Publisher: Xseed Games
Developer: Sandlot/D3/Xseed Games
Medium: Vita Card/Digital
By any objective standard, Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space is not a good game. The graphics are blocky. The missions are repetitive. The voice acting is atrocious. The controls can occasionally go a little wonky. The plot is nonsensical. You could pick pretty much any measure, and I can almost guarantee you that EDF 2 will fail at it.
Needless to say, I love it.
And not just in spite of its flaws, either. No, I love EDF 2 precisely for the reasons that many people may find it lacking. Take the graphics: are they ugly? Sure. Do buildings shatter in an oddly symmetrical way? Absolutely. Do trees explode the same way buildings do? Bizarrely, yes. But nitpicking those things is missing the core objective of both the game and the series. You're blowing up giant bugs and alien spaceships (from, er, "Planet Space", according to the game's title) inside destructible cities! As far as I'm concerned, the fact you can tell the difference between an exploding tree, an exploding house and an exploding skyscraper is more than enough. The fact you can do so on the Vita's smaller screen with little difference from the game's console versions is practically a miracle.
Not only that, expecting EDF 2 to be a graphical powerhouse is to ignore the game's purpose. Near as I've ever been able to tell, the whole series aims to recreate the feel of cheesy Cold War-era sci-fi films. It does that splendidly, which is why I'm so willing to overlook the awful voice acting and the tin-eared dialogue. I absolutely love movies like Them!, The Day The Earth Stood Still and, obviously, Godzilla (not to mention the MST3K takedowns of their less-than-stellar peers), and I like them for precisely the same reason I love this game: no matter the problems, they're still undeniably fun.
Is it stupid? Absolutely. But if you're going in expecting depth or intelligence (or, arguably, a high degree of quality), you're missing the point. Sometimes, all you want to do is blow stuff — cities, aliens, giant bugs, robots — up and Earth Defense Force 2 is made for those times. It won't necessarily appeal to everyone, but if you're the target audience, rest assured EDF 2 on the Vita will hit all the right buttons.