The delightfully cheesy Japanese action game series Earth Defense Force is coming to PlayStation 4 next year with Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair. The expanded, upgraded version of last year's EDF4 — known as Earth Defense Force 2025 outside of Japan — brings with it an immensely enjoyable new addition: giant mech battles against Godzilla-sized monsters.
Earth Defense Force 4.1 includes all the oversized bug-shooting action of its PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 sibling. You're still firing machine guns and rockets at alien insects and giant death robots, but the 4.1 release adds a new layer to giant monster killing. When the creature known as Huge Monster Erginus invades — right in the midst of a swarm of giant ants — players will get access to a "super gigantic weapon" called the mobile fortress Balam.
Airdropped in by your EDF colleagues, Balam is a beefy walking mech that players can climb into with a tap of the DualShock 4's touchpad. Once inside, players can slowly, methodically hoof it over to Erginus and start battling. It's a lumbering beast of a 'bot, but controlling it feels great.
The Tokyo Game Show demo of EDF 4.1 featured a Balam that could hook, uppercut and slam downward with its giant metal fists. But the fisticuffs action while controlling the mobile fortress is immensely satisfying. Each punch requires a big wind-up and delivers a chunky, kaiju blood-splattering hit.
As Balam, you'll deliver knockdown blows to Erginus and vice versa. As the two of you tumble through the low-polygon cities of Earth Defense Force 4.1, you'll crush buildings and kick up a lot of dust. Huge ants will swarm all over Balam's torso and legs during the fight. It's creepy, but silly, a perfect fit for the franchise.
My battle with Erginus lasted a good five minutes or more, and after throwing dozens of robot haymakers, the kaiju ran away. He'd return in a later chapter, the developer said, indicating that we'll see multiple kaiju fights in EDF4.1.
D3Publisher promised more new additions and tweaks in the PS4 edition of Earth Defense Force 4, but said some of those are currently "confidential." The PS4 game's framerate was surprisingly solid for an EDF title; the only noticeable slowdown occurred during our mech battle, when we had an extended view of the city.
Currently the company plans to release Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair in Japan in 2015. An international release date for the PS4 game hasn't been decided yet.