Earth Defense Force 5 Is Stupid Fun

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Earth Defense Force 5 Is Stupid Fun

Please pick up Earth Defense Force 5, here are many reasons why.


“EDF! EDF!”, my friend and I cheer into the microphones late at night as hordes of ants, wasps, and frogs with laserguns threaten to overrun our position. The screen is littered with the remains of their comrades, making it hard to see how many they are.

In moments like these, I remember why I love video games, when a friend and I have at it with the same glee we had before we became bitter adults. Even if those games are just about shooting bugs with bigger and bigger guns.

In short: Earth Defense Force 5 is excellent, and you should grab someone dear to you to shoot some bugs.

Earth Defense Force 5

The story of Earth Defense Force is as glorious as you'd expect. Aliens invade earth! Again! And the titular Earth Defense Force strikes out to fight the alien menace head-on, sending only their best and brightest.

Fellow members of the EDF will throw themselves into danger with unbridled enthusiasm. And it is highly recommended to dial the voice performances up to hear their one-liners. Like one soldier who tells his comrades that he'll sacrifice himself for the cause when the opportunity presents itself, only to be admired by others.

The rest of the story doesn't take itself too seriously, either. The longer it goes on, the more it spirals out of control. Your foes also become increasingly ridiculous and the game starts throwing almost impossible scenarios at you.

It's epic in all its low graphical fidelity glory. You'll probably look at these screenshots and wonder why this looks like an early PlayStation 3 title. But that stops the moment your screen is just filled with gunfire, the monster remains and its 50 friends trying to eat you.

The EDF deploys!

While the missions mostly play the same, since your objective will often boil down to “Kill everything dead”. The variety it offers lets EDF stand out. There are four classes, each with a weapon selection that makes global superpowers sweat.

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You got your regular military mook with everything from shotguns and machineguns to needlessly overpowered explosives and trusty rocket launchers.

The other classes are much more interesting. There is the Wing Diver, who jets around with battlefield with all sorts of laser-based weapons. Its gameplay revolves around managing the energy of your pew pews and your jetpack while dealing with a laughable health bar.

Air Raider is your support class. And support means ordering bombardments of all kinds at once and air-dropping one of many drivable weapons of mass destruction. Compared to the other classes, this one usually kicks back and lets the tools do the all talking.

There is the Fencer, a walking tank that can dual-wield whatever you can strip off the Air Raider's many vehicles. Wanna dual wield two Gatlinguns? What about some high-caliber armor-piercing cannons, rocket barrages, and that drill from Guren Lagann? Being a Fencer means to become destruction itself.

A great deal of fun is also the progression system. While completing missions, you get a little more health but also more and more weapons. You always find new stuff to experiment with and some of these weapons will turn out very useful at some point.

There are some duds, but nothing ever seems outrageously useless. In the worst-case scenario, you just get a better version of some gun or toy that makes things dead harder. And later on, around the halfway point, you unlock some really nasty things.

Earth Defense Force 5 - Pictured, the brave men and women of the EDF protect your home against the alien hordes.

We better beat these bugs before we're all turned to soup, the EDF deploys!

And you're gonna need those bigger and nasty guns as the game throws increasingly harder missions in your face. Even on the normal difficulty setting, EDF5 doesn't pull any punches. Sometimes the game will just throw you into almost impossible scenarios and lets you figure it out for better or worse.

I've been playing through this game with a friend, and several times we'd been turned into a human paste after a few minutes of brave engagement. Then it's back to the drawing board, switch up classes and equipment or just smack your head against the wall until it breaks.

It's one of the aspects, I adore about EDF. One mission is a power fantasy, where you mow down endless waves of ants and spiders. The next is a desperate battle for survival as you're surrounded by all sides and breaking formation can mean an early end to the mission.

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I have no idea how the team behind this game made the process of shooting increasingly bigger things with increasingly bigger guns feel so satisfying. And who wouldn't fall in love with a dumb action game that has you exterminate hordes of overgrown insects and UFOs?

The main game has around 80 missions. And it is so well-paced. The nonsense story keeps throwing more and more plot twists at you to make more video games happen and you're being introduced to new enemies and scenarios all the time.

And sure, the maps can feel a little samey after a while but they're filled with scenarios that are varied enough to distract from that. This game has so many missions that have you shoot something out of the sky, but the numerous enemy types keep it fresh.

Earth Defense Force 5 - The Wing Diver greeting flying saucers.

Earth Defense Force 5 is Stupid, and please make more of it

I know that Earth Defense Force 6 exists and will get an official English release sometime in this decade (I hope). But in an industry currently dominated by AAA blockbusters, at least in the critically acclaimed echelons, EDF feels like a breath of fresh air.

Yes, its production values match the B-movie vibes it shoots for. And if EDF had an AAA budget with 500 people crunching it for several years, it would probably lose all its charm.

But it's also a glowing example of a game that allows itself to be stupid, simple fun. And it's a shame that EDF remains a niche series even if, in a parallel universe, those games could exist as cult classics beloved by millions.

I'm probably asking too much here. The EDF games are perfect the way they are and I highly encourage everyone to check them out. Earth Defense Force 5 usually goes on sale regularly, but you can also grab a cheap key on a trusted site, and it's part of the PlayStation Plus Extra catalog!

Earth Defense Force 5 is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC.

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Earth Defense Force 5 Is Stupid Fun
Timo Reinecke
Has once claimed that FSH is the only job in FFXIV worth playing and stands by that firmly. Top Guy, Smart Guy, Educated Speaker. (sometimes) Writer of all things FFXIV, FGC, News, Reviews and More