Seriously, guys. Is there something on my back?
A welcome addition is the four different suits of armor. They add some much-needed depth to the mix. You can think of these as character classes. Each armor set has 8 tiers of weapons and upgrades you can unlock by earning XP throughout the game. The armor upgrades, like extra health or additional character abilities, are applied automatically when you unlock them. New weapons can be purchased or are dropped after killing bosses and mini-bosses. The armor sets have their own unique weapons systems. Therefore, if you find an awesome assault rifle for your Jet armor, you can only use it when wearing said armor.
Each suit has its own strengths and weaknesses, and they can greatly impact the way you play the game. There's the well rounded Trooper, who can heal allies quickly and use all weapon types. The Tactical Armor can lay down powerful turrets. The Jet Armor has limited flight capabilities and is super-fast on the ground. Then there is the hulking, shield-equipped Battle Armor. I made it though my first playthrough of the campaign on "Normal" difficulty without dying once with this class. It's pretty boss.
Does all this armor add replay value? Let's crunch some numbers... if you play through all fifteen levels, in each of the four armor types, on all three difficulty levels... that equals 180 missions. You'll have to play a lot more than that if you want to max out each set, as the XP needed to jump from tier 5 to tier 6 is ridiculous...
...but so worth it.
The question is, will you want to? For every step EDF: IA takes forward, it stumbles one step back. Not only are there fewer missions, there are also fewer environments. Actually, there's only one. All of the missions take place in Old Detroit. In the first level you start killing bugs in a park, then you move into a neighborhood with small buildings. Every few levels the buildings get slightly taller. This may or may not matter to you, since the whole area looks like a parking lot by the end of each battle. At least 2017 had underground levels and a beach to break up the monotony.
The enemy Ravagers are also lacking in variety, numbers, and size. The previous title didn't have much enemy variety either, but I never felt as utterly overwhelmed as I did in 2017, even on Inferno difficulty. There's a Campaign Remix Mode you can unlock when you complete the game. It changes the enemy types for each level. It's okay, but there isn't enough enemy variation to make much of a noticeable change. Swarm enemies swarm, and boss enemies boss. Speaking of bosses, none of the boss Ravagers reach the stature of the Giant Walker, or have the sheer cheese factor of a dinosaur with frickin' lasers for arms. Now that was a boss.
Yeah, they're cool and all... but they're still no Dino Laser-Arms.
As I mentioned earlier, most of the gameplay remains the same, but there is now an active reload mechanic that is just awful. Some weapons have a realistic reload window, but others are going to take the full reload time, every time. There's also the curious decision to have the "dodge" button seperate from the "jump" button, whereas you could simply push a direction with "jump" to roll in the previous game. The radar works sporadically, as well. Vehicles have been tweaked. By "tweaked" I mean they got rid of the helicopter and hover bike entirely. The tank is still kind of a mess, but the Mech is quite serviceable. It's a shame it only appears in a handful of levels. Most of these gripes are minor, it's just frustrating that a game from four years ago did some things much better.
The whole experience seems a little stunted, as if there is more to come. Each level starts off with a load screen displaying the mission, location, and sector. The location says "New Detroit" for every single mission. Why would they do this? I suspect (but can't confirm) the same reason everyone does everything these days: future DLC.