Game Review: Earth Defense Force 5

Release date: 2018
Version played: Playstation 4 in 2019

The fifth main instalment (but eighth overall entry) into the Sandlot development and D3 Publisher game series, Earth Defense Force 5 is a 2018 third person shooter, and horde defence style video game. Taking control of one of four classes — a Ranger, an all-around soldier with access to weapons for any occasion; Wing Divers, aerial specialist with a jetpack and immensely powerful, short burst energy weapons; Air Raiders, support troopers with access to healing abilities and sentry turrets; or Fencers, mech-suit wearing soldiers with the ability to equip four weapons at a time — the aim is stop the invasion of extraterrestrial monsters, including giant ants, humanoid monstrosities and more. This game is a sort of soft reboot following the Earth Defense Force 2017/Earth Defense Force 2025 duology, with a new timeline and story.

+ the four classes are completely unique to each other, and all have their pros and cons (mostly in weapon choices). I found the most joy in alternating between the Ranger, and using a combo of shotgun/long range missiles and the Fencer, using a long range mortar, multi-targeting missiles and dual-wielded mega shotguns to obliterate hordes of monsters before they got close to me. The dabbles I had with Wing Diver and Air Raider classes were both fun, too, but neither suited my particular gaming style
+ the central gameplay loop is monumentally engrossing and rewarding. Completing missions gives you more armour and weapons (for each class) to help you survive subsequent missions, and the five difficulty levels (from the as-it-says-on-the-box Easy to the so-hard-only-sadists-will-enjoy-it Inferno), and the addition of tougher enemies as the difficulty increases keeps even the most basic missions fresh as you mow down various creatures
+ the entire 100+ mission campaign can be played in split-screen multiplayer, and it has made for one of the best co-op experience I’ve had in a very long time (even with the occasional framerate drops). Planning tactics with my couch co-op companion and dealing with the inevitable mistakes from those poor tactics was always an absolute joy

EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 5_20190922181819
I call the big one ANThony. HA HA.

– if you are the kind of person to care for this sort of thing, the graphics are very mediocre. Impressive in scale but not much more, buildings are essentially just large blocks with only minor details in the lower lobbies
– similar to the above, the (English, at least) voice acting is so intentionally B-movie tier that it is hard to take anything seriously; but whether that is the intent or adds to the experience will be a matter of opinion

> it was really hard to make myself type “defense” for this review. Everyone knows it is spelled with a C
> if you were so inclined, you could really call this “Dynasty Warriors meets Starship Troopers” and to me, at least, that sounds incredible

Should you play this game: If you can overlook the graphics and B-movie story, this is one of the best co-op experiences, or solo play mindless action games I have played in a long time. Grinding out new weapons never feels like a chore (and grinding will only ever be a choice) and while a few of the missions do feel little bit like ‘you could win but the story doesn’t require it yet, so we’ll say you have to retreat’, overall there are enough twists and turns to keep it all interesting. I loved every second of this, and I think you will too. I just hope you aren’t scared of…

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