With 50 some odd missions to play, including 7 brand new ones and over 150 weapons to collect across 6 difficulty levels - there's a lot here for the completionist. You'll have a hard time tackling anything above normal by yourself, and while the original game only features two player split-screen play on the Xbox, EDF 2017 Portable features four player co-op either online via PSN or locally via an AD-HOC connection.
While the co-op doesn't add anything specific, other than giving you another soldier on the battlefield, it does make the game significantly easier allowing you to tackle the harder difficulty levels and unlock better weapons. The good news is all weapons and progress earned in games as either the host or the guest will transfer back to your single player game.
While communication isn't exactly that important in a game where your only goal and strategy is shoot and don't be shot, it would have been nice to have seen support for voice chat. Instead we get a quirky, but surprisingly deep, pre-programmed text interface with 75 commands that can be accessed by category quickly with the D-Pad. The reality is, other than calling for help when you are down and yelling EDF before charging into every battle, it's just not used.
The chaos that occurs in Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable's co-op mode is beautiful. Horribly beautiful. It's the same kind of joy you get from blowing up a pile of old action figures with an M80. Watching four players fire triple rocket launchers into a giant group of spiders and seeing them careen and bounce all over the city is both hilarious and satisfying. This at its core is what makes the game so strangely addictive. The curiosity of just how much destruction can you cause and what weapon can you find that will cause it.
EDF 2017 Portable isn't without its problems, the biggest of which, is when the chaos really gets going - the frame rate really begins to chop - especially in co-op. It's not a deal breaker by any means, pinpoint aiming isn't exactly a requirement for Earth Defense Force, but it is annoying. Also the game is priced at $39.99 - which for a portable version of a 6 year old game seems a bit steep.
These minor issues aside, Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable reminded me why I put countless hours into the co-op of the Xbox 360 version of the game. It brought everything the original had to offer and even added a few bonuses like four player co-op. The levels and mission progression work perfectly for a portable game when you have 10 or 15 minutes to kill, which in a way, make the game feel like a natural fit for a portable system. The Vita isn't exactly brimming with a ton of titles to play, so the bottom line is - if you like mindless fun - pick this one up.
A code was provided by the publisher for the Co-Optimus review of Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable on the PlayStation Vita.
The Co-Op Experience: Four players team up online and can play through any available mission unlocked to the host player. Progress and unlocks are carried back to single player.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.