29/01/2021

๐Ÿ‘น๐Ÿฒ Earth Defence Force 5 | Review | PS4 | "These….these….MONSTERS!!" ๐Ÿ‘น๐Ÿฒ @EDF_OFFICIAL #EDF5

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I was a real latecomer to the Earth Defence Force series. With almost 10 titles under the EDF belt since the days of the PS2, 2015’s Earth Defence Force 4.1 (The Shadow of New Despair – natch) was my introduction. 

Back in those dark, dark times when local co-op games were rarer than a decent film directed by Albert Pyun, I picked this up for a bargain price in my favourite gaming store (Insane Games, Bridgwater) and settled down with some bourbon to give it a crack with GF cohort Co-Op Chris and we were HOOKED on the B-movie styling, dialogue and arcade action.

Earth Defence Force 5 further refines the pretty simplistic (and yet absolutely winning) formula. If you are familiar with the series, there are no big departures here, and that’s absolutely fine by me. 

Once again, Earth is being invaded by MONSTERS! CREATURES! ALIENS!!!!! - guys, it’s OK to call them what they are, ‘giant ants and spiders’ – and your mission, as a young recruit...is to stop them. 

A game I would describe as a third-person shoot n’ loot with a strong focus on accessibility, customisation and pure fun, EDF 5 seems genetically designed to make me relax. Its visuals are smooth (even in 2-player split-screen, which is good as the previous entry could get a bit choppy) and simplistic whilst the orchestral soundtrack is so bouncy that you can imagine the conductor madly waving his baton with tongue firmly in cheek. 

Above all this, your characters and the many, many NPCs that join you in taking on this alien horde constantly shout classic monster movie cliches over the radio channels as you make your way through various locations both above and below ground, destroying entire towns, gunning down thousands of these pesky invaders and of course, grabbing lots and lots of shiny loot.

The game is so compulsive, mindless and light-hearted that you can’t help but settle into the wonderfully repetitive groove of seeing what gold you’ve unlocked, flitting between the four character classes on offer (Ranger, Wing Diver, Air Raider and Fencer) and ploughing into the colourful action against UFOs, drones and giant insects with over-the-top weapons that in some cases can level entire multi-storey buildings with a single blast.

There are a few ways to play EDF 5, whilst I always prefer local co-op, there are online modes as well as the ability to play in single-player, which I find an oddly zen experience, although it’s clearly meant to be played with others and very much shines in doing so.

I’m marking EDF 5 an 8 out of 10 because I adore its retro charms and tone but this isn’t a huge leap over the previous entry in the series, which I can understand some may be frustrated with. 

The next entry – Earth Defence Force: Iron Rain bills itself as a more serious and ‘Western’ take on the game and, whilst I haven’t yet played it, I’m dubious as the light tone and half-serious voice-work is a keeper for me and I feel that perhaps losing that would lose the very charm that makes this series one that I  love following.


 “Oh, we are the valiant infantry….we are the Alpha team with passion and camaraderie….”

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