Earth Defense Force 5 (PS4)


Although the title of the series refers to the series’ military, there’s no alien invasion underway as the game begins. Yet, they have walking mechs, an armada of tanks, futuristic stealth bombers, and a mass of hand-carried weapons, enough to arm multiple countries. It begs the question – who does the EDF defend against before the aliens arrive? Better still, who funds them?

It’s a neo-future setting. Laser weapons and other advancements suggest so. When the first giant ant (the consistent catalyst) appears, soldiers begin wondering if this is a terrorist attack. Only, they never specify an attack from what nation.

As a whole, EDF 5 makes a mockery of western military games. Since it takes place in Japan and Europe, maybe the feared invader is the west – at least until the frog people show up.

Parody offers a number of zingers. The faceless, mostly silent protagonist begins this story as a civilian on tour in a military facility. Soon the machine guns and rocket launchers turn this civilian into a monstrous murder machine. No training needed here.

Soldiers in the area speak in awe. “You’re doing great! Join us!” or “The military is awesome,” mocking the jingoistic, empowering nonsense of westernized propaganda shooters. The best? “Being a soldier is awesome. You’ll get a pension, but you’ll be disappointed by the death gratuity.”

At least there’s still honesty in parody.

As it used to be, EDF toyed with ’50s radiation-driven sci-fi and Japanese superhero TV. It still does. Mission structure doesn’t change much between games. Now overlaid though is a firmer, funnier look at militaristic ideology and the panic that fuels those ideas.

Camp value remains through purposefully clumsy voice acting, playing up the macho gun running and adding to the sheer nonsense of wiping out 20,000 oversized insects per sortie. EDF 5 is another satirical class act, not too dissimilar, if divergent enough in its approach to keep attention.


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