Giant bugs, giant fun.
BarbaricAvatar wrote this review on .
* Lots of foes to murder
* Giant enemies
* No falling damage
* Destructible scenery
* Lots of weapons
* Good graphics
* Frame-rate sometimes very bad
* Vehicles are rubbish
* No manual reload button
* Aside from landmarks, scenery is much the same
Chances are you've never heard of "Global Defence Force". Certainly i never had before i accidentally came across it (while looking for something else) towards the end of 2012.
I think at the game's release i was still getting stuck-in to the meat of Gran Turismo 4 and did miss a lot of titles around that time.
I missed out.
Global Defence Force has quickly become for me one of PS2's essential games. It's a third-person shooter which apparently is a follow-up to an earlier game called "Monster Attack"; though the info i unearthed of that game looked strikingly similar to this one. So perhaps this is a remake, i really don't know.
Earth has been invaded (again) and the aliens have taken the form of giant creepy-crawlies. Ants and spiders form the majority of your foes, though later on you'll also encounter centipedes, Godzilla-alike's, mechanical walkers and UFO's, plus probably more i haven't got to yet!
You're presented with your foes in a series of short but sweet missions. Every level is a new fight and you'll be introduced to slight variations each outing, though the mission is always the same: Kill everything non-human.
Yes, this does limit the game massively and make it an extremely repetitive fare but on the other hand i always welcome the lack of escort missions or 'fetch' goals.
This is an unabashed shoot 'em up, one that gets your heart pumping with its purity. It's single-minded in its approach; see one level and you've seen them all, though you shouldn't let that put you off.
To achieve destruction you're given the choice of five levels of difficulty (Normal is just right for the new player) and two characters to choose from offering different methods of going about your defence of humankind.
The Infantry soldier has more conventional weapons (shotguns, rifles, grenades) and ammunition, and can also drive the game's vehicles. The 'Pale Wing' defender has sci-fi energy weapons (lasers, lightning guns and plasma grenades) and a jet-pack to get around with.
Both characters have pro's and cons; the developers have acknowledged the 'Pale Wing' character to be the most effective and so have hindered it in such a way that you won't choose that one every time.
The hindrance does backfire a little though as because the jet-pack and weapon energy are taken from the same reserve you can find yourself getting pinned down and unable to escape or shoot back. If you hit zero energy there is a 'cool-down' period, this always results in death because your weapons and jet-pack won't recharge during it.
Both characters unlock more health and extra weapons/upgrades by collecting items dropped randomly by your foes, this is good for variety in that you're always trying out new weapon combinations as you unlock a better homing missile, or shotgun for example. You can only take two weapons into each battle but this is enough, generally you'll take one short-range and one long-range/explosive weapon though it's fun to also make it difficult for yourself by taking two unsuitable ones.
What might appear as an advantage for the foot-soldier regarding vehicles is nullified because the vehicles are all rubbish. The helicopter has some truly bizarre controls (down on the analogue stick increases rotor-speed for example) and you've crashed into a building long before you've gained any kind of control. The same could be said for the jet-bike as it has minuscule armour and a magnetism towards trees/rocks/fences, it's only of use to make a fast escape in emergencies. The tank is the only one that has some legitimate use, its turret is powerful but turns so slowly that you have to keep your distance in order to be able to hit stuff, also it has no cross-hair so aiming is total guesswork.
In every case, you're better off on-foot.
Perhaps the game's strongest feature to the casual observer are the graphics, they are very good. It has a decent view distance, horizon haze, the bugs are detailed and the weapons have nice effects. Unfortunately these good graphics also negatively affect the game being that if there are lots of ants or spiders on-screen then the frame-rate drops quite dramatically.
This is perhaps the biggest drawback to the game as when things get hectic, it just can't cope. But it's never unplayable, you just get a bit more time to consider your next move, or have to press a button a second time to register it. It's not enough to break the game, with so much going on you're often amazed it works at all.
Other flaws i've noted are some levels take place in tunnels or burrows, which is fine. But the carcasses of the bugs you've killed remain before they fade out after about 10secs. This can make underground visibility a problem; sometimes you can't see or shoot the living enemies beyond the pile of dead ones.
The jet-pack girl has some strange lean going on when she's on foot, it looks weird and defies gravity but doesn't affect anything.
Something that may be regarded as a hindrance i see as an advantage; when falling from any height your character takes no damage. This game isn't supposed to be realistic, it's supposed to be fun and this feature certainly helps that by not breaking up the battles with a movement error resulting in a fall.
On a more positive note, i've done 54 of the missions and the game is telling me i'm just 17% of the way through. Whether this figure includes every difficulty level or just 'Normal' i don't know. There are lots of scenarios to tackle taking place in not just cities, but canyons and fields too.
Though again i should reiterate that you're always doing the same thing.
How you feel about this game is really dependent on what you expect from games.
If your perfect game is a multi-layered RPG with depth, story and variety then maybe "Global Defence Force" isn't the game for you.
If you enjoy games that give you an unfiltered single-minded experience and have you cackling with laughter at having just accidentally knocked a building down in between going "RARRRR" while shooting everything that moves, then you will love this game.