Game Review: Earth Defense Force 5 evokes that B-movie vibe in a good way

  • Simple B-movie plot does not detract from fun gameplay
  • Best played in the company of friends, online or offline

 

Game Review: Earth Defense Force 5 evokes that B-movie vibe in a good way

 

IT IS a plot thread that has been used by Hollywood countless times from War of the Worlds in 1953 to this year’s Pacific Rim Uprising. Yes, I am talking about space aliens trying to take over the Earth.

Though it is such a B-movie plot the genre has proven popular enough that there are video games made in its honour. One such game is the Earth Defense Force (EDF) series, with the recently released fifth iteration of the game looking to crank the craziness levels to the max as you are thrown into a massive alien invasion.

To be honest, it is not all systems go right off in the game, as the beginning levels force you to walk through the dull corridors of an underground bunker before you are finally let loose on the world above. However, you will probably wish you had stayed in that bunker deep beneath the Earth.

Up above, EDF 5 throws all manner of horrible aliens, robots and giant insects in your path. It all seems overwhelming at first but as a member of the aforementioned EDF, you eat invaders for breakfast.

Pick from any of the four available “classes”; from the standard rifle-toting Ranger, air support-calling Air Raider, heavy equipment-carrying soldier or the Fencer or flying Wing Diver.

Each class can be customised and outfitted with thousands of different weapons, vehicles and equipment to lay the invading armies to waste. This adds to the replayability of the levels as I felt compelled to try different loadouts and classes just to see how differently they play out.

I personally found myself sticking to the Wing Diver as I fancied the idea of being incredibly mobile on the battlefield. The tradeoff is that the class is extremely fragile so avoiding direct confrontation is crucial.

 

Game Review: Earth Defense Force 5 evokes that B-movie vibe in a good way

 

At the very least, the basic premise is to blast anything that moves and isn’t human. That is easier said than done as there are literally hundreds of foes that populate the barren maps of the game’s 110 campaign missions.

EDF 5 makes no effort to disguise its budget-game heritage as the only thing that looks half decent is the character models themselves. Literally, everything else looks extremely ugly and like it belongs on a PlayStation 1-era game.

But there is a reason for this messy and dated look and that is to accommodate the ridiculous number of enemies that are on screen at once. Indeed, the power of the PlayStation 4 seems solely used for enabling you to slaughter wave after wave of enemies without causing the game to lag.

Again, this was oddly terrifying but I imagine it is doubly so if you have an innate fear of bugs. But, with some practice and familiarisation of the game's weapons, I was mowing down aliens left, right and centre.

A chaotic dance of death ensues with each mission, requiring a balance of tactics and quick thinking when things don’t go according to plan. The enemy Artificial Intelligence is as intelligent as an ant but what they lack in smarts they make up for in numbers. Knowing when to fire and reload is as crucial as is positioning one’s character in the field.

I can’t say that I was able to get through even half of the available missions. While mine was a mostly solo affair, EDF 5 opens things up by allowing you to join an online game with some friends. It seems to me that this was probably the way the game was intended to be played all along, in the company of others so you can all scream and laugh at the insanity that is EDF 5.

 

Game Review: Earth Defense Force 5 evokes that B-movie vibe in a good way

 

I liked how the game provided the option to either play online or locally via split-screen with a second player. The latter is an increasing rarity in today’s online gaming world, but sometimes there is nothing better than having a second player right next to you.

I would say that EDF 5 sure isn’t a looker but I suspect it is a good party or co-operative game you can play with friends and not have to worry about explaining complicated plots whatsoever. It is all really about blasting aliens in the name of fun.

The review code of this game was provided courtesy of Sony Interactive Entertainment Singapore.

 
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