Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair Review
Follow Genre: Third person shooter
Developer: Sandlot
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Platform: PS4
Tested on: PS4

Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair Review

Site Score
7.2
Good: Great frame rate and graphics
Bad: The intentionally cheesy tone may not be for everyone
User Score
6.0
(1 votes)
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Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair, a new and improved port of ‘Earth Defense Force 2025’ is the latest entry in the Earth Defense Force series and it’s done a seriously good job of maintaining the charm it’s held since 2003. “Is this gonna be a standup fight, sir, or another bughunt?” How about both?

EDF logo

Story

As is the norm with Earth Defense Force, the world is again invaded by oversized insects, robots and monsters who want nothing more than to destroy the human race. They show up to the party from underground tunnels, caves and UFOs in the sky, and bring presents that include (but are not limited to) bombs, laser blasters and huge spider webs that trap unlucky civilians and fellow soldiers.

Of course, Earth’s inhabitants aren’t going to stand by and let their world be overruled by such unwelcome guests. The ‘Earth Defense Force’ a military supergroup combined of almost every country in the world, begin a vicious war with the invaders. Having seen more than a few encounters in the past, you can bet this group of diehards are experienced in killing aliens.

The game and story are both drip fed to you through the use of arcade-like levels. Each mission has an introduction, explaining the circumstances and objectives of that level, making the requirements very clear. After completing an objective, your map will highlight the next point of interest, as you and your comrades move on to the next batch of creepy monsters.

Graphics

Earth Defense Force 2

Earth Defense Force 4.1 sports very typical arcade-ish visuals but this really works for the game. We were very impressed with the colours, textures and environments. It looks very typically Japanese and includes many sights reminiscent of an early 2000’s anime series. This works especially well for the game when you take control of a giant mech and fight a godzilla like monster. It’s like a mix of Power Rangers and Pacific Rim. We fail to see how that could ever be a bad thing.
The one thing that we have to applaud the game on though, is it’s outstanding frame rate. We were absolutely awe struck when we noticed no screen jittering despite hundreds of oversized spiders crawling over each other, building exploding, fire covering the environment and NPCs doing their thing (either fighting alongside you, running or dangling in a web). It’s difficult to explain it in words, you need to experience it firsthand to understand the excellence in the running of the game. Being tested on PS4,  Earth Defense Force 4.1 is a strong contender for games that made us realize why we bought a next gen console.

Earth Defense Force 6
Sound

Another reason this game is so charming, is the cheesy voice acting. Really, having your commanding officer shouting inspiring speeches in your ear and usually calling out the obvious things such as “The civilians are being attacked!” is really something that brought a smile to our faces. It’s a reminder that the game isn’t to be taken too seriously.
The soundtrack is epic, arcade-ish, and typically Japanese with menus featuring excitement building songs.

The music isn’t something that stands out hugely as most of the time we were really just focused on blasting bugs but it does a great job of helping the game along where it counts and has definitely been done right to match the feel of the game itself.

Earth Defense Force 1

Gameplay

If we had to use one word to describe ‘Earth Defense Force 4.1’, we’d use the word ‘fun’ for this third person shooter. That’s right, good old fashioned fun. ‘Earth Defense Force 4.1’ is a great game to play to experience that nostalgic feel of early gaming. If you’re not taking this game too seriously (which you shouldn’t), Earth Defense Force 4.1 is relaxing in a strange way considering the hundreds of spiders that want to tear you limb from limb. Interesting is also that the game has a cool co-op multiplayer feature, where you can play with friends.

There are 98 unique stages, all of which gradually increase the difficulty. The pacing is something to be respected here. Buildings are destructible, enemies are pretty hilariously dumb and resort to swarming you as a success tactic and there are a huge variety of guns in your arsenal to unlock and choose from.

Multiple classes are key to this game as they all have very unique and distinct abilities that will keep the game very fresh for a very long time. For example, the ‘Wing Diver’ class (our personal favourite), allows you to move quicker than any other class and fly and rain hell from above using your powerful plasma guns. These very nimble soldiers are a great choice when taking on the enemies head on. We also have to add that the controls for the classes are great. With so many different weapons, options and techniques, it’s amazing that everything is so simple to utilize and responsive. Without a decent control plan, this game could easily become over complicated.

Earth Defense Force 4

One class can call upon tanks and air support, another has access to a huge range of infantry weaponry and another is essentially a walking tank with a whole lot of ammunition. All of these classes we of course had a whole lot of fun with.
Also, we have to say that this game is like the fine wine of ragdoll mechanics. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a recently blasted spider or ant hurtle away at high velocity. It’s really just another quirky mechanic that makes this game stand out in it’s own, hilarious way. 

Conclusion

All in all, Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair does great at standing out in this new age of gaming and does an even better job at being what it was designed to be, a fun, mayhem filled action fest. Whilst not being amongst the most well known series of games today, Earth Defense Force 4.1 does a great job of potentially sealing a solid place on the shelves of many gamers. It’s certainly a great step in a good direction for the series.
We enjoyed countless hours of dealing with our arachnophobic fears, driving through buildings in a tank, laughing at outstanding ragdoll mechanics and just in general having a great time. If you’re looking for a fun game that runs like a well oiled engine and is great value for money, we’d highly recommend Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair.

Earth Defense Force 3

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Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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I'm a 24 year old gamer with a passion for RPG's, and the gaming community as a whole. When I'm not gaming, I can be found cooking, reading, or with my partner and pets. Currently on: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, PC and 3DS.

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