Over the years, D3 Publisher has brought multiple Earth Defense Force games to PS4 including mainline entries and spin-offs. The Nintendo Switch hadn’t seen a single entry until this week’s Earth Defense Force: World Brothers release for the West. Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is a celebration Earth Defense Force game that brings characters and enemies from across the various Earth Defense Force games together with a voxel aesthetic and the end result has been a super fun experience over the last few days for me on both PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

Since I’ve been playing Earth Defense Force: World Brothers on PS4 (both on PS4 Pro and on PS5 through backward compatibility) and Nintendo Switch (docked, handheld, and on Nintendo Switch Lite), it has been interesting to see the game scale up and down across hardware profiles. Sadly, the situation right now is disappointing in a lot of ways when it comes to the Nintendo Switch version. Here’s what you need to know about Earth Defense Force: World Brothers on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

Earth Defense Force World Brothers‘ PS4 version on PS5

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers PS4 vs Nintendo Switch graphics

When Earth Defense Force: World Brothers was initially revealed and the platforms were confirmed to be Nintendo Switch and PS4, I was sure that this game would be built for Nintendo Switch and then scaled up with improvements for PS4 given the voxel aesthetic and also because this was the first game in the series for Nintendo’s hybrid system. The end result feels like the opposite though. Earth Defense Force: World Brothers looks quite blurry when played docked on Nintendo Switch. The game itself has a relatively low draw distance on all consoles but the combination of that with the very low resolution on Nintendo Switch is pretty bad. When played handheld, the lower resolution is a bit less noticeable but don’t expect remotely crisp visuals on Earth Defense Force: World Brothers if you play on Nintendo Switch. On PS4 Pro and PS5 when played in backward compatibility, it looks great almost across the board barring the draw distance issues.

There’s a distinct lack of good anti-aliasing on some aspects on the PS4 version while the Nintendo Switch version is even worse on that front. The one issue that affects the graphics in both versions is the draw distance. It is quite low on PS4 but pretty awful on Nintendo Switch. Expect a lot of enemies to animate at a very low frame rate in the distance on Nintendo Switch while this distance feels much larger on the PS4 version.

Earth Defense Force World Brothers on Nintendo Switch

The other graphical issue I ran into on both my Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite on different save files was a flickering issue for the ground or some buildings while flying or moving around quickly. This isn’t something I could replicate but it did happen at random in different missions on both systems. 

Overall, on the visual side of things for graphics, image quality, and more, the PS4 version is easily the way to go. I could deal with Earth Defense Force 2 on PS Vita and had no trouble with running Earth Defense Force 5 on my older laptop with everything turned to low or off when I needed to get a decent frame rate, but Earth Defense Force: World Brothers on Nintendo Switch is just not a good conversion when it comes to visuals. You might be able to tolerate the cutbacks and issues when playing handheld because the smaller screen hides some of it but it is bad when played docked.

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers PS4 vs Nintendo Switch frame rate and performance

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers’ PS4 version targets 60fps on PS4 Pro and PS5 and it feels great on both systems. Even splitscreen is a joy to play (and this feature isn’t in the Nintendo Switch version unsurprisingly given how poorly the game runs). Earth Defense Force: World Brothers has the best performance on PS4 systems for an Earth Defense Force game even when things get really busy.

On Nintendo Switch, the frame rate target is 30fps but it is never stable and drops a lot right from the early missions. A few missions early on result in not just big frame rate drops but also random freezing. The freezing for about half a second or a second even happens when there are no enemies on Nintendo Switch when you change your character or fire a weapon. It doesn’t feel like a good experience at all. I can imagine some will get used to the variable performance that drops a lot but random freezing is not ideal. This goes beyond the usual frame rate issues people expect in an Earth Defense Force game.

When it comes to load times, I tested Earth Defense Force: World Brothers on the PS5 internal SSD, an external drive which I used for both PS4 Pro and PS5, and the Nintendo Switch. Unsurprisingly, the PS5 loaded things in a few seconds at maximum and there was no hitching at all. The Nintendo Switch version is the slowest but it isn’t as bad as Persona 5 Strikers’ load times.

Earth Defense Force World Brothers PS4 version splitscreen

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers PS4 vs Nintendo Switch splitscreen and local coop

There are a few differences across both the PS4 and Nintendo Switch versions of Earth Defense Force: World Brothers when it comes to features. On Nintendo Switch, you get local wireless support and gyro controls. The gyro controls aren’t well implemented in the 5 missions I tried while tweaking options. HD Rumble is implemented decently but having local wireless is great for a game like this. You do need individual copies of the game for local wireless on different consoles though.

While the PS4 version lacks local wireless and gyro controls (this is disappointing given the controller can support it), it does include splitscreen support. What is more interesting is that the PC version doesn’t include splitscreen. For performance, Earth Defense Force: World Brothers on both PS5 and PS4 Pro holds up very well in the missions I tried on multiple difficulties.

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers PS4 vs Nintendo Switch what to buy

Overall, Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is definitely worth getting on PS4. Having played it on both PS4 Pro and PS5, it runs well and looks good. While I wish the draw distance and post-processing in the PS4 version were better, you’re in for a treat if you are a longtime Earth Defense Force fan and can deal with a self-aware spin-off that is a love letter for fans with the references, characters, enemies, and more.

I’d only recommend the Nintendo Switch version if you will only be playing this game on the go and never docked. If you own both platforms, this is one of those situations where you absolutely should get it on PS4 because it is better in every way. Hopefully the next Earth Defense Force release on Nintendo Switch is much better and the improvements eventually approach the same level as Atelier Ryza 2 on Nintendo Switch where it is a great experience after how bad the original Atelier Lydie & Suelle release was.

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is out now on PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam. I’ll have full reviews of the PS4 and Nintendo Switch versions in the near future.

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