On the surface, Earth Defense Force games look like nothing more than a third-person shooter, where your main goal is to defeat hordes of giant insects – although there are certainly far more enemy types than that.
Still, anyone who’s given the series enough time knows that games are like the best parts of the shoddy B-movie genre brought to life. It’s like living out the plot of Starship Troopers. Earth Defense Force 6 is another great example of this and is so good that I imported it from Japan.
For a little background, I’m playing this series with Earth Defense Forces 2017 in the late 2000s. When Earth Defense Force 5 was released in Japan in 2017 (some weird title/release coincidence), I took a shot and imported it via Play-Asia.
I learned something about the games at the time, which inspired me to happily import Earth Defense Force 6 upon its release in late August this year, and it’s something I think you’ll want to do too.
Earth Defense Force 6 has arrived, and as expected, there is an extraordinarily low amount of English to be found, and none of it is in any part of the story. The menus are the same layout as Earth Defense Force 5, so they’re easy to navigate.
As crazy as it sounds, the language barrier is considered a monumental boon to the game and the whole reason for this piece. That’s right: I’m arguing on behalf of not understanding the game, so that makes it all better.
Earth Defense Force games contain a huge amount of weapons, and not all of them are something to be used properly. There are a lot of gag weapons and most of the things you think are upgraded before testing them. But that’s the point.
Not knowing what you’re getting makes this game a million times better. You know it’s an assault rifle, sure, but you wouldn’t know before taking it into a mission that bullets double as timed explosives after impact. It’s a shotgun, but you only know that it does amazing damage; However, it does it in a big slug shot that looks like an energy ball.
The thing is, it means you have to experiment. You can’t just glance at a weapon and know for sure that it won’t help. Instead, you have to bring it to the field with you and either learn to use it in the mission you choose or step back and keep in mind that it’s really not that good.
This pattern absolutely means that collecting weapons is more worthwhile, because for the most part, you’re going to be using a more diverse range of weapons than ever before if the game tells you it’s potential garbage. The great thing about Earth Defense Force 6 is that the number of damages is now a thing, so you don’t need to know any of the stats of a weapon before you can take it out; Everything can be determined using the field.
I still believe that enjoying the entire game with zero understanding is the right move, as the gameplay is easy enough to understand that you don’t really need any kind of story context in order to progress. Honestly, while the story and dialogue are totally complicated when you can really understand them, the game still works incredibly well even with the language barrier.
In this situation, you’re being practically blindsided with no idea what a new enemy might be or even places to come. Not only does this heighten any tension, but it makes wacky new enemies or surprise surprises feel even more impressive because there’s no way of knowing in advance or really understanding what they mean. This time there’s a lot of deceit in the story, I had a lot of fun working out my theory for what was going on, probably more than the time I’ll finally get a chance to play and really understand the English release.
While this entire piece probably means a lot to those who are already fans of the series, I wholeheartedly believe that Earth Defense Force is absolutely a series for anyone and everyone. I don’t think the game should be imported purely out of impatience.
While it’s a fair position, I think there’s a lot to be gained in playing Earth Defense Force 6 this way. Honestly, if you want a closer connection with the game, as crazy as it sounds, you really should play it while you can’t figure out a single thing that’s going on.