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Earth Defense Force 5

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Earth Defense Force 5 Game Poster Image
Cheesy B movie, bug-squishing action-packed fun.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players work as part of a team, a multinational task force, to defend humanity from alien threats. Some themes of teamwork, including rescuing those in danger, but it's generally just a fast-paced fight to survive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters, including the player, are basic boilerplate templates, with no real personalities or development. They're just cogs in a B movie monster-bashing machine.

Ease of Play

Third-person shooter controls should feel familiar to shooter fans, are easy to pick up and play. Some classes require extra work, particularly the jetpack-equipped Wing Diver. Gets difficult quickly by overwhelming players with massive swarms of enemies.

Violence

Surprisingly small amount of human blood, but no shortage of alien gore littering the landscape. Waves of bugs, alien creatures explode in graphic fashion, with huge bursts of goo and body parts flying around, lying for a few seconds on the battlefield before disappearing.

Sex
Language

Minor swearing occasionally used in dialogue, such as "hell" and "damn." Also, online play could open players up to other offensive conversations via party chat.

Consumerism

Latest entry in Earth Defense Force franchise, which has spanned multiple systems over course of its 15+ years, earning a cult classic fan following in the process.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Earth Defense Force 5 is a downloadable sci-fi-themed third-person shooter for the PlayStation 4. The game is the latest entry in the cult classic Earth Defense Force franchise. Players use a variety of futuristic weapons and abilities to kill waves of giant insects and alien creatures. When defeated, creatures usually explode with large sprays of slime, goo, and body parts. There's some very light profanity in the game's dialogue, and players could be exposed to offensive language in multiplayer matchups due to online party chat.

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What's it about?

In EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 5, the bugs are back, and this time they're bringing their friends, forcing humanity to once again face extinction at the hands of an alien invasion. This time around, the invaders come from a civilization called the Primers. These aliens take all shapes and (extra-large) sizes, ranging from super-sized insect swarms to massive froglike foot soldiers to behemoth kaiju (similar to Godzilla). Standing as the last line of defense between the planet and total annihilation are the men and women of the Earth Defense Force. Utilizing an arsenal made up of the most advanced, high-tech weapons known to humankind, you'll hit the front lines and stand your ground against everything these would-be conquerors have to offer. You'll choose from four different classes and charge into battle in over 100 different missions and five different levels of difficulty. You can also team up in split-screen co-op play or take the fight global with online multiplayer for up to four players.

Is it any good?

Sometimes you want a game with a deeply moving, emotionally driven plot -- other times, you just want to splatter monsters and bugs in a B movie-styled action shoot-'em-up. From a strict presentation standpoint, Earth Defense Force 5 doesn't even try to push the limits of what the PS4 is capable of, but that's never been the main draw of the franchise. For more than a decade and a half, the franchise has carved out a niche for itself, earning cult classic status as a "so bad it's actually good" B movie series of the video game world. Earth Defense Force 5 continues in this tradition with its oddly addictive combination of campy voice acting, quirky visuals, and insanely action-packed gameplay.

What Earth Defense Force 5 might be lacking in presentation, it makes up for in both content and in pure arcade fun. The game has over 100 missions to complete and more than 1,000 weapons and gadgets to collect. Many of these are tweaked versions of one another or vary by grade or power, but there's still a lot to add to your arsenal. Multiplayer is also a blast, whether you're playing in local split-screen or online play. Admittedly, there are still some occasional camera issues that pop up from time to time, which are more prominent in the smaller display of split-screen play. It never makes the game unplayable, but it can make it easy to get lost in the midst of all the on-screen action. And make no mistake about it, Earth Defense Force 5 is all about on-screen action. If you're looking for character development or epic stories, you're in the wrong place. But if you're looking for unadulterated action with so much cheese it's almost oozing out the seams, then this is definitely the game for you.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Earth Defense Force 5 affected by the fact that it's giant monster bugs and aliens being destroyed? Would the impact be intensified if you were fighting against humans?

  • What's the appeal of cheesy "popcorn" movies or niche "cult classics"? What makes some B movies "so bad they're good"?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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