If you’ve never played any of the earlier Earth Defense Force games, the first thing that you should know about the weaponry in Earth Defense Force is that it’s a diverse mix. Grenade launchers, plasma guns, lightning cannons, assault rifles, missile launchers and far far more are available to blast apart the incoming hordes of bugs and robots that are your ever-present enemy. If you have played earlier EDFs, know that EDF: IA has upped the ante by over doubling the number of weapons available to the player.
Weapon creation was an interesting monster when creating EDF:IA. We wanted to make sure that everything was balanced overall (nothing’s worse than finding one single weapon that’s simply better than all the others!) but wanted to provide the player with a massive assortment of weapons so that play style wasn’t sacrificed. In order to do this, a massively complex equation was created that takes everything about a weapon into account from reload time to blast radius to lock-ons to bullet penetration ability. Through a ton of playtesting against multiple different enemy types in controlled environments this equation was tweaked until it resulted in the ability to basically create weapons out of a pool of attributes that would be inherently balanced at each tier of play.
That’s not to say that every weapon feels the same. Far from it. On one hand we have the vanilla Trooper assault rifle, the Norwood AR series. These fire off bullets in a steady stream for relatively moderate damage just like you’d expect from an assault rifle in most games. Then we have assault rifles like the Xinxabec Hemisect that fires a bullet which forks after some travel time, or the Jet Armor’s Plantain Industries Sique series that fires off small bursts of plasma which homes in on fast moving enemies. All assault rifle class, all acting and feeling completely differently. This extends into the other weapon types as well. The Battle Armor’s Brougham series of rocket launchers are utilitarian and cause huge 10+ meter explosive radius blasts. On the other hand you have the Finnish-made Ukkonen series that fires off four hard to aim but explosive projectiles, great for taking out swarms of bugs (or herds of pesky Finnish reindeer.)
My personal favorite weapon series is the Jet Armor’s Neptanzer assault weapons. Up until EDF:IA, Pale Wing in EDF2 was my favorite method of blowing up bugs from any EDF game to date. My weapon of choice in EDF2 was the Rapier series of weapons. These weapons fired off an extremely rapid firing wildly inaccurate burst of short ranged lasers. With this in hand, I’d go “jousting” against large enemies by getting up to speed in Pale Wing’s jet pack and launching myself into the enemy’s teeth. Very effective! The Neptanzer series changes up the lasers of the Rapier for bolts of phased-pulse energy that highly resembles bolts of lightning. It lacks the sheer power at close range that the Rapier has but more than makes up for it in the improved ability to take out swarms of enemies instead. In my book, nothing beats a multipurpose weapon that’s usable against any enemy type as long as you’re willing to be creative.
We really went all out to make sure that the weapon selection in EDF:IA was the best yet. There are weapons that will be simple, utilitarian and usable by anyone. These are perfectly serviceable and many players will stick with these. We also know that players love the weird, out there weapons like the Air Tortoise (which travels at about a foot a second but packs a huge punch when it finally blows up). That’s why we made sure to include “experimental” weapons like the Jagiri Systems ADD Missile Launcher. It fires extremely high yield high explosive missiles that track down and demolish any silicate based life that it finds. Problem is that the Ravagers are carbon based like us. Oops. The game is littered with these little weapons that may not work “correctly” but in the right hands can be just as effective as anything else that the player could choose. So whatever you decide to arm yourself and your friends with for your bug exterminating fun, know that while there are over 300 weapons in the game, all of them work. Sort of.