Review: Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain (PS4)

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Oh, wait ’til you have at least a dozen or so of these big guys to deal with and a few dozen or so ants and other bugs ti deal with (yipes).

EDF_IR BoxWith a new developer, new game engine and new elements to its gameplay, Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain ($59.99, $89.99 for the Ultimate Edition) ends up being kind of a reboot on one hand, but totally new and harder that the other games in the franchise on the other. This is a good thing, although a few elements could use some fixing up. Veteran Japanese developer Yuke’s decided to go with making the game tougher overall even on the easiest mode to the point it’s rough going to solo some missions unless you have very particular weapons or play with other live players in split-screen or online. While yes, you can tackle missions alone if you like, the mix of enemy types combined with less open maps and AI allies who seem to expire too quickly in some of the busier maps make for less mindless fun but more challenge at the end of the day.

It’s also a big game, with new character customization galore and the ability to play any character as any class, swapping out the new PA Gear at will between missions. Though not quite as mission varied or long as the Sandlot-developed games, it’s still a lot of game for the money and if you’re into that, it’s going to be money well spent. Granted, the mighty EDF 5 did suffer from a few repetitive missions and maps and the next to last boss fight dragged a bit because you needed to figure out how to beat that transforming spaceship boss as quickly as possible (and it took a while to do so the first time). A few tweaks here would help make a good game better, though. The appeal to western audiences ends up adding some elements to the game that it really didn’t need, and I’m saying this as someone who liked Earth Defense Force Insect Armageddon because it shook things up back when it was released.

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XSEED Brings EDF 2 Stateside (Those Bugs Don’t Stand A Chance!)


 

Here’s one way to end a crappy month plus: some EXCELLENT news from XSEED Games. They’re localizing Sandlot’s Earth Defense Forces 2 Portable V2 for the US and retitling it Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space. Okay, the title is somewhat (and intentionally) cheesy, recalling the 50’s aci-fi flicks that inspired the Japanese development team. But for those of us who’ve been fans of the EDF series since its 2003 debut, seeing the game finally arrive in English means many things.

For one, no more begging non-Japanese action game fans to “give it a try” because they’re fearful of any text they can’t read or navigate the controls without worrying. Granted, the games are dirt simple to play and anyone who can hold a Vita can dive right in. But between the radio chatter, menus, weapon and mission descriptions I’ve had to tell a few friends not to fret over, I can recommend the US version as an instant BUY. Second, while the story isn’t anything “special”, the fact that EDF 2 has a London map (where the game starts and has a few missions) before proceeding to Japan has made me want to see a complete script localization to see how the aliens ended up there first. Also, as things get bleaker for humanity as the locations get more destroyed, some of that radio chatter seems to be pretty bleak. In previous EDF games, there’s been a doom-like tone as the final dregs of soldiers take their last stands and say some farewells. You can’t make that campy… or CAN you?

Anyway, this one isn’t out until the fall, but I’ll be keeping an eyeball on it for sure.

EDF 4.1 Update: Japan Gets It While We Still Wait Patiently


 

Holy cats. While there still no localization news about Earth Defense Forces 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair, the game has been out in Japan since April 2 and is getting played to death over in Japan by some lucky gamers who’ve been dropping some truly incredible videos of the game in action on YouTube. Sure, it’s not packing the best visuals when unfairly compared to more polished games for these new-gen consoles or PC. But developer Sandlot clearly knows how to set the tone for some massive scale battles. Wow. Hey, it’s sure cheaper than buying a bunch of toys and wondering where to to store them all, I say. That said if there’s ever a sequel to Pacific Rim and someone wants a tie-in game, I think I know who should get the call.

EDF 4.1 Import Update: Better Bug Blasting, But Still No News For Western Fans


 

All the small to large improvements are making Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair an absolute must for series fans worldwide, but there’s still no big news about the game outside of the Asian market. I’m hoping that this doesn’t mean this PS4 exclusive is being forgotten for a US and European release, but let’s see what happens as E3 approaches. Granted, this IS a niche title from small but very talented developer Sandlot that hasn’t blown away those gamers who expect every new title they play to be the best-looking and easiest to hop into game experience. EDF games tend to be simple on one hand, but packed with confounding quirks on the other. This new video from D3Publisher addresses some of the issues as it points out some of the changes implemented by the dev team. Changes I hope we EDF fans get to see HERE at some point. I’d guess that’s all up to Bandai Namco these days, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that whomever gets the publishing rights gets some news out sooner than later.

FREE STUFF GET!: Earth Defense Force 2025 DLC Up For Grabs!

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Well, this is pretty darn cool. If you happen to be a fan of Sandlot’s upcoming Earth Defense Force 2025 and happen to have a facebook account, D3Publisher of America has some awesome free stuff for you. It’s the Special Ops Mission Pack for free on either the Xbox 360 or PS3 is all yours for watching and sharing a “Breaking News” video on that otherwise useless social networking site. It’s all spelled out on the game’s official facebook page, so boogie on over and viddy well, then share what you’ve seen with a like-minded buddy and get your DLC code (which can be redeemed on or after 2/24/2014. EDF 2025 hits retail on February 18, 2014 for the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Yes, there are screens to post… but I’m on a sloooooow connection and will add them tomorrow. Back in a bit!

Get Bugged For A Lower Price: EDF 2017 Portable Now $29.99 Until 4/2

EDF 2017 Portable_6Of course, that’s a limited time deal, ladies and gents. January’s #1 selling Vita game can now be yours (and a few friends of yours,of course) for ten bucks cheaper until April 2, 2013. Given that Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable packs the possibility of well over 50 hours of play (and then some) into that PSN download, it’s still a bargain at its non-sale price. Of course, I’m COMPLETELY biased in saying you NEED to buy this game, what with me being a fan of hard working Japanese developer Sandlot and their games. Then again, I’m gathering you’d want someone who knows what they’re talking about to recommend something like this to you, right?

EDF 4 Gameplay Footage: 4Gamer.net? I Love You And Hate You (But Mostly Love You)…

 

Well, wow and double wow. Japanese game site 4Gamer.net posted this hands-on last year (!!!) and I’m just NOW getting around to seeing it thanks to some poking around online for something entirely different. Eh, it figures. I’m just thrilled because even though it’s a WIP version, I get to ogle more of the gameplay than the bits I’ve seen from the official trailers D3Publisher in Japan has been posting. OK, off to the home base now, as they’re about to shove me out the door here at Starbucks. Back in a bit…

Review: Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable

EDF_2017P_neweggPlatform: PlayStation Vita

Developer: SANDLOT

Publisher: D3Publisher of America

# of Players: 1 – 4

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: A (95%)

Much more than a straightforward “port” of the former Xbox 360 exclusive, Earth Defense Force 3 Portable  comes screaming onto the Vita as the game developer Sandlot most likely wanted to make in the first place. The return of Pale Wing and her energy-based weaponry (from EDF 2 on the PS2 and EDF 2 Portable PSP) adds a new way to experience the game while an up to four-player co-op mode, rebalanced and all-new weapon drops, new enemy types, trophies galore and seven new levels makes this an absolute must-buy for anyone with a Vita. For those who’ve played the 360 version to death, there’s definitely enough new content there to get you equally obsessed (and yes, perhaps it’s finally time to get that Vita if you’ve been on the fence). Don’t let that $39.99 price point for a download put you off one bit, as there are dozens, if not over a hundred hours of gameplay here, especially if you’re looking to grab one really hard to obtain Platinum Trophy.

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EDF 2017 Portable Hits PSN – Buy It & Bug Out!

 

Sandlot’s niche bug blasting epic rolls onto the PlayStation Vita today and even if you’ve played the Xbox 360 version to death, this is a MUST buy. Seven new stages, new enemies, new weapon drops, the return of Pale Wing from EDF 2, new 4-player co-op and versus modes and more all await. After a shaky 2012, the Vita needs support with “smaller” titles like these and while $40 seems pricey for a download-only release, the sheer amount of content here and the fact that it will take a while to unlock everything if you’re into Trophies makes this one of the key releases for Sony’s portable this month. If you’re a fan of Japanese monster flicks, old 50’s sci-fi, high-action games with a wicked difficulty curve (Think you’re hot gamer stuff? Beat Mission 1 on Inferno with the default weapons and let me know how that goes) and hell, love supporting the underdog, the EDF wants YOU!

That and hey – the game just may help you overcome that needless fear of spiders you have… er, or it’ll just turn you into a total catatonic mess after that first stage they appear in. Hitting your Vita rapidly with a plastic flip-flop is not a very good idea, particularly in public. It’s winter here and what the heck are you doing wearing plastic flip-flops in the snow, silly? And a can of Raid, too? Hmmm… I think you have some issues to deal with that aren’t gaming related…

Random Film of the Week (Double Feature Edition): THEM! & Tarantula

(thanks, Tobar!) 

With Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable rolling out on the PlayStation Vita on Tuesday, I figured I’d write up a short column about two of the many “They don’t make ’em like they used to!” sci-fi films that most assuredly influenced Japanese developer Sandlot when they created their cult favorite game series that got its start as a pair of budget PlayStation 2 games (The Simple 2000 Vol. 31: The Chikyuu Boueigun and The Simple 2000 Vol. 81: The Chikyuu Boueigun 2) and a more visually polished Xbox 360 sequel which has been nicely expanded and enhanced for Sony’s portable system. Both flicks are “B” movie classics worth watching if you’ve never seen either previously, with the former film being surprisingly tense and well-acted considering the subject matter and the latter film using some pretty well done matte work to convincing effect in a few scenes.

Yeah, yeah, there’s no fancy CGI here and some implausible moments in both flicks can be eyeball-rolling if you start applying any rules of reality to what you’re viewing. Nevertheless, if you’re in the right mood, you’ll be hooked into both films from the memorable beginnings of each one and stick around to their bitter endings…

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