Global Defense Force Review (PS2)
Quite possibly the best in the triology
If there’s one thing conventional videogame knowledge can teach its that you shouldn’t mess with a winning formula. This is the philosophy behind many sequels and Global Defense Force is no exception.
Borrowing nearly everything from Monster Attack, Global Defense Force stands as a mirror game that has been significantly built upon. Released in late 2006, Global Defense Force’s western release was just like Monster Attack’s; it was quietly released with little fanfare only in Europe by a small budget game company and then quickly all but forgotten.
Considering the vast library of games for the PS2, is this obscure action game worth your time?
I was originally going to post the plot as stated in the manual, but its just so badly written it would just leave you confused. Here’s my plot revision that actually does tell you what’s going on.
Two years have passed since the end of the Great War with the Ravagers. Despite nearly every major city being reduced to ruins, humanity has been hard at work rebuilding at an astonishing rate.
While the toll the Ravager war was indeed major, it was alien inventions that allowed humanity to jump leaps and bounds in engineering and weapon development. How ironic it all was that the same technology used by the attackers was being used to rebuild the planet.
Since destroying the Ravager Mothership, The EDF (Earth Defense Force) has been shut down and a new allied army has formed in their place, called the Global Defense Force to protect humanity should they ever be attacked from beyond the stars again.
A new type of jetpack and hand cannon based on Ravager technology was created, and a new unit of soldier called the Pale Wing were trained, all in the hopes they would never be needed.
After so much suffering and destruction, humanity has finally begun to enjoy a quiet time of peace. However, deep down in the bowels of the Earth….something strange is happening.
June 12, 2019…the planet was put on alert.
Upon hearing the news, the GDF readied itself for a new nightmare. Even armed with the new technology, would humanity be able to defeat the Ravagers once again?
Well okay, the plot can be summarized pretty much as a rehash of the original game, but come on, what kind of riveting plot do you expect from a budget game that has giant ants, spiders, robots and UFOs?
The game does seem to use more polygons than Monster Attack, so weapon effects and explosions look better than the previous game’s. As before, cityscapes are fully destructible which adds to the charm of the game.
Still, as with the previous game, the environments still have a lot of pop in due to the short draw distance, and you’ll run into numerous graphical imperfections from screen tearing to occasional clipping issues to slowdown so bad it can actually reduce the FPS count to single digits.
Global Defense Force is an ambitious game that usually succeeds, but it occasionally is brought down by the limited PS2 hardware. Still, you can’t really fault a budget game for technical issues, and besides, nobody plays the Earth Defense Force games because of how they look.
Global Defense Force has a bit of a more varied soundtrack than Monster Attack, but this is still a game where you will find most of the music forgettable after hearing it. It’s not bad, its just not very memorable.
Global Defense Force is a third person action game where the player controls a lone EDF soldier and fights against a horde of 50’s horror clichés from giant ants and other insects to robots, UFOs and lots more.
As before, GDF mixes in slight RPG elements, as monsters drop health and new weapon items, which work as a grab bag of sorts since you’ll never know what new weapon you’re getting, or even if’s new at all. If you’ve played Monster Attack, all this will sound familiar.
The EDF foot Soldier returns with all previous weapons as well as a new weapons, but he is totally overshadowed by the inclusion of the brand new alternate class, the Pale Wing.
The Pale Wing soldier is lightly armored and thus takes twice the damage that the soldier does, but they carry a unique set of powerful weapons and the ability to fly with a aid of a jetpack. Plus, these units are apparently made up of women only, and they wear miniskirts as part of their uniforms. Talk about boosting morale of the troops!
The Pale Wing’ cannot jump or barrel roll as the soldier can, but in exchange you can fly anywhere you want. This gives the Pale Wing an amazing freedom of movement and unmatched evasiveness.
However, you cannot fly with the jetpack indefinitely. There is a energy gauge that depletes after about 15 seconds of constant use. Luckily, this gauge quickly refills itself when you are grounded.
However, if you completely drain the Pale Wing’s energy, the jetpack will overheat and take twice as long to recharge. To make matters worse, many of the unique weapons the Pale Wing uses also take energy directly away from the jetpack, so if your jetpack overheats, you can be left stuck on the ground unable to even fire until your jetpack recharges.
The Pale Wing’s weapon set varies from extremely close range but powerful lasers to lighting powered shotguns to powerful sniper rifles and rocket launchers. As mentioned, some of the Pale Wing’s weapon sap the jetpack gague while others have ammo clips. With these weapons, jetpack gauge is partially depleted when reloading.
The extreme maneuverability and unique power of the Pale Wing is completely balanced by her vulnerability to enemies and the constant threat of overheating the jetpack. This level of strategy is unparalleled in any other budget game I’ve ever played. The Pale Wing rocks.
Still, there are some situations where the EDF Soldier is better suited for the stage. A mix of the soldier and the Pale Wing also comes in handy in co-op multiplayer.
Availability and Price
Global Defense Force was only released in Europe and Japan. If you want to pick up the European English version, you should only expect to pay a few euros for it at most. The game was a budget title to begin with, so finding it used for even less shouldn’t be too hard. It’s sometimes on ebay, but I managed to get my copy off amazon. Good luck to everyone looking for it.
Global Defense Force was very well received in Japan, but received limited sales in Europe, killing any hopes for a North American release. However, reviews were nevertheless positive, and many consider Global Denfese Force to be superior to the third game for the much more powerful Xbox 360, Earth Defense Force 2017.
Global Defense Force is a blast to play either alone or with a friend. The Pale Wing is so much fun to play as you’ll wonder why she wasn’t in the third game. The game is also almost twice as long as Monster Attack.
As before, the game is full of technical issues such as uneven framerate, horrid pop-in, and although not a fault of the game, its PAL 50Hz only.
Global Defense Force is one of the best titles in the entire Simple 2000 series. Europeans should consider themselves lucky to have it available to them, and those in North America should jump the hurdles required to play this. Keep in mind that the game is PAL 50Hz, so make sure you have a TV that can support this video mode. If not, make sure you have a PS2 with a modchip.
Simply burn the game to your PC using a free program such as Imgburn and then run the PS2 PAL to NTSC y-fix program, which auto corrects games and makes them playable on NTSC televisions. Burn the iso to disc and enjoy Global Defense Force in NTSC.
Platform: PlayStation 2
Genre: Third Person Action Shooter
Release Date: Mid 2006 (PAL)
Devoloper: D3 Publisher
Publisher: Essential Games
PEGI Rating: 12+
Buy or skip: Buy