The EDF Deploys!
The fifth and latest installment of the Earth Defense Force series has just been released on PS4 with its newly-complete English translation. Check out the trailer here, which might give you a general idea of what to expect, but only the most general of ideas. When it comes to explaining things, the trailer does a very bad job.
Luckily, that’s why I’m here.
Earth Defense Force is a series not known for its subtlety. First and foremost, it’s a game about a team of players facing off against a massive horde of enemies. While other horde-style games feature carefully constructed maze-like levels and a complex array of mechanics, EDF works more like this:
You (And up to three friends) choose a loadout and are thrown haplessly into a wide, open environment with hundreds of opponents, more often than not some array of 15-foot-tall insects. Depending on the mission, there might be some background exposition or NPC allies who’ll get slaughtered within 10 minutes, but that doesn’t matter much. It’s you versus a whole lot of bugs, with a few giant alien dropships or giant Godzilla-monsters thrown in for good measure. Good luck.
While the EDF titles have never featured the most complex of mechanics, however, they’re not about to stiff you in terms of content. The game features a whopping 110 story missions, according to the official wiki, as well as five difficulties, all of which significantly change the damage the player deals and receives, and what types of enemies they will face.
This is in addition to an impressive 21 enemy types, all of which are truly unique from one another rather than simply re-skinned versions of other foes with enhanced modes of attack. You’ll encounter giant ants, giant bees, tunneling teleporters, alien dropships, alien fighters, giant frog-aliens with laser rifles, and much more.
The game also offers players a selection of four different classes with their own unique weapons and playstyles. The easiest-to-play class is the Ranger, who normally wields handheld homing rocket launchers, rapid-fire RPGs, tactical missiles, massive automatic shotguns, grenades that explode into a fountain of more grenades, and more. Their weapons traditionally have the most range of any class, but their movement options are limited to a sprint, which is quickly outclassed compared to the others.
The Air Raider is the next most difficult. Their handheld weapons are of low quality, but they also gain options such as deployable heal stations and automatic turrets. They can also “charge” certain super-drops by earning kills, which, depending on the beacon a player has equipped, can call a helicopter to drop in anything from a tank to a rocket-bike to a giant Pacific Rim-style mech.
The second most difficult class, the Air Raider, has to manage a secondary resource known as “Energy” that powers most of the class’s flashy weaponry as well as its most unique feature: A jetpack. To make up for its high mobility, many of its best weapons only work in close quarters, so players should get used to weaving in between enemies and managing their energy reserves effectively.
The Fencer is the most difficult and demanding class in the game, although on the surface, a giant suit of armor with massive weaponry would instinctively seem like the easiest to handle. However, exceptionally long reload times coupled with a very slow walk speed makes survival very difficult. Although it would not seem this way at first, this class is actually the fastest out of the four, achieving its speed through careful and delicate use of “boost-cancelling”, a mechanically demanding technique that requires strict timing.
There’s also a whole lot of guns. Probably too many guns. There’s so many guns that there’s no definite number on the Wiki so far. Just know that the last title, EDF 4.1: The Shadow Of New Despair, had a grand total of 801 guns, so this title update is bound to beat that number by at least a few.
So if you’re looking for finesse, story, and an excellently balanced experience, run far, far away. But if you’re just looking to shoot a whole bunch of things at a whole bunch of other things, EDF 5 will be the last game you’ll ever need.