Guest Review – Earth Defense Force 5 (Part II)

By Gabriel Gutierrez Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part review and reflection from local game developer Gabriel Gutierrez. You can read the first right here. “I am Error.” EDF 5, like the previous EDF games, is about being thrown into incredibly terrible odds. Moreso, those odds aren’t always apparent. Rarely are the incoming…

By Gabriel Gutierrez

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part review and reflection from local game developer Gabriel Gutierrez. You can read the first right here.

“I am Error.”

EDF 5, like the previous EDF games, is about being thrown into incredibly terrible odds. Moreso, those odds aren’t always apparent. Rarely are the incoming dangers immediate. When you think you’re getting ahead, you’re quickly reminded how wrong you are.

You’ll anxiously start to question if you’ve brought the right weapons with you for the many large-scale fights you’ll come up against, since you can only start with 2 plus a 3rd supplemental ability perk (the perk being new to the EDF series). These can assist in the ways of improved stamina, attack/defense power, summoning a vehicle or mech support & so on, which is an incredibly welcome addition from EDF 4.1. Because, FINALLY, my Ranger can RUN, my Wing Diver can fly further (with the right perk), do a neat flipping dodge move on the ground/mid-flight & more! Even though it’s a little touchy to do so, it’s still a wonderful necessity.

In EDF 5 (plus 2025 & 4.1), you can choose between 4 Warrior Classes:

  • Ranger (Soldier class: best for those new to EDF; They can also RUN now! FINALLY!)
  • Wing Diver (Aerial Strike Force class: Low HP but crushing weaponry. Also, THEY CAN FLY!)
  • Air Raider (Support class: Can summon air raids, bomb drops from space & more shenanigans)
  • Fencer (The Knights of EDF. Slow with some limited rocket thrusters, burly & ferocious!)

With all of this said, you’ll wonder how many of your friendly AI teammates will survive the enemy’s wrath by the end of the level. They will join the fight when you go to them or “save” them from an ambush. Fortunately, they do try a LOT better compared to the previous EDF iterations. And, unlike EDF 2025/4.1, finding Fencers can truly turn the tide of your fight. Not to disregard the value of the other Soldier types. But, Sandlot made it more challenging to find them in a respective level this time around.

Nonetheless, you are the veritable “David” against many, many “Goliaths”.

Like life!

As mentioned earlier, my copy of EDF 5 is an import copy and almost entirely in Japanese. So, one of the immediate struggles for me was being able to understand & read ANY of what was happening. Thankfully, there are some English words to help your not-bilingual-soul get by.

For me, there was something very unique & special from that challenge: It wasn’t the difficulty. It wasn’t the hope that one of the enemies would drop a first aid kit when I kill it. I had to figure out what to do not by what was being said on the comms from my team, but by basing my decisions on the growing & destructive chaos around me.

Depression is like this. Fear is like this. Yet, here is this game letting me know that I can overcome those feelings & more. You can listen to people talking & complaining OR you can step back, observe the chaos, then fight back.

Like life.

The goosebumps I’m getting as I think about & write this…it’s incredible.

And you’re going to learn very quickly how to fight back because there are 110 missions in the single player campaign alone! Yup, 110 MISSIONS! And, 83% of those missions are great! 15% are spectacular! The other 2% are filler. This is a minute price to pay especially with the included 4-player online co-op & 2-player local split-screen campaigns. You’re going to get your money’s worth! I’ve already put in 150+ hours in this game and I’ve only completed it as a Ranger.

The newly built weapon system is a nice improvement over previous EDF games. You cannot carry 2 of the same weapon like you could in EDF 2025/4.1. Any “duplicate” or lower ranked weapons earned are immediately discarded. All other upgraded weapons are immediately added to your arsenal. You do not need to worry about anything other than which weapon you want to cause the most reckless destruction with!

The value in this game: Astounding. The emotional value, the personal redemption: Priceless

“I’m still standing.”

Earth Defense Force 5 is a game that is misunderstood. But, at times, I don’t feel it wants to be understood. It simply wants you to enter its chaotic world & BE that solution. It will show you how to push back, how to overcome the odds & how to adapt to a world that, as highly exaggerated as it may be, some part of this could really happen.

And one may think, “This game is stupid. Why would such a thing happen? The graphics are terrible. It’s so repetitive. I’m going to complain about this for hours & hours until people see this my way or else they’re a heathen!”

This game is not for them. And that’s ok.

EDF 5 (even 2025/4.1) is meant for those who walk a different path of life, both real-time & in video games. This game is meant for those not happy with building something or waiting for minutes to fight while jumping around pointlessly & aimlessly, killing other virtual players, without any substance. This is not your blatant, cookie cutter “Battle Royale” cash-grab.

EDF 5 is not a game that will soothingly teach you about healing & life tragedies through empty story explorations & calm music. There is nothing calm or serene about overcoming life’s challenges until you’ve achieved it, soaked in that peace and then power on to the next obstacle. EDF 5 will remind you that any “entitlement” is a red herring and the only goal is victory. This game is aggressively in-your-face & you need to get a handle on it now.

EDF 5 is about banding the world (online & offline) together where chaos & your enemies have no sense of reasoning or remorse. It wants complete destruction. It wants you to fail. Your enemies will stare at you with its intimidating presence & massive weapons convincing you through the bullets, rockets & lasers that you can’t stop them. It will tell you that your weapons are not enough, that your drive to overcome these painfully incredible odds will not be enough…that YOU are not enough.

Many, many people in my life (past & present) have inflicted me in quite the similar way, which has made the experience of playing EDF 5 all the more personal for me. Depression, fear, animosity, co-dependency, anger, shame & the people who caused me to feel this way had afflicted me in a way like never before.

Thankfully, I am slowly improving. You can too, if you remember your worth.

Like life & in EDF 5, losing is not failure as long as you push back & accept that, at times, things will not go your way. In the words of my father: “The enemy can be ‘right’. You must focus on being happy”. I am pretty sure he didn’t mean EDF 5. But, holy damn, what a parallel…

With having completed the full 110 mission SP campaign, I will tell you that level of joy you feel when it’s done is something I hadn’t felt in a long time. The final enemy is more “humanized” than the final bosses in EDF 2025/4.1. Seeing it made me that much more fired up to overcome!

And even though you may be going through different & not-as-personal feelings when you play this game, like I was, I assure you that EDF 5 is going to make you feel SO good throughout.

Journey (PS3/PS4), one of my top 3 games of all-time, reminds me that I can still be of value while I walk this life. But, Earth Defense Force, one of my other Top 3 games of all-time (Chrono Trigger being the other), reminds me that walking, talking & writing out my feelings are not enough.

Life, humans & the depression/anxiety/abuse it can create, at times, make you want to cry, scream & destroy everything & everyone around you…including yourself.

That’s where EDF 5 shines the most: You must wreak havoc. This game will not hold your hand. Your EDF Team will stand ready to fight by your side. It will show you how to push back & fight your demons! It will show you that it’s ok to scream or cry in joy when you overcome the impossible. It will show you how to sing the EDF Theme song in Japanese together, which is more hilariously uplifting than it should’ve allowed itself to be!

Earth Defense Force 5 will remind you both in-game & real life that there are those who will remain with you, stand with you, through your darkness!

It will show you how to live & fight another day, overcoming your odds. How to celebrate & sing into the sky when you’re victorious & find your peace!

Rinsing, repeating…

Like life.

-G​

P.S. It was recently announced that EDF 5 will release in the USA sometime in Summer 2018. It’s expected the actual date to be announced during E3. You best believe I will be buying that game DAY ONE!

Because of the impact EDF has had on my survival, I am looking to start a Co-operative League (Yes, I already have a name for it) here in Sacramento/Northern California for EDF 5. If any are interested, please reach out to the LTG team at lasttokengaming@gmail.com & we will get connected.

That said, I will hope to see a few of you online by my side in the fight later in 2018!

Finally, for the love of Zeus, go buy my Crumple – Episode 1 game & follow me on Twitter: @NascentGames!