My first impressions of Earth Defense Force: World Brothers were negative. I wouldn’t say I liked the new graphical direction, and I would have waited another two years for a mainline entry before playing this. However, after seeing it in action, I found an appreciation for its quick and satisfying mission structure as well as its charming characters.
The Earth Defense Force series has always been a campy mess of missions revolving around gearing up different classes of soldiers and taking down giant monsters. It’s a sound design that only improves across each entry as the developer increases the number of enemies on the screen and raises the level of destruction across the various environments.
However, while the series kept leaning towards and more realistic and graphics-intensive style, I couldn’t help but question the existence of Earth Defense Force: World Brothers. It utilizes a voxel graphic design that makes it more in line with a Minecraft or Lego game. It also includes one-off jokes said by the characters the represent their appearance. It’s charming, but as a longtime EDF fan, I couldn’t help but be confused as to why it exists in the first place.
There’s hope here, though. After seeing the English version of the game in action, I found a newly acquired interest in the humoristic approach as the core action is still there. Players will group up in parties of 4 and take on missions to repair Earth after an invasion. This simple plot causes the EDF crew to go out and search for more members to enlist into their ranks. Players can switch between any of the four characters during solo play and utilize their gear and special abilities during a fight.
The destruction of the environment is also present as the colorful cityscape turns to scrap from your arsenal. However, there’s still a very child-like appeal to the entire experience, and it comes off extremely playful. It’s entertaining to a degree and almost as mindless as a mainline title, but I feel like this game is supposed to be enjoyed by gamers half my age or streamers looking for zany content to play for their viewers.
The co-op will be one of the main factors of enjoyment in this game because playing by yourself can probably only get you so far. I don’t mean you can’t complete the game in solo mode, but I feel like it would lose its fun factor after a few hours of shooting down giant bugs by yourself. I think the co-op is where I can see myself having fun with this game. Blasting through massive creatures is fun, no matter the graphics.
One thing I noticed is that there was no significant slowdown during the action. The game ran smoothly, but this wasn’t the Switch version, which I’m a little worried about considering how much goes on during missions. Regardless, I was glad to see a layer of challenge to these stages, which will put veteran players’ skills to the test.
Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is meant for a younger audience, but it retains the Kaiju slaying zaniness the series is known for. The developer took a chance on this direction, and it pays off in terms of who the target audience is, but I’m still left confused, wondering if this is the EDF experience I want right now. Will I be playing when it releases in the west? Hell yes, I will! But I only hope I have a group of friends ready to spend a few hours saving this voxel world with me.
Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is coming to PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC on May 27, 2021.
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