Not long ago, I reviewed Earth Defense Force 5 and found myself enjoying it despite some minor annoyances here and there. Now the famed company Yuke’s has decided to put their spin on the series with their spin-off Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain. While it also has some minor flaws, it’s easily the best looking and most accessible entry of bug squashing series yet.
As with the previous games, the story is short and simple. You start off as a soldier armed with an exoskeleton called PA Gear that’s deployed in 2028 to fight off alien bugs called “Aggressors”. During the battle, your squad is wiped out and it falls on you to destroy their mothership. You manage to do so at the cost of overcharging your gear and supposedly dying, but it turns out you were just in a coma for seven years. While you were out, the aliens have regrouped and have come back even stronger, leaving you to take up the PA Gear once again and lead a new squad to take out the Aggressors.
The controls are simple and work well enough as they did in the other EDF titles, as you aim, shoot, jump, and dodge your way to victory. There’s also plenty of weapons you can earn and use, from machine guns and rifles, to rocket, missile, and grenade launchers. You’ll also come across other PA Gear types you can use, from your standard one to one that grants small flight abilities, to a tank-type one that’s a little sluggish but can give and take serious punishment. You can also create and customize your character as you see fit, though the faces and hairstyle choices are a bit bleh.
You’ll want to quickly find out what combination of weapons and gear works for you, as there’s over fifty missions for you to take on with various difficulties for newcomers and combat veterans alike. Thankfully you can call in for help offline with local split-screen, or team up with others online to take down some alien bugs. You’re going to need help too, as you’ll encounter some nasty difficulty spikes no matter which level of difficulty you have it on.
This entry of the series looks and sounds good, thanks to Yuke’s bringing in the infamous Unreal Engine. The trade-off is that since everything looks better, there can only be so much on the screen at once, versus the other entries having lower graphics but tons of enemies. I also noticed that while the silly and hammy voice acting is still present in this one, the tone here is a lot more serious and dark which some may or may not like.
If you’re looking to bust some bugs with some friends on or offline, Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is one you’ll want to pick up. Yuke’s take on the famous franchise is a step in a darker, more serious direction with better graphics and sound, but still has the essentials from the previous entries that make it a blast for anyone.