-weapon combo.
EDFX has some pretty nice graphics and an excellent frame rate considering the ridiculous amounts of on-screen action, and the frame rate is still plenty smooth when the split-screen cooperative mode is going. Throw in some vehicles like a hoverbike, helicopter, and a tank along with dozens and dozens of levels laid out in front of you, and this could easily go down in the history books with games like Serious Sam for their massive amounts of enemies and larger-than-life battles. Earth Defense Force X is set for release in March of 2007.