Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair Review

Earth Defense Force 4.1 – The Shadow of New Despair Review Screenshot 1

Earth Defense Force has had various releases over the years and now Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair is a remastered version of 2025.

This latest Earth Defense Force game runs at 1080p, 60fps, and even has anti-aliasing. The games aren’t known for having amazing graphics but the game looks the best it ever has done and the gameplay is still as over the top as always. This version comes with new missions, updated gameplay and improved visuals.

Its clear from the very start that the game isn’t about story, but there is still an interesting setting that makes the gameplay fun. The basic idea is that swarms of alien creatures, like robots and gigantic insects have invaded earth. This isn’t the first invasion however and therefore the Earth Defense Force is ready to jump into action. Sure the plot is ridiculous and there is a weird tone to the game but the relentless action is great fun.

Upon starting the game, you choose from four character classes, each with their own attributes and equipment. I played as the Ranger, who is relatively fast and uses an assault rifle and rocket launcher. Each of the four classes can be customized, but the equipment you choose can change how fast you move in action. I also played around a bit with the Air Raider, who can call in aerial attacks. The gameplay itself is simple and the controls are easy to get used to. I used a mouse and keyboard and the controls felt responsive, with the mouse to look around, WASD keys to move and spacebar to jump. I used the scroll wheel on the mouse to switch weapons, which is handy when quickly switching between your powerful rifle and rocket launcher to obliterate mass threat.

Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair Review Screenshot 1

The gameplay reminded me of Dynasty Warriors and Hyrule Warriors, with the huge waves of enemies swarming around you as you move from one location to the next. There are 89 stages to play through as you and your teammates blast through different locations filled with different types of creatures. The gameplay can become repetitive fairly quickly as within about 5 minutes of play you’ve already killed hundreds of creatures. That being said, the game is incredibly fun and I enjoyed it way more than I probably should have. The environments look fairly bland, with helpless civilians running and screaming through desolate streets. I did enjoy the variety of enemies and they become larger and more challenging as you progress. Some environmental objects also crumble and collapse as you shoot them, like large overpasses and bridges.

The enemies can include things like ants, spiders and even mechs and the wide range of weapons can be acquired during missions along with armor, with better loot in later stages. The loot drops are extremely useful and provide things like health packs to refill a player’s health or armor packs to boost your character. There are over 170 weapons, which means you can really choose what sort of soldier you want to be. You never know what weapon you will pick up and it also encourages replaying higher stages to try and obtain powerful weapons. The game may feel easy at first but later in the game you soon become overwhelmed by tonnes of creatures piling on top of you.

The game has four new stages and a load of minor tweaks that improve the overall experience. One particular feature, which I’m not sure you could use before is the Spider tank, which allows you to climb walls. The game also has multiplayer, with fun local co-op play and good old-fashioned split screen. The online play offers up to four players and the multiplayer is actually very smooth and the game is even more fun working in teams.

Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair Review Screenshot 2

The presentation of the game feels a bit mixed, with environments looking sparse and fairly dull but the game runs well and the enemies are interesting and challenging. The framerate was consistent for me and I didn’t experience any crashes, which is quite surprising considering that at times there can be a ridiculous amount of enemies on-screen. If you can look past the fairly generic environments and focus on the fun gameplay and addictive shooting then you wont have a problem with how the game looks, and in my opinion gameplay is often more important than slick visuals. The sound design is decent enough, with impactful sounds of gunshots and screams from terrified civilians. The soldiers often shout out lines of dialogue which are more often than not very cheesy, but often add humour to the relentless shooting. The soundtrack is generic but it does suit the arcade style gameplay and overall tone of the game.

Earth Defense Force 4.1 isn’t a game with an amazing story and the graphics are often less than impressive but the gameplay is addictive and easily accessible. I was impressed with how many enemies were swarming towards me on-screen. The characters you play as and the team around you lack any sort of personality but the creatures you face are varied and offer plenty of action. The gameplay can feel repetitive and becomes a little routine but the loot drops and variety of weapons offer replayability. I would recommend this game if you like games such as Dynasty Warriors.

Rating 7

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to

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