I’ve grown this proclivity of supplanting large blunt objects in larger beings than myself recently; hence the sexual endeavors I have in Dark Souls and Norway. There is something about ramming a large needle up a disgusting, horrible, and the unearthly thing that only exists in myth and fantasy. When you add in guns, explosions, and blood everywhere; the only things missing would be sexual favors and a sandwich for the troubles.

Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is a game about exploding all the un-natural freaks of nature that some super-villain in a Saturday afternoon cartoon creates. Giant leaping spiders the width of Parking lots you say? Then there are ant variants of the Mirelurk Queen from Fallout 4, followed by a Hulk Buster suit that falls faster than the comments when you say you have died in Dark Souls once. My proclivities have been aroused by you Iron Rain; that’s not because I’ve recently found your entire family attractive, though I did enjoy your sister Earth Defense Force 5 for several hours.

To explain the Earth Defense Force series I have to tell you about Japan; they are weird. They have this penchant for games that are of lower graphic quality but you are given more to play with, and ultimately, play in. So with that knowledge, Earth Defense Force as a series is all about a collection of levels, some confined hallways and others are small city sections. Inside these levels, you fight horrific monsters of gigantic proportions, and often aliens for reasons I’ve yet to understand. However, in the city sections, you will find the horrific monster, UFOs, and yourself can destroy every building in sight: All a result of the previous generation graphics.

This is the entire unique selling point of the genre Earth Defense Force series resides in. The Japanese action game is all about the destruction of buildings and big horrific monster being taken down by the smaller and resilient human or human parallel. Which is akin to King Kong and other Kaiju movies which in themselves are about those two nuclear bombs dropped on Japan. The thing about this series is: If you’ve already played a game in the franchise you know what you’re getting into and you love it. If you’ve not played the series before and have read that description and seen the images; you know you’ll play the series at some point.

The difference between other EDF games and Iron Rain is the approach to previous games (which were almost arcade-like). The majority of the other games were developed by Sandlot, this time around Yukes, known for the WWE games of the 2000’s (the ones I enjoyed) are taking the helm. Yukes have injected something new into the series that was both there, and absent, a story. It’s not a particularly great story and is not a sweeping epic however, it can be summed up this way – “The world is in ruin, there are aliens and arachnids; have at it!

Gameplay has improved, at least a little anyway. Guns have a new reload system that gives you a chance of quick loading through a quick-time-event. This is almost the only gameplay improvement. Otherwise, the menus you’d use to pick a slightly better gun than before have been switched out for a more visual menu, where you ask a friendly robot for your guns. This is still not a perfect system, then again, there isn’t one; games have yet to master the idea of pleasing my every wavering whim.

There is, however, one more thing that neither adds or removes from the game. You can now customize your character to ridiculous levels, making them as cute or rough as possible. If you want, you can also put them into cosplay. However, I’d be willing to bet you would be looking at the bus-sized beetle scuttling towards you than that, as Sir Mix-a-lot once said, “itty bitty waist.”

Look, as much as I want to get on my knees and… chant “I’m not worthy,” there are a couple of things that get on my nerves. As usual, the dialogue is dredged from the lowest depths of where ever Capcom get their dialogue. You could get cardboard cutouts of school age teenagers (which might get you arrested) and put on a stage play of King Lear, as it would feel more natural than the dialogue. The thing about this is, before we could excuse conversations as the gameplay was arcade-like and nothing was to be taken seriously. Now we’re supposed to take everything with sincerity.

With the idea of the story getting on your nerves for not being camp enough to sit alongside the gameplay, you may also find the PS4 to be an issue. This is more a general console issue, but when you die several times over, it becomes prevalent enough to say: the loading times will be the death of all PS4’s. It may only be fifteen-to-thirty seconds at a time, but once you come from the high of kicking the buckets of several building-sized spiders and cockroaches; you don’t want to be twiddling your thumbs. I want to continue the awesome power fantasy, not thinking about doing work in between levels to pass the time.

To continue on this train of thought, Olivia (the woman on the radio who appears in load times) is the most anime and sexualized voice. I thought I had stumbled on a site about the side characters in Sonic. This woman is supposed to be the radio operator for all the armed forces of the EDF, showing moral support and keep soldiers going into their endless death. The only thing she does is induce all the anime flashbacks that cause me to wake up screaming, “No, don’t speak. You’re a dog whistle for a 70s BBC presenter, go back to school.

I like to make these sandwiches one part fecal matter (the section you’ve just eaten), with bits of Ben & Jerry’s sweetness thrown in. With that said, I’m about to compliment an upgrade system which isn’t the most incongruous thing on the planet. If you have several points to upgrade your character you can select a level 6 upgrade without clicking and confirming level 1-5. Why is this not a games industry standard already?

In conclusion, there is but one Earth Defense Force game, one general story, and no more than one type of person who doesn’t like this game. Part of what will dissuade some players is the idea of an arachnid that wants to lick you or another insect that wants to bat you around like a cat with a mouse. In a very early draft of this review, I wrote a piece about a line in a tv show, “A play about pieces of feces is what we are together.” If you hate insects as they are (like I do) but want to play an Earth Defense Force game this will explain your relationship. Is Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain an improvement? Yes. How much? Not much.

Personally, I love the Earth Defense Force series, albeit from behind the sofa in my fort many miles away from the TV, but I do. However, as I said it is a hard series of games to recommend. Either you already love the series because of the colossal destruction or you are going to get into the series for that, alternately you will never want to get near the series because of the onomatopoeic noises you would create as you clamber away from the monolithic franchise. Either way, now is the best time to enter the series.

A PS4 review copy of Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain was provided by D3 Publisher for this review.

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Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain





  • Giant Insects
  • An Improved Upgrade System


  • A Less than Worth While Story
  • Olivia's voice is obnoxious
Keiran McEwen

Keiran McEwen

Keiran Mcewen is a proficient musician, writer, and games journalist. With almost twenty years of gaming behind him, he holds an encyclopedia-like knowledge of over games, tv, music, and movies.

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