Our forces have now dwindled and we pull back to regroup,
The enemy has multiplied and formed a massive group,
We’d better beat these bugs before we’re all turned to soup!
With a B-movie cast of giant insects and invading alien forces overrunning the planet, all hope lies on the shoulders of humanity’s most advanced military force, the EDF. With that, all hope is undoubtedly lost. They’re a dense bunch with little concern for strategy, choosing instead to charge headfirst towards danger whilst bellowing medieval-era war cries and chanting the EDF acronym. You most certainly can’t beat them, so embrace your inner buffoon and join their lovable, knuckle-dragging ranks.
Property, civilians and teammates are all collateral damage amidst the large-scale chaos; outlandish weapons level buildings - at least briefly, before they sink into the ground as though they were never there - whilst jettisoning comedy rag dolls in all directions. The ridiculous action is accompanied by a stoic, orchestral soundtrack that stands in such a stark contrast it can only be taken as parody.
Dreadfully written and painfully delivered dialogue often cuts through the bedlam to meander around incredibly simple story concepts, which are presumably laid out as plainly as a toddler’s storybook because the EDF share the same mental capacity. There has to be a level of self-awareness there, but it’s impossible to say for sure. It’s in constantly straddling this line between bemusement and amusement that Earth Defence Force becomes so memorable.
Still, quirks alone a great game do not make, so it’s a good job the series also plays damn well! The latest iteration, PS4 and PC’s The Shadow of New Despair, runs at a smooth and responsive 60FPS even with hundreds of enemies quite literally filling the entire screen. They look like crap - albeit shiny, 1080p crap - but it’s still impressive that a game bursting with budget charm can stand fast during some of the most frenetic moments we’ve seen in gaming.
Each main mission takes the form of a simple fight for survival, essentially a wave in another game’s horde mode, yet they're surprisingly playable solo. Naturally they’re at their best in co-op with friends, synergising classes and loadouts to achieve the ultimate in bug hunting efficiency, but there’s also a very active online community if your pals don’t do comical kaijū.
It looks like crap - albeit shiny, 1080p crap - but it’s still impressive that a game bursting with budget charm can stand fast during some of the most frenetic moments we’ve seen in gaming.
With hundreds of these missions on offer, all of which completionists will need to conquer as each class across all difficulty levels, the budget price tags are more than justified. Its vast longevity makes EDF perfect to dip in and out of on a whim… Speaking of which, I’m suddenly taken by the urge to lead a charge.
Sing it with me:
To save our Mother Earth from any alien attack,
From vicious giant insects who have once again come back,
We’ll unleash all our forces we won’t cut them any slack!
The EDF deploys!
What games do you feel are underappreciated? Perhaps there’s a game from your past that you remember fondly, but nobody else recalls? Let us know in the comments below or on the forums.
For Emily, one such game is Beyond Eyes.