Earth Defense Force 5 (PlayStation 4) Second Opinion Review

By Eric Ace 13.02.2019

Review for Earth Defense Force 5 on PlayStation 4

Earth Defense Force sits squarely in the realm of 'cult hit' as far as the series goes. People will fall into one of three categories about it: those who have never heard of it, or have looked at it and dismissed it, and, finally, those who have played it, and very largely enjoyed it. At its root, it is a third-person shooter of playing a nameless soldier caught in a war on earth against huge insects. While it is extremely campy, and never takes itself too seriously, the simple pattern of kill, loot, repeat works very well for the series and its latest incarnation hits many of the right notes. Players need not have played any previous ones to enjoy this.

Earth Defense Force 5 will largely fly under the radar for many that might actually enjoy it, as it is a digital release only. While the series is much more popular over in Japan, it has achieved moderate success over in the west as a kind of cult hit that retains a loyal fan base. This is unfortunate it is not better known, because its campy humour and co-op nature give it a multiplayer experience that is unrivalled by others games that are out. This is not to say there are not better multiplayer options, but how many titles allow fighting Godzilla-like monsters with a giant mech, shooting ants with rocket launchers, and flying around as a character that looks as an Amazon in a bikini with a jetpack?

At its root this is very simple: the player picks a class and weapons then a mission, and rolls out. While there is a story, it is primarily driven just through picking one mission after another, and piecing together the story through radio chatter. The average level involve running through cities or caves shooting giant insects, recovering various loot drops and surviving. The loot aspect is a major facet of the overall experience, and has been improved from past iterations. Any drop can be anything from a healing item, to permanently increasing health, to a weapon drop. The weapons range from level 1 stuff, to as high level as the difficulty currently allows. Depending on the class the player is using, these weapons primarily are only that class.

Screenshot for Earth Defense Force 5 on PlayStation 4

One thing new to this series is that weapons are now upgradable. The system is a little weird, but essentially a weapon will have varied stats, and the player will have a weapon that takes the best stat of any copy of that weapon. What this means is say the rifle does 10 damage, and reloads in four seconds, if you find the exact copy of rifle and does 11 damage but reloads in five seconds, it will only take the 11 damage modifier and retain the four-second reload. While not perfect (what might have been better is just a flat increase for any copy found), it goes a very long way to making farming actually fun and manageable.

While there is not a coherent story compared to a more narrative-driven game, this is better than previous ones, as the story focuses on a re-imagining of the first time humans encounter these aliens. As a result, many of the early missions are conducted in confusion of trying to figure out if these are from a foreign nation or something similar. A complaint is not being able to separate the voice volume of the story elements from the endless civilian screaming.

Screenshot for Earth Defense Force 5 on PlayStation 4

One of the best parts of the game are the four different classes that can be played, and they all feel widely different. The standard is the Ranger; fairly strong and no overt special abilities, he gets a standard array of weapons like rifles, grenades and rocket launchers. Next is the Air Raider; a support class mixed with an AoE-nuke type spell caster. He has various moves that heal or help his allies, but his coolest moves are calling in aircraft, artillery or bombing runs that do massive damage but can only occasionally be used.

The last two classes are the Wing Diver, the only female character in the game. She flies around on an energy jetpack and is extremely mobile and fast. Her downsides are very low health and her weapons use her jetpack energy potentially trapping her in a bad spot. Last is the Fencer, a soldier clad in a complete set of power armour. Normally very slow, he is armoured very heavily and gets massive weapons like tank cannons and Gatling guns.

Screenshot for Earth Defense Force 5 on PlayStation 4

One of perhaps the best traits this has is the fact it is local couch co-op. To repeat that point, you can play with your friend on a single system while in the same room. This experience really makes the game come alive while both of you are battling giant ants.

Unfortunately this game will likely not achieve the popularity it deserves. However, those players that give it a chance and look past the visuals (if they find them off-putting) will come to find a game they enjoy despite themselves. The experience is universal where players have the feeling of "I don't know anything about this game," only to play a round or two and want to keep on playing.

Screenshot for Earth Defense Force 5 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

The addition of an upgrading loot system gives the series a much needed RPG feel to the experience. While a massive upgrade over 4.1 in many respects, some notable areas are weak such as sound, songs, and voices - perhaps most importantly the 'EDF Song' is missing, much to the chagrin of long-time players. These issues aside, the better graphics, gameplay and overall mission structure makes this a great sequel and a fine game for new players to get into this third-person shooter.

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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