Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair
Top Critic Average
A solid representation of the B-movie in video game form, for better or worse. It’s got a lot of laughable moments, with a few design issues and crashes but they don’t ruin the fun.
While the game itself isn't a visual powerhouse, this is the best a Earth Defense Force game has ever looked. EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair is also the best-playing game of the series – combine this with the ability to play cooperatively online with a friend, and you've got magic in the making. EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 4.1 is not technically or visually impressive, but it makes a case for unadulterated fun being core to a game experience over the latter.
EDF 4.1 is easily the best in the series thanks to its improved performance and is a great jump on point for newcomers.
As with most games in the series, Earth Defense Force 4.1 is an absolute riot at first.
The price point is going to be the big killer for this game. It comes in at $49.99 when it seems like it should be a 30$ game. Overall at the price point, I just can’t recommend it to anyone who isn’t big into the franchise already.
Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair won't win any prestigious awards, but it still manages to be a fun little cult offering that will please those looking to simply have a good time. If you don't expect anything serious or realistic to come out of it, you'll definitely enjoy blasting away at your enemies while listening to some of the silliest dialogue ever put on a game
I highly recommend playing Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair with a friend or three. And then, only if you're all fans of incredibly cheesy science fiction films. If you can get the right group together, the fact there are over 100 levels to play through means this will be a lot of long-lasting fun. The team behind this game knows exactly what it is trying to deliver, and in terms of the pacing and explosive combat, Earth Defense Force usually delivers nicely.
Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair isn't a game for those who want to be dazzled by graphics. It may be impressive in terms of how many enemies can be on-screen in relation to their size, but issues like screen tearing and unstable frame rate don't exactly make it showcase material. It also isn't a game for those who want a deep narrative, as the simple setup is undermined by dialogue that makes you scratch your head. It is, however, a game built on mindless fun, and it delivers that in spades, even if some may say it feels like a slog at times. There isn't much here for Earth Defense Force 2025 players, especially since it doesn't include the three previously released DLC packs, but new players will fall in love with this title almost immediately.
Despite being good, clean, mindless fun, Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair lacks the depth and polish to elevate it above its peers, and likely won't appeal to those unwilling to commit to the grind. Fans of past iterations in the series will no doubt lap it up voraciously and call out anybody who disagrees that it's the greatest thing since...well, the last EDF game. While it's fair to say that it does have a certain low-tech charm best enjoyed in small doses, extended sessions only serve to emphasise the shallow, repetitive gameplay, with prolonged exposure inducing what can only be described as brain atrophy. So bad it's good? Yeah, probably.
Whether it's locally or online, playing in co-op makes Earth Defense Force 4.1 truly shine; its unsophisticated shooter gameplay being perfect for chilling out with a friend on the couch or with up to three allies on the internet