I had a chance to play some rounds of Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon at E3, a game I had been looking forward to since I heard of its announcement. Billed as a sequel to the cult hit Earth Defense Force 2017, it's all about shooting giant alien invaders with the most ridiculous weapons you can find.
What Insect Armageddon has done is added more of, well, pretty much everything. The game takes place in what is called an alternate storyline, as the invasion is the same but the heroic Storm unit of the previous game is never mentioned, and this game takes place in what is dubbed New Detroit. You've got more weapons to fight with, and I got the chance to try out a gun that fired exploding shells that exploded into homing missiles, a rapid-fire homing bullet gun, a few turrets, and a lightning shotgun. A shotgun that spit out constant lightning bursts.
I also saw a number of new enemies of varying sizes. Some, like massive daddy long-legs-lookalikes, took a substantial amount of weaponry to take down while they shot giant lasers across the battlefield. Others spawned little maggot enemies that could be easily taken down. There were also bees. So many bees. There was, of course, giant ants, flying ships, and bipedal bots as well.
One of the biggest changes to the game is the character system. Instead of just having one character, you've got four classes, each with their own weapons that they can equip and abilities they can use: Trooper, Jet, Tactical, and Battle. The trooper armor is your standard infantry armor, similar to the previous game. Jet armor gives you access to a jetpack to fly above the battle, raining death from above. Tactical armor, one of my favourites, lets you deploy turrets, radar, and mines as an ability, meaning you don't have to equip them like the previous game. Lastly, battle armor makes you a walking tank, with a shield that can repel any attack and some damn powerful weaponry. All of these class-specific abilities take up energy, which recharges quickly but means you're not able to constantly spam them.
This time around, you level up and earn money with your individual classes. I didn't get to see much of the system, but essentially, levelling up not only gives you extra health, but skills that allow you to perform your abilities better. You also get access to higher levels of weaponry, which you can purchase with money collected through battles, though there are number of guns which can only be dropped from enemies - these are known as 'elite weapons'.
It's clear that the developer I was talking to was a fan of the series, and we talked about how cheesy the previous title had been. I can confirm that the line "Sarge, they killed Fatty!" is uttered the game, at least, and there is definitely splitscreen (I also heard mention of four-player, though I did not find out if this was online-only). There's an improved graphical engine, a better flow in the missions, and tons of things to blow up. It looks like a great evolution of the franchise, and when it comes out on July 5th, it'll be quite the bug hunt.