Still squashing the competition.
The gaming world is a better place because games like Earth Defense Force exist. While these bug-killing simulators rarely have much to them outside of laying waste to thousands of enemies, they have developed a cult following that cannot be denied. Those that love the series, are always quick to point out its flaws, but those that hate it, really go out of their way to make sure everyone knows why. I mean who doesn’t love mowing down thousands of household pests, well 100-foot tall ones at least.
Earth Defense Force 4.1 is actually a re-imagining of the PS3/360 title EDF 2025. Of course, things have changed since that release, and developer Sandlot has not only added a new coat of graphical paint, but also improved the frame rate. While it never holds that bold claim of “constant” 60 frames per second, it does a decent job considering the sheer amount of crap going on at any given time.
Price I’d Pay: $34.99
The series has never been a real looker in terms of visuals, but the scope of each level, the amount of enemies onscreen, and the chaos that ensues is part of the charm of the EDF series.
One of the features that EDF has always been known for is multiplayer. Once again 4.1 allows for both local and online play. While it is awesome that I can couch co-op with friends, the frame rate takes a massive dive in this mode. Online fares better, but still has plenty of performance issues when more players join. Nothing game breaking, but it is certainly noticeable on every front.
EDF 4.1 also has a class system that breaks up the monotony of run and gunning. There are four classes – the traditional Ranger, Wing Diver, Air Raider, and Fencer. Each one has their own unique abilities, with the latter three being much more specialized. Traversal also changes with each class. Flying around this expansive playground as the Wing Diver is just as much fun as it sounds. They also have unique weapons, which are a mixed bag, but still a solid change of pace from the normal guns.
For those that have never played an EDF game before, the premise is simple. Each level pits players up against giant hordes of enemies. The charm comes from the enemy types. Early levels had me taking on massive bugs, but the palette swaps over time introducing giant robots, spaceships, and even giant monsters, feeling like the virtual merry-go-round of B-movie glory. The scale is impressive, and laying waste to an army of gargantuan ants never gets old.
There is a lot to EDF 4.1, but nothing about it is going to change players’ minds if they never enjoyed the series. The same rinse and repeat game play exists, the performance is still questionable, and the repetition is real. Still for those that enjoy it, this is by far the best the series has been to date. The classes are fun to switch between, the enemies are interesting, and there are countless hours of fun to be had. Remember, the only good bug, is a dead bug.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.