Published by D3 and developed by Sandlot, Earth Defense Force 5 is one of the newer games in the Earth Defense Force game franchise released for the PS4 game console.
EDF 5 is set in 2022 and is a reboot of the story occurring before 2025, taking place during the first alien invasion of Earth. Like in most of the previous titles, the game is a casual 3rd person action shooter where the players battle hordes of enemies in various stages with a large and sometimes crazy collection of weapons and equipment.
The game re-uses various assets developed for Earth Defense Force 2025 and its updated title Earth Defense 4.1 "Shadow of New Despair", but also introduces several new elements to the game. It also borrows old enemies from previous titles and updates them for this latest installment.
Players will recognize various enemies seen in the titles just prior to this game such as ants, spiders, and even the massive Kaiju style enemy Erginus. New enemies have been added such as giant frogs with guns tentatively called "Colonists", giant armored gun wielding infantry that looks like the "Greys" type aliens tentatively called "Cosmonauts", new Kaiju style monsters, new bugs, and even some enemies from older titles such as the flying saucer ships.
The game has been made bloodier and gorier with the addition of new location damage mechanics for various enemies, new gibbing mechanics, damage textures for enemies, blood splat textures, and even the ability to shoot off limbs of the giant humanoid enemies.
Most of the enemies now display a new damage texture depending on where the player shoots them giving an obvious visual cue to damaged or wounded enemies. Living enemies not only spray blood when hit but leave splatters on various surfaces. Enemies suffering sufficient damage can have all or part of themselves blown into a spray of chunks and limb parts. Giant humanoid enemies can have individual limbs blown off by powerful enough weapons leaving them partially crippled on the ground.
While the overall base game mechanics remain the same, several new mechanics including changes to characters have been introduced. Some of the changes to the characters as well in both appearance and mechanics. Overall the four classes in the previous titles have made a return for this title. The game will feature the Ranger, Palewing(In Japan)/Wing Diver, Air Raider, and the Fencer characters. Players have two skins to select from one as a civilian or new volunteer and the other a more military looking EDF skin. They can also equip various special abilities, equipment, and items that affect gameplay.
The game has been released for the PS4 in Japan, the US, and Europe.
The EDF's forces will defend the people of Earth with these tropes!
- Abnormal Ammo: There are several exotic ammo types fired by various weapons in the game from pink glowing bullets that explode after a full second of hitting the enemy to shots infinitely rebounding off any surface.
- Action Survivor: The playable cast starts out in this kind of situation, being a civilian brought in to help with an EDF rally meant to help connect with and entertain the public after a long period of not doing much. Once the bugs start attacking the base where the rally is supposed to take place, the civilians are given EDF weapons to protect themselves until they can get somewhere safe.
- Ranger is said to be basically a trained bodyguard that got hired on to EDF, although his uniform makes him look like a Japanese police officer in heavy kit brought in to help keep the peace and direct traffic during the rally.
- Air Raider is a mechanic who is trained to work on a number of vehicles, brought in to help maintain the vehicles of the rally, including EDF military vehicles, fitting the Air Raider's role of being more of a driver and coordinator than an actual infantry combatant.
- Wing Diver is an aerial acrobat scheduled to do a show at the end of the rally who uses, presumably but it's never said, a reworked version of the Wing Diver jetpack to do air stunts.
- Fencer is a freight handler meant to help move items around during the rally using a modified Fencer exoskeleton to help lift heavy objects.
- Alien Invasion: The invasion that occurred before 2025 and got the EDF off the ground as the global defense force against the invader's hordes. The bad guys are back again with giant insects, flying UFO's, and a host of other foes.
- All There in the Manual: Despite the game being pretty good at naming enemies in dialogue, both species that they refer to as "Aliens" are never given proper names except in battle records. The Frogs are Colonists while the armored Grays are Cosmonauts.
- Amazon Brigade: The Wing Divers are (once again) an all-female force equipped jetpacks and a wide array of energy based weapons.
- Anti-Frustration Feature: Compared to 2025/4.1 there are a lot of improvements all over the place.
- Rangers now get a full on sprint unique to them to help with movement in addition to getting a wider range to help them collect pickups. Before this game, Rangers had to just roll around to move faster than running speed when no vehicles were available, and to do the roll consistently required you be pointing your camera away from wherever you were going. Wing Divers had flight, Fencers had dash canceling and dashes in general, and Air Raiders could summon vehicles to help with movement.
- Each weapon now has a star level in addition to a normal level. The normal level of a weapon is static and determines what can be used during online play, but the star level is new and determines how powerful the weapon is. Getting random drops of the same weapon, something that plagued players of previous games looking for new weapons, will now have a chance of improving the stats of a weapon which helps alleviate the issues that getting repeats while weapon grinding brought, in addition to giving players stronger weapons within a level bracket.
- The level limit for what can be picked up has been tightened. Before you could be doing a mission that gave out level 60 equipment and pick up a level 15 item that you most likely had already received much earlier in the campaign. Now the drop tables have tightened to around 10 levels lower than level appropriate.
- Completion medals, which are given for beating a level on a specific difficulty for that character, will now award you with the medals of the previous difficulties as well as the one you beat it on, where as before you could complete a mission on inferno as a class and still have to beat hard and normal and so on. This was the biggest obstacle to removing weapon level restrictions in online because you had to beat each of the 87 levels 20 times.
- Players are given a Last Chance Hit Point to help them survive a little longer to find health or kill an enemy.
- All classes will have a white circle appear around them while performing certain actions (sprinting, dodging, piloting a vehicle), which allows players to collect any item that touches the circle. Prior games required you to directly touch the item in order to collect it, which often resulted in players dying from missing a health crate by a hair, or Rangers/Air Raiders needing to exit their vehicles to collect items.
- A new equipment bonus is the laser pointer which will show a player if the target they're aiming at is in range or not.
- The game will go over any new weapons or any star upgrades you got after a battle, so you can quickly figure out if you want to play around with new items or weapons.
- Weapon and armor pickups can now give items to other classes as well as the class being played, but at a lower rate than the current class. Before this change, focusing on one character exclusively meant you would more or less have to start from the very beginning when starting another class to build up health and get weapons better than the starting equipment. Now, your other classes will be drip fed armor and weapons as you play your preferred character. Now if you focus on one class, the other three classes will have more health and a better selection of weapons to choose from than when you just started playing.
- Caves in this game are actually lit up for the player's benefit. Despite the good atmosphere that comes from only being able to see what your flashlight is trained on, you could easily get lost in a cave because of how bloody dark it was, or end up missing an enemy because the flashlight shined wherever the character's gun was physically pointing. This caused some actions, such as reloading, to prevent you from seeing in front of you during basic actions.
- During the actual battle with the ground base in Mission 40, once it raises from the ground air strikes will go through the top, still letting you hit the bottom. While it's still immobile this isn't true, but while it's up the Air Raider doesn't have to worry about their most powerful attacks getting blocked by the massive, mobile base.
- Artificial Stupidity: Mostly averted, as Sandlot fixed most of the issues with the A.I. soldiers that were present in Earth Defense Force 2025. Fencers now use their shields and dash boosts to avoid being damaged, Wing Divers no longer jump and hover in the same place (pointlessly wasting their energy) and use their flight to try evading incoming fire, and EDF troops no longer try to shoot enemies behind walls... they'll still get in the way of your shots, though.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The player finds themselves fighting giant bipedal alien frogs and Grey aliens in armored suits, both armed with energy weapons and accompanied by the hordes of giant bugs.
- Balance Buff: Rangers got a run that also improves pickup radius, Wing Divers got a dodge that's fairly fuel efficient compared to other methods of flying, the above two as well as Fencer got a new passive slot note , the Air Raider got new air strikes that will reload automatically rather than needing credits, ranging from frequently usable to very slow but as powerful as a regular airstrike that needs credits. Finally, the Ranger's unique ability from the previous game, any health box they pick up heals their followers, now applies to all 4 classes but the Ranger is the only one with the option to improve how much is healed.
- Beam Spam:
- The bulk of energy weapons wielded by the enemy operate on the basic principle of spamming a large number of energy weapon attacks at the player. Be it the giant bipedal enemies, enemy fortresses, or even the flying saucers.
- The Wingdiver character has several weapons built around the concept of massed energy weapon fire akin to using a machine gun or firing off a spray of multiple projectiles in a single go.
- Players will again wield a wide variety of large caliber and large barreled weapons to fight the alien threat from cannons wielded by the Fencer, grenade launchers of the Ranger, plasma cannon weapons of Wing Divers, and the limpet mine guns of the Air Raider.
- The new giant bipedal enemies wield large energy weapon that looks like some sort of heavy weapon.
- Player-controlled mechs wield large cannons as individual weapon mounts.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: The giant mutant bugs are back with the usual array of ants and spiders, but also now includes pill bugs.
- Bloodier and Gorier:
- The game ups the gore compared to its previous titles. While there are still sprays of blood from living alien enemies there are now rather simple blood splat marks when you kill enemies. In addition, injured enemies now have a location-based damage texture that reflects the severity of damage done to the enemy.
- Enemies now die in a spray of gibs and chunks, especially when killed with powerful or explosive weapons.
- The giant humanoid frog and giant armored grey alien enemies can have individual limbs blown off forcing them to crawl around or try and fight you missing limbs.
- Bug War: The various enemies are mostly giant killer insects, very alien giants, or their war machines. The players are often fighting hordes of various enemies across various landscapes on Earth. Since the aliens are intent on wiping out humanity without provocation and are completely alien, the favor is returned and considered perfectly justifiable.
- Child Soldier: Darkly invoked in Mission 107, where the final 200 survivors of Brooklyn — almost entirely children and the elderly — have run out of food and water, so they've started military training instead.
- Developers' Foresight: While you are still a civilian being escorted by the EDF, the dialogue for various player actions will be different based on your civilian status, changing only when you get officially recruited into the EDF. A good example would be Air Raiders calling in air strikes, which will get an incredulous "Why does a civilian have the heavy munitions codes!?" from mission control. More commonly, when taking control of a squad, since you don't technically have the rank to do so, will instead have the unit call out that they're protecting the civilian to justify why they follow the player around.
- Drop Pod: The aliens have a new trick up their sleeve in this version. They have "drop pylons" that teleport in enemies as they did from the original drop ships in previous titles. The player can even see the pylons coming into lodge into the ground like giant spears riding in on balls of fire presumably from orbit.
- Drop Ship: Just like in previous titles, large individual ships shill serve as one of the preferred methods in the game for delivering enemies to the battlefield.
- Fire-Breathing Weapon:
- The EDF has a variety of personal flame weapons for the Ranger and Fencer.
- Several EDF vehicles have built-in flamethrowers meant for close quarters combat.
- The giant grey aliens have a heavy weapon solider wielding a heavy flamethrower.
- Flying Saucer:
- The large mothership craft is a flying saucer type spacecraft.
- The enemies can attack players with a flying saucer-like attack drone.
- Frog Men: Players wind up fighting giant alien frogs armed with energy weapons in place of the Hector robot enemies.
- Giant Spider: The alien bad guys have brought back their eight-legged leaping abominations to spray their health-sapping entangling webs through the air.
- Homing Laser: Wing Diver/Pale Wing(in Japan), have several weapons that are homing lasers that lock onto and pursue enemies.
- Humanoid Abomination: The final boss.
- Hyper Space Arsenal: Players can carry a variety of rather huge weapons that would be both heavy and cumbersome to haul around but seemingly stow them in some invisible space and can readily switch between equipped weapons.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Various missile launcher weapons wieldable by individual player characters, vehicle mounts, and even some of the mechs fire off a shower of guided missile fire.
- Old Soldier: By Mission 107, apparently the elderly survivors of Brooklyn have started military training.
- Roboteching: Missile weapons with a low-grade lock on rating will fly in a straight line before actively tracking and chasing their targets leading to an abundance of the trope.
- A Space Marine Is You: The player characters are initially civilians with no prior firearms experience, and then become new recruits in the EDF caught in the middle of a hostile alien invasion. It kicks off by a direct attack on the EDF's global bases and underground facilities. The players wind up almost singlehandedly defeating the hordes of alien enemies.
- You Keep Using That Word: This game has some, uh, troubles with this trope. A noticeable instance is mission 41, where you meet the second set of aliens that get mistaken for robots due to their armor for the first time. The mission starts with you clearing out a few generic waves of enemies before dropping the new type of enemy on you. Once they do, you can hear the dialogue call out "They're dropping humanoid robots!" A little later, when they figure out it's actually another alien species in a suit of armor, you can then hear "Whatever they are, they Aren't humanoid!" A sentiment that gets repeated by HQ. This comes after the mission introducing the above Frog Men, where they even explicitly describe humanoid in a way that matches these new aliens.