Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair on PlayStation 4
Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair is an interesting game. For starters there’s that mouthful of a title that makes you think this is an all new game, but that’s not he case. You see, Earth Defense Force 4.1 is actually a sort of remaster of last year’s Earth Defense Force 2025 but it throws in some extra content, as well as a leap to 1080p/60fps to make the jump to the PS4 worthwhile. The question is, should the jump have been made to begin with?
If you’ve never played an Earth Defense Force game, you should know that they are a bit odd. You play as an elite soldier whose job is to protect the world from alien invasions. The thing about these alien invasions is that they come in the form of bugs, large, realistic looking bugs. I mean seriously, they are easily the best looking aspect of the game.
While Earth Defense Force 4.1 runs at a stable frame-rate with crisp visuals, the actual look of the world is fairly plain. The combat areas are large, though, and have lots of destructible structures. Walls will collapse, bridges will crumble and trees will be torn from the ground as you blast your way through hundreds of large insects. It’s cool that the world reacts to the combat in such a way but that doesn’t change the fact that the game clearly wasn’t initially developed for the PS4.
The lacking visuals carry over to the character models, as well. There are four classes you can play as; Ranger, Wing Diver, Air Raider, and Fencer. Each has its own weapons, controls, and abilities out in battle. And with the exception of the Fencer (who looks like a walking tank) and the Wing Divers (the flying force), everything else looks very generic and forgettable.
The classes themselves are very unique, but unless you’re playing multiplayer there really isn’t much of a reason to opt for the much slower classes that completely lack any verticality. The standard soldier class has decent moving speed and can hold his own, but the extremely slow nature of the Fencer (we’re talking so slow that you may as well not move and just wait for the insects to come to you) makes it unwieldy.