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  1. #1

    Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain (PS4)

    With a hefty price tag, this game has a lot of pressure on it.

    After the first seven levels, I have to say that it doesn’t justify it. There’s simply too much I don’t like. I’m a huge EDF fan, but this feels like a poor man’s Insect Armageddon.

    Front end:
    The menus feels very clunky at first. It’s hard to understand what is going on. They become more navigable after a while, but they look a bit cheap. Not EDF cheap. Just cheap. The customisation options are ok, but visually they look 360 era.

    These are very short. The play areas aren’t huge. So far, they’re classically EDF (kill em all). What I don’t connect with is the lack of a sense of context. You just get ferried from location to location. While that seems, on the face of it, a lot like an Japanese EDF, in this game it doesn’t feel right. I don’t know if it’s because the locations aren’t familiar. IA has a decent sense of missions connecting together via checkpoints, and leading you deeper and deeper into a city. Here, you get dropped off in a random place, on a small map, and kill stuff. It doesn’t feel joined up and epic. The tiny maps mean you can’t do the age-old EDF tactic of retreating for miles and firing.

    Oh man. So much wrong.
    The buttons are clumsily mapped. Fire is R2, but switch weapon is triangle. R1 is this daft mini boost thing that’s meant to act as the roll, but feels very laboured and ineffective. Instead of switching weapons, I keep boosting straight at the enemy.
    There’s an option to use grenades or health items manually (which effects your gold accumulation at the end of the mission) using L1 and d-pad. It just feels clunky. I’ve used it accidentally several times, yet when I actually wanted to use it, it didn’t work.
    The guns are piss poor. The rifles are ok (bearing in mind they’re early weapons) but lack a certain panache in killing the ants. You don’t feel like you KNACK them, just fell them. The sound effects don’t add to the sense of mowing them down. The rocket launcher is decent, but the grenade launcher is appalling. It’s slow and has zero range. The explosions from it are rather lovely, however.
    You get pick ups, but not in crates. They’re like these coloured gem splats. Green restores your health. Other colours seem to collect weapons and orbs that buy stuff. There’s a 30 second countdown at the end of the mission so you can collect stuff, which is a nice touch.
    You don’t just find weapons. You then have to unlock them using cash (from gold) and one of three gem colours. Similarly, you have to buy health upgrades. No armour here.
    If you get knacked, then your team have access to 5 regens. If you regen before a timer counts down, you get punished with a health bar reduction. This can’t be restored back to its original limit in that mission, even with on-field health pick ups. Once the last regen has been used, if you die, the mission counts down to an end, even if the other player is still alive. What the hell is that all about? I must be missing something there. If the survivor rushes to the fallen comrade, the game tells you to revive them. Is there a button for this? Is there ****e.
    You have access to a single use overdrive per mission, which basically increases your speed and fire rate. It’s very useful and totally necessary to get through. This game is bloody hard. Even on easy, we got knacked several times. The difficulty spikes are very early, and the only tactics we could use to win (due to the small maps and dodgy weapons) involved using overdrive at a premium moment. In some sense, it feels like this game will be a good challenge. But in others it feels like a one note pony.

    The ants are like IA. Squat and underwhelming. The spiders have a massive leap with very very odd jizz. They look menacing but lack presence somehow. They are accompanied by annoying mini spiders who do kamikaze runs at you. These giant mantis things look great, but they are over-powered in speed and projectiles. They also don’t ‘feel’ hefty enough. The robots are ok. The sound effects of everything - guns and impact and death throes - don’t really help the game feel blistering or weighty or epic. These robot people pod carrier things look really cheap. Not B movie EDF cheap, just tacky in an unfun way. You never really feel like you’re involved in repelling an epic invasion with huge running battles and massive game areas. You just feel ditched in small zones to take out ok-ish enemies featuring ropey sound effects and an imbalanced difficulty progression.

    A mixed bag. They don’t look EDF cheap. They look IA-lite. Some are really nice, but others are horrid. When I consider some of the designs in IA, they aren’t even that good. The levels are quite sparse and the aliens/insects lack body.

    It feels like I’m on a major downer about this game. I want to like it. I really do. I’m just so underwhelmed. Maybe after more time on it, the controls will click, the missions will feel like compact gems, and the weightier guns will add some meat to the gameplay.

    Last edited by prinnysquad; 12-04-2019 at 07:46 PM.

  2. #2
    Further impressions...

    I put in 90 minutes this morning and... it’s getting better.

    While I waited for my overweight, lazy co-op player to shift his ring, I tried some single player. Pleasingly, mission unlock progress carries over to single player - although the completion rate is separate. I tried mission 1 on normal, and mission 2 on normal and hard. AI squad mates fulfilled the same role as a standard EDF (drawing fire and chipping away). I vowed to really really concentrate on button presses, and generally things played smoother and more satisfying.

    Once Lardbucket was online, it was back to co-op on easy. The groups of mantis-style enemies are still too hard, and invariably result in mission failure. They are just so fast and their projectiles very tough. Overdrive is a must for them.

    There were a couple of decent missions where you faceoff against mech rebels. One scenario has you in a walled compound taking them on, before cockroaches and ants swarm over the walls. It’s still not as exhilarating as it could be, but it was better.

    UFOs were introduced. They’re diddy and teleport, which is a bit more of a challenge. One good set piece involved those metal tortoise pod carriers walking through the sand in convoy while you have to use the rise and fall of the landscape to good effect.

    Guns are getting better. The mini gun is great. I’m liking the strategy involved in having to spend cash wisely, balancing upgrades and weapons. The mystery of the missing revive has been solved. You have to equip an item.

    So, improvements are evident. I feel more enthused by that short stint.

  3. #3

  4. #4
    I want this but I’m only on mission 30 on EDF 5 , and after reading a bit I’m waiting for it go half price unless I finish EDF 5 sometime soon.

  5. #5
    Another update.

    Each level has a crate or a post full of orbs. They also have an abandoned drone that, if you find it, can provide you with weapons. It’s a nice feature.

    The weapons are starting to develop nicely. There’s no stat upgrades like EDF5, but they are ranked A to E. However, paying close attention to individual attributes for specific missions is a must. In addition to the usual sniper rifles and shotguns, you have laser rifles and swords. The weapons are universal and fit any class.

    Completing a mission online in ANY class gives you the badge (or rank) for that mission on that difficulty. It means it’ll be a grind, but not a 6 billion hour one. You’ll have to pass all missions on all difficulties, online and offline, but you don’t have to do it separately as a wing diver.

    One thing getting on my wick is the amount of times you are knocked over. The ranger has the ability to leap straight back up at the cost of one energy bar (which also effects boost), but it happens all the time. To the point where, if you’re surrounded by ants, you can keep getting skittled repeatedly. Ants should not do this! Flaming rocks thrown by a mantis thing, yes. Ants, no!!

    I’ve part changed my mind about the spiders. They look great, especially from a distance. The jizz is still fanny, but the creatures themselves are super. I’ve also encountered scorpions and huge IA-style UFOs. The big robots are growing on me, too.

    The missions are beefing up. One involved a giant metal spider that spawned robots from its legs. That was a real set piece. I’ve just finished a cave mission, too, which was decent.

    All four character classes are now unlocked. The wing diver type is standard. The Fencer rip off is quite well balanced. More intriguing is the rider. He has a grappling hook to sling you up buildings, which is strategically very useful. The overdrive move is the ability to ride an ant, spider or scorpion. Insane! I’ve only just started this, so I’ll give further impressions later.

    It’s up another mark, men.
    Last edited by prinnysquad; 13-04-2019 at 08:56 PM.

  6. #6
    Couple more missions this morning. Up to about mission 21.

    One was a great set piece involving mantis things, flying ants and scorpions. I spent the whole time running away (drawing fire), using my zip cord to propel myself across the terrain. Buttmunch stole the mech dropped halfway through, so he took on the bad guys while I fled (courageously lured the enemies into his zone of fire).

    Another mission involved a big kaiju on a foggy hill, with glowing scorpions in the mix. I utilised the same tactic after getting owned twice. Inspired by my heroism, my comrade felled the foes.

    Scorpions are tough. They use their pincers to cover their front, acting as a rock hard shield. You have to find ways to find a weak spot, one of which, unfortunately, is when it attacks.

  7. #7
    To clarify, I'm not Lardbucket/Buttmunch.

    I like the sound of the grappling hook guy.
    I love Tenchu, Lost Planet and Monster Hunter: World, so I might click with this new guy.

    There's another class unlocked when you complete the game...

  8. #8
    You’ll be Chimpy Chower when you join the fray.

    I like the way you play as different classes, but the loadouts are the same, and you don’t have to worry about completing each level in every class on every difficulty. That was just a hassle.

  9. #9
    I like the idea that weapons aren't restricted to each class.

  10. #10
    Yes - they’re not doled out like candy, so when you get one it’s a new one, and you know you can use it. Time will tell how balanced this makes the game.

    I can’t believe I’m the only one on here playing this! Time was, the EDF meant something. We all preordered IA DESPITE cussing it bad.


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