Welcome to another (tortured) gaming review and this time around it’s the latest title of the EDF franchise: Earth Defense Force 5. My first impressions of the game were totally bad and I was ready to put down (or throw on screen) the controller, but I persevered and my opinion has changed since then. Here’s the breakdown of my thorough review of this game.
Poor visuals at first glance
What can I say? Earth Defense Force 5 has some improvements from its previous iterations, but it still has bad visuals. The character animations of its humans are poorly done, the movements are quite simple, hilarious ragdoll effects, and it slows down when too many special effects and 3D models are on screen. But hey, the monster and alien 3D designs are more detailed since I think they are the more focused objects of this game. It’s all about the different monsters, Kaijus, and aliens that appear in it and how glorious they murder the population of mankind. The buildings, towns, and environment are pretty much okay and nothing special about it. The sunsets look great though.
For the visuals, I’d give this game a 5. Poor human 3D model animations, poor details too, but the monsters and aliens look cool though.
Blow Up Stuff, Fly around, Run Around, Kablaam
In Earth Defense Force 5, there’s no complicated gameplay. All you have to do is to prepare for your weapons and support, start your mission, fire at your enemies, go to your destination, and once all monsters are dead, it is victory for you. It’s a good way to blow off some steam if ever you get stressed and stuff. It’s a double blade though since there’s no variety to sort of spice things up and that’s a no-no for me.
The variety of weapons and support features make it interesting. There are four types of character classes you can choose from: Ranger, Wing Diver, Air Raider, and Fencer. I don’t know why they are called like that, but hey, the names of the monsters and aliens are pretty wacky too. Anyways, these character classes have their own unique weaponry, support features, and abilities that can help them defeat the humongous enemies that they face in battle. I played the Wing Diver since I love flying around the battlefield and making surprise attacks from unsuspecting aliens. The Ranger is pretty much balanced, but you have to walk around the battlefield. The best part is that you can call on support and if it gets upgraded, you can call helicopters or motorbikes to traverse the battlefield. The Air Raider is kind of complicated to use since he’s kind of an engineer and relies more on traps and support attacks. It has the best support feature though: summoning a mech. The Fencer is the most complicated and difficult class to control since it is a heavy type and needs to halt its advance in order to fire his bullets. He has tons of firepower though and has the strongest defense.
The giant monsters are quite ridiculous though: ants, bees, spiders, bipedal frogs (yes, I know.), aliens, robots, and UFO saucers. Yep, you read that right, most of them are insects and they annihilate the human race for some reason. It’s actually ironic: the humans were the ones to step or squish these insects when they were small, now it’s these insects turn to do the squishing. The aliens have high firepower and cool-looking spacesuits.
At first I thought the missions have unique locations, but after 20 to 30 missions, the repetitions were apparent. Of course, they would run out of ideas for environments so they would have to reuse some resources and repeat them as many as possible, but with different objectives and enemies. Good thing they weren’t repetitive in nearby missions and are far apart, which makes it a refreshing experience to go through at least.
The 100 plus missions could become a slog to go through though. After 30 missions, it was clear that I was already tired of shooting and fighting these monsters with the same radio chatter over and over again (I’ll talk about that below). Be ready to go through repetitive objectives and encountering the same monsters over and over again. Don’t read into it deeply, just think of it as shooting through mobs and moving on.
Overall, the gameplay of this game is at best a 5. It’s a mindless, stupid shooting fun game killing giant monsters and aliens with humans flitting around a big battlefield. The variety of weapons and support is a plus for me, but the endless slog of going through 100 plus missions and repetitive environments are negatives too.
Vague Start, Invested conclusion
The first few missions of Earth Defense Force 5 are quite vague that makes you confused. First, you were hired as a security guard in an underground military facility that houses secret weapons and some soldiers. Your guide tells you there’s nothing to it and just go with the flow and start with the tour. All of a sudden, monsters come out from the base, and what does your guide tell you? “Hmmm… must be nothing.” And after a few lines of denying the emergency, he gets eaten by a giant ant. I am so confused with these few lines. And the monsters, they just generalize them all as “monsters.” Not a giant ant, not a giant bee, not a weird looking frog. Monsters. And they even call the bipedal frogs “human-like.” NPC: They just look like us! Me: *facepalm*
The game also has some weird and sometimes stupid way of naming their monsters and aliens. Sometimes it sounds so profound, so mysterious, but sometimes it’s deadpan plain and makes you go “… what?” My brain hurt after 40 missions of this idiotic naming.
When the story goes about missions 70, 80, or so, it then gets somewhat interesting for me. It makes you get invested in what’s happening to humanity and the possibility of extinction. You actually get to empathize with the leaders of the EDF, and how scared they are of what will happen next. I know it sounds silly after I tore a big hole in the game in the previous paragraphs, but after playing through all the missions, I actually kind of liked the story in some way.
The story for this game is a small 4 for me. It has sometimes these silly naming conventions, a very vague and confusing first few missions, but I got to actually like the story as it nears its end.
My Ears Hurt With The Radio Chatter
Where do I begin with the sounds and voice dubs of Earth Defense Force 5? First off, the soundtrack is unremarkable and you would not actually notice it after a few missions. It does start with getting you hyped up with fighting against impossible odds, but it gets drown out after the special effect sounds take over. It sometimes has this eerie and creepy alien soundtrack, but again it dies out when the first shots start. It’s almost not there really.
And now for the radio chatter. By the gods of gaming, if not for the game review, I would’ve turned off the damn thing when I play really. IT IS ANNOYING AS HELL! Imagine this: “We’re all going to die!” 20x repetition “Don’t get yourself killed newbie!” another 20x repetition and I’m not a newbie anymore after killing several ant monsters! “Remember what I said to you last time?” “Sir, yes sir!” and another 20x repetition. And a whole other repetitive radio chatter that will annoy the hell outta you for 20 to 30 minutes per mission, depending on the difficulty or how lost you are in underground location. If I were you, please turn off the voice dubs and enjoy special effects sounds all the way. I don’t want to even talk about how the English voice dubs are done. Ugh. I can’t even change it to Japanese.
For sounds and voice dubs, I bluntly and angrily score it a very low 1! Annoying radio chatter that will definitely make you lose interest as the game goes on, and unremarkable soundtracks.
What Else Do You Want To Do After Finishing 100+ Missions?
Honestly, I just wanted to finish all of the missions of Earth Defense Force 5 and be done with it. The ending was satisfying, sure, but I don’t want to repeat that same mission again on a higher difficulty, which is the only bonus you get for finishing the campaign of Earth Defense Force 5. I think you can unlock the higher tier weapons and support in the lower difficulty modes no matter how easy you choose. There’s the online and local multiplayer though, where you share your suffering with another player. Good luck with that.
For replayability, the game has a score of 1. Sure, there are higher difficulty options, but do I really want to go through it all again? Nope!
Earth Defense Force 5 is a stupid fun game that lets you kill giant monsters and aliens with tons of issues and flaws. At least I was invested in its story and I had fun, but I’m not going to play it ever again. I’ll be deleting it in my digital library or selling the physical copy, thank you very much.
Disclosure: This review is based on a review code provided by the publisher. Read our review policy to know how we go with our game reviews.