The end of the world is close at hand, and there is only one group that can dare save us, the Earth Defense Force. The stakes are raised, and this time the earth itself has been carved into pieces—each being monitored by an alien mothership protected by giant monsters, insects, and robots. The world needs to come together to repel the enemy and restore love and peace to humanity.
This sort of story wouldn’t be out of place for most anime and definitely does not feel out of place for Earth Defense Force: World Brothers. The over the top nature of the story never really slows down and instead just keeps amping up. Being a huge fan of Japanese media, particularly Godzilla and other Tokusatsu shows, I felt comfortably at home, especially when I got to pilot a giant robot to punch a Kaiju in the face.
While saving the world is the main priority, there is also room to rescue your comrades that fell on the battlefield in a previous fight. Which then unlocks that character to play immediately if you have a slot open on your team or in the next mission if you are all full up. I have noticed that even if I have a full team, the rescued new members are still running around the map, trying their best to help fight.
The characters that populate each mission appear to be random, and you can get up to three per stage. Anytime you get a duplicate, you just skill up that character to equip different weapons. This also serves as a way to get new equipment as the characters could be equipped with either a weapon or accessory that you didn’t have previously.
I’m not particularly fond of this way of obtaining equipment as it leaves your success up to getting lucky. While no character is inherently worse than the other, they could have a weapon equipped that is way stronger than anything you should have at this point or leave you with a weak weapon that can’t damage the monsters. However, it does give me a reason to go back and replay stages to try and get new characters or items.
The length of the game can be daunting. I played an entire weekend at least 6 hours each day and still only had 10% of the story done. This is accounting that the game expects you to beat each of the missions on multiple difficulties and the characters that you can collect, so this low percentage makes sense.
The visuals of this title are new for the series as it opts for a more Minecraft style of design. At first, this can be a bit jarring, but the tone of the rest of the game fits so well with the visuals that I quickly got used to it. This also helps when the characters start breaking the fourth wall and talking about past games and common video game tropes; you can just laugh instead of thinking about it.
Combat in Earth Defense Force: World Brothers feels really good, although most characters can be a bit slow. This is mostly due to each character having certain special abilities and traits. Like the Wing Diver from EDF4 can fly around the stage until her fuel depletes, or the Ranger can sprint and roll. This general has you keep at least one movement-based character on your team just to move throughout the stage at a decent pace.
This is especially crucial as if you ever get surrounded, you will die pretty easily. The worst is that every time you take a hit, you slow down just a little. This only really affects you when facing enemies that are constantly hitting you. Slowing you down so far that you will be running in place until the character is drained of health completely.
This slowness also extends to the vehicles that you can pilot. These vehicles are pretty strong and don’t share health with the character, but most of them use explosion-type weapons that can severely damage them if you hit a target that is too close to you.
This makes them awkward to use when fighting most of the average enemies as they tend to rush and get close to you before you can move away to take a shot. Luckily these vehicles are bonuses, so it doesn’t matter if you destroy them during a mission. I still enjoyed using them just against the boss creatures instead of the normal enemies.
One other small problem I had was that the difficulty seemed to get random spikes. Once I remember going from a mission that I barely needed to try on to one that I ended up failing three times in a row. Usually, it was an enemy type that could stun your character until death and force you to change characters.
Earth Defense Force: World Brothers offers enough zany action to shine through any flaws presented during the hectic missions. The story keeps itself in the absurdity of Tokusatsu that sells the overall experience. Still, the combat system can be frustrating, which shows up more given the enormous amount of playable missions, but it’s undeniable this content will keep you playing for hours to come.
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