Earth Defense Force 4 Is Big Fun with Big Enemies and Big Guns

I've always liked Earth Defense Force—or rather, the idea of Earth Defense Force. I love running around Japanese cities, shooting giant insects. But, who doesn't?

The idea of Earth Defense Force has always been better than the actual games, which have suffered from bad physics, wank controls, and small maps.

Good news as Earth Defense Force 4 doesn't seem to suffer for these—well, from at least what I could from my ten minute Tokyo Game Show demo.

All that was available was the single player campaign, and inside of facing off against the giant bugs (which can now apparently EAT YOU), I faced off against those giant robots.

What impressed me is how the game's visuals have improved since I last fired up Earth Defense Force 3 (Earth Defense Force 2017) on the Xbox 360. The textures and the graphics look much, much better.

But it's not merely cosmetic, but the physics are better, and it doesn't seem like you can kick around fallen enemies like big balloons. The game has more of a heft than the third iteration did.

The controls seem tighter than what I remember. The game has jet packs, but I stuck to the typical run-and-gunning. So the right trigger is shoot, while the left one is jump. The game doesn't use the face buttons, and I actually thought the choice made sense—though some players might've preferred the right trigger for shoot and any of the face buttons for jump. Still, the controls felt responsive—and like they would make for a fun multiplayer experience.

After shooting a handful of the giant robots, I used the rest of the time to run around and shoot things up. The whole map seems willing to be destroyed; and while the animation for how destroyed cars sink into pavement wasn't realistic, it sure was amusing.

I enjoyed exploring the map—though, don't expect a Grand Theft Auto style world. This ain't GTA. It works for this game, and it's the best I've seen in Earth Defense Force. To see how big the map was, I kept running in one direction for minutes, until I finally came to a river that doubled as an invisible wall. I couldn't enter the river and drown—which seemed kinda clunky and old fashioned.

However, my ten minutes were some of the most delirious fun I've had with a game in a while. I'm eagerly looking forward to this game's 2013 release. It'll be out on the PS3 and the Xbox 360.