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Developer: SANDLOT
Publisher: D3 PUBLISHER
Released on July 11, 2019

Don’t you just hate it when you’re sitting down for a pleasant Sunday morning of coffee and relaxation, but soon enough, you hear a loud rumble coming from your front lawn. Thinking the neighbors are causing trouble again, you get up to see if it was an earthquake or something, only to find that there is a semi truck-sized ant aggressively burrowing into your house.

Genre: Bug-Squishing Action

Are you ready for the fight of your lives?

Well, that is the reality for the unlucky citizens of the EARTH DEFENCE FORCE 5 world. If you’ve ever watched Godzilla as he ripped up buildings in a fight against another Kaiju, then you can probably guess how terrifying it was for people to witness their entire town being reduced to rubble.

Long story short, EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 5 is a cheese-filled, third-person shooter satirizing similar games where humans defend the planet from gigantic invasions of a variety of creatures that look like they walked out of a giant monster movie from the 1930s.

About The Story of EDF 5

I want to be clear when I say you should not worry about the previous games in the series: Not only is the story the least important element of the game, but this installment doesn’t even regard the old games as canon, lacking any semblance of continuity as this invasion is the first of this world.

You are a civilian at the EDF HQ when the invasion begins and you are forced to enlist in order to protect yourself using the military organization’s resources. After a heroic march facing hordes of bugs, you make your way back to a nearby city, it becomes clear from the radio messages that the entire world is under siege, and the Earth is close to losing. 

Taking cover beneath the Mothership.

Eventually, time will pass and after 5 months of scrambling for remaining soldiers, humanity finally begins to counter the aliens on an equal footing, in some locations going from the aftermath of genocide to a fight they could actually win. Not only that, but your character sheds the civilian outfit from their previous missions and puts on some official EDF combat armor.

The game consists of over a hundred missions with varying scenarios to manage by fighting back against the onslaught of insect invasions, but what sells the game in my opinion, are the radio broadcasts reporting what’s happening in an area.

These radio broadcasts have a number of officials around the world, giving an exaggerated account of the war effort, and it’s very clear that the game is making fun of the ridiculousness of the hooky alien invasion.

My favorite example of this was when reports showed that humanoid aliens were being brought to the front lines, and the play by play of the radio commentary went something like this:

Manly General: “What do you mean humanoid aliens?”

Womanly Scientist: ”Two eyes, two arms, two legs, bipedal.”

Manly General: “… Practically identical.”

In response to the emergency calls from command, I had to fight as if my troops were having existential crises about shooting the…“humanoid aliens” when all I saw was a giant frog-like enemy, prowling the streets in space armor.

It looks like a gigantic, mutant Slippy the toad.

So yeah, safe to say, it isn’t a game defined by an overarching narrative. At the same time, I did find the zaniness entertaining, to the extent that I would pay special attention to the dialog being transmitted over radio and the calls from my troops while blasting some alien butt at close range.

The Somewhat Crazy Mechanics

Combat in the game is split between four soldier classes for you to play as.

1. Ranger – Your typical soldier–an easy to understand infantry and military expert, trained in all kinds of traditional guns and military tools. They are well-rounded and can deal a fair amount of damage. They are also the easiest class to pick up for beginners of the game if you want to run and gun during missions.

2. Wingdiver – an all-female corp of energy-based Valkyrie, reliant on a recharging power core and a jetpack to fly across the battlefield, using primarily energy weapons to fight. They have the best maneuverability and grace among the options, but if their power fails on them their lack of armor makes them easy prey for the ants.

3. Air Raider – These guys have a similar control style to the Ranger, but based more on supporting their team with a wide range of explosives, communications devices, and technology. They are best suited to a fight by indirectly calling down aerial bombardments, or helping other members on their team with driving military vehicles.

4. Fencers – Power-Armored Tanks among men who carry a small arsenal around with them and unleash terrifying amounts of firepower. The downside is that they also have a severe weakness in mobility; their armor weighed them down and made them very slow. Their weapons and controls require advanced understanding to operate effectively.

The game can be played alone (Single player) or with a squad of up to 4 friends (Co-op mode), to cover each other’s backs. In the beginning, players will only be equipped with a basic set of weapons and their starting health, but throughout the game, your durability and your tools of combat will grow rapidly.

As you kill more aliens, they will drop health packs to keep you alive in the fight, along with crates marked as Weapons and Armor. After a mission, should you survive, you will return to base with new weapons added to your arsenal in preparation for the next mission, followed by armor increasing your maximum health. Failing a mission, however, will reduce the amount of armor and health you have to spare.

In addition, you can increase the amount of armor and weapons you get by participating in more difficult missions. The higher the difficulty, the better the loot dropped from dead aliens. I actually enjoyed this mechanic since it incentivizes people to grow their fighter and get better at the game to unlock more guns and gain power.

My Final Impression of EDF 5

Of course, the sheer number of missions is absolutely staggering and can feel repetitive after playing too long in one sitting, so it is a good idea to vary your loadout every now and then to experiment with new play styles in order to keep things fresh.

EARTH DEFENSE FORCE is only as fun as you make it. I found it to be a hilarious game personally and an entertaining third-person shooter with enough variety in the classes and weapons to captivate my full attention. However, once I reached a certain point, I could see that all it had to offer were some fancy toys to play with.

Don’t misunderstand me though, this is a really fun game and with a group of friends, it is a blast to fight off the massive aliens. But if you are looking for a game with real meat and potatoes that will grip onto you and never let go, this is definitely not it.

I mean, in the year of 2022, who else is going to step up to the plate and show those extraterrestrial lifeforms whose boss? I sure wouldn’t bet on the military.

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