Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is a strange iteration of the Earth Defense Force franchise. Instead of an over-the-top B movie premise that is focused on the slow destruction of the Earth as you fight to destroy giant insects and aliens. EDF: World Brothers instead takes a meta comedy approach that is overall lighthearted.
This is Yuke’s second publication of an Earth Defense Force game and like their first attempt with Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain tries to streamline mechanics that while solve gameplay problems from other Earth Defense Force games, Yuke’s also creates problems from their solutions.
Too Late To Defend the Earth
The story of Earth Defense Force: World Brothers begins with the Voxel Earth already being destroyed by the Dark Tyrant. Yet despite having already failed to defend the Earth, you’re tasked to save the earth by putting the Earth back together as you are made Commander to command EDF soldiers to fight off giant insects and aliens. While you do recruit soldiers who are part of the EDF, you meet various civilians known as brothers and sisters who are dealing with their own problems from the giant insects and aliens.
One such brother you meet is Cowboy Brother who needs the EDF’s help to save his cows as they’ve been abducted by the aliens. These problems are the focus of the game’s story as you complete missions while defeating Dark Tyrant takes a backseat. Compared to other EDF games where you’re just a nameless soldier, the focus on characters creates hilarious interactions and banter during each mission that is enjoyable.
Aside from the strange story, EDF: World Brothers stands out using a voxel art style. The voxel art style reminds me of 3D Dot Game Heroes. The environments and characters are bright and colorful and mixes well with the comedic approach to the story. It’s an art style that welcomes anyone to play EDF: World Brothers.
Still A Simple Shooter
When Yuke’s develops an EDF game, they always come up with interesting solutions to advance the gameplay compared to Sandlot’s design for the mainline EDF games.
In Earth Defense Force: World Brothers you are now in command of an entire squad instead of just one soldier and class. This instantly gives you a lot more variety as each brother and sister has unique abilities and ultimate moves to complete missions that compliment your playstyle. If you want an entire squad of flying units, you can. Want a squad of missile launcher wielding panda bears? You can. You’re also able to instantly switch between the teammates in your squad allowing you to more control and handle the horde of insects and aliens trying to destroy you.
For example, one of my favorite combinations is Yodel Sister and the Air Raider. The Yodel Sister can use her music box ability to cause enemies to dance. Then I switch over to the Air Raider and use his ability to call down an air strike. Each character has their own abilities making a wide variety of fun ways to eliminate the alien threat. Having over 50 characters to pick from previous EDF games and the Brothers and Sisters creates a wide variety of combinations to suit your playstyle.
Remember those 100+ characters you can play as? Each character you recruit starts at level one and is limited to a single weapon type. The only way to allow them to equip other weapon types is to find them in another mission and rescue them again. Each rescue results in gaining experience for that character and if they level up, they will be able to equip a new weapon type.
Which is a great solution and lets you focus on completing the mission instead of having to run around a massive map picking up armor boxes. While these solutions are great allowing the player to have more variety and reduces the tedium. Yuke’s solutions also creates problems.
Also, each character has an Alpha, Beta, and Gamma version. So, to level up each character, you must find that specific version of that character.
As for gaining armor upon mission completion. That’s limited to the characters you brought into that mission. This can create problems in future missions and higher difficulty levels as your squad might not be able to equip the weapons your squad needs to fight the aliens and insects but switching to a different character means that they will not have the health to take a hit. Yuke’s solutions makes the gameplay more engaging but feels like one step forward and one step back. I’d like to see future EDF games just offer armor at the end of each mission or have squads where I can switch between characters, but these solutions would work best if there weren’t over 100+ characters to pick from and must replay missions for the chance to level them up to be able to equip new weapons.
EDF: World Brothers also includes accessories, items that increase and decrease your stats based on their focus: Attack, Defense, Recovery, Speed. While it’s better to have an accessory equipped, there are too many accessories, it’s hard to notice the benefits, and they only have a chance to appear by rescuing a Brother or Sister during mission.
EDF! EDF! EDF!
Earth Defense Force: World Brothers stands out from every other EDF game with its voxel art style, focus on comedy, and character focused story telling. I personally enjoyed the meta humor and the personality of each Brother and Sister.
The gameplay is still simple and fun like other EDF games and it feels better being able to bring in a squad allowing you to switch and use different weapons and abilities. While there are drawbacks it is good to see Yuke’s create solutions to problems that draw focus away from the gameplay.
Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is a game I would recommend for anyone. The art style is full of charm, the story has a lot of character, and the gameplay is simple for anyone to pick up and play.