Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is definitely not for you if you hate bugs and all sorts of creepy crawlies, especially because everything is giant sized! If you’d ever had nightmares about ants or spiders two stories tall, this might be a game you’d wanna stay away, or pick up immediately to take revenge!
Like the previous entries, this is a third person shooter where you shoot up various alien invasion forces which consists of giant bugs, nimble robot drones, and heavy mechs. You control a soldier from the Earth Defense Force, or EDF, a task force specially assembled to combat extraterrestrial threats.
Check out the trailer here
The game is played out over missions, with slight variations to how or who you want to play with. There is single player, split screen co-op, online co-op, and multiplayer 4v4 mercenaries mode. Before each mission, you get to switch up your loadout of a PA gear, 2 weapons, and a bunch of items.
Personally, the collection of weapons and play styles associated with them is a big plus. There are weapons that a soldier might expect to use, like assault rifles, shotguns, grenade launchers, to more futuristic laser guns, heavy ordnance missile launchers, and even swords that fire beams (sci-fi Master Sword!!!). Each time I unlock a weapon, I try to purchase it and jump into the practice mode just to try it out. Even among the different classes, every weapon has its strength and unique place in your arsenal, making your loadout decisions much more meaningful than just picking the same stuff every mission.
Partnering with the wide variety of weapons is the PA gear choice; four different power armour like equipment to enhance and further accentuate your play style. Each of them drastically changes how you play. One allows you to become a super soldier, dashing around the battlefield, dodging your enemies with quick strafes. One flies you around like an angel, seeking the blind spots of your enemies to unleash your vengeance upon. One morphs you into a one man turtle formation, with a deployable shield to suck up enemy fire and progress ever so slowly but surely. And the last one simply changes the game into Attack on Titan. I kid you not, you literally get grappling hooks like the ones they use in Attack on Titan.
With such a varied collection of weapons and cool systems of PA gear, it is disappointing that the enemies, despite their cool (and creepy) potential, do not stand up to the test. There are 3 main types of enemies, bugs, mechs/walkers, and bosses. Bugs simply overwhelm you and it really isn’t that satisfying to defeat them. Ground crawlers can be easily dispatched with the flamethrower or shotgun weapons, while mechs just require concentrated firepower to take down. This causes the missions to get boring at times simply because there isn’t much strategy required to clear each mission, just simple dexterity of avoiding projectiles and firing back. Bosses are a welcome challenge, but they don’t occur on a regular enough basis to improve the game, in fact, I almost stopped playing before encountering my first boss.
Adding into the fact that each mission plays like an arcade on a single credit, with no checkpoints, it can be downright frustrating when you fail at the last act of the mission, especially so when the missions are long and tedious, and the loading time isn’t that short. The game definitely benefits from playing with friends as it seems to lack the epic set pieces seen in many single player games these days.
Overall the game still has its fun moments, and is still a decent one to pick up, especially if you wanna fulfill the fantasy of fighting giant bugs and aliens in a power armour. The varied weapons and combat gears is worthy of a special mention and they are definitely worth experimenting with, if you can tolerate the tedious missions!
Review by Castalos Heng