What also helps is the growing number of customisation options you unlock while progressing through the campaign. There’s a steady influx of new weapons and equipment that slot into your loadout, with four distinct ‘PA-Gear’ exoskeleton suits to choose from. These further define your playstyle by granting powers such as a dodge roll, energy shield, and the ability to fly. For those who find themselves properly hooked, the in-game shop also has plenty of cosmetic items.
Whether in an online party, by matchmaking, or sat with a buddy in local split-screen, multiplayer is your number one ally in fighting back against this game’s repetitive grind. While it doesn’t greatly expand the gameplay options it still makes the experience far more enjoyable, turning every onslaught into its own set piece, as insects are blown apart and entire city blocks come crashing down.
Although the graphics are an improvement on past games in the series, Iron Rain still isn’t much of a looker. With colossal creepy crawlies scuttling towards you en masse it’s an entomophobe’s worst nightmare, even if it’s the same one that’s been going on for the last 16 years. Even when fully intact battlefields are often boring and featureless, with the accompanying soundtrack and voicework doing very little to elevate the overall presentation.
Despite the promise of a change in direction, D3 and Yuke’s have taken only a minor detour before re-joining the same familiar, well-worn path. Iron Rain is the definition of dumb fun and while it’s a little more technically competent than usual it’s lost all its charm and gained almost nothing in terms of depth or mainstream appeal.
Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain
In Short: A more grounded approach and a fresh coat of paint fail to address the series’ inherent flaws, as the cheesy charm of fighting giant insects is lost in the process.
Pros: A more competent third person shooter than previous games, with multiplayer in particular offering some dumb, throwaway fun.
Cons: Dry and repetitive action, that’s not very different from its predecessors. Extremely repetitive scenarios and few new ideas.
Formats: PlayStation 4
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Release Date: 11th April 2019
Age Rating: 12
By Jim Hargreaves
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