Earth Defense Force 4.1 PC Technical Review

Gigantic (and amusingly physics-averse) insects have risen up and swarmed all over the PC with the release of Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair. EDF 4.1 was originally a PS4-only remaster of Earth Defense Force 2025, which included a new expansion, improved graphics, some rejigged missions, and various other changes. The PC version brings mouse and keyboard controls to the table (or desk), as well as support for higher resolutions.

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In the usual PC Invasion fashion for this sort of port, this article will take a look at the graphics options, keep an eye on the frame-rate (famously bad in EDF 360/PS3 releases), and see how the mouse support holds up. Here’s the box I’ve been blasting bugs on: i5-6600 / 16GB RAM / 4GB 380X. Crimson drivers 16.6.2 (one before the latest).

First, a note about an odd DPI quirk this game seems to have. The UI scaling seems to be based on your Windows display settings. So if, like me, you’ve got the text set to 125%, it’s overly large when in-game. For now, setting it back to 100% when playing Earth Defense Force 4.1 works fine. Hopefully a future patch will sort that out.

earth defense force mouse-key

You read my mind! Actually, my button press.

Graphics options are a bit on the limited side, as you can see from this next pair of images taken from the in-game settings.

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Do you like Shadows? How about anti-aliasing? AF? Good, that’s all you’re getting. And the AA implementation isn’t terribly impressive. There’s also no borderless windowed mode, and 16:9 has the ratio monopoly. But hey, I don’t think anybody was expecting to load up an EDF game and twiddle about with ultra texture qualities and volumetric fog ratios. The options are unspectacular, but pretty standard for a port of this type.

On the plus side, the resolution options appear to allow downsampling. There seems to be some debate about this, but it looks like setting your desktop resolution to 4K and the game to 4K will produce the desired result. Of course, thanks to the DPI oddity mentioned above, you may need to struggle around the teeny-tiny icons on your newly 4K-ified desktop for a bit.

earth defense force 4k maybe

EDF running at 4K. I think. Probably. (Note: UI stretching is because the desktop DPI wasn’t at 100%).

EDF 4.1 has a hard cap of 60fps, so any 144hz chaps out there will just have to slum it with this one. It seems to have no bother holding that 60, though. Perhaps that’s not too shocking, given that my PC is comfortably above recommended specs; but I’m trained by history to just expect some stuttering whenever I see dozens upon dozens of NPCs and monsters on-screen. Not here. At least, not within the first six or seven (pretty hectic) missions, where it’s been smooth 60fps insecticide all the way.

So, on to mouse and keyboard business. If you’d rather use a gamepad, you can do that (I can confirm a basic 360 pad works, anyway), but mouse and key controls actually translate rather well. Prepare for more images.

edf keyboard (1)

edf keyboard (2)

You can basically rebind any of the keyboard controls for the various class types and vehicles in the game. Oddly, keyboard control in menus will remain as WASD no matter what you rebind movement too. There’s mouse control of a sort in the menus, but it’s restricted to sort of gesturing the highlighting icon in the direction you want. No mouse pointer, sadly.

Where it counts, though, the mouse and keyboard controls impress. Both the Ranger and Wing Diver classes control great, and it’s always welcome to have that extra aiming precision from a mouse.

EDF 4.1’s general settings have some welcome options hidden away in them too, like a useful HUD size changer.

edf gensettings

In EDF 4.1 you can opt for either local co-op (on a split-screen with either two gamepads, or one pad and one mouse and keys – great to see that included) or some online antics. The latter looks like it’s region locked but you can dodge around this by just changing the download location in Steam. I’d be surprised if the region-lock was intentional, rather than just a bit of a mistake like the DPI thing, but you never know. Again, a patch will hopefully provide a fix. Aside from that oddness, multiplayer seems to be working fine on PC.

As someone who hasn’t played prior EDF titles, Earth Defense Force 4.1 is proving to be a bit of an absurd, silly treat. I’m a fan of b-movie aesthetics (be that It Came From The Desert, MST3K mockery or, well, writing on a site called PC Invasion), and EDF 4.1 basically nails that in tone and execution. Better yet, it extends it to the process of videogame production itself, leaving you with animations and mechanics that are a bit crappy and cheap, but still finely tuned to be enormously entertaining. Even though I’m not far into the game, I can tell there’s going to be a serious loop of repetition kicking in (much like Dynasty Warriors), but as an EDF neophyte it should stay novel for a decent while longer.

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Whether someone who sank dozens of hours into the PS4 version of EDF 4.1 would want to bother with this is going to be down to personal choice, but (aside from a couple of quirks like the DPI stuff) the PC port job shouldn’t hold anybody back. Though it lacks some of the more deluxe support options (144hz, 21:9 and so on), Earth Defense Force 4.1 has made a perfectly reasonable transition to PC.

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