The very fact that the Earth Defense Force games exist is weird enough to begin with (they started life as part of a Japanese super-budget range, and grew into a cult hit phenomenon), but the fact that it has a multitude of spinoffs now (including a PS2-era strategy game) is just baffling. The latest of which – EDF 4.1: Wingdiver The Shooter – is now headed to PC at full speed, and will be available to buy this Thursday.
While it may have been financially viable to just produce a generic vertical scrolling shooter and call it a day, you can tell that EDF’s creators take great pride in the overt weirdness of their games. As such, Wingdiver The Shooter contains all the classic EDF elements, including enormous numbers of enemies blocking your field of view, weapon crates containing random new gear to pick on your next mission, and a painfully slow health upgrade system requiring obsessive farming before you’ll even be able to soak one or two more hits.
As with regular EDF games, there’s near-constant hammily-acted battle chatter intentionally done in the style of zero-budget monster B-movies of old. Hopefully there’s a full English dub track included in this version, because without the familar EDF marching song to buoy my heart, I’m not sure I’ll be able to hold out through another giant bug onslaught.
Personally, I’m holding out for a PC announcement of the latest game in the series, EDF 5, which features some weird new enemies like giant alien frog-soldiers with locational damage and regenerating limbs. They also just announced a crossover event between EDF 5 in Japan and the recent Starship Troopers 3D-animated film. Apparently you’ve got to get your ass to Mars to shoot a different kind of alien bug.
Oh, and if you’ve never played an EDF game before, I do implore that you make your first the PC version of EDF 4.1 next time it’s on sale. It’s a shooter developed by a team that, every time they’ve been given a new generation of console hardware, they’ve immediately tried to discover how many giant alien bugs and explosions you need to cram onto the screen in order to drop performance to dangerously low levels. Sometimes, you just want to smack a bug with a shotgun so powerful that it puts your target into low earth orbit.
EDF 4.1: Wingdiver The Shooter is out on April 26th via Steam, and while no price has been announced yet, I’d be surprised if it’s over $20.