Even though the series has been around since the PS2 days, Earth Defense Force is one of the few games I have not had the opportunity to play. However, my appreciation of B-movie level cheese, action, and cutting down swaths of enemies makes me a perfect candidate to treasure the latest in the series here at Pure PlayStation. We were fortunate enough to get our hands on a review copy, but Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain doesn’t release until next month. So we got some sweet preview impressions for you which cover the title’s first ten missions. About two or so hours if you will and while I definitely see some cons forming, this combination of Serious Sam and Dynasty Warriors has me rightly intrigued.
So the EDF is a global military branch formed in a near, alternate future. The world is ravaged by giant insects and beings called “Aggressors” who come from the far reaches of space. They either appear as machinery or huge insectoids so far and want nothing other than to exterminate humans. Or at least that’s what the in-game intelligence suggests. Us measly humans utilize PA Gear which act as technically efficient suits that increase one’s defense, speed, and power. I’ve taken a habit of comparing them to the exoskeletons from Elysium. Although one of them allows you to fly for a short period of time which is just the coolest. Give me anything with flight in it and whatever video game it turns out to be is instantly made more awesome. There’s of course guns, grenades, rocket launchers, and more to actually end the lives of Earth’s oversized vermin and aliens. What third person shooter wouldn’t have those right?!
For the most part Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain plops players into a medium-open area with a few objectives. Most will include destroying giant insects or aliens and not much else. And that’s pretty much the experience for the first ten levels. While somewhat repetitive and basic in scope, it’s still tons of fun right now. Even if there’s not nearly as many maps as I would like. However, the jetpack PA Gear allows soldiers to fly up on top of buildings. This adds a nice verticality aspect to the gameplay and even add some hectic action. You see buildings can be destroyed and demolished kind of like the old Red Faction games. Enemies, and even you with the right weapon, can destroy buildings and leave you in a mad dash at the sudden loss of footing. So far while the gameplay isn’t particularly in-depth, I am enjoying this simplistic yet fun experience.
There’s not much I can say about the story even though I read this entry was trying to be more Westernized. Meaning they wanted to make things gritty and more tense. I don’t feel like this has been successfully accomplished, but the B-movie level cheese certainly is. In fact, the only thing missing to complete it is a young Arnold Schwarzenegger’s muscular arm bumped up against another young 80’s action star’s muscular arm. For example, there was a certain tragedy that happened somewhat off-screen and then next mission there’s some over delivered dialogue about killing bastards for someone’s dead brother. Which is how most of the plot is relayed to the player. There’s not really any cutscenes to speak of and everything is told through voice over. This isn’t really an issue since this Earth Defense Force isn’t trying to be an Uncharted or Metal Gear Solid.
The first ten missions of Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain won’t wow anyone’s socks off, but there is enough old school, uncomplicated fun to keep me entertained. There’s just something about being in a moderately sized sandbox, per level, and just given free rein to destroy all enemies. We’ll see if this enjoyment wears off after I get more into it as I fear. But for now bring on the giant enemies for me to feel badass against. Even if I do have to grind some earlier levels.