Earth Defense Force Iron Rain PC Review – Iron Solid
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Release: 15th October 2019
arth Defense Force is a series everyone into niche Japanese games should be familiar with. Revolving around shooting hundreds of giant enemies while the frame rate dies on console even tho it looks like a PS3 game. So, naturally, it also sees the occasional spin-off from time to time, the latest one being Iron Rain. Developed by the WWE developer, it doesn’t only see an Unreal Engine 4 upgrade but also a solid entry into the series.
The insects invade the earth once again and it’s on you to save it, this time even equipped with the ability to boost your damage and movement speed and a character creator!
And that’s mainly what sets Earth Defense Force Iron Rain apart from Sandlot’s main titles. You can customize your character in many cool but standard ways and obviously don’t have access to as many weapons or missions as in the main entries but otherwise, it feels surprisingly similar to EDF5, just with a little boost.
So the basic cycle is still the same: You select a mission, one of the four classes and kill a ton of insects. Where Earth Defense Force Iron Rain tries to stand out is with some of the key design decisions. In general, Iron Rain is a far smaller game in scope, limiting itself to basic weapon types and straightforward shooting insects with weapons. As a result, there isn’t any kind of vehicle based class, which is replaced by a grappling/close combat one.
On top of that base scope though, the combat itself feels a bit lacklustre, which I could pinpoint to two factors in particular: For one, the insects seem to have more health or the weapons of our soldier are weaker. Fact is, it takes a bit longer to actually kill things, making the whole endeavor feel worse compared to the main series alone. Maybe this is because of the boost ability, which actually lets it feel like a proper EDF but was it worth it? Not for me.
Another critical point is the sheer amount of stagger enemies can inflict upon you. Once in a huge crowd of ants and due to the lacking weapon power to properly deal with them, they’re able to basically stagger you with their bites until you die. It happened to me quite a few times and was never fun to deal with, getting grabbed ten times in a row with 3-4 seconds in-between doesn’t seem fair either, so I’m wondering why this is even possible in general.
Besides previously named flaws though, the only real difference are the graphics. While it’s the first thing everyone sees, Earth Defense Force Iron Rain’s upgraded visuals don’t really contribute all that much to the overall experience. Sure, it all looks nicer and not as old and dirty than EDF 5 but does it really matter? In the end, not really and the smaller enemy variety was actually far more showing than anything I’ve seen. While it doesn’t eat more resources than EDF 5 on PC, surprisingly, its more standard look somehow takes a tiny bit away from its trashy charme. Still, who would complain about this improvement when it blends the core style with the standard Unreal Engine 4 look that nicely?
Earth Defense Force Iron Rain is another EDF game and that’s great news. While it isn’t as refined in its core as EDF 5, it can hold its ground as a solid spin-off entry for everyone that enjoys better graphics, a more streamlined, trimmed down experience and some of the obviously necessary features like character creation. While I’m not a huge fan of the pricing, it’s a great choice after you’ve either beaten EDF 5 and are thirsty for more or just want to try your hands at the series. (Though EDF 5 is cheaper and the better experience at this point still, so I would still urge you to go for that one)
[A Review Code was provided by D3 Publisher]