There’s a good chance that humanity would not survive an encounter by a hostile alien race, but if the Earth Defense Force was created, humanity would unmistakably win. D3 Publisher and Sandlot Studios have returned with Earth Defense Force 5, the latest installment of the classic shooting and action franchise, Earth Defense Force.
I reviewed Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space and greatly enjoyed that particular installment. As EDF 2 was a remake, Earth Defense Force 5 is a brand-new installment in the franchise built from the ground up for a new generation of gamers. After many hours of killing ants, shooting UFO’s, and nuking alien soldiers with an orbital satellite laser, I am pleased to say that Earth Defense Force 5 is among the very best action experiences in video games this year.
Earth Defense Force 5 can be traced back to a classic, niche series of games, known as Global Defense Force. Adopting a B-Movie presentation from classic kaiju movies, Global Defense Force thrust players onto a battlefield, facing hundreds of enemies at once in a bid to save the Earth from a terrifying alien menace.
Like a classic sci-fi film from the 70’s and 80’s, players face giant ants, giant spiders, UFO’s and many more enemies based on iconic sci-fi. The games gave players the sensation fo playing in a live-action Godzilla film, where players star as the military hell-bent on bringing down the monstrosities before them. The game had neither the sharpest graphics nor the most innovative gameplay, but it didn’t need to have either. It just had to be fun, and that fun carried itself over to multiple games to Earth Defense Force 5.
For Earth Defense Force 5, the same core setting remains. A massive alien armada has made it to the Earth in a bid to destroy all of humanity. The EDF is mobilized to combat this threat and completely destroy the enemy. Utilizing cutting-edge technology, highly trained personnel, and a range of support, the EDF is ready for a long and bitter fight against the alien menace. It is a similar presence to its predecessors. The difference this time is a wide range of new enemies, weapons, and missions, along with split-screen and online play.
While the gameplay in the Earth Defense Force games has always been enjoyable, the gameplay in Earth Defense Force 5 is absolutely euphoric. Earth Defense Force 5 plays like a twin-stick shooter, where players can choose between two weapons with unlimited ammunition. The weapons will, literally, shred your enemies to pieces, giving that hard-to-reach sensation of feeling like a member of Rico’s Roughnecks in the movie Starship Troopers. This sensation makes every battle, no matter how overwhelming, indescribably fun.
Players will be facing giant insects, alien warships, and even a brand-new enemy, the aliens themselves. The creatures, which appear to be anthropomorphized frogs, may appear absurd, but are incredibly dangerous, especially in large numbers. The alien soldiers can carry artillery, laser cannons, and bus-sized shotguns. Additionally, they can regenerate lost limbs fairly quickly. Engaging these new foes is quite the challenge, and wildly rewarding upon defeating them in combat. Playing the game is pure, enjoyable fun all the way through, especially with the new weapons and vehicles for players to change their tactical strategy
Players can choose one of four classes: Ranger, Wing Diver, Air Raider, and Fencer. The Ranger is the traditional soldier class, wielding every firearm imaginable, and being able to operate certain vehicles, like tanks. This is the recommended class for those new to the game as the controls and mechanics are easy to learn. The Wing Diver is part of an all-female special operations group that uses energy weapons and jetpacks to engage the enemy.
Wing Divers have powerful weapons but must conserve that energy as the cooldown takes time. The Air Raider relies on calling in support strikes, such as Mortars, bombers, and even orbital satellite bombardment. The Air Raider can also pilot mechs, which wield immense firepower for when the situation calls it. Finally, the Fencer is a special soldier strapped to a power exo-suit, similar to the “jackets” used in the movie, Edge Of Tomorrow. The Fencer is the toughest soldier to control with its slow speed and multiple weapon systems but can carry immense offensive and defensive weapons for any situation. Ultimately, each class is fun to use, providing different combat experiences for players.
Accompanying Earth Defense Force 5 is its B-Movie presentation, complete with over-dramatic music, intentionally bad voice-acting, and classic sci-fi effects. The dialogue, in particular, truly goes for it, creating an atmosphere that is self-aware, silly, but just serious enough. Earth Defense Force 5 doesn’t take itself terribly seriously and is self-aware at what it is. The game knows the player want to blast away giant aliens and be a bonified badass, without having to worry so heavily on story.
Earth Defense Force 5 also contains a few modern improvements to make the game more enjoyable. Players can now collect weapons for all classes while playing as any one class. Preceding games had you collect armor and weapons exclusively for the class that you chose, making this new feature rewarding. Additionally, even if players fail a mission, they will still be able to collect weapons and armor, even upon receiving a game over, as opposed to losing all collectibles upon death.
Finally, weapons can level up through use to become more powerful, and players can request vehicles while on the battlefield, such as tanks and mechs. These small improvements greatly improve the game and make it much more fun and enjoyable. Earth Defense Force 5 doesn’t shy away from challenge across its 112 missions. Perhaps the only gripe I can give Earth Defense Force 5 is its opening tutorial mission, which puts players in 3 slow levels to learn the basics. Naturally, the game will become repetitive as the game’s core concept is to shoot absolutely everything. However, that is the primary objective of Earth Defense Force 5. The game sticks to a core mechanics but makes significant refinements to keep players coming back for more. Though, I can hope that one day, we have an Earth Defense Force game set in outer space in Earth’s orbit.
Playing Earth Defense Force 5 is incredible, energetic, and greatly enjoyable, making Earth Defense Force 5 one fo the most exciting action experiences in video games today. It’s a large number of missions, classes, and weapon variety, make Earth Defense Force 5 fantastic for all players. It’s refreshing to see a game, like Earth Defense Force 5, fall back into the chief core of what makes video games so interesting, and that is simply having fun. Earth Defense Force 5 is a great game. Suit up, grab your weapons, and save the world.
Earth Defense Force 5 was reviewed on the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, thanks to a generous donation of a review copy from ONEPR Public relations in San Francisco, California.
29, Stockton University alumni. Brookdale Community College alumni.
I am a Jedi Trained Warrior turned intergalactic mercenary hailing from the radioactive shores of New Jersey, home of the Pork Roll Egg & Cheese. Dedicated to our troops, my friends, and Stack Up. My missions: To mend & defend, as well as play games to support our veterans.
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