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Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain

Posted by GG Goblin On April - 29 - 2019

Because there is always time to shoot a bunch of giant bugs.

The Earth Defense Force games have never really managed to hit the mainstream over here. Despite this, there is almost a cult following for the B-movie styled alien bug-fighting shooter and D3 Publisher have continued to roll out the games. There has always been something quite relaxing about Earth Defense Force in that it rarely becomes more complicated than shooting the next wave of giant ants, spiders, or other alien invaders with an ever increasing arsenal of awesome weaponry. However, Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain, the latest instalment this time developed by Yuke’s, changes a few things up to give the game more depth. Has the new developer created a game that can break through to the mainstream? Or has all of the charm or giant insects been lost in translation?

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The EDF games have always been silly, in both their premise and their stories. This has always been part of the charm, and EDF: Iron Rain manages to continue with that silliness being set in the year 2033 when alien invaders have pretty much taken over the planet. The Earth Defense Force is a shadow of what it once was, and the player will step into the bug-squashing boots of a customisable hero that will be dropped into various environments and forced to clear out the alien menace, which mostly come in the form of giant insects.

Now, as with previous EDF games, the insects in Iron Rain are particularly impressive and often come scuttling towards the player in hordes. The likes of giant ants or spiders have always been a highlight of the series, and Iron Rain is no different there. Anyone who finds creepy crawlies worrying will find themselves struggling at times in the game, as their warrior can quickly become overwhelmed by bugs. The answer is simply to shoot them, but there is something quite macabre about a wall of any carcasses forming in front of the player, making it difficult to work out which are alive and still intent on snuffing out the hero’s life. Even a pile of dead ants will be unnerving to some.

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But it doesn’t stop there. The selection of different enemies to take on in EDF: Iron Rain is quite impressive, and part of the fun is finding out what the player will have to face off against next, from waves of smaller enemies, to the building-sized individual creature. Add in further alien threats and even Human adversaries, and the game is not short of things that want to kill the player.

Gone are the days of grinding through enemies to find ever more impressive weapons. Iron Rain has a system whereby new weapons and augmentations are unlocked as the player progresses through the game, and the player is then able to purchase new gear using various currencies found throughout the levels. This gives the player a chance to try new loadouts in each mission, while limiting the player to whatever is available. Much of the time the missions will guide the player in a certain direction equipment wise, making it very difficult to succeed unless the right loadout is chosen. Still, the selection of equipment and weapons is impressively over-powered, as usual, and once the player has passed the early drought of good gear, it becomes much easier to bring the pain to the alien aggressors.

Speaking on difficulty, EDF: Iron Rain is no walk in the park. The trend for hardcore games that rely on skill continues, but in Iron Rain the difficulty feels cheaper. So much of the difficulty comes down to choosing the right loadout, but even standing in the wrong place can result in being totally overwhelmed in a matter of minutes. Then there are the occasional difficulty spikes and unclear or missed objectives that make the game trickier than it needed to be.

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Visually, Iron Rain seems to be an improvement over the previous games. Everything looks sharp and impressive, although things still get a little jittery when there is a lot happening on the screen. However, it still falls short of what players would expect from the current crop of high level games. Also, I am not so sure that by improving the visuals it hasn’t taken away from that EDF charm. The story is still as silly as ever though, and the cheesy dialogue remains. The gun play and controls have been improved, making the game much easier to enjoy, despite the difficulty.

Some changes may be for the better, and some for the worse. However, there is no denying that EDF: Iron Rain is a game that improves when played with others. The usual crop of multiplayer options are available, with both online play and local co-op bringing players together to fight back the alien invaders and battle some bugs. With a friend, Iron Rain is simple fun.

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Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is a simple game at heart, one that gives the player the tools they need to shoot oversized bugs and giant alien robots. Fans of the series will appreciate this, although the changes that have been made may be less welcome. For newcomers, the game feels more rounded than previous titles. Whether new to the series or returning, Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is as entertaining as ever.




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