Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain Is A Damn Good Time

Illustration for article titled iEarth Defense Force: Iron Rain/i Is A Damn Good Time

For years, the Earth Defense Force games have been compared to B-films. They’re fun, campy, and gleefully stupid. The newly announced Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain, however, is bringing some big changes to the series: Less stupid, more scary.

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Sandlot has traditionally developed the Earth Defense Force games, honing the run-and-gun-giant-bugs gameplay over the years, adding new features and classes. For Iron Rain, Osaka-based Yuke’s, best known for its wrestling and UFC games, is handling the development duties.

There are still giant bugs, but Iron Rain has a sense of dread that much more palatable than in pervious entries which instead revelled in the pure spectacle.

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The game still lets players pick their class, and of course, there are still giant bugs. Yet, this plays as a different game from Earth Defense Force V thanks to a new reloading mechanic.

You reload in previous games, but it’s not a gameplay mechanic. This time, on the right of the sight reticle, there is a meter that keeps track of how many bullets are in your weapon’s chamber. After you fire them all, it goes to red, and you have to wait a few seconds for it to reload.

Illustration for article titled iEarth Defense Force: Iron Rain/i Is A Damn Good Time

Traditionally in Earth Defense Force games, you are running-and-gunning the entire time. Throughout the maps there are crates with ammo and armor to restock. In Iron Rain, however, you have a limited number of shots for your primary and secondary weapon. You must be more careful with your firepower, changing how you approach the insect onslaught.

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Since you can’t fire your weapon while it’s reloading, it becomes necessary to get away from the giant bugs, who seem more intent than ever on finding you and killing you. They are the most relentless bugs in any EDF game to date, willing to climb up and over buildings to hunt your ass down.

These, along with better production value and more detailed environments, are welcomed changes. Iron Rain gives this EDF somewhat of a subtle survival horror vibe and making it feel less like an arcade experience than other EDF games. One thing Yuke’s didn’t change is that Earth Defense Force is still a good time.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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DISCUSSION

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Char Aznable

I welcome the increase in production quality, but I question the necessity of the reload mechanic. The higher difficulties already felt pretty absurdly difficult, often requiring specific weapon types for cheesing strategies where most of the weapons types ended up being utterly useless. This just sounds like it’s going to make those particular issues with gameplay even more challenging, which would be fine if the reload mechanic was an optional difficulty modifier.

My girlfriend and I played the game to relax and have fun; this sounds like it might frustrate us both, which saddens me because she’s always asking when the next ‘bug game’, as we call it, is coming out.