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Earth Defense Force 5 Needs You to Squash Giant Alien Bugs on PS Plus

Flying saucers, aliens, and explosions. What more do you need?

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earth defense force 5 alien

We owe a lot to the magnifying glass. If you’ve ever seen a star, taken medicine, or worn glasses, then you have Oxford whiz kid Roger Bacon to thank, because he invented the device in 1250. Yet no one knows who discovered the most diabolical use of the magnifying glass: frying bugs. Your grown-up brain knows that this bit of childhood sadism is, in fact, a form of animal cruelty. Bugs are tiny and mostly helpless. But what if they weren’t? Would it be morally acceptable to fry those bugs? Could it even be ... fun?

The Earth Defense Force franchise says yes to both. It began its life on PlayStation 2 and has evolved over the years into a cult classic, with regular installments that offer heaps of giant alien bugs to massacre. The latest entry, Earth Defense Force 5, is a wildly fun action game that is chaotic, comedic, and utterly addictive.

EDF 5 is a video game that knows how to video game.

The world is being invaded by giant bugs and flying saucers, but don’t worry. You have a huge arsenal and unlimited ammo. Buildings? Fuhgeddabouditt! Each massive cityscape is completely destructible. If the prospect of demolishing a skyscraper covered in whale-sized ants and watching the collapsing rubble pulverize them into big clouds of orange goo doesn't sound fun to you, move on. Go play some indie game with feelings. But if you want over-the-top arcade insanity then you’ve found your home.

The mechanics are simple. You can choose between four different classes (Ranger, Wing Diver, Raider, and Fencer), each with its own unique abilities and loadouts. EDF 5 wastes no time giving you an avalanche of equipment, and there is some genuine strategy involved thanks to a range of mission types.

Some levels are full of ants and spiders, which are great target practice for rocket launchers and shotguns. Others have flying saucers, so whip out those homing missiles and long-range assault rifles. With 110 missions in total, things scale up fast, but every level is bite-sized enough that you can play for 10 minutes or 10 hours.

This ain’t no picnic.


You don’t have to play alone either. In addition to online multiplayer, it’s one of the rare games that still offers couch co-op. The caveat here is that online and offline progress is tracked separately, so you won’t be able to grind on your own and then take that character into an online match. Fortunately, EDF 5 is just dumb, bonkers fun. So it doesn’t feel like much of a loss to make the switch and start from scratch.

There’s a great aloofness to the narrative as well. Seemingly, this is a world that has no regular-sized bugs. NPCs refer to them as “monsters” and frequently remark about how these obvious bugs are strange and alien. It’s a campy charm that won’t win any DICE awards but will make you laugh when you look up at a sky full of spaceships airdropping humongous spiders on a city and someone says, “No nation would do this. It must be terrorists!”

Of course, aliens do show up eventually.

The bigger they are, the harder they squish.


The controls can be a bit wonky, but aiming and shooting is as fun as it gets. Your basic gameplay loop is to grind through levels slaying massive amounts of bugs then scooping up weapon and armor crates to upgrade your character. There are five difficulty modes and tons of replay value.

It’s the perfect game to play in person with friends and family thanks to its delightfully simple premise, or you can dive into a few hours when you’re in one of those moods to play something but you’re not sure what. It certainly beats frying bugs in the backyard, and nobody will question your sanity for it.

Earth Defense Force 5 is available on PlayStation Plus. It’s also for sale on PlayStation and PC.

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