The Earth Defense Force franchise has been entertaining gamers with its cheesy action gameplay for over 15 years and this latest game is possibly the best entry in the series so let's see how fun it is slaying countless giant alien insects yet again.
Earth Defense Force 5 is a very familiar experience if you've ever played any game in the long-running series from Japanese developers Sandlot. You basically control a soldier to run and jump around sprawling stages in order to kill any invading insect aliens. You can equip a couple of weapons that you can swap between on the fly which allows for some strategy. Meanwhile, there are four classes of soldier to choose from: Ranger, Wing Diver, Fencer, and Air Raider depending if you'd rather focus on a balanced, mobile, defensive, or supportive play style, respectively. All of this should already be very familiar if you've played the previous EDF games as Earth Defense Force 5 doesn't really offer anything substantially new. That being said, the gameplay is classic and as chaotic as fans have come to expect.
One thing that makes Earth Defense Force 5 stand out is its graphics and sound as it's definitely the best-looking and sounding game in the series. With that said, it's nowhere near the quality of the average AAA game but honestly, what do you expect? The environments are impressively large and intricate. When you factor in the vast amount of onscreen insects and the fact that you can blow up buildings and such, it can make for some decent eye candy. On the audio front, the sound effects are satisfying and the cheesy orchestral music and voice acting are a perfect fit for the B movie atmosphere. However, I found the voice work to be rather annoying because not only is it terrible, characters tend to repeat the same lines over and over again. Don't get me wrong, it still provides a few good laughs from time to time. Overall, if you like explosions and plenty of insect gore (who doesn't?) then Earth Defense Force 5 is sure to satisfy.
Earth Defense Force 5's campaign consists of over 100 stages that you can play in 5 difficulty settings as well as with each of the 4 classes. Mastering every possible combination would take an inconceivable amount of time. Thankfully, you can play with a partner in local co-op or team up online with up to 4 fellow soldiers. As you play, you'll unlock an insane amount of weapons, increase each class type's maximum health through armour pick-ups, and discover some cool pieces of support equipment, too. Maximizing your character's abilities to slaughter the hordes of alien invaders feels awesome and playing cooperatively makes the gameplay even more fun.
On the other hand, Earth Defense Force 5 doesn't really do much to flesh out its gameplay. Sure, there are more enemy types such as the goofy human-like Primer race and some interesting boss-like enemies but there's nothing that elevates the gameplay to make Earth Defense Force 5 feel like the next step up. Also, a lot of the missions go on for far too long. Whereas one or two waves would often be enough, you sometimes have to battle five or more waves of the same kind of enemy which becomes repetitive and tedious very fast. Just like most EDF games, it's best played when you're doing something else like watching a movie because merely focusing on blasting away countless aliens will inevitably become monotonous but playing with a friend helps alleviate some of the tedium.
Earth Defense Force 5 is an EDF game through and through. Although it doesn't feature anything particularly new and exciting, it still makes for an enjoyable and ridiculous time that's best played with friends.
- + Classic chaotic EDF gameplay
- + Improved graphics and sound
- + Loads of missions to master either solo or via local or online multiplayer
- - Gameplay doesn't add anything substantial
- - Voice acting is funny but annoying
- - Missions go on for far too long and the gameplay becomes tiring super-fast