Platforms: PlayStation 4
Genre: Third-person bug shooter with powerful exosuits.
Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain was just released recently. After giving it a go during my calm weekend, my final thoughts were… rather mixed.
Let’s see what Yuke’s latest game brings to the table. You’ll be playing the last member of a raid squad tasked to take down an insect mothership. The mission went south, and you were caught in the initial blast, but survived and went into a coma for 7 years. After regaining consciousness, it became your job to kill the enemy, collect shiny cores, and don’t die in the process.
The game offers you a campaign which could be played solo, or duke it out with a friend online or take it locally and ask a mate to fill in that empty couch and hand him the second controller for some hectic split-screen action.
For the first time ever, the series has its very first competitive multiplayer mode which makes it appearance in Iron Rain.
Called Titled Mercenary, the mode pits players in a 2v2 grab for energy gems dropped from enemy bugs. Points are awarded by bringing those gems to certain points on the map while being wary of the enemy team who can steal what you’ve gathered if they kill you.
The small nature of the arena creates a perfect environment to breed pandemonium as tons of insects appears on-screen, rendering even the most composed strategists inane. Mostly not because of the swarm, but by the frequently dipping framerates caused by millions of insects. So players will be scrambling to grab whatever energy gems the could find and stashing it in the designated location.
In short, a quick dose for mindless fun.
Create Your Own Exterminator
For once in an Earth Defense Force title, you can create your own hero. There is a wide range of customizations you can unlock along your journey to save the earth.
You can switch anything anytime. Not happy with your face? Switch it between missions. Wanna play as a female? Just go with that transgender operation.
Need some humongous Japanese anime tiddies? Be my guest. The flexibility is unparalleled.
So let’s start off with me saying that this is a perfect game after the truly soul-crushing experience of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Why? Because it’s mindless violence, that’s why.
In Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain, you don’t have to think. In my entire experience of playing, one has only need to hold R2 and push the right analog stick to point in the right direction and you’re all set. All you need is a semblance of aiming, and you’re all set to enjoy Iron Rain.
You’ll be facing waves of ginormous insects, aliens, machines and worst of all, arachnids, in a mission. Most of the mission requires you to simply wipe out all the enemies in the area. This can be achieved through the method mentioned earlier; hold R2, point in the right direction, don’t think.
Mobility is another arsenal up your sleeve. The PA Armor you have equipped offers you a few abilities, ranging from dashing to flying, to shielding. Plus, the armour and weapons all look futuristic. The cornerstone of a Japanese fantasy shooter.
Weapons deal tons of damage, with unlimited magazines. You’ll be able to equip two weapons for each mission. Imagine rocking an assault rifle and a rocket launcher. Keep in mind that you won’t run out of magazines. ‘Iron Rain’ makes perfect sense if you think of it that way.
Each kill rewards you with a satisfying splurt. The sound of a dying ant colony is simply instant gratification.
Yuke has successfully implemented the formula of ‘kill everything, and leave nothing standing’. They have pulled it in a way that is gloriously cathartic.
A Stinging Sensation
As fun as the game can be, there are a few gripes about the game.
For starters, the graphics, dear lord. We’re coming to the end of the PlayStation 4’s lifespan yet this game has graphics that make Need For Speed Underground look like it was released yesterday.
The graphics and animation look outdated in a world where Marvel’s Spider-Man exists. Corpses show weak ragdoll physics and they simply dissolve into nothingness, as if Thanos snapped a second time most probably thanks to a pesky ant climbing to his nether regions.
Textures look very simple for a PlayStation 4 game. Buildings simply crumble and break like cookies dipped into milk for a second too long. It also just simply disappears after a set time. Again, it’s a disappointment in a world where Battlefield 3 exists. Even Battlefield 3 looks like it’s years ahead in terms of rubble physics.
Initially, I thought it was done so to keep the frames high, but with frames diving into single-digit territory the moment all hell breaks loose, it creates for a disastrous playing experience.
It even occurred to me that this game might do better if it were a Nintendo Switch title due to its fast-paced action and short missions. Then again, maybe not. If the mighty PlayStation 4 can’t keep up with such framerates, probably the Switch would just melt into oblivion. If only it was optimised better for the console. I mean, it is a PlayStation 4 exclusive, it should’ve been better.
It does get repetitive though. After quite a while of asinine brutality, it gets boring to a point you’d stop playing for a while, and let your cathartic appetite grow again.
And when it’s looking for more, you know where to find it. You know what to do. But with all that said above, it does not mean I did not enjoy a single bit of action from the game.
Spray Some RAID Before Touching
Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is fun in the purest form. The game offers you challenges, at the same time, the power and ability to overcome such challenges through wacky weapon loadouts.
The game might have its flaws, but its overwhelming fun is something that makes the experience palatable. If you’re able to look past all its flaws, Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain will shower you with one of the zaniest experiences in gaming history.
I never expected that I would enjoy the game. Trust me, if there is one shooter I’d suggest you play right now, it’s this one. Give it a try.
- Instant gratification.
- Therapeutic violence.
- Character creation (FINALLY!).
- Wacky loadouts.
- Fun missions.
- Futuristic and cool looking suits.
- Split-screen coop multiplayer.
- Outdated graphics and animation.
- Repetitive gameplay.
- Grindy endgame.
- Choppy framerates.