Earth Defense Force 5 Review (PS4)
The B movie you love and hate.
Earth Defense Force 5 is third person shooter published by D3Publisher and developed by Sandlot. Set in a world where giant alien monsters and their minions of gigantic insects come to take over the world and all humanity. Its up to you and your squad of EDF to turn the tide of war and save all of mankind.
Save earth. Kill aliens. Yes. That's it.
The Earth Defense Force games have always been games that I consider to be an ''acquired'' taste. These games are over the top,they're cheesy,they're campy and they're absolutely ridiculous and make zero sense whatsoever. But this is where the series gets its appeal and its charm from and why I've always taken an interest in the series overall. If you're familiar with modern day B movies, as well as classic monster movies back from the 40s to the 60's, then right away you know exactly the type of thing im talking about.
Here you take control of any member from the EDF, your role varies depending on what class you wish to take into battle,such as Ranger,Wing Diver,Fencer and Air Raider. Each class has its own unique set of abilities and weapons to choose from and unlock as you play through the games 100+ missions. For instance if you're a more boots on the ground type of player who prefers using machine guns,rocket launchers and wants to call in vehicles for help, then your choice would be Ranger. Fencer has dual mini guns with thick armor,Air Rider focuses on support and driving vehicles.
My personal class of choice has been the Wing Diver. With the Wing Diver you're able to use a jet pack and fly all around the map as long as you have plasma stored in the power bar. If it runs out then you will lose all momentum and fall to the ground and then have to wait for it to refill back up before you can fly or move around efficiently. Your fire arms and plasma weapons also effect how fast your plasma power bar drains, so you will have to pick and choose and be strategic with what weapons you use,how you fly and how often you do both. Makes for some rather interesting battles.
Once you've been fitted for battle,its now time to save the earth. This is where the core game play of this entire game gets started and what you can expect for the many hours to come. Each level you play is selected by a ''mission'' and each mission requires you to complete a specific objective, which most of the time your objective being to kill everything that's on your map radar until there's nothing left. Other times you must knock down enemy probes that are staged throughout a map and finally there are the missions where you must eliminate flying space ship teleporters which drop enemy aliens down to your area.
The environments in which these missions take place do not have a lot of variety I have to say,which is quite a shame at the end of the day. Most of the area's you will be seeing in this game range from open plain field areas, deep caves and open urban city areas. This is where you will be spending nearly every mission on and jumping back and forth between those specific environments,only with new objectives and varied enemies throughout each level you progress to. It kinda gets a little dull on the eyes.
Where the game has shortcomings on the lack of environment variety, it sort of makes up for it in the enemy choice. Now you won't get brand new enemies every single mission and at times you'll fight the same enemy multiple times over the course of many missions, but there will always be an extra enemy or two thrown in at random the more you progress to where it doesn't 100% feel stale. For instance when you begin your game, you will be finding out that you're fighting giant enemy ants quite a lot and it can become disheartening,however as you progress, more enemies such as red ants,giant spiders, grey aliens,giant enemy frogs, gigantic kaiju sized monsters start appearing to give you a run for your money. This is when the game becomes challenging.
The further you progress,the more chaotic every battle becomes,thousands of enemies being thrown your way, giant mother ships shooting lasers at you,buildings being blown to bits,all while you're tying to clear out any enemy aliens from the ground. You then notice,holy crap now there's flying enemies such as a drones and giant enemy bee's attacking from above. You are not safe anywhere and that's where this game tends to shine. The more chaotic a situation gets, the more focused and tuned into the game you seem to get without even realizing it,before finally beating a level and taking a quick breath saying ''phew!''.
Now while having tons of enemies and tons of chaos going on all around you is an amazing thing, it also comes with its fair share of problems. Yes, if you guessed frame rate,then you win a gold sticker,congratulations partner. I played this game on a PS4 Pro and during scenarios of constant explosion and being swarmed by hundreds of enemies, the frame rate takes a huge plunge. While it is still playable and doesn't cause you too much harm, its definitely noticeable and can take you out of focus during an intense moment that wants you to be immersed in the action taking place.
As stated earlier, each class has their specific abilities they can use and weapon variety. Now I do not have the time to name each and every weapon in the game because I would be here for hours and hours. Why is this? well that's because there are over 1000 weapons and armaments to unlock and level up. This is insane. There are many things to complain about with this game but weapon choice and variety is definitely not one of them. Pick and choose which weapons work for you and remember to pick weapons based off a mission objective. For instance if there are flying drones or flying enemies, you will want to use a weapon with long reach and for close ranged missions,avoid anything that explodes or else you will damage yourself and your teammates.
There are two major highlights for me that make this game go from average to extremely enjoyable and these both come down to my own personal tastes and personal likes. The two things have to do with the Kaiju sized monster boss fights that take me back to my love for old style monster movies,as well as classic Toho films with Godzilla,Anguirus. But also what intrigued me and kept me glued was the god awful dialogue that takes place in this game. You are probably thinking, how the hell can god awful dialogue mean a good thing? well that's extremely easy to explain because its purposeful.
The bad dialogue in this game is completely done on purpose to give it that old style B movie and classic movie cheeseness that any fan of that type of thing(such as myself) would pick up on and immediately love. All dialogue is over exaggerated and every single person comes off as dumber than a rock. One key instance that made me literally laugh out loud was during a fight against giant enemy frogs,let me remind you that these are giant frogs that walk on their back legs and hold guns. The dialogue that takes place between the generals and the grunts is absurd because the frogs are being called 'humanoids' and they're making huge emphasis on ''OMG THEY LOOK JUST LIKE US, THE RESEMBLANCE IS UNCANNY''. But...were human...they're FROGS. So it makes you scratch your head and just laugh at how stupid it is.
My second and last thing I consider major for me personally is what I stated about Kaiju fights. These are fights against giant enemy monsters that reminded me a lot of the classic monsters that I know and love. For instance I've been playing co op with a friend and we both saw a giant lizard that shoots lasers and a rolling armadillo looking monster with spikes and we both screamed Its Godzilla! its Anguirus!. Each of these monsters have rushing attacks,laser attacks and rolling attacks that destroy all buildings in their path and cause massive destruction. These moments were some of the key highlights for me.
The graphics in this game are very very plain. Environments look washed out,lots of dark greys and browns and not too much color in them. But the character models from the players to the enemies are really good,especially the detail on the bigger monsters and the airships,those are done great. But everything else is forgettable and comes off as something from late PS3/early PS4.
Usually my final thoughts for reviews is pretty easy and straight forward,but with a game like this,its really kind hard for me to put it into words because its a mixed bag depending on your taste in not only games but movie era's as well. For someone playing solo play and doing 100+ missions, you may find yourself getting bored due to some of the repetitiveness of the missions and its variety. However someone like me who plays co-op in this title will find much more enjoyment sharing the destruction and enjoyment of the cheesiness with another person in real time. It all comes down to how you feel about the things I have listed in this review.
However regardless of solo or co op with a buddy, you're going to run into the same issues I mentioned earlier, big frame rate drops, very few varieties in environment,washed out environments and details,but you gain explosive chaotic fun on top of those as your reward.
In conclusion,this is going to have to be my first double rating review I've ever done,based off two scenarios and whatever it is you as a reader choose, I hope it is the right one for you personally.
Earth Defense Force 5 is out now on Playstation 4.
(BUY: If you have a good buddy to play co-op with)
(WAIT: if you'e playing solo, wait for a price drop to around $30)
*Review code provided by D3Publisher