Despite having been released on PS4 last December, EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 5 is the only title from the series to release on PC in three years, as a follow-up to EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 4.1. Nonetheless, it’s better late than ever, especially with such a famous, yet niche, franchise.
However, EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 5 is a reboot of the series, so you’re not going to miss on any story if you decide to jump into this one right way. Still, that isn’t to say that the story is one of the game’s strongest suits. Actually, I feel like it’s quite the contrary, I feel like this series was never regarded for that. At least these are the thoughts of someone who has never played an EDF game before.
In any case, EARTH DEFENSE FORCE is back on PC once more, and it really seems to deliver what it promises. It offers both an offline and online modes, as well as two-player local split-screen co-op. On top of that, it offers over 100 missions, all of which can be played in five different difficulty modes. However, I find it rather disappointing that the game does not share mission progress between the offline and the online mode. At least the game does share character progression and allows you to play with weapons that you’ve already unlocked in the other modes.
As for classes, these remain the same as in the previous game. There’s the Ranger which is the most basic character and the one that is recommended for new players, since he has access to standard ballistic weaponry. Then there’s highly mobile Wing Diver, which resorts to energy weapons to unleash havoc from above and up close as you glide through the battlefield with your jetpack while trying to stay away from the enemies’ claws. Occupying a more support role, you have the Air Raider, who can call in airstrikes to support his allies, but is rather tricky to play if you’re on your own. Lastly, there’s the Fencer, who uses an exoskeleton that allows him to wield two heavy weapons, like cannons and gatling guns.
While I haven’t personally counted them, and I’m sure I haven’t unlocked every single one of them, the developers claim that the game boasts over 1,000 weapons that you can use. As you kill enemies during missions, they’ll drop armor and new weapons. However, these weapons are only revealed once a mission ends. There is a vast number of weapons ranging from all sorts of ballistic and energy weapons, rocket and missile launchers, as well as an array of different gadgets such as mines, grenades, and all sorts of support contraptions that you will be able to unlock, including upgraded versions. Besides that, as you play with each class and pick up armor crates during missions, you will be able to increase the amount of armor that each class can take on each mission.
This is one of the main reasons why EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 5 is so surprisingly good, even though it looks quite dated and it might not have the best controls or narrative to carry you through the entire campaign. The vast myriad of weapons, gadgets, and vehicles available on your arsenal do wonders in helping the game remain fresh, even though the mission structure is highly repetitive. EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 5 stands as a testament to the fact that gameplay should never be overlooked because even if a game is mediocre at best, the way a game plays itself is enough to save it from falling into forgetfulness.
Not everything is sunshine and rainbows though, as the game has its fair share of issues. For starters, it not only looks dated, but the controls themselves can feel somewhat archaic at times. Jumping and driving vehicles are particularly cumbersome. While jumping feels floaty, the driving is pretty awkward, and a lot of times you can find yourself flipping over if you happen to be driving a bike. Turning is especially clumsy, it almost feels like some vehicles can’t properly change direction and it might even make you wonder if they’re behaving like that because they’ve been damaged. Overall, the physics are just all over the place.
I’ve also witnessed some enemies getting stuck on terrain, which is particularly annoying when you have to eliminate all enemies to complete a mission, since some of them might be stuck quite far off from where you are. Also, don’t be surprised if you see allies or sentry turrets trying to shoot enemies that are behind buildings or terrain, as that also tends to happen every now and then. Then there’s also the thing about the game being locked at 60 frames per second, for some reason. That, and the fact that even with anti-aliasing turned on, there is still a noticeable amount of jagged edges on several surfaces, makes me think that this PC port was done in a hurry. Oh, and there are no subtitles, which for a non-native speaker such as myself, is quite a bummer.
At the end of the day, EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 5 might not be the sharpest or prettiest game out there, but if you’re an EDF fan, chances are that all you care about are the epic battles and the satisfaction of killing your way through waves of enemies. So this is exactly what you’re looking for, more of the same. Even if you don’t go ahead and replay the campaign on harder difficulties, there is enough content here for about 50 hours, depending on the difficulty you choose for your first run, which characters you decide to play with, and if you play solo or co-op. Personally, while I find the game to be enjoyable in single-player, it’s much better when played with other people, even with randoms, as any human player adds much more to the battle than your fellow AI allies.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 5 Video Game Review
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
User Review( votes)
EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 5 is finally on PC, bringing the latest and best entry on the famous franchise known for its endless onslaught to a new audience.