Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair
“Aaaaaaargh!” My gaming buddy cried out as his hunter went down. He was being overly-dramatic in order to fit in with the over-the-top situation of being surrounded by, and then being gnawed upon on by, legions of giant ants from outer space.
He was playing one of the four classes that Sandlot’s new action title, Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair, had to offer. His Ranger class was the standard starting class and the most well-rounded, featuring a powerful primary weapon such as a beefy assault rifle, along with grenades, a rocket launcher, or some other secondary armament. I was playing as an Air Raider, which is the primary support class, capable of calling in insanely destructive artillery and bombing strikes, as well as requesting vehicles or mechs for use on the battlefield. Unfortunately, since I was otherwise not fit for frontline combat like my Ranger friend, I was too far to the rear to get to revive him, at least anytime soon.
Luckily, we had an Air Diver on hand, laughably a member of an “all-female Special Forces unit.” This sort of absurdity fit right in with Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair’s sometimes (okay—quite frequently) tongue-in-cheek tone, just perfectly. Since Air Divers wore garish looking flight suits, our airborne compatriot did just that—dove right in and got our downed Ranger back on his feet.
Suddenly, a thick, sinewy strand of spider web landed on our Air Diver, and we turned to see a large group of giant spiders leaping towards our position. A yellowish stream of metal death erupted from nearby, and our mighty, armored, Fencer class friend commenced to firing his vulcan cannon at the spiders, cutting a wide swath through them. I followed his lead by throwing some signal smoke at the creatures, while warning my teammates as to what was about to happen (there is friendly-fire).
In a matter of seconds we could hear some incoming jet engines, and several metal birds appeared, slicing through the sky overhead. The jets released their payloads, and we watched as bombs cascaded downwards and landed upon the legions of malevolent spiders. My screen became bright with big orange fireballs, such was the devastation released by my called-in bombing run.
I glanced at my mech meter which had been steadily filling up throughout the mission. Just a couple more minutes and then I would be able to try out my newly acquired giant walking fortress mech—I was so giddy with excitement that I couldn’t help but prompt my on-screen avatar to chant: “EDF! EDF! EDF!” My teammates joined in, forming a raucous chorus of EDF pride. And then…my game crashed to desktop.
It was the second crash in two hours, and beyond my disappointment from being disconnected from such an exciting gaming experience, it dawned on me that there could be a pattern emerging. I looked around online, and fortunately found that my crashing problem was a somewhat common occurrence and had a relatively easy solution in the form of a patch. Problem solved. I’m now able to splatter giant bugs crash-free.
Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair is actually an upgraded version of Earth Defense Force 2025 (AKA Earth Defense Force 4 over in Japan). I’d played Earth Defense Force 2025, and found its gratuitous violence, hammy voice-acting, and silly themes refreshing. The only thing that I didn’t like about 2025 was that any time a rather large gaggle of enemies—be they giant insects or lumbering robots—were on screen, they’d cause even my powerful gaming PC to chug. I’d stare at the screen in befuddlement as my framerate dropped down…down…down. It wasn’t so much of an issue that it was a full-on buzzkill, but it wasn’t that great either.
Besides offering such improvements as higher resolutions, enhanced overall graphical quality, a whole host of gameplay tweaks, and lots of additional content, Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair also sports a smooth, consistent framerate. No matter how many adversaries clogged up my screen at one time, I never experienced a single drop in my framerate fidelity.
That’s quite an achievement considering that although Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair’s graphics can’t compare with the latest triple A shooters out there, they are indeed highly detailed and nice to look at. These visuals weren’t meant to look cutting edge. Rather, they fit the light-hearted tone of the proceedings.
Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair immediately struck me as a cross between Japanese monster movies from the 60s, such as the Godzilla and Mothra flicks, and Starship Troopers. Its blend of humorous commentary, campy settings, and bombastic carnage and destruction (with fully destructible environments), really sets it apart from other shooters. It is indeed a nice change of pace from the many action titles out there which dominate the video game market these days. So many of them are solemn, overly-serious, and rather black-and-white, with little narrative nuance. So much so, that they sort of blend together and lose whatever identity (if any) they had in the first place.
Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair’s simple plot, which revolves around Earth being invaded by a race of hostile aliens known as The Ravagers, is an unapologetic nod to the many classic monster movies of yore. But most importantly, it’s a straight up blast to play. With a selection of four distinct character classes, hundreds and hundreds of weapons and pieces of equipment, and upwards of ninety missions, Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair is a game that will be on my hard drive for a long time to come.
If you’re into action games and have even a modicum of wit and humor, I suggest that you grab a copy of Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair. Not only does it feature a single player and excellent co-op mode, but you can even jump on with a local friend for some split-screen hijinks. Warning: You may sniggle and guffaw at the corny dialogue so I advise folks not to drink beverages while playing this game. I personally spat out some water because I was laughing so hard.
Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair has some impressive graphics that suit the theme of the game. However, they may require you to have a pretty beefy gaming PC in order to play it. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming PC:
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