Earth Defense Force: World Brothers review (PS4)

D3’s Earth Defense Force has been around for quite a while, even though it started under a different name (Monster Attack) on the PS2. These days we have the main series as well as a couple of spin-off games, and Earth Defense Force: World Brothers falls into the latter category. It was released late last year in Japan, but has now made it to the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in the West as well.

After our review of Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain we thought we’d be seeing Earth Defense Force 6 next, but that’s not coming out until later this year – and only in Japan for now. World Brothers is different enough from the previous games to not feel like another rehash though, and we had a great time playing it.

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Part of that is a brand new look for the game, and although it’s definitely not a push towards next gen these voxel-based graphics give the whole experience a rather unique look – something that sits inbetween Minecraft and Transformers Devastation. It’s bright and colorful, and it fits the over the top arcade action of the series very well, especially because the series doesn’t take itself too seriously and emphasizes fun over realism. That also extends to the voiceover work, with a full English dub that features plenty of humor.

Gameplay-wise you can expect all the usual Earth Defense Force mechanics of running around as you furiously spin your guns around and take out invading aliens. Characters have unique abilities that makes each playthrough feel a bit different than the last, with some emphasizing aerial abilities and others being able to jump out of the way of incoming attacks. How you deal with weapons and traversal is different for each character, not to the point where it’s action RPG-like, but it definitely makes for a good mix.

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That’s especially true in multiplayer, which can be locally or online – and you can play the campaign with drop-in, drop-out multiplayer as well. In addition to a good range of character there’s also an array of weapons to choose from, and over the course of the story you can even jump into the odd tank or assault vehicle. With diverse locations to play in as you travel the world, a lot of effort has been put into making sure the game doesn’t start to feel repetitive too fast.

There’s a bit of a LEGO element to the game as well, in that you can keep unlocking more characters for your roster by seeking out and helping them while in a mission. It’s a simple mechanic, but it works great in making sure you keep pushing on and trying out that new character or upgrade. Sure, it doesn’t last forever because it’s still the same core formula underneath it all, but it’s a fun ride. Between the new visual style, diverse content, evolving roster and gameplay styles, Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is a solid reason to look forward to what EDF 6 will bring to the franchise.

Score: 8.0/10

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