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Earth Defense Force 2025 bringing cooperative insanity to North America

Sandlot's Earth Defense Force 2025 promises to give players third-person cooperative insanity against robots, massive space ants and colossal spiders.

Known as Earth Defense Force 4 in regions outside of North America, the game features co-op, multiplayer and campaign modes. In a gameplay demo, D3's executive producer Miki Takahashi played a few splitscreen co-op missions with Polygon. In the first mission, Takahashi chose an Air Raider class, airborne infantry that calls in air raids and vehicles. And, to highlight the teamwork of classes, we were designated a Ranger, a foot soldier that can use mechs and other vehicles. In this co-op mission, the goal was to destroy all UFOs hovering over a field while masses of spiders swelled to impede the humans' progress.

Takahashi called in a mech suit for us, which was fun against the masses of insects from afar, until she beckoned us closer to use the mech's specialised weapon on the UFOs. But it took skill not to become easy fodder for the web spitting spiders that render the mechs immobile.

The second mission sample entailed eradicating mobs of giant ants, smaller yet formidable spiders and swarms of bees. We were granted a Wing diver class, which features high-tech weaponry and jet packs. An ideal class to provide air support for ground-based teammates and to take out some colossal bees in some enjoyable air-to-air combat.

Getting too close to a giant insect results in a mandible ride. There was something amusingly cheesy watching your own suited figure being ragdolled around between two massive mandibles. But once once area is clear of the threat it was onto the next zone.

The Air Raider class can deploy health generators and force shields, call for vehicles into the battlefield and order in air raids over designated targets. Other classes included a heavily-armored class called the Fencer, which can be equipped with a variety of items, such as a deflective shield, high-pressure plasma blast-hole spear, thigh speed side thruster, a handheld Gatling gun, a vibro-drive hammer and an armor-piercing hand cannon.

The game's graphical "wow factor" was sacrificed to the almost overwhelming number of on-screen enemies and the capabilities of destroying every single one of those bastards. Although, sometimes the masses of insects on-screen caused a chug slow in the frame rate. It is easy for the Earth Defense Force uninitiated to turn a nose up at the visual quality, but doing so could bar one from cringe-inducing, belly-shaking good times.

Be sure to read our earlier preview where we get hands-on with the game's campaign at the Tokyo Game Show. Earth Defense Force 2025 is slated for an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 release on Feb. 4, 2014 from D3 Publisher. Sandlot's Earth Defense Force 2017 first launched in 2006 in Japan and 2007 in North America. A sequel, Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon, was released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on July 5, 2011.

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