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REVIEW: Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair

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Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair is a third person shooter game released to the PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows, and was developed by Sandlot and published by D3 Publisher.

This game is a remastered version of Earth Defense Force 2025 and known in Japan as Chikyū Bōeigun 4. The Earth Defense Force was first created in Japan because the story begins and takes place in Japan. Sandlot redeveloped the series in the U.S. so others could give this game a try. The remastered version is a next generation update that comes with improvements made to make the EDF appear to actually be at war. For example, some of the missions open up with AI controlled tanks, and one of them is mission 1. This was the first third person shooter video game I played and I got to say, I was amazed.

The story of the game goes like this, The Earth Defense Force, a unified multinational military sponsored by nearly every country, is founded after detecting an impending alien visit in case the aliens prove to be hostile. In the year 2017, that proved to be true and the EDF fought against the Ravagers, an alien race that attacked Earth with giant insect-like creatures, UFOs, robots and gigantic, 120-foot-tall lizard-like creatures.

Eight years after defeating the last Ravager in Arizona, they attack again with new creatures, evolved from their underground nest. Among them is the Retiarius, a spider-like creature which makes gigantic spider webs, and giant wasps. After destroying the first mother ship in the first game, the EDF thought that was the end of the Ravagers, but they were wrong.

It turns out that some of giant bugs had survived and have been hiding underground. With the return of the Ravagers, planet Earth is once more under invasion, but this time aliens are twice as strong as they were in the first game.

The gameplay takes alien warfare to a whole new level. The player takes control of an EDF soldier from one of four soldier classes. To fight these alien forces, the player can access several weapons in the game, ranging from assault rifles and sniper rifles to rocket launchers, grenades, and laser weapons.

Only two weapons may be selected for each mission with the exception of the Fencer, who can have four weapons, and the Air Raider, who can have three.  The game has more than seven hundred weapons; roughly 175 weapons per soldier class. This the highest weapon count of any EDF. Some levels also contain vehicles which can be operated. The game takes place across levels featuring destructible environments. Taking place in settings such as cities, beaches, hills, underground tunnels and more.

There is no penalty for collateral damage that is inflicted on the environment by the player, for instance when buildings crumble after sustaining a few hits from a rocket launcher or grenade. Other EDF soldiers can be recruited or followed, and attack enemies on sight, as well as provide radio chatter. You can also customize the color of your soldier.

There are several difficulty levels. More effective weapons are dropped by the enemies in the game at the higher difficulty levels, encouraging players to repeat the missions. In addition to weapons, armor enhancements which function as permanent maximum health bonuses are dropped along with healing items.

The soldiers you get to play as in this game, you are a part of the EDF’s Elite Storm Team, which consists of four different soldier classes:

  • Ranger: a flexible and adaptable basic infantry class soldier with weaponry suited for just about any situation. Ranger form the core of the EDF ground forces and are highly trained frontline infantry and can carry two weapons. The weapons given for this soldier are the usual types such as assault rifles, shotguns, snipers, rocket launchers, grenades and grenade launchers, missile launcher, and special weapons. Since this is the main ground soldier, all your weapons work best at different ranges as long as you’re in proximity of the aliens.
  • Wing Diver: an airborne class female soldier that uses high tech energy weaponry and jetpacks powered by a plasma generator. The energy from the generator is the ammo for the Wing Diver’s weapons and the power for the jet pack and depletes as you use one or the other, but when using both simultaneously the energy depletes really fast. When the generator is empty it then replenishes. The weapons class for this soldier are short range and mid-range lasers, mid-range electroshock bows, particle cannons, snipers, plasma launchers for ranged attacks, homing weapons similar to the ranger’s missile launcher and special weapons. The Wing Diver’s weapons are effective against enemies at close and mid-range, but not far range.
  • Air Raider: this is a support class soldier that specializes in providing assistance for the infantry and can carry three weapons. This soldier can deploy health recovery field generators and force shields when the infantry is suffering heavy losses, summon ground armor and air support vehicles to battlefield and call in air strikes on targets with a laser designator. The weapons for this soldier are laser guidance and beacon guns for calling and guiding in air strikes and satellite lasers, Support requests such as air strikes, bombing runs, strafes, missile strikes and satellite blasters all marked by a smoke grenade beacon, limpet guns, and stationary guns like turrets, rocket launchers, and bombs. The vehicle support is the third weapon the Air Raider can carry and requires battle points from the kills you make with your other two weapons you use. Once your point meter is full you can call in your vehicle. You can also use your vehicles to obtain the kill points for your meter. The vehicle types you can use are tanks, ground vehicles, helicopters, and power suits.
  • Fencer: a heavy soldier equipped with a powerful exoskeleton and jet booster, able to use outsized weaponry, melee weapons and a special shield. It has the slowest movement of the team, but wields hand held weaponry that is more powerful than any of the other weapons used by the other Elite Storm Team members. A key ability of this soldier class is that it has a duel wield mode weapon ability, meaning it can carry two weapons at the same time that are the same or different, but what makes this soldier very powerful is that it can carry a total of four weapons. The weapons the fencer uses are shields, close combat strikers, which are replicated melee weapons, these are like blades and axes with powerful high tech energy that cause heavy damage on impact, piercers that are long range weapons that look like spears and hammers, automatic artillery such as flame revolvers, disruptors, Gatling guns, cannons, and shot guns similar to the Ranger’s weapons, but bigger and more powerful, artillery cannons that can fire armor piercing shells like a tank, mortars and javelin catapults, and missile launchers that can be used either with an Air raiders tracking system or without.

The aliens you fight against in the first game are the original ones from the first game, which are the Black Ants, Crimson Red Ants, Spiders, the Queen Ants and King Spiders, Hectors, Drone Gun Ships, The Quadruped Fortress, UFO Carriers and the Mother Ship, and new Insect call Retiarius. Both Ants are dangerous up close because of their powers.

The Black Ants have the power of shooting an acid liquid from their back straight at you and dodging it isn’t always easy. The acid is deadly and can melt armor and damage your health badly depending on the difficulty you’re playing.

The Crimson Ants are just like the Black Ants, but instead of shooting an acid, they charge at you head on and grab you with their teeth and chew on you. If you get caught by one, the only way you can break free is by killing it or if one of your AI soldiers kills it.

The spiders and Retiarius are similar aliens but attack differently. The basic spiders shoot web from their back side and if you get caught it pulls you and you need to kill it to break free, similar to how the Retiarius attacks.

The Retiarius is a new spider introduced in mission 4. They can’t jump like the basic spider, but instead crawl on the surfaces. They are slow, but can create a whole web between building and use them for trapping soldiers. Their mostly effective in trapping the Wing Divers, so if you play as a Wing Diver in mission 4, be careful. You have to shoot the webs a few times to destroy it without getting stuck because if you get stuck, the web begins depleting your health and it’s harder to destroy a web when stuck in one.

When fighting from the ground, the Ranger and Fencer are the recommended soldiers. The Queen Ants and King Spiders are not seen too much in game, but only in certain missions. They attack the same way as the basic spiders and Black Ants do, but their attacks are more deadly. Your first encounter with the Queen Ant is the same in this game as in the first game, battling with your allies against it and an army of insects in the Queen’s chamber in last mission to destroy the bugs nest.

The nest created by insects in the first game is hard to fight in with the bugs attacking from above and below and this new nest is even harder. When facing the Queen and her army in the mission to destroy the nest, this is what I recommend: using the Ranger equipped with a cascade rocket launcher and a flame thrower, a Wing Diver equipped with a thunder sniper that’s rapid fire and a plasma launcher, Air Raider equipped with two ZE-Rocket Launcher turrets and a depth crawler, and a Fencer equipped with two powerful Gatling guns and two flame revolvers.

As for the King spider, its big and its web attack is larger than the basic spider. The best ways of killing one is with head on rocket launcher attacks, missiles, and air strikes.

The Hectors are giant robots armed with two plasma weapons on their arms. The weapons they use are plasma cannons, plasma repeaters and plasma railguns. The hectors are a far bigger threat than the bugs with they’re attacks.

The Fencers armor piercing weapons, Ranger’s rocket and missile launcher, and the Air Raiders Tanks, choppers and power suit are most effective against them. The Wing Diver’s weapons could stand a chance if you choose the correct load outs.

The drone gunships are the basic air unit for the Ravagers. The drones can be deployed from the mothership, UFO carriers and the fortress. Ground units can take them down head on, but the Wing Diver and choppers are most effective against the drone gunships.

Near the end of the first half of the game, you face the drones in a new form. The red drones. These new drones have stronger armor than the silver gunships and can evade tracking missiles faster than missile can seek and destroy. These new drones don’t attack as often as the original ones because as they fly around, they attack at the right moment.

The Quadruped Fortress is an enormous walking carrier robot that is tough to beat. It weapons consist of shield generator screens on its front and sides to deflect fire power from the EDF, laser cannons on the front and sides and a turret on its back side, and a 100-foot Plasma cannon capable of destroying builds. The laser cannons and turrets are all vulnerable to rockets fired from ground.

In the first game the weak spot on the fortress is the hatch that opens up when it deploys enemies, but in this game, the first mission you encounter the fortress in, your task is to hold against it long enough until the EDF fire a bombardment blast to destroy it. If you’re going to fight the aliens it deploys close up, then be careful of the legs because every step the fortress cause serve damage, and if your too close to the fortress when its walking its steps will really damage your health.

The weapons the UFO carriers in this game are the same as the ones from the first game. Designed to carry and deploy the giant bugs. Their weak spot is also the underside hatch. When they open and deploy the bugs open fire on it with rocket launchers or grenade launchers. The Mothership is the final boss to in first game, but in this one it’s the middle boss. It’s a giant alien space ship in the shape of a sphere and its fire power is extremely powerful.

The Mothership can deploy gunships and has a very powerful cannon on its bottom called the Genocide gun. The mission starship is the mission you get to destroy the Mothership in, but it won’t be easy. Once you destroy the genocide gun is destroyed, the Mothership will then deploy its laser and plasma cannon cannels, and then after a few minutes it deploys 10 larger cannons and all are firing. While this continues the air intake vent where the genocide gun was opens and close expose the weak spot. Like the fortress and carrier, use rocket launchers and target the opening each time it’s exposed. Give it enough and the Mothership will fall.

Before and after defeating the Mothership, the game is not over yet. It turns out the Ravagers are still being deployed and some new enemies are introduced. The new enemies are Hornets, Deroys, Dragons, the Greater Wild Dragon, Flight Vehicles, New Carriers, Shield Bearers, upgraded hectors, Argos, Erginus, Earth Eaters, and the Brain. The Hornets are another new insect in the form of bees that shoot large stinger darts from their abdomen. Their attacks are diagonal and on impact they make a metallic shing sound. All four soldier classes are effective against the hornets, but since it’s a new flying enemy, Choppers and Wing Divers are most effective against them. Like the ants, the Hornets attack in numbers and they also have a nest, or in other words a bee hive, that you need to destroy.

The Deroys are a new form of robots that look like beasts made of steel, and fire high charged artillery blasts from their bodies similar to the hectors plasma cannons. The key difference in fire power is the Deroys laser emitters are fired from the legs. There are two ways to destroy them, destroying all the lasers on their legs, cause them to break apart, or targeting the head of Deroys where the legs are connected with rockets.

The Dragons attack just like Crimson Ants, when not flying, they’ll charge at you and grab you with their teeth biting you to deplete your health. The only way you can break free is by killing it or if one of your AI soldiers’ kills it. They’ll even take flight with you in their mouth. The fire breath from these basic dragons is superheated plasma in the form of fire balls spread out. These dragons are fast, but can be killed easily.

The Greater Wild Dragon is a larger version of the basic dragon and similar to leaders of the giant bugs. The biggest difference is the attack this dragon uses. Its attack is actual fire breath, a lot like the Dino Vallak from the first Earth Defense Force Game.

Erginus is a new alien dinosaur introduced to the game. Its form is a colossal size dinosaur that puts the Vallak from the first game to shame because of its powers and its developed body. Erginus’s body allows it to move and jump like a Tyrannosaurus Rex and it’s claws attack like a lion or a tiger, but harder. It has the power to charge up a power breath attack and when it fires, it’s devastating, but the good thing is that Erginus doesn’t use it as much as you would expect him to. This monster can’t be beaten that easily not only because it’s an immense amount of health, but because attacks from infantry and armor, and airstrikes are useless against it. Not even a single nuke or a group of nuclear missiles can destroy it.

No matter how big of an army you have and how much fire power is at your disposal, it won’t even feel the impact of the attacks, nor will it care. It will just keep going on a rampage. Its body was designed to be impervious to all attacks, with the exception of one, but you will learn of the attack type to kill Erginus later in the game, so I won’t spoil it.

The Shield bearers are support units for the Ravagers. They provide defense shields for the Ravager forces and can move while having their shield deployed but there’s a catch to it. When they’re stationary and open out slightly, their shields extend out fully and when they’re walking their shield becomes smaller. The only way to get a shot at them is passing through their shield.

The bright side is that infantry and armor can pass through the shields. Don’t think it will be easy to destroy them, the Ravagers will be guarding them. The Flight Vehicles are a combination of the shield bearers and the flying drones. They may be slower, but they have twice as much health as the drones and use a much more powerful attack. They circle a target and descend until they’re within attack range. They attack with a sweeping rapid fire laser. The Rangers, Air Raiders, and Fencers dodging move makes them best suitable to evade the lock on, but the Wing Divers can’t even with their jet packs.

The new carriers deploy aliens just like the UFO’s do, but there are some differences between the two. They’re actually called large transport ships; they have the power to teleport into combat areas. It’s kind of like the same way the Covenant and UNSC ship enter and exit slip space, and these transport ships can deploy full size hectors and Deroys which is beyond the capability of UFO transports, and they can deploy dragons, drones and flight vehicles.

Basically, these transports are the newly upgraded version of the original ones. They can be destroyed the same way as the UFO’s are, but when these ones open up the deployable hatch is exposed from top to bottom, meaning that they’re vulnerable to air strikes called in by an Air Raider and choppers.

The new upgraded hectors are given new armor and more advanced weapons. Their armor is blue and acts like a shield, which makes their bodies tougher than the standard hectors. They’re armed with the standard hector weapons, but this time the weapons have been modified and still can only carry two.

The weapons are a Solid Particle Gatling Gun, a Power Launcher, and a Particle stream gun. They are also given a shield screen to make frontal attacks useless, so you need to attack them from the side or the rear. These new weapons are more powerful than the standard hector weapons, so be careful when attacking close up.

The Argo is a massive battleship that can transform into a giant robot. When in ship mode it moves around really easily and has numerous attacks that are mostly explosive. Its underside cannons fire huge beans and exploding projectiles just like the hectors and Deroys, and uses a slow moving machine gun. After causing least 50 percent damage to the ship, it will then transform into the largest robot enemy you have ever faced. It’s said to be three hundred meters tall which is like 980 feet in height. Now you have to finish it off while it’s in robot mode, and it won’t be easy.

The Earth Eaters are module panels that drop down from the sky vertically and connect together at their edges and block out the sky. Some of them have laser and plasma cannons or just laser beams, and other can deploy flight vehicles and Deroys.

Finally, the last enemy to face in this game is the Brain. The Brain is the flagship for the ravagers and controls all the Earth Eaters. It takes the form of an enormously elongated Earth module with a large red crystal like structure at the top that is vulnerable to long range attacks. It’s the final boss to destroy in order to win the game. When alone, the Brain is vulnerable, so it uses the Earth Eaters to form a shield in the sky so you can’t hit, but alone you can blow a big enough hole in the defending Earth Eaters, you’ll be hit the brain with a problem.

The Earth Eaters with a glowing module are connected to other adjacent Earth Eaters and when destroyed, the other ones adjacent to it get destroyed as well. Exposing a big hole.

This is a game I’ve never been more proud to play, especially after I beat the first one. Originally first person shooter video games were the only shooting games I played, but when I got into third person shooting, I got the hang of it really easily. The missions in this game are really fun and challenging.

To be honest I like fighting robots, gunships and dragons more than the bugs. The first of the hardest missions for me is in this game when you are destroying the giant bugs nest. Getting through the first mission of destroying the nest was easy, but the other three are tough, especially number four, which facing off against the queen.

The missions in the first half of game were great especially with new effects, level, modifications and improvements. As for the missions in the second half of the game, they were challenging which I like, especially when trying to destroy a hornet’s nest.

This game is definitely worth playing and it will keep you occupied for quite a while. I still haven’t beaten it yet and I’m on the last level still. The Ravagers returned in greater numbers and it’s up to you as member of the Elite Storm Team and rest of the EDF to send the Ravagers packing for good by destroy their Brain.

The fate of earth rests in your hands.

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REVIEW: Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair