Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain (PC) – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Shooter
Developer: Yuke’s
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Platforms: PC, PS4
Tested on: PC

Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain (PC) – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Amazing graphics, a better story and the great gameplay the series is known for.
Bad: Loot system isn't really as good as it was
User Score
9.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)

The Earth Defense Force games have always prioritized the quality of the gameplay by focusing on the enormous battlefields with hundreds of enemies to face you. As a result, the graphics of these games have always looked outdated when looking at other games on the same platform. Most people wouldn’t even want to touch this series because of this, while this made them miss out on some awesome gameplay in fights against overgrown critters created by an alien threat. Now that the EDF license has been moved from Sandlot to Yuke’s and the Unreal Engine is being used in this game, things have changed quite a bit for this spin-off of the main series.

Story

In most EDF games, the story wasn’t really important as the focus was set on the immense battles against the alien threat. There was a linear approach in introducing new enemy forces as you progress through the game, but there wasn’t really a focus on a main character or something like that. Now that Yuke’s has taken over the development of this game, things have changed. You now start as a normal soldier on the battlefield when the alien mothership is attacking Earth. By using a PA-gear given to you from an injured soldier, you manage to destroy this mothership. As it falls down to the ground, you get caught up in the explosion and you get into a comatose state. Seven years later, you wake up and the aliens are attacking once again. You get tasked to save the world once more with your own squad.

Graphics

This aspect of the game has undergone a great change with the usage of the Unreal Engine in this game. The graphics have gotten a major upgrade compared to the older games. The overgrown ants, spiders, and other critters look much more detailed and the alien vessels look a lot deadlier as well. With the focus on a story with a main character also comes the ability to customize your own character. In the previous games, you could only change the color of each class’s armor. Now you can create your own character from the ground up by choosing the face, changing haircuts and more. You can certainly see that members of the development team were fans of particular anime series as some combinations of haircuts and face types can lead to resemblances with some of the main characters from popular animes. In the older Earth Defense Force games, the lower quality in graphics has allowed the game to keep running smoothly even when hundreds of enemies are on the battlefield. The requirements for this game have definitely gone up compared to the last game that came out several months before Iron Rain, but if your PC’s specs are high enough this should be no problem. On the other hand, the consoles could have some performance problems with this matter.

Sound

The sounds and music have not really undergone any changes from the older games. The music still sounds really typical to these games. There’s a lot more work done in voice-acting with the whole chronological story that has been added to the game. There are more conversations between your team members after a finished mission, plus it sounds more serious than in the previous games. In the older games, the voice-acting sounded like it was done in a funnier way with a lot less seriousness.

Gameplay

Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is an action third-person shooter which lets you fight against an alien threat with a lot of overgrown bugs and insects. This game is a spin-off to the series and this is clearly noticeable as many things have changed when looking at earlier titles. The whole class system has undergone a change and the system of unlocking weapons as well. The game can be played in single-player, split-screen co-op and online with up to six players, while the older games only supported online play with up to four players.

In the standard EDF games, you would choose a class and a play style that belongs to this class. Now, this system is smoothened out and you can freely switch between exoskeletons that represent the classes without changing your weapons as well. You can now combine the heavy weaponry of the slow, high armored fencer with the flying capabilities of the wing diver and this surely provides a lot of freedom. Each different exoskeleton will have its own strengths, weaknesses and special abilities. The changes in the class system have also made the Air Raider class disappear. This class was mainly used for providing the team with huge Mechs, tanks and other crafts of destruction. This class didn’t have much to defend themselves with when their mechs got destroyed, so it was a very hard class to master and was highly reliant on other players for support. These mechs have now been moved to the limited-use items. Now, you can equip any two weapons and a set of items that you can use a limited amount of times at the cost of money. The money used for these items will be deducted from your mission rewards at the end of the mission.

The fighting on the battlefield hasn‘t changed very much. Yes, you have more possibilities when looking at your gear, but the weapons haven’t changed all that much. Conventional weapons need to be reloaded when empty, and energy weapons will regenerate with the energy provided by your PA-Gear. Some changes have been made to the reloading system where you don’t have to run around with the empty weapon as your active weapon to actually reload it.

In the regular EDF games, you would randomly get new weapons for your chosen class after picking up weapon chests. These chests have now disappeared in Iron Rain as weapon unlocks are now given based upon the mission that has been completed. Some missions will unlock assault rifles when others will provide energy weapons when completed. By increasing the difficulty of a mission, the unlocked weapons will be of higher rank when the mission is complete.

The AI has also changed a lot as it now focuses solely on you in attacking. While there are twenty other AI-controlled allies on the battlefield, all the enemies will focus on taking you down. It’s not really clear if this is a bug or not, but in the older games, your AI allies would take some enemies off your back while you are fighting along their side. This also makes some missions almost impossible to manage in the earlier stages on normal difficulties. You would need to switch to the lowest difficulty to clear these missions. For example, there’s a mission that requires you to defend a base. This base gets attacked by a lot of flying enemies and some big ground units. All these fast, teleporting flying enemies will focus all their shots on you while you try to survive and take them down. While you are very busy doing this, the base will get destroyed and the mission fails.

Conclusion

Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is clearly a spin-off to the regular games, and the change of developer and the usage of the Unreal Engine brought a lot of changes to the game as well. It’s obvious they tried to attract a new crowd with the improved graphics as a lot of people wouldn’t even touch the game when they saw the outdated graphics in the previous games. The class system has been changed and we couldn’t say that it was bad at all. The way weapons unlock could be something to nag about as farming for weapons was one of the things to do when you completed the first playthrough. Some levels would provide you with tons of weapons while now, you will only get a few each time you complete a mission. Unfortunately, the AI is more focused on you than on all your other AI allies, so you will have a hard time surviving and completing mission targets in some missions when playing solo. Playing this game with friends in split-screen mode and online can be a lot of fun. When you have already liked playing the EDF games, this one is definitely one to take a look at as it is definitely not a bad spin-off. Are you unknown to these games, we recommend trying this one to see that these games can be a lot of fun to play, definitely with some friends in co-op or the online mode.

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Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain (PC) - Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Nickskuh


Administration is my job but gaming is my passion!

1 Comment

  1. Ibuki
    Ibuki
    November 15, 2019, 1:27 am

    The graphics look crazy on this one!

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