Earth Defense Force 5 is another addition to a classic long-running franchise. The Japanese third-person shooter game pits you against alien invaders. Mostly in the form of giant bugs. It’s also optional to play alone or with friends, adding a layer of multiplayer gameplay to it. Earth Defense Force sells itself on cheesy humor, destructible environments, and nonstop action. Graphics aren’t a major part of the game so I’ll try to critique less for it. I know that’s not something the PC community would like to hear but bear with me.
The setting isn’t hard to understand because it doesn’t go that deep. You’re part of a multinational organization that polices alien activity on Earth. This isn’t the same as MIB where aliens migrate and cooperate. Think more like literally defending the Earth from giant bugs.
That’s about it. You also get access to unique weapons not found in conventional militaries. The game also has a morbid sense of humor surrounding. You can tell there’s a deliberate lack of realism to make the game more corny and enjoyable. So for what it intends to be, the setting of Earth Defense Force 5 is optimal.
The gameplay is that of a third-person arcade shooter. You run around gunning down aliens with your squadmates. These allies can be both human players and AI. The objectives are always very straightforward. Destroy aliens in these areas. Earth Defense Force 5 has around 101 missions, more than any other EDF game.
You have from 4 classes to choose from. The first is the Ranger. The Ranger is a standard infantryman and jack of all trades type character. They are equipped with a rifle, sidearm, and multiple gadgets. Very fun for if you want the soldier experience in EDF 5. Running around and gunning huge bugs down while deploying gadgets and using vehicles.
The second class is wing-diver. The wing divers are more mobile infantrymen. Specialists if you will. They can fly around on jetpacks while laying down aerial fire on their enemies. Good for having a wide overview of the battlefield. The wing divers become much more fun when you expand to the urban area missions. They can get dull indoors though.
The third class is the Air Raider. Air Raiders are a very popular pick for fans of the Earth Defense Force fanbase. They are a support class that has tactical command over any situation. This includes calling down an air strike, summoning a giant mech to ride, calling support, etc. It really simulates the feel of being a commander in the field. Plus they get sick outfits so that’s a big bonus.
The fourth and final class is Fencer. While fencing might make you think of elegant dueling, this is the exact opposite. Fencers are walking tanks with up to 4 weapons. They come equipped with exo-suits to multiply the pilot’s strength, speed, and other traits. Your movement speed varies based on equipped weaponry. This means that equipping the right things make you the most mobile class in the game.
The gameplay can be really spiced up with friends. Ones that all pick different classes since the enjoyment of pulling off combos is immense. The gameplay is also designed to get pretty chaotic at times. You’ll know you’ve done a good job when you leave an entire city in ruins at the end of a mission.
One gripe I do have with Earth Defense Force 5 is that it’s virtually the same as 4.1, its previous installment. The only difference is that it has new missions. Essentially it could have been passed off as a DLC for 4.1 and nobody would’ve batted an eye. It has a few things to stand out on its own but not many.
The 101 missions excluding the DLC will definitely keep players occupied. The environments diversify a decent bit as well. Going from army bases to open cities to dark caves. The dynamic destructible environment enhances the experience. Destroying surroundings is a moderately underused feature in video games so I’m glad to see it here. It really pushes the feeling of fighting aliens on a large scale. Furthermore, it contributes to the game’s humor a good bit as well.
The vehicular combat is fun as well. Whether its on a bike, car, aircraft or mech unit. It gives the gameplay a sense of diversity in approaching objectives.
Your squadmates are very fun to be around since they’re always talking and interacting. It creates a sense of dynamics between them. Plus the system of switching and recruiting people on the go in missions is also fun.
Finally, there’s grinding present in the game for things like loot and gear. This is another layer of replayability since players will want to redo missions. To spice up their gear and appearance of course. It can get reptitive at times with the usual annoyance people can get during grinding hours. Try playing with a friend to make it more bearable.
Regarding difficulty, I’ll admit the game doesn’t scale difficulty very well. I’m not saying the game isn’t hard, but I’m saying it’s not hard in the right way. The high difficulties in EDF 5 only reduce the damage you do while increasing the damage enemies do. This means you could use an entire artillery barrage on one bug but nothing will happen. While they spit on you and you die immediately.
I have no problem with hard games. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Cuphead and Sekiro. I just hate when difficulty is increased only by stats and not by enemy behavior or other interesting changes. There’s almost no point to doing the higher difficulties unless you’re farming gear. Even then, it’s not like it’s enjoyable.
Now for what it’s worth, I have no issue with the visuals of the game. I still understand why people would be frustrated though. I mean you’re essentially playing the 5th part of a very long ongoing series. The gameplay, core concept and other design choices haven’t really changed since the first installment. So you need to showcase progress in some way, right? Otherwise why buy the next game if it’s the same thing resold to you.
Then again, EDF 5 sells itself on the massive line of missions for players to play through.
Acting and Humor
People tend to sometimes express their disdain in the dubbing of Earth Defense Force 5. I feel like the cheesy corny tune to all the dialogue sort of adds to its charm honesty. Plus the line deliveries are pretty damn funny at times. Like soldiers screaming about their friend being eaten and your captain simultaneously assuring you everything’s fine. Stuff like that keeps the game fresh and entertaining throughout.
Overall I would recommend buying this game along with a group of close friends. Plan it together and go on your alien gunning adventure. Now available on PC.