The Ranger is the successor to the old Storm 1 and Infantry standard character classes and the jack-of-all-trades character in Earth Defense Force 2025 and Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair.
Rangers form the core of the EDF ground forces and are highly trained frontline infantry able to use a variety of weapons and respond to many situations, admittedly usually by dying a lot. They are the most common type of NPC encountered in the two games.
The Ranger is the class selected by default and includes text encouraging new players to try him out while they are learning the ropes. He is a good general-purpose character with no specific weaknesses other than low mobility, and is very flexible with suitable weapons for just about any situation.
The Ranger is a somewhat pared-down version of the old Storm 1, since quite a few of the older class' utility devices like sentry guns, mines and demolition charges have been given to the Air Raider. He is still the most "normal" class and has a variety of instantly recognizable weaponry at his disposal, though he is not short of weirder offerings.
The Ranger, like the Wing Diver, has two slots for equipping weapons. He has the same starting health as the Air Raider at 200, and the same armor growth at 0.47 HP per armor pickup. In EDF 4.1, he has an armor growth rate of 0.424 HP per armor. He has the same middle-of-the-road armor limit as the Air Raider in online play. Also like the Air Raider, he is able to occupy the driver's position of vehicles.
The key to moving around quickly and avoiding enemy attacks is the dodge roll move, executed by pressing the jump button while moving left or right at any angle. This not only speeds the Ranger up slightly, it also has the effect of flattening his hitbox, meaning many enemy attacks will pass harmlessly over him, and has some invincible frames. A rolling Ranger is a much smaller target than a Fencer or Wing Diver.
It is important not to roll when using burst-fire splash damage weapons like the Volcano rocket launchers and multi-shot missile launchers, as this will shift the aim point of the weapon and make it fire part of its burst into the ground, usually killing the Ranger instantly.
Hand grenades are a useful part of the Ranger's arsenal early on, but it is important to know how to use them. As in 2017, the distance they are thrown can be controlled: just tapping the fire button will drop the grenade at the Ranger's feet, which is less than optimal. Holding it will increase the range of the throw, displaying a red line to indicate the throw arc. Releasing the button at this point will throw the grenade in the displayed arc. If the arc has gone too far or the player otherwise wishes to abort the throw, switching weapons will cancel it.
If the Ranger is moving when he throws a normal grenade, the angle of the resulting throw will be altered with respect to this. This only applies to the MG-series grenades, not the DNG series which have a fixed throwing animation with a short run-up.
Recoil and burst cancelling
Useful for weapons with substantial recoil animations like the Stringer sniper rifle; switching away from the weapon while its post-firing animation is playing will skip the remainder of it, allowing a reload to begin immediately. This can also be used with slow semi-automatics like the Lysander: the Lysander runs its between-shot pause even if it is not the selected weapon to prevent it from being rapid-fired just by switching weapons twice, but if the Ranger has a second Lysander they can alternate which one they are firing with and never have to deal with the pause between shots for either. This is a very powerful tactic with dual Lysander Zs on Inferno.
A similar though unrelated tactic is to switch to a weapon that is being reloaded between shots with a slow-firing weapon, maintaining the same rate of fire as normal while using the delay to make the other weapon ready in a series of small steps.
Switching weapons while firing a burst-fire weapon will skip the remainder of the burst; this can be useful if firing will aggro an undesirable number of enemies, but mainly is worth keeping in mind to avoid wasting shots. It will also stop firing of a Fusion Blaster, which would normally fire until it ran out of ammunition.
It is important not to forget about these powerful devices when playing online; while it turns the Ranger into more of a support character, in certain situations keeping one character up and running is more valuable than another gun. For example, a Reverser can allow an Air Raider to call in a critical strike while under heavy fire that would otherwise kill him, fix a damaged vehicle, or repair a Fencer's shields enough for him to dash-cancel his way to a better position. Even in singleplayer they allow the Ranger to heal NPC allies, though this ability is more or less superseded by his new NPC-related powers in 4.1.
The Ranger Class sees a number of substantial alterations in 4.1. Of particular note is that the class now has its own abilities rather than just being "the normal one." The Ranger boasts the fastest recovery from knockdowns of any class, getting up almost the instant he lands, and can recover even faster by rolling just before hitting the ground, rather like the riposte move of the Fencer.
To avoid getting snagged on minor objects, the Ranger's evasive roll will now destroy small obstacles like fences, and, more amusingly, cars. This is explained as Rangers training their bodies until they are as tough as iron, though some players familiar with NPC Ranger behavior might suggest it is actually because their heads are full of cement. The ability seems to stop at slightly smaller objects than the Fencer's version of the same ability, but it still means the Ranger will no longer be thwarted in his escape by a knee-high fence. It seems to trigger on the invincible frames in the middle of the roll animation, which means obstacles at the very beginning or especially at the very end of a roll are sometimes not destroyed.
The Ranger also gains a unique ability to heal recruited EDF NPCs any time he picks up health himself. The NPCs must be following him rather than a teammate for this to work; they are however healed slightly less, 11% for a small health item and 21% for a large one. This does not work if the Ranger is healed by something other than a health pack; a Reverser or Life Vendor will only heal the Ranger himself.
Due to complaints about the Ranger class' weak endgame in 2025, many of his higher-level weapons have received substantial buffs to improve his performance on Inferno difficulty. He also gains a new class of shotgun, the Slug Shot, which is a very powerful single-projectile piercing weapon, and new final-level versions of the Cascade rocket launcher, the Cascade Iota, at level 70, and UM Grenade Launcher, the UMAZ, at level 90.
The Ranger has 186 weapons in 2025 and 197 in 4.1.
The Ranger's bread-and-butter rifles are the AF Series. The basic AF is a moderately powerful all-purpose weapon with a fast reload and cheerfully unrealistic magazine size of 100-180 rounds for sustained fire, making it more like a light machine gun than an assault rifle.
R models are low-power, rapid-fire weapons with hugely decreased per-shot damage and decreased range, and increased reload time. They go up to the RAR model, which is a portable Gatling gun with an enormous 999 round magazine.
The ST models handle more like battle rifles or designated marksman rifles, with increased firepower and range, at the cost of rate of fire and low ammo capacity.
B models fire in three- or four-round bursts, dealing slightly increased per-shot damage which becomes very potent with the whole burst. In line with the grand EDF tradition of including realism in the strangest places possible, bursts must be fired with separate presses of the fire button like a real burst-fire rifle; holding the trigger will only produce one burst. They are more or less a compromise between the basic AF and the ST models.
The V and X models are one-offs. The V fires bullets in two directions (hence the name), while the X is an extremely inaccurate model designed for shotgun-like area fire.
The Ranger's only other line of assault rifles are not exactly rifles at all. The Fusion Blaster series are instead continuous-beam energy weapons that fire a fairly short-ranged, perfectly accurate beam at 60 shots per second for immense damage, but cannot be reloaded. They have incredibly high damage-per-second output and a substantial amount of firepower before they are spent. Normally they will keep firing even if the trigger is released, but ammunition can be conserved by switching weapons, which will reset their firing status. In 2025 they had problems in online play from "leakage" of damage due to skipped frames (the same effect would also sometimes prevent stunlock effects from registering), but this had been completely remedied in 4.1 with improved netcode.
The Buffalo is the Ranger's standard shotgun, a slow-firing, powerful pump-action weapon with moderate spread, short range, high per-shot power, moderate capacity and the slowest reload of any shotgun.
The Sparrow Shot is the complete opposite; it is focused and longer-ranged, fully automatic, high-capacity and quick to reload, but deals about half the damage per shot.
The Governor series have low capacity but a faster reload than the Buffalos, and are focused on huge cones of fire with massive single-shot power due to a high projectile count, respectively 25, 50 and 100 (!). The Governor 100 has a recoil effect in 2025, but this was removed in 4.1.
The Wide Shot is not so much a shotgun as it is a classic 2D shooter spread gun, firing projectiles in a horizontal or vertical arc to attack broad groups. It has lower damage than the Buffalo, but a higher projectile count, and only slightly higher capacity than the Governor. The vertical VR models are not particularly useful except when attacking a single very large enemy.
The Slug Shot shotguns, including the DLC Sting Shot, are exclusive to 4.1. These shotguns are unique in that they fire a single large slug round rather than a spread of buckshot, which is able to penetrate multiple foes and deals immense damage. They have low capacity, a slow fire rate, and a moderate reload time.
The Ranger's basic sniper rifles are the MMF Series, including the final Hercules model. These are magazine-fed, slow-firing bolt-action weapons with high accuracy, reasonably fast reloads and small magazines. They are only able to attack one target at a time since they lack either penetration or a blast effect, and are thus only suited to long-range combat.
The RA models trade off range and firepower for fully-automatic fire, allowing them to be used at close range. They are no substitute for a proper assault rifle, but can at least defend the Ranger if a bug sneaks up on him. Sadly the highest-ranked RA is at level 21, and so they quickly become irrelevant. The second RA is actually weaker than the first, but benefits from a 20-round magazine that makes it more like a battle rifle with a scope. However, it is far weaker than the near-level AF19ST.
The two B models fire in 3- and 2-round bursts, for a compromise between the basic MMF and the rapid-fire RA.
The Stringer is the complete opposite of the MMF, a massively powerful single-shot cannon-like weapon firing armor-piercing rounds that can damage multiple enemies, with the best per-shot damage of any reloadable sniper rifle, but a slow reload and a requirement to reload after each shot. It is one of the Ranger's best tools for dealing with tough targets such as Transport Ships, Deroys and Hectors. The series witnesses some of the biggest buffs in 4.1, with second and third models receiving 50% damage boosts, while the final Stringer J9's damage more than doubled from 8,000 to 18,000. The three later models also all receive 50% increases to their range.
The Lysander rifles are a balance between the MMF and the Stringer, magazine-fed but with lower capacity and a slow rate of fire and reload speed, but still much higher damage than the MMFs.
The Nova Buster is the angry sibling of the Fusion Blaster, focusing all of its firepower into a single massive blast, after which it becomes useless. It is therefore very important to hit something with the single shot that is given. In 4.1, the latter two models have their firepower doubled.
Five Card X sniper rifles are mid-level weapons that can be thought of as the continuation of the MMF B series, though they fire five projectiles at once like a shotgun rather than a burst. They are comparable to MMF rifles of the same level, with slightly higher damage, and the XB also has the longest range of any sniper rifle.
Finally, the Zero Laser Rifle is a one-off oddity; in 2017 it was Storm 1's reward item for completing the game on Easy. It is essentially a longer-ranged Fusion Blaster which fires normally and has a scope, but its tiny capacity of 180 equates to just three seconds of use, and like the Fusion Blaster it cannot be reloaded.
The Ranger's standard rocket launcher is the Stingray. This is a magazine-fed launcher firing accurate unguided rockets with reasonable splash damage and blast radius, backed up with a very fast reload. It is a very useful general combat weapon, equally good against moderately tough targets and groups. The blast and multi-shot capability of later models make them very good for attacking Tunnel Exits while they are spawning enemies, since the launcher will damage the exit and the enemies coming out of it at the same time.
The Volcano series are burst-firing rocket launchers which fire off every round in them with one trigger pull. The normal versions fire rockets sequentially, while the W models fire all of them at once in a horizontal spread. They reload quickly and have a good blast radius, but only moderate damage per rocket; nevertheless, the whole volley does a lot of damage.
Cascade launchers have the lowest damage and blast radius of any rocket launcher, but the highest rate of fire and capacity. They are useful for saturating an area with fire at close range, though the first model suffers from a very long reload time.
The Plasma Bomber is not a rocket launcher at all, instead being a Wing Diver-like plasma cannon that cannot be reloaded. It features high damage, a decent fire rate, absolutely pathetic range compared to the other rocket launchers, and gigantic splash damage on the first and last models. The first and last fire one projectile at a time, while the A2 model fires a shotgun-like spread of 10 weaker projectiles.
Goliath launchers have the highest damage and second-highest blast radius after the Plasma Bombers, but only a single-shot capacity and a slow reload. They have a zoom function for accurate shooting at long range.
Like all guided weapons, the Ranger's missile launchers 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. They take a moment to "forget" their lock if aimed away, allowing them to be aimed away to clear intervening obstacles. 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.
The Air Tortoise is one of the classic weapons of the series and returns again. As ever it fires a single large slow-moving missile and takes some time to lock on (except the second model, which is actually fairly fast), but deals very high damage with a large blast radius. Early models are fast to reload, though the final model ups this to a painful 10 seconds. Some care must be taken since the missile drops slightly as it comes off the launch rail; if there are obstructions in front it can strike them and instantly explode, probably killing the Ranger in the process. Since the last model is level 43 and unlike the others lacks a fast reload, it quickly becomes irrelevant at higher difficulties.
Emerald missile launchers are multi-shot general-purpose launchers with fast reloads and lock-on times coupled with good damage. As the series goes on they gain an increasing number of locks, up to 5 in the final model. The series suffers from a huge gap of 42 levels between the ME4 and MEX5, which means the Ranger will spend the later parts of Hard and the earlier parts of Hardest without a level-appropriate variant.
The MLRA series feature the highest number of locks of any of the Ranger's missile launchers, up to 30, but deal puny damage compared to the others and only have a tiny splash radius. They are primary useful against aerial foes and Spiders. Unfortunately the series only goes up to level 47.
The FORK series are similar to the MLRA in terms of functionality, but lock all of their vertically-launched missiles onto one target for focused damage. Some care must be taken to ensure the space above the Ranger is clear in the FORK's entire fire arc, since it is very easy for the Ranger to accidentally kill himself if he fires while walking past an overhead structure like a building sign or telegraph pole.
Prominence launchers are a Ranger's most powerful. They fire a single large vertically-launched missile which travels upwards for several seconds before starting to home in. This does render them totally useless in underground missions since they will simply slam into the ceiling. The missile deals high damage with enormous splash, meaning their mediocre homing performance has little impact on their ability to deal damage. Unlike in 2017 where they were limited by a long reload time, the 2025 and 4.1 Prominence launchers reload incredibly quickly, and are instead limited by very long lock-on times, 21 seconds for the final model. They thus benefit immensely from the lock-on time reduction provided by an Air Raider's Guide Kits or Guide Beacons, with the final Prominence MA able to deal 15,000 damage every 4.5 seconds if supported with the Air Raider's top-level Guide Kit.
The grenade category includes both grenades and grenade launchers, and weapons that fire both impact and timed explosives. It is particularly important to check a weapon in this class' item card to identify what it does before attempting to use it.
The MG Series are standard thrown hand grenades. They reload the instant the throwing animation concludes and have reasonable damage, with a good blast area. The only oddity among the basic MGs is the MG13, which the EDF apparently found in a box marked "Danger" and so decided to issue to troops: this variant has the short MG throw range despite using the long DNG throwing animation, deals very high damage, and has the highest blast radius of any impact-detonated MG. The basic MG models detonate on impact, while those with J in the title are timed and deal more damage. Most have a rather hard-to-work-with 10-second fuze, while the MG14J has a more useful 5 seconds and the 13J a ridiculous 30 seconds. The J series also includes the Bound Grenade, a device that ricochets off walls for 17 seconds before dealing 7000 damage to anything within a 20-metre radius. Listening for online players saying "hey, what just killed me?" is the best way to figure out where it ended up.
The DNG Series are heavier and more powerful impact grenades that require a slower "pitching" animation. This travels forwards slightly, and so care must be taken if throwing near a ledge. They were hugely buffed by the 1.03 patch for 2025, with some having their damage almost or actually doubled, and all had their blast radius increased too.
The UM Grenade Launcher is a multi-shot rotary launcher that can fire grenades further and faster than they can be thrown by hand, at the cost of lower damage per shot. The basic versions fire impact grenades. There is a single RA variant which is essentially a grenade machine gun with high capacity but reduced damage and blast, while the later-model BRUTE and CRUMBLE launchers have lower capacity but fire a spread of 3 or 2 grenades at once. UM-type launchers with J in the name, much like grenades, fire timed explosives, with a very usable time-to-detonation of 4 seconds. All timed models are fairly low-level, but deal more damage than near-level impact launchers with a broader splash radius.
Volatile Napalm, including the Volcanic Napalm, is a specialised type of grenade launcher that fires an impact-fuzed round. Rather than exploding, however, it creates an area of flames that burns for some time and deals powerful damage-over-time. If it hits the ground it will damage any enemy that contacts it; if it hits an enemy (or anything else mobile) the flames will move around and potentially damage things around them, though the flame effect will disappear if it is attached to a corpse and the corpse vanishes. Most can fire two or four times and have a reasonable reload, though Volcanic Napalm ignores this pattern, firing one 20,000 damage shot with a 30-second reload, reduced to a still-substantial 23 seconds in 4.1. Firing Volcanic Napalm at a Fencer holding up a pair of Great Shields also has a very amusing, if completely useless, effect. The first Volatile Napalm is a DLC item, while the rest drop normally.
The Flame Geyser is a Napalm variant which fires two sticky grenades per reload. Once these attach to something, they will begin to emit a jet of flames roughly 40 meters long, perpendicular to the surface they are attached to: the jet, like any directional flame weapon, will always fire out to its full range and will flow around any surfaces it encounters. The jet is incredibly powerful and lasts for about 15 seconds, allowing four to be running at once, and will stunlock most normal enemies that attempt to walk through it. Flame Geysers are particularly potent in underground missions where two placed at right-angles will almost entirely prevent enemies from proceeding. Care must be taken not to attach them to enemies, though; on living enemies it will only barely damage them with the very beginning of the jet and if attached to their head will result in an enemy equipped with a very powerful flamethrower, while on dead enemies the jet will function like a rocket and propel the corpse around shooting fire in all directions, which, while hilarious, can also result in the Ranger's death if it moves close to him.
The Stampede is a fantastically silly grenade-firing shotgun launching between 10 and 30 arcing impact-fused rounds at once in a broad cone, effectively being a handheld version of the Dispersal Mortar used by the Fencer and the Dispersal Howitzer mounted on Buster-type BM03 Vegaltas: it is actually stronger per-shot than the Fencer Mortars, and only slightly less damaging than a Vegalta firing both Howitzers at once. It has a long reload and only a single shot per magazine, but is among the finest area suppression weapons the Ranger has access to.
The Splash Grenade is somewhat similar to the Stampede, but fires in a shorter, wider spread and shoots 20 timed bouncing grenades that explode after 10 seconds. It is very difficult to keep track of them, and quite likely to harm the Ranger since they have a wide blast radius.
The first two Sticky Grenade launchers function in the same way as the Splash Grenade, but have a shorter 4-second fuze and will adhere to any non-scenery object they encounter. The final variant, Sticky Grenade α, is totally different, firing a single very powerful grenade that is much easier to keep track of and has double the blast radius of the prior model.
Weapons that do not fit anywhere else, including flamethrowers, healing devices and, um, marbles.
Pure Decoy Launchers are DLC-only devices, actually pink Air Raider Limpet Guns, that launch a low-HP, long-duration version of the Air Raider's Decoy. There is one of them in 2025 and five in 4.1, with the one from 2025 not among them.
Acid Guns are weapons with varied effects depending on the precise model. The Acid Shots and Wide Acid Gun fire a shotgun-like blast of arcing acid splats rather like an Ant's spray attack, while the Acid Gun and Super Acid Gun fire an arcing stream, resembling a small version of a Queen Ant's attack. They are largely just gimmicks, but the Super Acid Gun is actually extremely powerful and deals slightly higher DPS than the top-level AF100 rifle, and its 60 shots / sec fire rate means it is very good at stunlocking enemies.
Flamethrowers are potent constant-fire close-range weapons. While the initial weapon in this class is literally a blowtorch, later versions are powerful, firing jets of flame that will flow around corners and pass through multiple enemies, often dealing multiple hits to the same enemy with the same shot for enormously high damage. They have a 60 shots / sec fire rate, along with high capacity and a fairly fast reload, and will typically stunlock anything in their area of effect. Unlike Wing Diver weapons like the Idunn with similar effects, they are incapable of harming the Ranger even if fired at point-blank range.
The Firecracker is a strange and rather silly weapon which functions like a grenade, but instead throws what appear to be a handful of anything up to 60 exploding marbles in a spread. Each deals low damage and has a tiny blast radius, but the damage quickly stacks up since they are thrown as fast as normal grenades. It is about as close to an Air Raider artillery strike as the Ranger is ever going to get.
The Bound Guns are rather gimmicky weapons that fire ricocheting bullets. They can be useful in underground levels, but are not particularly powerful; they typically have the same stats as the normal weapon they are based on, but with much longer range and a longer reload. The final version, PX50 Bound Shot, is a Bound variant of the Governor 50 shotgun with identical damage (though it still looks like an AF18-X like all the others do), and was 2017's reward for completing the game on Hardest as Storm 1.
Reversers are a special type of weapon: instead of dealing damage they heal whatever they strike, using nanomachines (son). This includes allies, enemies, vehicles, and the shield of a Fencer if it is held up while the device is fired at it: they can even heal the Ranger himself if pointed at his feet or fired directly into a wall, despite claiming they cannot. The basic Reverser is effectively a flamethrower that must be fired at whatever is to be healed and will pass through multiple targets, healing them all. Reversers cannot be reloaded, but usually have a generous allocation of "ammunition." In 4.1 all Reversers have at least double the ammunition, making them even better.
High-Cycle Reversers function more like the Acid Gun, firing a continuous stream of nano-goop that is shorter-ranged but has a stronger healing effect, and the High-Cycle models can also heal the most in total. However, they can only heal the specific thing they strike, and have no ability to heal the Ranger himself at all. As with the normal Reverser, in 4.1 all High-Cycle Reversers have double or more the amount of ammunition they had 2025, which in turn is double the ammunition they had before the 1.03 balance patch. Patch 1.03 also improved their healing power and the zoom on the scopes of the second and third models.
The Reverse Shooters, including the Reverse Gun and Reverse Bomber, are the other subtype of Reverser. They function like a rocket launcher, firing a projectile that creates a blast effect which heals anything within it, including the Ranger himself. While the blast deals negative damage, it will still fling enemies away, giving high-level versions a useful secondary function of clearing the area around the Ranger. The Reverse Bomber is the exception and functions like the A2 Plasma Bomber, firing 10 healing projectiles in a shotgun-like spread. These weapons will heal any shield in a Fencer's current weapon pair, even if he is not holding it up. They are the exception to 4.1's Reverser buffs, and have the same "ammo" supply that they had in 2025.
- At one point during development it was intended for the Ranger to have access to the Genocide Gun unlock from past games, but this was scrapped due to causing too many framerate issues. It can still be accessed using a modded console or mods for the PC version of 4.1 by changing the value for the Ranger's equipped weapon to "GENOCIDEGUN": it has a completed model, but shows an icon of an AF100 rifle. A video of the Genocide Gun being used in EDF 2025 can be found here.
- EDF NPC soldiers in 2025 tend to have green as their first armor color; squad leaders can be identified by having their whole helmet as the first color rather than only a stripe on the top. In 4.1 the game seems to match NPC Rangers to the selected colours of a player character Ranger if there is one, though sometimes it does not.
- A special unit of Rangers appears during the campaign, the Omega Team. This elite unit is said to be the same one that assisted Storm 1 in the final battle against the Mothership eight years earlier, and are equipped with Fusion Blasters they can fire like normal rifles and which never run out of ammunition, making them some of the most powerful NPC allies in the game.
- The joke model 13 grenades reflect a general Japanese adherence to the Western idea that the number is unlucky.