After making a fairly good debut on the market last year, the PlayStation Vita is wasting no time in starting off its 2013 season with a bang.  The team at D3 Publisher are already releasing a highly anticipated action game for the system through digital download via the PlayStation Network, one that fans of over-the-top action will appreciate.  The E.D.F. is back in action!

Earth Defense Force 2017, which originally came out for the Xbox 360 a few years ago, is coming with a new Portable makeover, for the price of $39.99.  But this isn't just a port, as the team is adding a slew of new features, including multiplayer, for the first time in the series since Insect Armageddon.

The story revolves around the Ravagers, a vicious alien army that has come to Earth with one goal in mind – takeover.  To do this, they've called upon a number of resources, including bullet-firing robots, mecha-sized warships and an armada of mutated bugs, including crawlers and nasty sprayers that can harm you rather quickly.

The only hope for this assault is the E.D.F., a crew of heroic soldiers that are armed with a number of weapons.  As a member of the team, your job is to take down the enemies by any means necessary.  And if some buildings happen to get caught in the crossfire (they're rather weak when it comes to grenade and rocket fire), so be it.  You won't have to foot the bill, provided you manage to save the world.

Earth Defense Force 2017 may not have the same level of gameplay precision as other shooters, but it more than makes up for it with fun.  It's not often you get a game that allows you to shoot an enormous warship out of mid-air and watch them come crashing down to Earth, or laying waste to multiple bugs crawling around on a tower simply by destroying its foundation and watching them skoosh to death on the ground below.  The missions also change up quite a bit throughout, taking place in cities, neighborhoods, and even underground, where you'll have to invade bug-infested caves in the hopes of crushing them.

This game retains the same style of presentation as the original, but is cleaned up a little bit, taking advantage of the PS Vita's crisp display.  The robots and enemies still look as daunting as ever (especially the big walkers who show no fear as they spray gunfire on you), and the wanton destruction is fun to watch, which you can dish out either on foot or in a vehicle, like a tank.

One of the new additions to the PS Vita port is a new character known as Pale Wing.  This female soldier is capable of flying in mid-air using a super-modified jet pack, laying waste to enemies from above.  She takes a little bit of getting used to in terms of precision, but once you get the hang of how she handles, you'll be dropping bombs like a pro.

If you prefer ground combat, the game offers over 150 weapons that deliver various effects of power, whether you utilize a laser rifle that can level multiple enemies in one shot, a grenade launcher that packs a serious ranged punch, or an assault rifle that's easy to reload.  (Fortunately, all the weapons come with a fairly good amount of ammo, and you can customize however you see fit.)

The one crucial feature that most players will take advantage of, we think, is the multiplayer.  You'll be able to team up with up to four people in a co-op session, each with their own unique weaponry and approach to action.  If you prefer, you can also battle against others in versus multiplayer, tracking down weapons and soldiers with the help of a HUD (on the upper right corner of the screen) and seeing who will walk away the victor.

Earth Defense Force 2017 will also come with a handful of new missions, and though D3 Publisher didn't provide details at the time of this report, we're guessing a few more bug-infested cities to liberate, as well as more underground areas and beachfront assault with enormous robots.  They should blend in with previous missions of the game just fine.

One thing we hope, however, is that D3 Publisher keeps the goofy dialogue of E.D.F. 2017 intact.  The original game consisted of hilarious battle cries from each of the soldiers, including "E.D.F.!" chants and plenty of comical screams.  Here's hoping they're still in the game.

Even though it's a digital only release, Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable looks like another winning addition to the PS Vita library, especially if you've got friends who are willing to save the Earth right by your side.  And considering how much fun it is to kill hordes of spiders and robots with minimal weaponry, who wouldn't want to?

The game will hit the PlayStation Network on January 8th for the price of $39.99.