Review: Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain
Format: PSN (18.67 GB)
Release Date: April 11, 2019
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Developer: Yukes
Original MSRP: $59.99 (USD) £49.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
There are a few factors to consider when reviewing a game in the Earth Defense Force series. The most important is that of tempering one’s expectations. Not because the Earth Defense games deserve a free pass and should be judged on an independent scale. Rather, because they represent an enigma of gaming, where the overall fun factor trumps any graphical polish or AAA development backing. Earth Defense Force knows exactly what it is and it doesn’t pretend to be more. It’s a sci-fi action shooter that pits you against an endless horde of alien invaders… giant ant alien invaders.

Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain tries to improve upon some of those components that made the previous games fun, if not attractive to look at.

Beneath these visual improvements is the similar kill-em-all arcady gameplay that made the cult series so popular. Thrust upon the invading swarm of bugs, your character is a sole survivor of an explosion caused by a mothership that you had a hand in destroying.

Despite the relatively mindlessness of the gameplay that Iron Rain provides, there are both a leveling system, as well as a weapon construction system that lends some depth to your experience. And in a game where demolishing swarms of enemies takes point, being allowed to create the instruments of destruction you use against them is a huge part of the fun.

But truly, if you’re familiar with these titles, then you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. It’s killing bugs over and over, until the swarm is gone and you can move forward to the next encounter. You have an exosuit that keeps you from becoming bug food too easily, but also aids in your mobility, such as the ability to dash and dodge enemy pileups.

Visuals:
While Iron Rain has received a facelift from previous Earth Defense games, it still looks rather dated, compared to what you might be used to playing this generation. However, combine that with the above fun gameplay and you might be forgiven for looking past some of the simpler visuals. On the impressive side is how many giant creatures Iron Rain throws your way at the same time.

Seriously, at times it almost causes issues with gameplay, in that you really can’t see what’s going on or which way to move to avoid being killed. I suppose it also adds to the feeling of the overwhelming odds against you.

Audio:
While certainly not award-winning, the sound design gets the job done with little-to-no issues worth noting. Voice work is also well done, and while it’s a bit on the cheesy side, it’s Earth Defense Force. It’s like expecting top-notch acting in a Sharknado movie. It just wouldn’t fit.

Online/Multiplayer:
So the deal here is that Earth Defense Force games best shine when playing with friends, and while Iron Rain only supports two-player split screen, online you can still team up with a larger group and take on bug swarms together. That’s not to say that the split screen mode is lacking. In fact, I had a few local sessions that were a blast. It’s just that, it’s Earth Defense Force, with emphasis on that Force that you want to have when dealing with invading insects.

Conclusion:
I came in expecting a cheesy-arcade-action-shooting game about giant ants that fly on spaceships and build giant mounds within our cities. And that’s exactly what I got. Aside from a few instances where the camera was completely overwhelmed by giant bugs, I found gameplay to be solid and fun. So long as you know that to expect from this series, you will not be disappointed. I wish co-op was still four-player split screen, but online play still provided the true enjoyment, which is where the strength of this series lies.

Score:

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook