There are some games that just hold sentimental value in our hearts, and one of those titles is the Earth Defense Force series. Initially targeted more towards a casual niche audience, the Earth Defense Force series is now starting to develop a stronger presence in the household, mostly due to its over-the-top gameplay. Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain takes a brand new leap for the franchise as it introduces new mechanics, along with incorporating more realistic visuals to ensure western fans can truly appreciate all of the action. If you love to just sit back, pick up a controller and simply annihilate any pesky creature that stalks the land, then Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is the game for you!
What to Expect
Earth Defense Force has always been marketed as a B-lister title, meaning that the intention of the game isn’t to win any sort of groundbreaking achievement awards but rather to be a game that focuses on pure excitement and thrill. Voice acting in the game is comedic and doesn’t take itself seriously, which is what makes it all the more entertaining.The minute you’re deployed from the plane and descend towards the Earth it’s all nonstop action from there, as abnormally large insects and creatures are out to destroy your existence, and it’s up to the EDF team to ensure humanity is protected.
The implementation of more polished visuals does give the game a lot more attractiveness, especially when you’re hopping from building to building zapping anything that moves. Another unprecedented move by YUKE’S is to incorporate more character customization features, allowing players to really personalize their character going into battle. These features include being able to customize your character’s looks in terms of their clothing, as well as your weapon loadout, which now includes a much wider variety of gear to choose from!
As mentioned earlier, Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain was designed to ensure that the western audience can appreciate it more for its visual aesthetics, along with its wave-shooter gameplay that the series is reputable for. A lot of attention to detail was focused on the actual environments and enemies you encounter throughout the game, for example the giant insects and their behavior. The ants and other critters you combat against really behave like their real life counterparts, which adds some realism to the game in spite of being a title that’s really all about chaos. The mechs are also really well designed and the cutscenes within the game this time around aren’t actually all too bad, albeit a few character animations being stiff at times.
Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain isn’t going to win any major accolades in this area, not because it’s terrible but because it was intended. The voice acting in the series has always been notorious for providing a very slapstick experience, with the voice actors playing their roles in a very corny fashion. It’s that very corny and kooky style that really gives EDF its charm, as it really doesn’t try to take things seriously but the characters try to come off that way. The music in the game is quite satisfying and does supplement the action-packed gameplay very well, giving players a very impactful experience on the battlefield. As you race around trying to survive the onslaught of mechs, giant insects, and kaiju monsters, all of that is complemented with over-the-top sound effects, such as the explosion of guts or just explosions in general.
Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain provides a great deal of amusement from start to finish, and surprisingly involves a great deal of strategy in order to successfully complete missions. It’s not just simply running and blasting your way through hordes of enemies, but it’s also about your weapon loadout and how effective each weapon can be against the enemy. For example, your assault rifle may be able to riddle enemy corpses with bullets, but over time you’ll be overwhelmed by a non-stop train of enemies and having a rocket launcher ready is imperative. You’ll be able to level up your weapons as you continue to progress over time, which will allow you to eradicate the enemy with the greatest of ease.
Having the choice of difficulty settings is also another plus, especially for those who perhaps aren’t too familiar with the series and how particular features function. We do however recommend that if you really want to feel the greatest challenge possible, to play on the highest difficulty setting. Playing on hard mode really puts your patience to the test as every monster now behaves in an entirely different manner, with their damage output increasing exponentially and so every decision you make really counts. The other major selling point about Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is that you can have fun with a friend due to its co-op feature, which only provides a more enriching experience.
Playing solo is honestly still a blast and with there being so many weapons and customizable features to unlock, it’s a great incentive to keep you coming back for more. Not only that but you come back for all of the laughs because of how quirky everything is!
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is full of content that’s sure to keep you on your toes for hours on end. It’s that type of game where there’s just so much to do that you’re constantly being stimulated, and it encourages you to always come back to try out new strategies or simply unlocking more powerful weapons. Speaking of which, those who have preordered the title are lucky to receive enhanced weapons, exclusive customized costumes, and for those who went the extra mile for the Ultimate Edition there’s a critical weapon that destroys enemies quick. The vast array of missions that you’ll have to complete are a thrill to play, and all incorporate some sort of challenge that you’ll need to overcome in order to accumulate the best results.
Veterans of the series will certainly find the new improvements to be a pleasant addition, and newcomers will be totally thrilled to be immersed in a world full of wacky creatures, along with hours upon hours of laughter. It’s by no means a perfect title but who really cares when you’re infiltrating ant colonies and blowing up the Ant Queen with highly explosive grenades, or soaring in the skies with your jetpack in order to destroy unrelenting enemy mechs that will stop at nothing to see you die? To us, it’s a wonderful bundle of joy that truly defines the series in every possible way.
Newly enhanced weapons and customizable costumes really add variety and personality to your character.
Voice acting performance is still over-the-top as usual, which makes us laugh… and shake our heads at times.
Explosive non-stop action with so much content to explore.
The improved visuals add more realism.
Character animations can look and feel stiff at times.
Easy mode is a bit too easy.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Get your butts ready for an all-out battle royale with ants, mechs, and kaiju monsters in this action injected thrill ride! Nothing ever feels boring with the game, and even when things do feel a bit overwhelming, there are always ways around it which motivates you to continue unlocking more. Now suit up soldiers, it’s time to deploy and serve our country! Time to get rid of these pests and restore peace to humanity! LET’S GO!
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!