Review – Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain

The Earth Defense Force series is the perfect example of what a cult hit should be. We’re talking about a franchise comprised of ugly, dated, and technically flawed games that have managed to create a loyal following of fans from all over the world due to its “so bad it’s good” artistic values, clear nods to Starship Troopers, and entertaining gameplay. Those games are dumb, without a doubt, but they were excellent guilty pleasures whenever you were fed up of playing something too serious like Red Dead Redemption 2 or God of War.


I don’t like sand…

Less than six months after the release of Earth Defense Force 5, we have a brand new EDF title available on PS4: Iron Rain. The developers have stated that this new entry is a more serious approach, a brand new take on the series. I don’t know what they meant with that, because I was still mowing down hundreds of gigantic insects while being forced to endure cheesy voice acting that was equally charming and offensive.

Is that actually bad? Not really. I would be furious if Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain ended up being anything else other than a tremendously stupid ant-shooting simulator. It’s what I wanted it to be, for better or for worse.


I told we should have bought Raid!

Just like any other Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain features dated visuals (even if they’re marginally better than its predecessor), forgettable effects, uninventive yet functional controls, and an underwhelming sound department. In fact, if it wasn’t for its premise of being the shooter equivalent to Dynasty Warriors, this would have been a disaster of a game. The developers should be glad that, while Iron Rain is supposedly more grounded, with more cutscenes, and a story revolving around your character waking up from a coma, the series’ characteristic dumb charm is still left intact. It’s even better if you decide to play the game with a friend, as Iron Rain actually allows for you to play the entire game with a friend locally. You read that right: split-screen multiplayer will be available in 2019. Thank you EDF!


Who needs wrecking balls when you can destroy an entire building with just two rockets?

It’s funny how I honestly don’t care much for how unpolished Iron Rain is for the most part. Maybe it adds to the whole B-movie vibe that the series is known for. That’s not to say that Iron Rain doesn’t have some unforgivable flaws. I can put up with the bad graphics, but I can’t put up with how bad the framerate is. If there’s absolutely no enemies onscreen, the game runs at a lightning fast 60 frames per second. You can pretty much subtract a frame or two for every other beefed-up ant that appears onscreen. You can already imagine the end results. The vehicle controls are also downright horrendous. Iron Rain is one of those games that forces you to control both the vehicle’s acceleration and steering with the analog stick, while the right trigger is relegated to being a horn button. Guys, that’s terrible game design!


Just your average day in San Francisco.

Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain might consider itself the most serious game in the series, but don’t fool yourself, this is still good old Earth Defense Force. It’s more of the same, which is a good thing for a franchise that was perfectly fine doing what it knew best: a dumb, cheesy, somewhat dated, but thoroughly enjoyable past-time if you’re into games that don’t take themselves very seriously. Just like a Pug: it’s ugly as sin, but there’s just something about it that makes it funny and captivating.


Graphics: 5.5

Just like Earth Defense Force 5, it is one heck of an ugly game, but it makes up for this with the huge amount of enemies onscreen, even if it does compromise the framerate at times.

Gameplay: 6.5

The shooting mechanics are easy to learn and as shallow as a puddle as there’s no secret behind them. They’re also fairly responsive. The driving mechanics are inexcusably terrible, though.

Sound: 5.5

The soundtrack isn’t entirely bad, but the intentionally bad voice acting is just painful to the ears at times.

Fun Factor: 8.0

Mowing down hordes of aliens with a bunch of ridiculous guns with infinite ammo more than makes up for how technically dated Iron Rain is.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is available now on PS4.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain was provided by the publisher.