Earth Defense Force 4.1 review
At first glance, Earth defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair looks like a game for the original Xbox. It's got a crappy interface full of gaudy colours and impenetrable menu screens that feel impossible to navigate.
Looking to play with a friend? You need to create a room (by pressing X on the menu) but a second press of X for any reason will immediately start the mission, alone. First, you'll need to tap right, then scroll downwards to the invite button - but again, don't press X even though that seems to make the most sense here. Press right again, and then you can invite.
When you know how to get it to work it's fine, but the fact you need to actively learn the menu system is jarring.
It's fair to say that when I went into the game I wasn't expecting that much. But that's how EDF gets you - it's big, dumb, and full of fun.
The game is a remake of Earth defense Force 2025, with a few bits polished up for a newer generation. I haven't played 2025 so I can't say how faithful the remake was, but I can say that I enjoyed myself immensely.
You'll find out quickly whether or not EDF 4.1 is for you. The first mission, clutching your rocket launcher in hand as waves of giant ants swarm through the city towards you. your destructive power is rivalled only by your co-op partners, the tanks and infantry accompanying you into battle merely extras to your opera of destruction.
See pretty much every weapon you use over the course of the games 100 or so levels is explosive and every firefight is in a built up area. As soon as you start firing, the buildings around you start to collapse, and every battle ends with you standing at the centre of a wasteland.
Beyond the ability to turn several high rises into a parking lot inside of ten minutes, the game plays out completely different depending on which of the game's 4 classes you choose to play as but all of them will see you laying waste to giant ants, spiders, other spiders and even some aliens within the first 15 or so levels. After that, it just gets out of hand as you start to fight alien motherships, even bigger insects and then the dreaded boss mutants. These behemoths are capable of levelling a city by themselves and are a particular highlight to fight.