REVIEW: ‘Earth Defense Force: World Brothers’ Will Satisfy All Fans (PC)

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Earth Defense Force: World Brothers

The Earth Defense Force series has fans for a lot of different reasons. Some may enjoy its ridiculous weapons and massive scale of conflicts, while others appreciate the sometimes grueling difficulty and challenge best taken on with a few friends. Thankfully, Earth Defense Force: World Brothers has a little something for every type of Earth Defense Force fan. 

Developed by Yuke’s and published by D3 Publisher, Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is helmed by series producer Noboyuki Okajima, which has ensured that the spirit of Earth Defense Force (EDF) is present despite its new aesthetic. For those who did not know, the newest EDF sports a voxel style that reimagines the series’ beloved characters, weapons, and enemies all in fresh cubic glory. From iconic giant ants to massive hovering motherships, World Brothers has it all in a great new art style. 

The new voxel design is well-detailed and brings a newer, more family-friendly atmosphere. Levels include rainbows in the background and end with team members dancing to pop music as if they were in a commercial in the middle of an episode on the Disney Channel. The tonal shift is not a bad one at all. It is more often than not pretty funny since it is EDF, but it could deter some players looking for the series’ usual tone. 

Another consequence of the voxel design is an increased amount of destructibility on each level players battle throughout. Being able to smash buildings to pieces and level an entire city suburb always feels great, but World Brothers could have stood to dial up the destruction a bit. As it sits, it is only possible with a select number of vehicles and explosive weapons, and the destruction happens too rarely. 

But World Brothers also features an entirely new way to play an EDF game. Players control a team of four soldiers that they can switch between at any time. Every soldier has their own weapon, ability, and ultimate ability to use. With the game featuring up to four-player co-op, it can get wonderfully chaotic when playing with a full team. The stable of available characters covers a wide range, from some of the more iconic classes taken from the series’ past to new themed characters like the Panda Brother or Tapioca Sister. 

Players get new characters at a steady rate. Every level has three random characters spawn that need to be revived by the player. Afterward, they join the team and are available for use on the next mission. The rescuable characters can repeat, but rescuing a character you already have available levels the character up rather than unlocking an entirely new one. Characters can go up to level 10, and other characters can use their weapon once they reach the max. 

The abilities of characters also have a lot of variety. For example, the previously mentioned Panda Brother, a man in a panda mascot suit and not a real panda disappointingly, has a salvo rocket launcher that can lock onto six enemies each shot. In addition, their ability allows them to clap their hands together to stun enemies around them while their ultimate sees Panda Brother spawning copies of himself before they all summersault forward, killing any enemies they run into. 

Other characters have abilities that throw fire grenades, dodge roll, fly in the air, or rocket forward with the help of a hoverboard, cloud, or jetpack. Weapons also have a wide variety, from rocket launchers to seeking assault rifles and even just straight-up fists. Ultimate abilities range from healing other team members to massive airstrikes and area of effect buffs. There are dozens and dozens of characters, meaning that players have an easy time piecing together the perfect team for themselves. 

Earth Defense Force World Brothers

Team building becomes particularly important when playing on a higher difficulty. World Brothers comes with five difficulties packaged in and a sixth coming down the line as downloadable content. The higher difficulty levels are where World Brothers shines, as it forces players to create well-balanced teams. On lower difficulties, it is effortless to play as a single team member for the entire mission. Still, harder difficulties make switching necessary to tackle the different enemy types and spread out the damage across all four health pools. 

There are 60 levels in total, each with its own flavor and spread out across many locations. There is a wide variety of enemy types, and the addition of vehicles on some levels also helps mix up the gameplay. Vehicles are very powerful, but they do come with some awkward controls, limited ammunition, and a limited health pool to force players to be smart with their use. However, one of World Brothers’ best moments is jumping into a giant mech and punching through buildings as one fights an army of bugs or even a massive kaiju. The gameplay has a great sense of scale and weight that makes it feel great and epic despite the more cartoonish new art style. 

The weakest part of World Brothers comes in its story. Now, Earth Defense Force has never been a series that cared too much about the plot or the story of its entries, but World Brothers is particularly poor on this front to the point of obtrusion. Story beats are delivered through voice communications throughout missions, with most of them being pretty forgettable and bland. The story does have bits of humor, but they are usually meta jokes that don’t land particularly well or are odd objectives like spending a few missions helping Ninja Brother track down miso to make soup for the team. 

While the strange plot lines and lackluster dialogue are not a huge deterrent throughout the game or that strange for a title aiming to be more family-friendly, it is disappointing how much possibility World Brothers leaves on the table. The plot of helping piece a cubic world back together after an alien force shattered it is not integrated into the gameplay much at all. It is referenced in the dialogue, but it would have been great had mission objectives reflected that goal and been more unique to this entry in the series. 

The story also misses an opportunity to really give the different brothers and sisters strong, unique personalities. There are some missions where players run into characters like Cowboy Brother or Ninja Brother that drive the story briefly. Still, it is unfortunate that they don’t really have any personality at all. Every character is written very similarly when the amount of visual character and variety of themes was a great opportunity to pump some life into them beyond having the characters be light-hearted and peppy. 

However, Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is still an excellent entry in the series. It is an entry that should satisfy fans who are itching to blow up some giant ants and is a wonderful starting point for new players. The new gameplay style is a fun new way to play while keeping the heart of the series alive. The new voxel aesthetic also gives World Brothers its own style, but it also allows the game to have the best technical performance of any title in the series. The game easily handles a myriad of enemies with explosions, effects, and destruction without any hitch, which helps the action feel good and smooth throughout every mission. 

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

However, Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is still an excellent entry in the series. It is an entry that should satisfy fans who are itching to blow up some giant ants and is a wonderful starting point for new players. The new gameplay style is a fun new way to play while keeping the heart of the series alive. The new voxel aesthetic also gives World Brothers its own style, but it also allows the game to have the best technical performance of any title in the series. The game easily handles a myriad of enemies with explosions, effects, and destruction without any hitch, which helps the action feel good and smooth throughout every mission.