Earth Defense Force 2025, known as Earth Defense Force 4 in Japan, is the fourth main installment of the series and 6th overall installment including GDF Tactics and Insect Armageddon. It was developed by Sandlot and published by D3 Publisher. A next-gen reimagining, Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair, was released in late 2015 for the PS4, and in mid 2016 on Steam for PC. it is the first in the series to be Rated M for Mature due to blood and violence.
In 2013, a signal was detected from outer space. While garbled, scientists managed to discern some of the content, that the Earth would "soon have visitors."
It was hoped the aliens would be wise and benevolent, but after many failed attempts to contact the originators of the messages, a decision was made in 2015. To ensure mankind was prepared should the aliens turn out to be hostile, the Earth Defense Force would be formed, a global military representing all of humanity.
In June 2017 the worst fears of world leaders were confirmed as the aliens who came to be known as the Ravagers attacked Earth in full force, swarming the world with giant insects and their own powerful battle machines. Though initially taken by surprise, humanity found back bravely and one soldier, Storm 1, bought down the mighty Quadruped Fortress and ultimately destroyed the Mothership. The campaign to exterminate the giant insects lasted longer, with what was thought to be the last one killed in Arizona sometime in 2018. The world was seemingly safe; Storm 1 disappeared after the Mothership was vanquished, and passed into legend, with some coming to question if the hero of the first war had ever existed in the first place. It seemed that humanity had seen off the alien menace, and rebuilding efforts proceeded, aided with the technology recovered from the wreckage of the Ravager weaponry...
...until seven years later, on June 28th of 2025 when, without warning, Ants suddenly emerge in a city.
It soon becomes clear that this is not just an isolated outbreak; the underground complex the Ants originated from is massive and resists an early assault by the EDF while new giant insect species constantly emerge from it. Soon a vast Ravager force is sighted approaching Earth, centred on ten Motherships, ten times the size of the invasion fleet faced in 2017. The EDF braces itself for an all-out global assault on an unprecedented scale.
While Storm 1 is not there to heed the call to arms, the EDF's elite force, the Storm Team, is ready to take on the Ravagers.
Unlike earlier Sandlot games, EDF 2025 utilizes four classes, with a new record for the series of 788 weapons spread between them. Players have the ability to change armor colors for all classes. The four EDF soldier class divisions are:
- Ranger: flexible and adaptable basic infantry with weapons suited to just about any situation. Based on the previous Storm 1 and Infantry classes.
- Wing Diver: An airborne class that use high tech energy weaponry and jet packs. Based on the Pale Wing.
- Air Raider: A support class specialized in the assistance of infantry, able to deploy health recovery field generators and force shields, summon vehicles into the battlefield and order air raids over designated targets. Somewhat inspired by the Tactical Armor
- Fencer: A heavy soldier equipped with a powered exoskeleton and jet boosters, able to carry outsized weaponry, melee weapons and use a special shield. The class is able to use two pairs of weapons. Somewhat inspired by the Battle Armor.
EDF 2025 is a third-person shooter. The player takes on the role of a member of the EDF's elite Storm Team, selecting from one of four classes detailed above and using a huge range of weaponry to defeat giant insects and alien robots in a series of missions. The game features a limited inventory, with each class having between two and four "slots" to which the player can assign weapons on the equip screen prior to deploying. There is no way to change weapons once a mission has begun, short of selecting "retreat."
Almost all weapons are limited only by reload times and have infinite ammunition; the X / X ammo display indicates how many shots are remaining in the current magazine out of the maximum, not current and reserve ammunition as in most shooters. A few weapons buck this system and have limited shots; this only occurs for special weapons or those mounted on vehicles.
A particular improvement made over 2017 is new lock-on mechanics for homing weapons: previously, a homing weapon would always fire at whatever enemy was closest to the player character, in some games even if that enemy was actually dead. Now, holding the fire button for a homing weapon will bring up a red bounding box on screen indicating the lock-on area, with icons appearing on enemies within range and within the bounding box. Holding the bounding box over an enemy for the weapon's lock-on time will change the icon, and releasing fire will fire missiles at all targets thus locked on. Many of the old multi-shot launchers can now target multiple enemies, with the tradeoff that they cannot place multiple locks on a single target without the aid of an Air Raider's Laser Guide Kit or Guide Beacon Gun. In addition, they will always empty themselves (or use their normal amount of energy for the Wing Diver) regardless of the number of lock-ons: a weapon with 30 lock-ons which is fired when only 5 targets are locked will simply discard the other 25 shots. The only exception to this is the Air Raider's vehicles, which will only deduct ammunition for missiles that have actually been fired.
The missions take place in one of sixteen roughly 1km x 1km maps which the player is free to move around in as they wish, with settings including cities, mountain areas and underground tunnels. In general, missions are won by destroying all enemies, though in rare cases they may be based on destroying a specific enemy or lasting a set number of waves or set period of time. Most maps feature fully destructable buildings and structures, and there is no penalty for damaging them. NPC soldiers can be encountered and "recruited" if they have a red triangle over them, providing supporting fire and amusing radio banter. There is no penalty for killing them, either.
Five difficulty levels are available: Easy, Normal, Hard, Hardest and Inferno. They give corresponding increases to the speed, attack power, defensive power and attack rate of enemies encountered. Any mission can be attempted on any difficulty level as long as it has been reached on at least one difficulty level.
Enemies defeated will have a chance of dropping one or more Items on death. These are large boxes that are marked as green dots on the minimap, and are collected by walking over them. There are four types; small and large health instantly recover the character's hitpoints. The other two only do anything if the current mission is successfully completed: the red box marked "armor" will offer a permanent upgrade to that class' maximum health at a rate determined by the selected class (requiring several before any effect is seen in-game) while the green box marked "weapon" will give one random weapon unlock at the end of the mission, with the level of the weapon based on the current difficulty and mission number. The weapon unlocked is randomly assigned: it is always one for the class being played, but not necessarily one they do not already have. Unlocking a weapon multiple times does nothing: unlocking it once allows that weapon to be equipped to all of a character's weapon slots if they feel so inclined.
The missions, with one exception in online mode, do not contain pre-placed vehicles. Only the Air Raider is able to equip vehicle drops in a special reserved slot, though a Ranger can drive one summoned by an Air Raider and the other two classes can use secondary positions if the vehicle has them. Vehicles and the Air Raider's support strikes use a system of "reload credits" to replenish themselves.
In all modes a character can replenish health using either special healing devices belonging to the Ranger and Air Raider classes, or from the health boxes randomly dropped by enemies. If the character's health reaches zero in singleplayer they are dead, and must retry the mission: there are no saves or checkpoints during a mission. Death means that all items gathered in the current mission are lost, but there are no other penalties.
In split-screen and online modes, a character is not dead if they run out of health, they are instead downed. A mission only fails if the entire team is downed at the same time and no win condition has been triggered. A character who is downed will remain in place and can still be moved around by physics effects; there is no time limit to rescue them as in some games, they will remain in the downed state until either another player gets them up or the mission ends. Long-term effects belonging to that character like Air Raider guide beacons will continue, and their own weapons will reload while they are downed, though they cannot change the one that is selected. At any time, another character can get close and revive them. The revival process is instantaneous and transfers half of the reviving character's remaining health to the downed one: this occurs even if half of the reviving character's health is more than the downed character has in total. It cannot be done if the reviving character is at critical (red) health.
There are four modes of play in 2025: singleplayer, split-screen co-op, versus and online.
The singleplayer campaign consists of 85 missions, with the player selecting a class from the four available and a difficulty setting. They are allowed to use whatever weapons and armor they have accumulated regardless of the difficulty setting.
Split-Screen Co-op Edit
This is an offline multiplayer mode where two players use the same save file with the screen split vertically. It still only uses the 85 singleplayer missions; the additional Online missions are still not available. Both players can set up their own control preferences, but inventory selection has to be done one player at a time. Once one player's inventory menu is selected, the other is "locked out" until they are done.
All Armor pickups are assigned to both classes after a mission is completed (if both are the same class, the reward is doubled), but only the class that actually picked up a Weapon item will have one awarded at the end of the mission.
Both classes being used will gain the singleplayer completion credit for the mission at the difficulty being played. Everything the second player does will also be added to the achievement / trophy progress of the first, since they are using the same save file.
This mode can be a very useful way for a single player to assist themselves; for example, getting a class weak in a particular level through by playing it as a strong class (the completion credit is awarded even if one character is downed) or using a support-focused Air Raider to occasionally use a Guide Kit or healing items to help out the primary character.
While most players are likely to forget this even exists, it is available: it is mostly useful for testing out weapons. Versus can only be played in split-screen local mode. Matches take place in maps that have no enemies, the only goal being to kill the other character; there are no respawns, with the match ending as soon as one character dies (or both do). Players can select any of the sixteen maps along with the "weather" (time of day and cloud conditions) in outdoor levels.
Versus works like co-op in terms of character selection, using character data from the currently loaded save file. Classes will have the health they have on that save file and whatever weapons have been unlocked, and can choose whatever ones they like.
Since there is no way for an Air Raider to generate reload credits in this mode, even strikes and vehicles which cannot normally be called in at the start of a singleplayer mission will start with a full set of Credits.
This mode uses a lobby system that allows up to three other players to join a game set up by the first; players can either join a lobby set to public, or be invited to join using the console's friend system. In the XBox 360 version, it is also possible to play online in split-screen mode so two players can share the same console, though for some reason this feature is not in the PS3 version.
Progression in this mode is separate to singleplayer, and the mode has 9 additional missions inserted into the standard progression, bringing the total to 94. The DLC mission packs each use their own lobby; online games set in standard missions or other DLC packs are not displayed in them.
Online mode features a weapon level limit and health limit. The level limit is based on the current difficulty level and mission, while the armor limit is also based on the class being played; Fencers have the highest Armor limit, while Wing Divers have the lowest. Inferno mode has no Armor limit.
In online mode all players will be awarded whatever Armor and Weapon items the entire team collects; it does not matter who picked them up. However, action-based trophies / achievements will only count those of the player themselves. Players cannot pause the game; pressing start brings up the normal pause menu, but action continues to occur.
Online, enemies receive a health boost based on how many players there are. Unlike 4.1, they do not receive a damage boost.
|Number of Players||Health multiplier|
This appears to be designed to prevent players grinding through online level completion in solo-only lobbies, since a Hector becomes a fearsome opponent even on Easy with tripled health and only level-limited weapons to fight it with. Notably, there is no similar multiplier for split-screen mode. It should also be noted that while the health and damage of allied NPCs and the damage from scripted artillery and airstrikes scales with the difficulty level, it does not scale for multiple players, and so some missions like Brute Force become much harder with multiple players since almost all of the Hectors in the mission will survive the airstrikes that are supposed to kill them.
The selected difficulty level also affects the level of friendly fire damage; it is never off, but is only 100% in Inferno. Attacks by other players will also have no knockdown effect unless a higher difficulty is selected.
Among a player's stats will be a percentage figure for "completion:" this is the percentage of the 1,880 possible combinations of mission, class and difficulty in Online mode. At 70% online completion. the armor and level limits can be disabled. DLC missions have their own 70% requirement not influenced by completion in the main campaign.
Players received DLC bonuses for the Japanese version, including exclusive content for purchasing the game at some web retailers:
- BM03 Vegalta Gold (Air Raiders): Available everywhere - A gold BM03 Vegalta, armed with a pair of "combat burner" flamethrowers.
- Reflectron Laser: (Wing Divers): GEO (PS3) and Amazon (Xbox 360) - First in a series of new weapons for the Wing Diver (as in, weapons the Pale Wing did not previously have) firing bouncing laser beams that can deal damage to multiple enemies.
- Mian/Setsu Pure Decoy Launcher (Air Raiders & Rangers): D3P Web Shop (PS3, Xbox 360) - A special Limpet Gun that fires grenades containing Dream Club character-themed balloons which are deployed with the alt-fire button, longer-ranged than the Air Raider's normal hand grenade decoy and with higher duration but low durability.
On July 4, 2013 a free weapon pack was released featuring four weapons with special abilities:
- Volatile Napalm (Rangers): Special grenade launcher firing incendiary rounds which create a burning area on impact, dealing damage over time and sticking to any target.
- Glepinir (Wing Divers): Orb weapon that fires homing lasers.
- Ifrit (Fencers): Shoots lock-on missiles which rain down incendiary bomblets as they pass over the target. The Fencer's only napalm-style weapon.
- Blood Storm (Fencers): A giant missile that explodes into a hailstorm of bomblets
These DLC items were later made available to all purchasers on the Playstation Network and Xbox Live services.
There are also three DLC mission packs:
- Special Forces comprises 5 levels, ending with a battle against three Argos.
- Mutant Rampage comprises 20 levels and introduces new Mutant enemies, culminating in a battle with a Mothership.
- Beyond Despair comprises 20 levels including a final set of 4 described as "impossible missions," and introduces a few new Mutants and enemy variants. It ends with a new battle with Earth Eaters and the Brain.
A list of mission descriptions with strategies is presented below, for both this game and 4.1. Including DLC and online-only missions, there are a total of 139 missions, the most in any game up to this point.
- Much like 2017 is a remake of Monster Attack, 2025 could be thought of as a remake of Global Defence Force, moving the date of the new Ravager attack from 2019 to 2025. It takes a similar approach to the appearance of the Mothership (having it arrive after the game has already started) with the giant insect outbreak initially not thought to be connected to it. It also has the Mothership destroyed halfway through the storyline rather than at the end, heralding the arrival of a new threat very similar to GDF's Floating City Adan. 2025 also brings back enemies that only appeared in GDF like the Deroy and Shield Bearer, introduces flying giant insects with a hive just as GDF did, and the DLC includes the Silver Spiders and Gold Ants which appeared in the Japan-only PSP version of GDF (as did Mutant Crimson Ants, which appear in 4.1). Moreover, it treats the actual events of GDF as not having happened; no mention is made of anything happening between the last bug's death in 2018 and the outbreak in 2025.
|Main series and remakes||Monster Attack • Global Defence Force / Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space • Earth Defense Force 2017 / Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable • Earth Defense Force 2025 / Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair • Earth Defense Force 5|
|Spin-offs||Global Defense Force Tactics • Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon • TapWars: Earth Defense Force 4.1|