Friday, June 15, 2012

Earth Defense Force 3 Portable is a Thing...for Vita

So, while not quite being a hidden gem of E3, it is, nonetheless, something from around E3-time that you might not have heard of, which is unfortunate, since the news of this seemed to make a lot of folks happy.  I'm happy because people are happy, as I don't have any experience with the Earth Defense Force series whatsoever, but that happiness signifies a reason for it, and upon watching the video, I think I can sort of glean just what that is.  It is, also, quite possibly the only thing I can think of to write about right now since I am still fighting off some sort of cold or bad allergies or something.  So if this is not as involved or wordy or informative a post as you might be used to, I apologize, but it's about all I can put out at the moment.  But I -want- to write something at least, and pointing out a game that might've been overlooked seems a good a cause as any.

Now, the first thing you might notice about the trailer is that it is in Japanese.  This is mostly because it is, at this moment, just a Japanese game.  That is worth mentioning since it didn't even get the "will it, won't it" treatment at E3 like the Hatsune Miku Vita game as far as I know, so the chances of it getting localized are completely up in the air.  From what I can tell, only two installments of the series have been released in North America, so perhaps have a little bit of caution until we hear some official word.  Still, that attempt at buzz-killing aside, localization could probably be done pretty cheaply I would imagine, and despite all the doom-saying of the Vita despite it not even being out for half a year which is a thing I have brought up about two dozen times, it's still early enough where something like this is definitely worth the investment since there are still people out there with a Vita that is shiny-new and looking for more and more things to play on it, which means they might connect to an audience outside of the niche they've carved.  I, for one, am interested despite having never playing (and barely hearing of) the series, and I imagine my case would not be an unheard of one.

Immediately apparent is that they game is certainly not one you're going to turn to for a deep, involved storyline with plenty of twists, turns and surprises.  Even in Japanese, the gist of "It's 2017, we're being invaded" is clear, and that is where the titular organization comes into play.  The Earth Defense Force, the nameless, faceless men and women in a giant army are the people you take control of to try and drive off the alien and/or giant bug and/or giant robot menace.  I say nameless, faceless men and women (maybe even just men?  I dunno) because that's kind of part of the 'thing' of the game, after I've looked into it.  The point is that you play as part of the 'fodder', so you're not a super soldier, nor are you technically 'supposed' to win, or are even expected to, and certainly not by yourself.  While I don't know quite how that mechanic works, it's reflected in the fact that the game's other draw is the Online Co-Op between up to four people which is touted in the trailer.  Along those same lines, but possibly not mentioned, is that the game will be sold in single and double-packs, with the latter meaning, quite literally, buying two copies of the game so that you can 'enlist' a friend into playing it with you.  Which I think is neat.

Something else that's neat about it is the nice little touch part-way through the video.  Take a good look at the...well, it's not a 'logo', but it's a name or whatever for the news station.  If you read it and don't get it right off, when I guess you haven't followed the Vita very long and/or simply forgot.  Or perhaps my ignorance of the series is shining through, but I think "NGP News" is a little bit too much of a coincidence.  NGP obviously coming from the 'codename' for the Vita as it was shorthand for Next Generation Portable is a pretty nice call-back/touch, so I sure hope it was intentional.  If not, then I suppose it's simply a little bit of 'fate' that the series finally made its way to the handheld if it has commonly featured "NGP News" in the cutscenes and/or as a plot point.  Regardless, that's sort of a little thing to go on about for a paragraph and I feel sort of silly about that.

What I should be talking about is the gameplay itself and how it looks in the trailer provided since it is literally my only resource here without looking elsewhere which I don't plan on doing.  The whole 'sick' thing and all.  Basically the game looks like a free-roam Third Person Shooter affair which is plenty nice, especially with the twin sticks of the Vita.  Of course, it's not your standard TPS game, considering there are all varieties of big and, by that metric, gigantic enemies to be found and destroyed while running for your life, so it does set itself apart in that.  The sheer scale of that alone is pretty impressive, moreso when you consider that four different Vitas can run such a scenario concurrently, and when you add in vehicles (or at least Helicopters as shown in the trailer), the game expands that much more in quite a pleasant way.  Of course, even with all that, I'm sure it's not just a matter of run around and shoot, and will require some actual tactics considering it's dependent on you playing as a redshirt essentially.

That's about all I know and can tell about the game, of course, what with the whole 'not speaking japanese' thing, which is something I should look into at some point apparently.  (Goddamnit, Sega)  The trailer puts a release somewhere within the remainder of 2012 but again, that's simply for the Japan release of the game since there could only -be- a Japan release of the game.  I'm somewhat hoping and betting against it, but it's a very real possibility considering the series seems to have 'low-budget' written all over it.  (Though, impressively, it's not -incredibly- apparent in the visuals)  Hopefully we'll get a yay or a nay soon, rather than have to think/worry/wonder about it for a while, but there are all sorts of hopefuls out there regardless.  We'll just have to see.

1 comment:

  1. Though, impressively, it's not -incredibly- apparent in the visuals

    Man will forgive a low-budget game for a certain selection of things, and fighting giant alien monsters on foot is one of them.