REVIEW: ‘Earth Defense Force 4.1: WingDiver The Shooter’ (PS4)

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Earth Defense Force 4.1: WingDiver The Shooter

The Shoot ‘Em Up is a timeless video game genre. Quick, easy to get into, and immeasurably action-packed, these game are a great genre to jump into and an excellent start for those new to video games. Most recently, Shoot ‘Em Ups, commonly referred to as shmups, have been making a comeback on the Nintendo Switch.

And while Earth Defence Force is a franchise more associated with incredibly polished, over-the-top third-person shooting, the team at D3 publishing have chosen to take a chance at applying the Earth Defense Force formula into a spaceship shooter, known as Earth Defense Force 4.1: WingDiver The Shooter. It is a game that adapts the familiar name and world of Earth Defense Force into a fast-paced and energized spaceship shooter, with sharp gameplay and a distinctively impressive presentation.

In the world of Earth Defense Force, there are several classes of soldiers fighting to defend the planet. Among the classes are The Wing Divers, an advanced all-female special operations unit. Using reverse-engineered Ravager technology, the unit has created an advance external weapon system and tailored the system into a wearable combat suit. This suit allows for sustained flight and the usage of cutting-edge energy weapons. With the Ravagers continuing to devastate the planet through destruction and colonization, the Earth Defense Force (EDF) is absolutely critical in saving mankind, and the Wing Divers may be the key to victory.

Earth Defense Force 4.1: WingDiver The Shooter plays like a familiar spaceship shooter. Players will be able to customize their primary and secondary weapons, which are bountiful, ranging from short and long-range laser fire to powerful energy-based explosives that can destroy multiple targets. While The Wing Divers may be using reverse-engineered technology, they have a small weakness in an energy gauge is tied to the weapons systems. The primary and secondary weapons can fire so many shots before the gauge is depleted and needs to recharge.

While some weapons have large internal stores of energy that can last sometime during recharge, other weapons will not fire until the gauge is fully charged, leaving players exploited and vulnerable for several seconds. Through several stages, The Wing Divers unit will work with the ground forces of the EDF to quell and eradicate The Ravagers.  Players can expect to face a variety of enemies throughout their journey, from giant bugs, to UFOs, and robots.  As for controls, the game follows the typical controls of vertical spaceship shooters.

The gameplay is as expected for a spaceship shooter. Chaotic, energized, electrifying, and satisfying. The player is right into the thick of Earth’s biggest conflict. There is no shortage of crawling enemies attacking from the ground and the air, doing their damndest to defeat the player. Like its counterpart, shooting in Earth Defense Force 4.1: WingDiver The Shooter is quick, precise, and incredibly satisfying.

Sections of each level even encourage players to eliminate a certain amount of enemies in a specific zone. Enemies will drop weapons and health, and the weapons can be selected upon the level’s completion.  Each section cleared feels riveting and victorious and the moment-to-moment action will keep players coming back for more.

In comparison to the other Earth Defense Force games, Earth Defense Force 4.1: WingDiver The Shooter is much faster and more aggressive. In the rest of the franchise, The Wing Diver can use height and the city to her advantage, using the buildings for cover and precisely targeting specific enemies, prioritizing the more dangerous targets against less dangerous targets. The jetpack on her suit allows her to ascend and eliminate enemies from above. The enemies all come at once and surviving is a matter of wit and skill, dodging incoming fire and other obstacles. There is no ascending or descending as the game runs on rails.

The game has strong gameplay mechanics but is set back by its length and replayability.  Earth Defense Force 4.1: WingDiver The Shooter costs $20 but only has six missions to complete and while the game feature 60 quick training simulator missions, the game’s length is rather short. The replayability is in the difficulty settings.

It is strongly recommended that players begin on easy, learn the ropes of the mechanics as well as the expectations of each mission, and then proceed to the other difficulty settings. Inferno Mode, the highest difficulty setting in all Earth Defense Force games,  is notorious in the Earth Defense Force community for being back-breakingly hard. Players that are up to the challenge will want to play Earth Defense Force 4.1: WingDiver The Shooter repeatedly to truly master the game.

Earth Defense Force 4.1: WingDiver The Shooter is a solid spin-off of the Earth Defense Force games and does strike a foundation for future spin-off titles. I’d love to see a similar game done with the vehicles and combat mechs used in the Earth Defense Force games. For Earth Defense Force 4.1: WingDiver The Shooter,  it is a short but wildly fun and engaging spaceship shooter with a distinct world, sharp combat, and challenging foes. If FX’s Archer shows how you can get ants, then Earth Defense Force 4.1: Wing Diver The Shooter shows how you can blow them up in stylish fashion.

Earth Defense Force 4.1: WingDiver The Shooter is available now on PlayStation 4 and Steam.

Earth Defense Force 4.1: WingDiver The Shooter
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL; DR

Earth Defense Force 4.1: WingDiver The Shooter is a solid spin-off of the Earth Defense Force games and does strike a foundation for future spin-off titles. I’d love to see a similar game done with the vehicles and combat mechs used in the Earth Defense Force games.