Earth Defense Force stillNot all video games are kid-friendly, and the same could be said about play tests. Recently, The Toy Book landed an invite to a holiday showcase by D3Publisher of America Inc. The event took place at a bar and BBQ joint called Southern Hospitality in New York City, and one game in particular, much like the drinks from the downstairs lounge area, left me feeling a little woozy.

The game was Earth Defense Force 2025, in which you play as part of a military unit that responds to threats such as giant mutant insects. The latest in a popular series of shooters, players get to select between four characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses (based on armor, mobility, etc.). For the demo, I played a ranger—nice balance of running ability and weaponry—and ran around a recreation of Tokyo besieged by swarms of enormous ants.


My first outing as a monster-fighting warrior did not go particularly well, although I had a lot of fun firing my rocket launcher at the mutants, which more often than not, resulted in buildings or highway overpasses crumbling down. Please take note: The game, which is not yet rated, does feature blood and gore. Also, those squeamish about bugs should proceed with caution—and definitely, they shouldn’t select giant spiders as the invaders! Otherwise, Earth Defense Force 2025 is terrific, stress-releasing escapism.

Earth Defense Force 2025 will be available February 4 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.