Earth Defense Force is a wonderfully scrappy series with a surprisingly dark heart

January 20, 2019
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This piece contains spoilers for several Earth Defense Force games.

Earth Defense Force is what you get when you turn Starship Troopers into a series of budget video games. Each entry in the series chucks you into the titular EDF and pits you against hordes of giant insects and other strange aliens. The graphics tend to be sub-par, the art style’s pretty basic, and there’s nearly always bad voice acting and cheesy writing too. So what’s the attraction?

It’s about priorities. All of the budget and attention – all the love – goes into the things the developer really cares about. Things like destructible skyscrapers, giant purple blood splatters, completely ridiculous weapons, and more insects than you could ever hope to defeat with a thousand rolled-up newspapers. There is a certain charm to playing a game that trades graphical prowess for pure, undiluted fun. And that B-movie cheese oozing out of every line of dialogue only helps.

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