The Fencer is the heavy soldier class in Earth Defense Force 2025 and Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair.
The Fencers are an elite EDF unit chosen to wear a special "Power Frame" strength-multiplying exoskeleton. The exoskeleton allows the Fencer to wear a suit of heavy armour that a normal infantryman could not even move, and in addition carry weapons that could normally only be mounted on vehicles.
The vast strength of the Power Frame allows a Fencer to carry a weapon in each hand, up to a tank-grade cannon. Since they can still swap between two weapon sets, this means that a Fencer can equip twice as many weapons as a Wing Diver or Ranger and one more than an Air Raider. The Fencer still only has one reload button, and so will reload both weapons at once if they are not full.
While the Power Frame allows the Fencer to carry outsized weapons, it does not negate all of their effects; certain large weapons have negative effects on the Fencer's movement and aiming speed, and some also give his movement increased inertia, making him glide to a halt rather than just stopping. These effects only apply to the weapons the Fencer is currently holding, however; if the other weapons the Fencer had are light, the heavy pair will not affect how he handles while the light weapons are selected.
Fencers are also armed with a variety of close-range weaponry designed to take advantage of their toughness, and can carry a special Shield into battle which has the ability to repel projectiles. This means they are well-suited to missions involving penetrating enemy defenses, such as defeating Shield Bearers. NPC Fencers do not tend to shut up about this: even if there is no Shield Bearer available for them to assault in the current mission, they will still be attempting to will one into existence.
NPC Fencers also walk everywhere: even if they have a weapon with a thruster, they will never use it. Their Shields appear to be purely cosmetic, and they certainly do not use their deflector.
The heavy suit means they are normally the slowest and most unwieldy soldier class, but many weapons augment their mobility with a set of thrusters mounted on the Fencer's backpack, which allow for either a boost-assisted jump or a boost dash. A weapon's stat card will include if it adds a booster to the Fencer and if so what kind.
Fencers have the highest starting armor of any playable class at 250, and fastest armor growth at 0.58 HP per armor item acquired. In EDF 4.1, he has a lower armor growth rate at 0.53 HP per armor item pickup. They also have the highest armor limits in online play. Like the Wing Diver, the Fencer is not able to occupy the driver's position of any vehicle except Walking Fortress Balam in EDF 4.1.
Many of a Fencer's weapons have a function on both triggers on that side. It is important to look at a weapon's stat card to know what this function is, since a lot of a Fencer's mobility comes from the thrusters that some weapons are equipped with.
There are four possible functions that a weapon might assign: a side thruster allows a horizontal dash in any direction, with a short pause between dashes, a back thruster allows a large vertical leap of fixed height. A Shield uses the alternative function key for its reflect ability. Finally, some of the cannon weapons have a zoom mode to enable accurate targeting at range.
The Fencer is normally the slowest class, with their sidestep in particular resembling a beached whale on Valium. However, with the right moves they can actually outpace even a Wing Diver.
The key to this is dash cancelling. Normally, the Fencer's ground dash move has a short run-out animation before it can be executed again, but this animation can be cancelled with several that are much faster, allowing for continuous dashes. The classic method is to use a Shield's deflector function (use button) as soon as the dash concludes. An even faster method is to use a Javelin Catapult and fire it after each dash (Javelin cancelling), since this will reset the animation almost instantly, though it does mean the Fencer has to do without a Shield in that weapon pair. This works with the Jevelin Catapult and Twin Javelin Catapult only; the "Storm" versions are useless for it.
In EDF 2025 the Fencer would often get hung up on small pieces of scenery such and cars and railings, which could have fatal consequences if they were dashing to evade a swarm. 4.1 deals with this by allowing the Fencer to destroy minor obstructions simply by touching them.
Back Thrusters are improved by allowing the Fencer to perform directional jumps; he will now jump in the direction the stick is held, and it is actually quite a fast way to get around. Activating the Back Thruster without touching the stick will result in the original high jump; directional jumps are lower.
Side thrusters have also been improved and are now more powerful, boosting faster and further.
A new riposte move is also added to aid the Fencer in recovering from knockdowns. This is triggered by activating a booster (side or back) immediately before the Fencer touches the ground. If done correctly, the Fencer will instantly recover from the knockdown with a dash.
There are additional buffs to some weapons; most notably, all Shields have their reflection cost halved, and Reflectors have their durability doubled.
This is no ordinary chunk of metal; the Fencer's Shield is made from an advanced alloy and incorporates a portable forcefield generator derived from Ravager technology encountered in the 2017 war. This allows it durability beyond any normal material.
There are four main classes of Shield. The starting Shield is the all-rounder Deflection Shield, while other classes are the Tower Shield, with improved defense and the highest durability but slow movement and turning speed, especially when it is raised, and the Ion Mirror Shield and Reflector which are specialised for reflecting enemy attacks, with Reflectors in particular having such a low durability rating that they are practically useless as actual shields.
The Shield has its own hitpoints, its "durability," which represent the device heating up. When they are fully depleted, the Fencer will have to "reload" the shield to allow it to cool down. During this time it cannot be used. The normal reload button cannot be used to reload a Shield before it is fully depleted, but repeatedly using the secondary function can be used to deplete its remaining capacity and force a reload. This is a good idea if there is some idle time prior to re-engaging in combat.
Simply holding up the Shield using the attack button will apply a percentage decrease to all incoming damage in a set angle; the number shown on the Shield's stat card is what percentage of damage is negated in this way. The shield still suffers the full damage of the attack, and the Fencer will be pushed back a distance determined by the attack's power.
Most lighter weapons can still be fired while holding up the Shield, though CC Strikers and some heavy weapons cannot. If for some reason the Fencer uses a Shield in each hand and holds up both, their defense angles are added together and their multipliers are stacked (for example, holding up two shields with a 180-degree arc that reduce damage by 90% would mean the Fencer had 360-degree protection and took 1% damage) but both Shields take the full damage from the hit.
The Shield's effects do not stop there, though. By using the other trigger ("use") with a Shield equipped, the Fencer will use the built-in deflector system. This creates a forcefield that pushes outwards from the Shield's surface, which can intercept projectiles and reflect them towards the Fencer's current point of aim, allowing a Fencer to kill an enemy with their own attacks. This reflection costs a fixed percentage of the Shield's hitpoints no matter how many projectiles are reflected, and is one of the Fencer's most powerful abilities. Almost all projectiles can be reflected in this way, though reflecting cannot cancel out explosions or physical attacks like a Crimson Ant's bite.
The "reversal range" of a Shield affects how large the reflection effect is and how far it travels. However, this is a double-edged sword; the larger the reversal effect, the slower the animation for using the reflection ability. This also effects the speed of dash-cancelling.
If a shield is held up it is possible for a Ranger to replenish its hitpoints with a Reverser, while a Reverse Shooter will replenish the hitpoints of any equipped shield a Fencer has, even if they do not hold it up. This does not work with the Air Raider's life-replenishing items, however.
Close-Combat Strikers are a series of unique and powerful short-range weapons that can only be used by the Fencer. They resemble old-fashioned melee weapons such as hammers, axes and swords, but are actually high-tech energy weapons.
CC Strikers each have two or three possible attacks governed by an energy bar that is charged by holding down the fire button for that weapon; the bar will turn from blue to yellow to red to indicate which attack will be triggered if the button is released, though weapons with only two attacks skip the yellow phase. Their stat card will show the damage and effect radius or range of these attacks separated by forward slashes.
It should be noted that many of these weapons propagate effects through the ground; swinging a weapon that does so while in the air will do nothing at all. Neither will the weapon affect aerial enemies, even if they are within its apparent blast radius. Ground-propagating weapons can generally destroy buildings, while those which fire projectiles through the air cannot. Several have other interesting effects in their effect radius such as destroying silk threads from Spiders.
All CC Strikers except the Force Blade, Force Axe and Dynamo Blade also produce an effect like holding up a Shield while their attack animation is playing, and as with shields show the amount they reduce incoming damage by, confusingly labelled as their "Defense Damage." This means constantly using a CC Striker will offer a degree of protection against enemies at close range. Using two, alternating which, will provide this effect almost constantly.
Prior to the 1.03 balance patch for 2025 the "force" weapons and the Dynamo Blades did much less damage; in some cases patch 1.03 more than doubled the amount, making these previously mediocre weapons vastly more useful.
The Vibro Hammer series, including the Finest Hammer, are weapons which create powerful ground-based straight-line shockwaves. The first model has no level 2 charge, but the others do.
The Vibro Roller is a stranger beast, a hammer with tank treads attached to its head that results in an attack where the Fencer charges forward with the head on the ground and creates a massive straight-line shockwave. This is shorter-ranged than the Vibro Hammer's shockwaves, but deals far more damage.
The Vibro Hakens, including the final Quake Haken, are low-damage Strikers with fast charge-up times and a broad area of effect. Their stage 2 and stage 3 attacks fire multiple shockwaves in a fan-shaped pattern rather than just one.
Vulcan Hammers are a massively powerful derivative of the Vibro Hammer, generally generating a short-ranged circular blast effect around the point of impact with only the stage 1 charge firing forwards, but have the highest single-hit damage of any Striker. They also have long striking animations, meaning their very substantial defense boosts are active for a long time. The first two models have been nerfed slightly in 4.1, losing their ridiculous +80% defense bonus (now +65% and +75%), though the final one still gives +90%. Despite the Vulcan Hammer ZD only being level 56, it is a serviceable weapon even on Inferno difficulty.
Force Blades are the first weapon not to use ground propagation, instead firing a "sword arc" forwards using forcefield technology. They lack a middle stage and do not do enormous damage, but charge quickly and have good range. As noted, this weapon and the two below have no damage reduction effect.
The Force Axe is a faster derivative of the Force Blade that works similarly. The first model is a 2-stage charge that works exactly like a Force Blade, but the other two have a 3-stage charge with the final level moving forwards like a short-ranged Vibro Roller and firing the shot significantly further.
The Dynamo Blades including the final Dyna Force Blade are beefed-up Force Blades with similarly beefy charging times; their damage is much greater, but it is their range that shows the greatest increase, with the last two having a 3-stage charge that has a range of 1 kilometre (!) meaning these are the world's first sniper swords.
Interestingly, Axes and the stage 3 charge of the Dyna Force Blade have a unique piercing ability which allows their attack to pass through a Shield Bearer's screen, though the engine tags projectiles that have done this and prevents them dealing damage to the Shield Bearer itself (showing this behavior is intentional). They will also pass through Retiarius webs, and the range of the Dyna Force Blade means it can even pass through Earth Eaters.
The Piercers are a longer-ranged companion to the Strikers. They are designed for directional attacks against a single enemy or line of enemies, and require aiming like a firearm. They have no defense-boosting functions, relying on distance rather than damage reduction.
All CC Piercers are a ram assembly that propels a large object towards an enemy. The signature Piercer, the Blasthole Spear, fires an enormous steel spike which penetrates an enemy and then injects plasma into them to cause an explosion. This can attack multiple enemies at once, and attacking twice in a row in quick succession triggers a lunging attack with better damage and far greater range than the normal attack.
The Blast Twin Spear is a variant on the same theme. This weapon features an automatic boost when fired and attacks with two spears at the same time, consuming two ammunition per shot but dealing incredible damage. Like the Blasthole Spear, a quick follow-on attack leads to an even more powerful lunge.
The Spine Driver sacrifices the Blasthole Spear's penetration and lunge attack for a stronger first attack.
The Flashing Spear and Jackhammer weapons are rapid-fire versions of the Blasthole Spear and Spine Driver, weaker than a single attack with either of the latter and lacking the Blasthole Spear's lunge ability, but more useful against swarms. They can be thought of as the submachine guns of the Fencer's arsenal. It must be noted however that the Flashing Spears come with a short "startup" animation, limiting their usage in kiting: the Jackhammer has no such issue, but it cannot cancel the run-out animation after a side-dodge like the Spears can. The Jackhammer also allows the Fencer to defeat his enemies with a comically large mechanical fist.
This category is mostly the Fencer's equivalent of the Ranger's assault rifles, and includes Gatling guns and single-barrel heavy machine guns. There are also automatic shotguns and some oddities like Flame Revolvers and the Disruptor energy weapon.
There are two types of Hand Gatling: the FG series deal more damage per shot and have superior range, while the UT series have more ammunition. Both types have long reloads and take a short time to spin up before firing their first shot, and have a small but controllable amount of muzzle climb; this is increased, though still manageable, if two are fired at once.
The Galleon Cannon is a single-barrel or dual-barrel heavy machine gun with a much slower rate of fire than the Hand-Gatlings, but much higher per-shot damage. The back-mounted twin version fires faster, while the handheld single-barrel version is more powerful.
The Dexter Automatic Shotgun is a belt-fed shotgun with a similar rate of fire to the Galleon, but high damage with a broad spread of shot. It is useful against aerial foes and at close range.
The Disruptor is a powerful direct-fire energy weapon. Like the Ranger's Fusion Blaster, it fires a continuous beam and cannot be reloaded. A Disruptor will continue to fire even if the fire button is released, but it is possible to cease firing by switching to the Fencer's other weapon set.
The Flame Revolver is one of the Fencer's stranger weapons, a special rotary gun which generates enormous amounts of heat in its barrels before firing off a powerful jet of flames. The Flame Revolvers are very powerful in tunnel levels, but have the longest spin-up time of any Fencer weapon (4-6 seconds) and ridiculous recoil; it is impossible to aim two Flame Revolvers at the same time since the recoil is so strong the Fencer will end up looking straight up. The recoil of a single Flame Revolver is still hard to control: it can bought to heel to an extent by increasing turning speed in the options menu.
This category mostly consists of arcing-fire weapons, including tank-grade cannons, area suppression "Javelin Catapults" and heavy mortars. It also contains two oddities, the one-off Powerdyne and Ifrit weapons.
The Hand Cannon is a modified tank gun designed for infantry use, and is the Fencer's version of a sniper rifle. It fires massive armor-piercing shells that arc with distance, and is equipped with a zoom as its use option for precise fire. Notably, the Fencer must alternate fire if he is carrying two Hand-Cannons (though this is common for Artillery weapons), since there is a set-up animation for each shot, though two guns still fire faster than one. Hand Cannons can be used for dash cancelling, and in fact can fire faster than normal if one dashes immediately after firing.
The Gallic Heavy Cannon is a slower-firing but even more powerful version of the Hand-Cannon with a flatter trajectory and superior range. If dual-wielded, it can make a Fencer deal the same effective damage over time as an Epsilon Armored Railgun.
The Cannon Shot is a gigantic slow-firing flat-trajectory shotgun firing a huge cloud of up to 80 projectiles at a time. Individual shot damage is low, but the entire cloud is devastating and the range is enormous.
The Canister Cannon is similar to the Cannon Shot, but with a lower count of high-damage projectiles that arc with gravity
Javelin Catapults are primarily useful for dash-cancelling and hard to use for anything else since they fire in an arc offset 45 degrees from the current point of aim. They are more or less useless as weapons on their own, being slow-firing semi-automatics, but having two will "couple" them; holding fire on both will then result in very fast fully automatic fire which can saturate an area with steel darts.
The Javelin Storm versions, on the other hand, are useless for dash cancelling but reasonably effective in their own right, firing a large burst of up to sixty darts at a time. They cannot be coupled like the regular Javelin Catapult.
The Fencer has three types of Mortar at his disposal, all of which fire arcing explosive rounds. The Light Mortar has the lowest damage but does not have the setup time of the other two, allowing it to be used quickly, and features a large magazine for sustained fire. The Heavy Mortar deals far greater damage, but at the cost of a short setup animation prior to each shot and a smaller magazine. The smallest magazine is that of the Dispersal Mortar, a version which fires up to twenty submunitions per shot to saturate an area with firepower.
Ifrit is a DLC-only weapon, an odd lock-on rocket that deploys 15 (2025) or 30 (4.1) napalm submunitions over its target. Being only level 2, it is only suited to use on Easy.
Similarly, the Powerdyne is also a one-off, a piercing energy weapon with a zoom that cannot be reloaded and has ten shots. For a level of just 2, its 700 damage is actually a lot and it is well worth using if playing on lower difficulties.
This category includes a series of powerful guided weapons, some of which can only be used with the assistance of an Air Raider with a Guide Kit or Guide Beacon Gun. They generally do not include a thruster.
Like all guided weapons, they use a red bounding box that is of a specific size depending on the weapon, and must be locked on before firing by placing a target in the bounding box until it is properly acquired. The crosshair will change shape to show this has happened and the beeping lock-on tone will end with a cheerful ping. If the weapons are used to lock on to an Air Raider's Guide Kit or Guide Beacon, multi-target missiles can all be locked on to a single target, allowing them to deal enormous damage.
Among these perhaps the most versatile and distinctive are the High-Altitude Impact Missiles. These back-mounted launchers can lock on to a large number of targets and fire vertically, and are one of the Fencer's best weapons for dealing with swarms and flying enemies at range. If two are used, they will generally both lock on to the same targets if used together; damage can be spread out and fire rate sustained if the Fencer locks on one and then the other. Care must be taken since the missiles are soft-launched and fall slightly before their boosters ignite; if the Fencer is moving or standing on rubble the missiles may hit the ground tail-first and explode.
The Arm Hound series are fast-firing, fast-reloading, low-damage launchers with large splash damage, slightly inferior to a Ranger's Emerald launchers in terms of per-missile damage, but with more missiles.
Arcane 6-Barrel Missiles deal more damage but do not reload as quickly. In EDF 2025 they had the problem that the firing animation was always done with the launchers level, which would sometimes result in the lower missiles crashing into the ground instantly and harming the Fencer. In 4.1 they are fired at the same angle as the crosshair.
There are only two Blood Storm missile launchers, with the first being DLC. These work a little like the Ifrit, but fire explosive rather than incendiary bomblets as they pass over the target.
Haytal Multiple Missiles are something of an oddity; they require Air Raider guidance, and fire a spread of 15-30 small missiles which all lock on to a single target extremely rapidly; while they say they can have 15-30 targets, in practice it is very difficult to not have them all lock on to a single Guide Beacon even if there are several present, though it is possible to shift the aim point of a Guide Kit to have the missiles hit different targets. The missiles are fired in a very wide horizontal spread (narrowed somewhat in 4.1), and so care must be taken that they do not hit anything close by. If two launchers are fired together, the Fencer will fire one and then the other in turn. Because they are fired in a wide spread and have poor turning performance, they are only useful at long range.
The Phoenix is a powerful missile that must be guided by an Air Raider, with high damage and a fast reload allowing for prolonged bombardment of tough enemies. It is particularly well-suited to use with a Guide Beacon Gun, since this will allow repeated attacks on a tough enemy while the Air Raider goes and does something else.
The almighty Leviathan is a Fencer's ultimate weapon, a gigantic, slow-moving cruise missile with an incredibly long lock-on time and a tiny lock-on box, and a requirement for Air Raider guidance, that is capable of dealing incredible damage with a huge blast radius if it connects. It should be noted the Leviathan missile, particularly the final Wild Leviathan, is ridiculously large, and if the Air Raider is standing too close to the Fencer both of them may be killed the instant the missile's collision box appears.
- The Fencer's armor is based on Japanese samurai armor.
- Several Fencer weapons with different names (all containing "Titania") were usable by Storm 1 in the PS Vita version of Earth Defense Force 2017. These added an inertia effect to Storm 1's movement even if they were not the weapon he was holding, giving a good clue as to why these weapons were not given to Rangers in the 2025 war, assuming Storm 1 ever used them in the first place.
- Many Fencer weapons feature an animation glitch when firing upwards; if the right-hand gun is reloaded, the left-hand gun will be held level during the reloading animation no matter where it is being aimed. This occurs the other way around with Jackhammers. This can result in a amusing sights like a Hand-Gatling firing bullets at 90 degrees to its barrels.