Earth Defense Force 5 (PlayStation 4) Review

By William Lowery 16.01.2019

Review for Earth Defense Force 5 on PlayStation 4

Since 2003, Japanese developer Sandlot has consistently delivered fun, ridiculous shooting action through its Earth Defense Force series. What started as an entry in a line of Japan-exclusive budget titles, is now the quintessential B-movie-turned-videogame experience. 2015's Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair shook the franchise up in more ways than one through new character classes and refined gameplay. Earth Defense Force 5, the newest entry, continues the series' proud tradition of allowing players to kill hordes of aliens and monsters, and have a fun time while doing so.

Acting as a soft reboot, Earth Defense Force 5 takes place at an undetermined point in the near future. On a routine day of operations at an EDF base, news reports start coming in about large objects falling from the sky to deploy giant insects. Soon, the base itself is under attack, and the rookie EDF soldier you play as is soon thrusted into a large-scale war between humanity and an unknown alien race. As the war rages on, many begin to doubt if the Earth Defense Force will be able to save the planet from these vicious invaders.

Much like previous entries, this isn't focused on telling an emotional, gripping tale filled with lengthy cinematics and lots of character development. All of the character interactions take place off-screen and are communicated to the player via radio chatter during each stage. What it lacks in narrative depth it makes up for in the sheer lunacy of the situation. First, its giant insects then its giant monsters, followed by intergalactic motherships capable of wiping out large city blocks. Things aren't just cranked up to 11, more like 13.

Screenshot for Earth Defense Force 5 on PlayStation 4

To protect Earth from a host of nasty creatures and spaceships, you'll choose from one of four-character classes, and use their weapons and abilities to turn the tide against the invasion. With over 110 missions, five difficulty options, and a bevy of firearms to acquire, there's a lot of meat to it all.

The classes consist of the ranger, wing diver, air raider, and the fencer. The ranger is a regular soldier with no distinguishable traits, save for one. Both the ranger and the air raider are capable of sprinting, something that hasn't been seen in an EDF title since the 2011 spin-off Insect Armageddon. The ability to sprint makes traversing the massive levels a lot easier to do. Plus, the ranger can also equip a support item, such as a vehicle drop or enhanced mobility, to aid himself during combat.

Screenshot for Earth Defense Force 5 on PlayStation 4

The air raider is a support character, relying on airstrikes, vehicles, and deployable turrets to get the job done. Although he's useful solo, this class is at its best whenever you're playing with other individuals either in split-screen or online co-op. Next is the wing diver, the fastest of the characters. Her jetpack allows her to fly massive distances and make quick, evasive rolls to dodge attacks. The catch is her weapons and jetpack run off the same fuel source, so you must be mindful of how much energy is currently available.

Finally, the fencer is the heavy-hitter. Slow but powerful, the fencer can hold up to four weapons in both his left and right arm. Want to dual-wield Gatling guns, giant sledgehammers, or shields? Knock yourself out. His high health and massive arsenal make him the slowest of the bunch, but certain armaments enable him to dash across the battlefield.

Screenshot for Earth Defense Force 5 on PlayStation 4

As you progress through the lengthy campaign and kills thousands upon thousands of space creatures, you'll acquire armour and weapons via item pick-ups. Armour increases overall defense health, while weapon drops reward the player with new guns or ones he or she already has. Two major changes to this system are that all drops are allocated between the four classes, and if you find a weapon you already have, there's a strong chance it will beef up its current stats for rate of fire, damage, etc. Also, dying isn't much of a hassle since you now keep half of the items you pick up.

If a game offers a never-ending arsenal of guns, then it needs to have just as many enemies to kill, and Earth Defense Force 5 does not disappoint in this regard. Series mainstays like the ants and spiders return, as do the gunships and dropships, which have undergone a redesign. However, the biggest shake-up to the enemy roster is the introduction of frog commandos and alien soldiers. Whereas the insects are fairly mindless, the frogs and aliens are surprisingly intelligent, as they can take cover and flank the player. Earth Defense Force 5 might seem mindless at first, but dig a bit deeper and you'll discover there's a bit of strategy to the madness, which becomes very important on higher difficulties.

Screenshot for Earth Defense Force 5 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Earth Defense Force 5 is a blast through and through. Blowing away insects and spaceships with a shotgun or energy blaster never gets old, and the various classes are diverse and worth trying out to see which one best fits your play style. Admittedly, 110 missions of non-stop shooting does get a bit tiresome, but just when you think you've seen it all, the game introduces a new enemy type or throws in a big set-piece level to shake things up. Even with the added improvements and changes, though, this is still a typical Earth Defense Force. Besides, who needs plot when you have giant mechs fighting giant monsters?

Developer

Sandlot

Publisher

D3 Publisher

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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