One of the many draws of the Earth Defense Force series is the vast number and unique variety of weapons available. Not only are there the weapons seen in many modern shooting games, such as assault rifles and rocket launchers, there are also very uncommon weapons. These include the air tortoise, acid gun, and burner. The weapons are broken up into 7 distinct groups (8 or more in EDF 2 and several more in 2025), each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Click on any of the following weapon types to see a list of all the weapons in those categories. This will show all weapons from all games in the series.
Assault Rifles: One of the most versatile weapon types, assault rifles have a high rate of fire in relation to the other weapons and do a large amount of damage. There is a large variety of assault rifles, some with a very high rate of fire and low damage, and others that slowly do massive damage. The accuracy varies among the rifles with many only good in short to medium range, and a select few effective at very long ranges.
Shotguns: With the amount of close range combat that takes place in the fight against the Ravagers, the shotguns are an excellent choice in many levels. Each shot produces multiple projectiles, thus increasing the overall damage. Although range is almost completely sacrificed with most shotguns, there are some that allow a relatively long range with a very tight spread.
Sniper Rifles: Not only do sniper rifles do huge amounts of damage, they also allow for extremely long range shots with their scopes and high accuracy. They excel against hectors and carriers because of their accuracy, especially the Hector MkII with the small area where damage can be taken. The main drawback of snipers is their predominantly low rate of fire.
Missile Launchers: Very powerful and useful at almost any range, missile launchers can be used for a variety of tasks. Many are able to do massive damage but the main draw is that they automatically home in on their target. The downside of them is that they are a slightly weaker version of their non-homing counterparts, the rocket launchers, and in EDF 2017 they are generally ineffective against carriers since they will target the ants being dropped instead of the carrier itself.
Rocket Launchers: One of the most damaging weapon types, rocket launchers are useful in a plethora of situations. The explosive nature of them is very helpful against swarms as many enemies can be killed with a single shot. Although they do not home like missile launchers, they should be a part of almost any weapon set due to their long range and significant explosive power.
Grenades: Grenades are one of the tougher weapon types to use because of their arc. They do an extremely high amount of damage but generally have a low fire rate and a low range as well. However, with some practice they can be some of the most lethal weapons in the game.
Special Weapons: All other weapons are placed into the highly diverse category of special weapons. This includes memorable weapons such as the burner and more useful weapons such as the ZEXR-Gun turret. Unfortunately the special weapons were not included in the most recent installment to the series, Insect Armageddon (though the Tactical Armor was able to set up multiple types of turrets likely based off those from 2017).
In Monster Attack, Global Defense Force, and Earth Defense Force 2017 essentially the only way to acquire new weapons is to pick up weapon drop crates from the killed enemies. With every enemy killed there was a chance of a weapon crate being dropped. The higher the difficulty, the better the weapons that are available in the weapon drops. This continued somewhat in Insect Armageddon with only about 100 of the 300+ weapons unlocked by weapon drop. The best drop weapons are still only available while playing inferno but the weapons can only be dropped by elite Ravagers. Earth Defense Force 2025 returns the series to its roots of weapons all being dropped via crates picked up in levels, and The Shadow of New Despair very likely continues this tradition, leaving Insect Armageddon as a unique variation.
One thing that was added in Insect Armageddon was the ability to unlock weapons by leveling up the armor. Each level virtually doubles the effectiveness of the weapons and costs over twice as much experience as the previous level. Each armor must level up individually and unlock their own weapons. The downside of this style of unlocks is that with each level, the weapons from the previous tier become essentially useless.
Clearing a Difficulty
In Earth Defense Force 2017, there are 5 weapons that cannot be unlocked by the weapon drop system. These weapons are require a complete playthrough of all 53 levels on a difficulty. The Zero Laser Rifle, for instance, is unlocked by successfully beating every level on the easy difficulty. However, this also means that access to the premier weapon, the Genocide Gun, cannot be achieved until the entire Inferno difficulty has been cleared.
Super -cide WeaponsEdit
In Earth Defense Force 2017, once all 53 levels are complete on the Inferno difficulty, the Genocide Gun is unlocked. It is the most powerful gun in the entire EDF series with a damage level of 1,000,000. The gun also has a very large blast area at 75m, allowing it to take out entire swarms with ease. However, in case the first shot doesn't kill every enemy, it possesses an exceptionally fast reload time as well.
The follow-up to the Genocide Gun was the Pesticide weapons in Insect Armageddon. Each armor has their own pesticide weapon but they are unlocked in a very different way. To gain access to the Pesticide weapons, an armor must level up to tier 8. Once this is achieved, even the Inferno difficulty can be beaten with relative ease as the guns possess massive power and explosive radius. Although they do not pack quite as much punch as the Genocide Gun, with 500,000 damage, they do have, by far, the largest blast radius at 150m.