Earth Defense Force 2025 Xbox 360 review: My god, it's full of bugs (and robots)

The Earth Defense Force series of third-person shooters started out as budget titles on the Playstation 2 in Japan, though they also made it to Europe with new branding as either Monster Attack or Global Defence Force. Americans didn’t have a chance to experience the series until the third main game Earth Defense Force 2017 launched on Xbox 360 in 2007 (and later, the Playstation Vita). The fans of niche titles who were fortunate enough to play 2017 quickly fell in love with its bizarre fifties sci-fi vibe, huge hordes of enemies, and massively destructible environments.

The American developed sequel, Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon unfortunately didn’t fare as well as its predecessor. Smaller hordes of bullet-sponge enemies, a slow and painful grinding system, too few levels and enemy types, and awful writing and voice acting all led to disappointment for series enthusiasts. Now at long last, Sandlot and publishers D3 and Namco Bandai have delivered the true follow-up to 2017 as Earth Defense Force 2025 on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. 2025 is one amazing game if you give it a chance.

Earth’s only hope

EDF 2025 takes place seven years after the last game (the story ignores Insect Armageddon). Humanity has rebuilt after the last alien invasion. Suddenly an armada of giant insects erupts from below a Japanese metropolis and terrorizes the citizens. The alien Ravagers and their army of bugs, robots, and monsters are back!

That’s what you’ll be doing in all of 2025’s 85-plus levels: fighting lots and LOTS of bugs and robots. A few simple cinematics play before certain levels, but the narrative mainly develops through in-game radio chatter. EDF commanders, soldiers, scientists, and even news reporters provide unique commentary during each level. The actors deliver their lines with earnestness and just a touch of tongue in cheek, which is often quite funny and lends to the B-movie atmosphere nicely.

Class warfare

The one thing Insect Armageddon really got right was adding four unique classes to the EDF formula. 2025 borrows the idea, offering four distinct classes of its own:

  • Ranger: The all-around soldier class returns from 2017. He’s fast, has good health, and versatile weaponry such as assault rifles, rockets, and missile launchers.
  • Wing Diver: Probably the best class in the game, this female character can fly at high speeds thanks to her jetpack. Her weapons and jetpack both draw from the same energy reserve (which replenishes after a brief time), so players need to balance flight and firing.
  • Air Raider: This support class lacks much in the way of weaponry, though he does get some remote control explosives and wire traps. He can refill other players’ health and weapon energy, and even summon vehicles like tanks, helicopters (which handle terribly), and mechs.
  • Fencer: The tank class carries a whopping four weapons (or shields) at a time. His weapons include hammers, spears, Gatling guns, and more. Fencers move excruciatingly slowly on their own, but certain weapons give them the ability to dash and dash-cancel rapidly.

Collect (and blast) them all

While each class is different and fun to play, the true joy of EDF comes from its structure and grinding system. The offline campaign consists of 85 stages, which tend to last from 5-15 minutes each. Every stage can also be played on five different difficulties. And unlike most games, players are actually encouraged to play on all those difficulties. Weapon drops vary by difficulty, so harder difficulties dole out much better loot than lower ones.

Yes, 2025 has lots of juicy loot to find. Enemies randomly drop weapon crates, armor (which boosts your maximum health), and health refills. You won’t know what weapons you’ve picked up until the level ends, at which point weapons and armor get tallied up. With an arsenal of 790 weapons spread across the four classes, loot hunters will love searching for all those guns on the various difficulty levels.

The other element that makes EDF so special is its destruction. Enemies come in gigantic swarms, which make for spectacular explosions of bug bits when they get blasted with explosive weaponry. Not only that, but virtually every building in the game is fully destructible as well. Blasting buildings out of the way makes the aliens easier to find, and the game doesn’t even penalize for it either.


As most Diablo players know, killing monsters and hunting for loot can be so much more fun with a friend. 2025 capitalizes on that by offering both 2-player split-screen co-op and 4-player online co-op. The split-screen player can’t access her own profile or earn Achievements, however. She’ll have to use the main player’s characters and weapons.

The online mode is 2025’s multiplayer ace in the hole. All four players use their own profiles and can earn Achievements, provided each plays from his own system. Split-screen players can join online games, but the guest player is still restricted to sharing progress with the first-player.

Offline, both players share armor pick-ups but only the class that picks up a weapon gets to keep it. Everyone gets a weapon or armor pick-up when someone picks one up during online games, eliminating concerns about hogging the loot.

Strangely, level unlocking progress is separate for offline and online games. Reach the 13th mission offline won’t unlock it online, or vice versa. That does provide extra replay value, since you’ll pick up more weapons and armor each time you play through either mode. Online also adds nine extra missions to keep players busy.

The actual online lobby interface is beyond clunky, but at present there are open games at all hours of the day. One annoying aspect of joining games in progress is that you have to wait in the lobby until the other players finish their mission. The game doesn’t let you watch their progress or even display a timer of how long they’ve been in the mission. 2025 is Sandlot’s first online game as far as I know; hopefully they streamline the online modes in their future games.

Downloadable Content

2025 currently has two downloadable mission packs, with a third on the way later this month. The first costs $2.99 and includes five new missions, while the second and third ring up at $8.99 and pack twenty new missions each (all of which support the standard five difficulty levels). None of them add new Achievements, but that doesn't mean they're not worth buying.

The first pack is so short, you can probably skip it unless you're a completionist. But the second pack is a must-have. It contains the game's single best level for farming weapons and armor (Mission 16), a new enemy variant or two, and some exhilaratingly tough missions. Hopefully the third pack will prove just as enjoyable.


If you’re looking for a quick and easy 1,000 Gamerscore, EDF 2025 is not for you. Its Achievements fall into two very time consuming categories. First there are Achievements for beating the campaign with all four characters on four of the five difficulties. That’s a whopping 16 playthroughs of a very long game! That number can be cut in half by playing split-screen with two different classes, since each class gets credit for beating levels together.

Besides completing the main campaign, you’ll also gain Achievements for collecting various percentages of the weapons. It will take some grinding (and probably a bit of online research) in order to find them all. 2025 will keep Achievement hunters busy for a very long time.

Overall Impression

Earth Defense Force 2025 is a niche title that won’t appeal to everybody. Although improved from 2017, the graphics remain unspectacular and the frame rate dips when things get hectic. Sandlot is a small developer with big ambitions, after all. The relatively low-fi visuals enhance the game’s B-movie atmosphere, really.

2025 is so unabashedly fun and offers such a wealth of content, making its minor flaws much easier to forgive. If you like hunting for loot, chaotic firefights, and blowing things up, don’t hesitate to give this one a chance. Note that the Xbox 360 version of 2025 maintains a much higher frame rate than the Playstation 3 version, especially in split-screen. Xbox is definitely the way to go with this particular game.

  • Earth Defense Force 2025 – Xbox 360 – 4.82 GB – Amazon Link (opens in new tab) – Link

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Can't wait to play this on my Windows Phone! Oh wait, this has nothing to do with Windows Phone at all...
  • No one forces you to read articles, you could just read the ones you are interested in.
  • Really? There. That's my useless reply to useless commentary.
  • yes it does...
  • If, by now, you haven't picked up on the fact that WPC has grown to cover everything Microsoft (and Nokia) related: then I weep for humanity. As mentioned by someone else, you can chose to only read articles that interest you. Anyways: it's all about One Microsoft these days. Soon enough, it will literally be on OS: Windows, for everything in your life.
  • FYI WPCentral has a particularly whiny crowd following and commenting on its articles. "Nokia only!?! WTF" "No Xbox Live? SCREW U" "Skype not integrated, F U!" "No trial? NO BUY" "Comment above me makes sense? I HATE U!" ...and it goes on and on. Hell, even a genuinely good thing can and will be spun into a negative. Not sure why, but this has been going on for years, eyesore.  
  • Good points. That's the internet for ya, heh heh.
  • Thanks for the negative post. You're like Al Sharpton, reinforcing the very stereotypes that you pretend to abhor.
  • You'd have a point if my post wasn't behind a bunch of complaints and -- to no surprise -- followed by complaints. If you want to prove me wrong, then prove it with action. Yes, I have a problem, it started after years of having to scroll through whining and complaining about what this site posts (and at times, how it posts). I like reading comments in that there are some gems to be found, but man, waking up to "THIS ISN'T WINDOWS PHONE" or "NOKIA ONLY? WTH!" every morning for years is getting tiring. Sorry, it had to be said.  
  • You are forgetting the strong anti-Samsung sentiment. Add it, and your list is complete. :D
  • +100
  • Do you go on Android central and complain about them reviewing Samsung Gear 2 with tinzin.
  • +100000000, what is this shit
  • Its WPCentral. This has nothing to do with windows phone, go weep for humanity all you want it doesn't change the facts.
  • Is anyone forcing you to read the article?If you dont want to read about it,pass the article,I,for one really like reading about console games reviews,dont spoil it for people like me -_-  
  • Lol like the title you put there. Haha
  • Good review Paul, the game looks like a lot of fun.  The amount of content seems overwhelming, but in a good way! 
  • I hope I can experience this on my Vita/One one day. Loved Every other game but I dont have a PS3/360.
  • You're in luck, because EDF 2017 (the predecessor to this one) is available on Vita and it's great. I'm also hoping for an Xbox One version someday.
  • "Oh no you mentioned vita. You troller. Get off of here. " would have been reply if I would Have said that.
  • Terrible game. It only got hype in the first place because it was so comically bad, the slapstick comedy of military shooting games.
  • Xbox 360 and Xbox One news...
    Sorry editors, but I think you have forgotten the raison d'etre for us even being here.
    Give us Windows Phone news...not this pointless junk!
  • Nobody's forcing you to read articles that you're not interested in. Also, welcome to the site. ~ ~
  • Yea... I thought this was for WP too. The Xbox stuff gets to be a bit much after a while.
  • Thanks for the welcome. I wouldn't normally make such a comment....BUT, the top three stories on my Windows Phone Central app were about the Xbox One, the Xbox 360 and the Windows store. I am just a bit tired of this website becoming a place filled with so much superflous stuff. Why not make an Xbox Central?
  • Its everything Microsoft related, just like imore just isn't about the iPhone its about apple in general.
  • No it isn't. This is WPcentral - 'Windows Phone Central'! iMore is named that way because it covers everything 'i'. It was never solely about Apple's iPhone. WPCentral on the other hand is solely about this OS.
  • No, we're not solely about Windows Phone. We've covered all Microsoft platforms since 2011 or 12. Yes, Windows Phone is in our name.
  • Yeah, game sites are for these
  • Well,if there is no wp news to report,should Paul create it out of thin air?? -_- He's at spending hours writing articles just so you lot wouldnt moan about 'slow news day'.This site reports everything MS related,get a life.
  • This comment is for the guy who was looking for a way to login to WPC app for commenting. I didn't want to reply to him on the $15 winning comments article cause I already had a comment there....
    Anyway, in the WPC app, just try commenting and it will ask you to login.
  • Mine messed up for awhile and kept saying "error" when trying to post. After a couple weeks, I get an email saying somebody is trying to login to my account too many times. I ended up having to reinstall the app.
  • Thanks for the article guys. People can in fact choose not to read some articles. Actually...sometimes...this community is really immature. (don't flame me too hard - just speaking honestly).
  • Corey, I respect what you are saying...but the top three stories on my WPCENTRAL app were about Xbox 1, 360 & the Windows store. I don't sign up for BBC News to read about celebrity gossip. The same analogy applies here. These articles should be on a gaming website. They have nothing to do with Windows Phone. If news is thin on the ground, so be it. But don't just fill the gaps with stories that are absolutely irrelevant to the reason for us all being here.
  • That's enough, SpinZero. It has been explained to you, so now you can drop it and move on.
  • Well said Corey. :)
  • This game look like a newer version of Mech Warrior 4 in some ways.
  • Thank you WP...u r growing up...i love you.
  • Honestly, I get where some people are coming from. This isn't even an Xbox1 title. Why is this review here? Even if WPC covers MS stuff, which I'm okay with, why cover content like this?
  • Microsoft makes Xbox
  • Both Xbox One and 360 are Microsoft systems, silly. We review the console games that publishers send us. And we've reviewed 360 games sporadically since at least 2012.
  • Perhaps you should have called this website 'MicrosoftCentral'. An Xbox 360 review is neither here nor there. It has no impact on Microsoft's ability to deliver a quality Windows Phone experience. As such, it should surely not be considered 'news'. It is just a game after all for a legacy gaming system.
  • Just please don't make Xbox 360 news..
  • Xbox system was created by MS,that's why sherlock -_-
  • Oh come on. Just ignore the article if you don't like it. The title says it all " Xbox 360". It's not like the title says "open the article or you'll choke on your next nut"
  • -1
  • That's not the point being made. 3 articles in a row on Windows Phone Central have been about things completely unrelated to Windows Phone. At least allow us to filter out all this junk so we can get back to reading about the the thing that we came here to read about
  • spinzeroWl,you posted the same comment 3 times on the same article and you are complaining about 3 xbox related articles?? -.-
  • Yes, yes I did. If I wanted to read Xbox stuff, I would seek out an Xbox Central style website. It just becomes tiring after a while. Judging by this forum thread, I am not alone in thinking that.
  • Good review Paul. I like the achievements section. Carried over from WP reviews. Not my type of game. I always confuse this game with universe at war. I feel they are similar but never played either so I can't be sure.
  • Thanks man. They're nothing alike, from a gameplay perspective. Aliens though!
  • Seems faster
  • It's awesome!
  • I thought the game was loaded with glitches/bugs, not insects. My bad haha
  • Anybody know if this game is eventually coming to XBO or PS4, doesn't look like D3 (publisher) is talking.
  • Sandlot has announced a Playstation 4 entry, but they revealed zero details - not even the title. Here's hoping it also makes it to Xbox One eventually as well.