For the other mission called Breaking Through, see Breaking Through (2)
Breaking Through is the nineteenth mission in Earth Defense Force 2025 and Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair, and the first of two missions in those games which have the same name for some reason. It introduces Shield Bearers and is the formal introduction of NPC Fencers.
2025: New walking-machine variants have reached the city. They continue to march unharmed despite multiple airstrikes. These machines have some sort of energy screen that blocks attacks. If we don't find a way to destroy their screens, we won't stand a chance. Ground troops are to attack the defensive screens and find a way to destroy the machines.
4.1: New waking-machine variants have reached the city. They continue to march unharmed despite multiple airstrikes; it would seem they have some sort of energy screen that blocks attacks. If we don't find a way to destroy these screens, we won't stand a chance. Ground troops are ordered to find some means of penetrating their shields and taking out these machines.
Things start off with what is presumably a news broadcast from the Aurora Situation Report reporter with the good microphone, showing three Shield Bearers trundling around fearsomely. She rather redundantly explains that the footage is footage, then says the new walking machine is deploying a Shield Screen, earning the prize for "useless analogy of the day" by declaring the Shield Screen is "like the walls of a dome."
She further states that no weapons have ever penetrated this dome. On cue an air raid occurs and completely fails to penetrate the Shield Screen, and she notes that they are unscathed. She then realises that buildings pass through the wall, and quickly surmises that Dune shield rules are in effect and so humans can pass through the Shield Screen as well because they have low momentum.
In the mission proper, the Fencer team mills around and pretends it is approaching the "new enemy," saying they can see the Shield Screen. HQ, having one of his moments, decides to call the new walker the Shield Bearer again, probably because Ohara is around now and he wants to make sure it doesn't get another Roman gladiator name. He then orders the EDF to break through the Shield Screen and destroy the Shield Bearers, placing so much emphasis on it that the EDF would be forgiven if they started looking for Shield Beeeeeaaaaaars.
The Fencers commence their habit of never shutting up about Shield Screens ever, and once the first is destroyed, HQ declares the strategy is effective. He then rather cheerfully declares that there is a school ahead and the Shield Bearers are there, ordering the EDF forces to move away because an air raid is going to begin. The Tactics Officer says the air raid is commencing, and HQ grumbles that the shield won't break, but the Air Force is refusing to give up, ordering them to only act when requested.
"When requested" apparently parses as "right now" and a squadron of Charon Tactical Bombers carpet-bomb the area around the school. This predictably does not do a lot, and the Tactics Officer reports that the Shield Bearers are still going strong. HQ orders the troops to continue the attack, and states that they are the only ones who can deal with the Shield Bearers, ordering Storm Team to back up the Fencers.
He then gets his dramatic hat on, declaring that if Storm Team cannot break through the Shield Screen then mankind has no chance, and if they cannot win this fight then Earth will be overtaken by the Ravagers. This is apparently a really important town in HQ's mind. He is interrupted by another incoming air raid against the second Shield Bearer.
HQ asks the Air Force if they are going to continue the pointless air raids, and the Tactics Officer makes the entirely sensible suggestion that she should just order the Air Force to stop dropping bombs on Storm Team, once again implying she is higher up the chain of command than HQ is. HQ responds by pulling out the line of the mission, saying "The Air Force has honor too!" and they should be allowed to try.
Some random EDF troops then start arguing about whether or not it is crazy to walk through the Shield Screen, with one declaring the Fencers are the best and the other scoffing that they are insane. The Tactics Officer reports the air raid was ineffective, and HQ orders the ground units to keep attacking, then just in case they missed the massive bombing run, adds that there are Shield Bearers on the riverbed up ahead and the EDF should destroy them.
Ohara starts musing, saying that in 2017 the EDF knew the Ravagers had Shield Screen technology, but they were not expecting the Mothership to use it as a "wide ranged wall" (showing he is confusing his canons, given this only happened in Insect Armageddon), and that this is why the equipment of the Fencers was developed. He rather curiously declares that very large objects just have "too much mass" to move through a Shield Screen, proving once again that the news reporter is a better scientist than he is.
As the mission concludes, HQ forgets that Storm Team is there and tells the Fencers they did great, with the EDF NPCs praising the Fencers as heroes and declaring that the Shield Screen will no longer render the Ravagers invincible, HQ ending things on an odd note by politely asking if the EDF should commence a counterattack.
4.1 Changes Edit
The mission is heavily altered in 4.1, primarily to explain the new Shield Bearer AI to both new and returning players. Of note is that Shield Bearers now drop items when destroyed.
The start location is changed from the middle of town to by the river, with the first Shield Bearer directly in front of the starting location. This one trundles like a 2025 Shield Bearer and is taken down in much the same way. Ohara's line about the Ravagers having Shield Screen technology in the 2017 war is moved to about here.
The second is roughly as far away as the original first, and as soon as it is hit it will make a break for the one near the school, showing the ridiculous speed of 4.1 Shield Bearers while the Fencer team smugly comment that the Ravagers didn't even give the machines weapons, surmising that they probably didn't expect anyone to try just walking through the shield. This dialog replaces HQ's line about the Shield Bearers being at the school.
The next two Shield Bearers are the same as the last two in 2025, including the Air Force having honor too; they now have slightly more, since the first strike is now a Bombing Plan C like the second. The conversation while attacking the second is different; rather than being fluff about walking through the Shield Screen, it is about enemies being able to fire out of the Shield Screen, with the EDF soldiers declaring that "this game is rigged!"
After the point where the original mission would end, the Fencer team leader suddenly becomes recruitable and a new group of seven Fencers appears by the river, also recruitable.
To provide some point to this, the Tactics Officer will warn of a final Shield Bearer by the river, then say that Hectors have been spotted in the direction of the Shield Bearer; this is a group of three that appears in the opposite corner of the map. This is to show off the new AI's ability to actively seek out and follow Hectors, as the Shield Bearer will nitro-shuffle towards them. Incidentally, if there is nothing for a Shield Bearer to protect, it will run in the opposite direction to the last direction it was attacked from.
Ohara gets some extra lines here, musing that the Shield Bearers are not dangerous on their own, but once they start protecting something it is a whole different story, concluding that Shield Bearers must be designed to provide cover for Hectors. HQ then interrupts his rambling briefly to shout "destroy the Shield Bearer before it joins the Hectors!" but Ohara is unfazed, adding that "they're not a threat in and of themselves, but their defenses can turn a battle against us."
The mission then ends with the same dialog as before.
3 x Shield Bearer
4 Hectors, 1 with 2 x Spark Launcher, 1 with 2 x Particle Gatling Gun, 2 with Particle Gatling Gun + Plasma Cannon
4 x Shield Bearer
4 Hectors, 1 with 2 x Spark Launcher, 1 with 2 x Particle Gatling Gun, 2 with Particle Gatling Gun + Plasma Cannon
1 x Shield Bearer
3 Hectors, 1 with 2 x Spark Launcher, 1 with 2 x Particle Gatling Gun, 1 with Particle Gatling Gun + Plasma Cannon
Online Limits Edit
There's no limit for Inferno difficulty.
|Difficulty||Ranger & Air Raider||Wing Diver||Fencer|
|Easy & Normal||612||604||356||352||765||755|
Weapon Level Limit
|Game||Easy & Normal||Hard||Hardest||Inferno|
Approximate Weapon Drop Rate
This mission provides a basic introduction to both Shield Bearers and the close-combat abilities of Fencers, the latter presumably for players who just picked the Ranger because the game kind of told them to.
Shield Bearers are ungainly and slow robots with no weaponry: their "attack" is to generate a large dome-shaped shield, though they can also knock vehicles around if they stand on them.
The shield of a particular Shield Bearer has two states; when they are moving it is small, but it is several times larger when they stop and "deploy" themselves, raising their emitter up and changing the shape of their body slightly.
There are two types of Shield Bearer, fixed and mobile. Fixed Shield Bearers will never move no matter what is happening. Mobile ones will move if they are damaged; they can also only deploy for a limited amount of time, after which they will have to get up and stretch their legs even if nothing has happened. The size of their screen is decided on a level-by-level basis, there is no fixed radius.
Shield Bearers count as large enemies, meaning they destroy any destructable terrain that they touch, and have about the same health as Hectors. Oddly, in 2025 they do not drop items on death.
Interestingly, they appear to be blind: they are not aggro'd by EDF troops approaching them no matter how close they get, and will only move if they are fired upon.
A Ranger can make good use of his powerful shotguns in this mission, but even better is to bring along a pair of Fusion Blasters since these are the most powerful short-range weapon at his disposal and there are not many enemies in this level. Interestingly, his two top Flamethrowers, the Flame Cannon and Magma Cannon, totally ignore the Shield Bearer's shield, and thus are very effective at dealing with missions where there are a lot of them about. Doing so does tend to tank the framerate producing hit flashes and cause the game to "lose" the damage of many of the shots, however.
Similarly, a Wing Diver has many powerful short-range weapons at her disposal. While normally Hectors are her arch nemesis, since the ones in this mission start out not aggro'd a Rapier is perfect here, and weapons like the Idunn and Thunder Bow will also make short work of this level. It is worth noting that in the case of the latter two, if the Shield Bearer makes to start moving the player should stop firing, since otherwise the Wing Diver might be killed by her own reflected damage when the shield changes size.
An Air Raider can have some fun messing around trying to get his Roombas to attack the Shield Bearers (oddly, Patrollers are allowed through, but Roller Bombs bounce off) but it is more sensible to bring a close-range BM03 Vegalta variant or an Epsilon Armored Railgun. Strikes are obviously of little use here since the whole point of the mission is they do not work while the Shield Bearers are around.
The Fencer has the home field advantage in this mission, and can make the most of it by bringing powerful CC-type weapons; a Blasthole Spear or Spine Driver is fine, though a Vulcan Hammer can be just as good if the player has a thing for Strikers instead of Piercers. The envisioned way of tackling the mission is probably advancing with a Tower Shield held up in one hand and a Blasthole Spear in the other.
The first Shield Bearer is basically a free kill, since it will just trundle uselessly. The next two are harder; it is best to either focus on the Hectors or try to lure them away from the Shield Bearer, since all but one of them has an explosive weapon and such a Hector is dangerous at point-blank range. With a little clever positioning it is possible to use the Shield Bearer's body to block shots from one Hector while attacking the other.
While attacking the second and third Shield Bearers, there will be a call that an airstrike is inbound, and shortly afterwards a Bombing Plan attack will hit the surface of the shield (B for the first, C for the second), with both acting as if the marker is directly on top of the Shield Bearer. It is important to either be inside the shield bubble or far away when the EDF airstrikes hit, since their damage is scaled to the difficulty and unless the character is over-armored for the selected difficulty it will be curtains for them.
On lower difficulties the mission can be easily completed with a little creative sequence-breaking; dashing in, destroying the Shield Bearers and then running away will mean the EDF airstrikes destroy the Hectors.
The mission is not really any trickier in 4.1 since the main challenges of it, the two sets of Hectors under shields, do not change. The second wave is only difficult for a Ranger or slow vehicle that is out of position; given where Storm Team has to be in order to take out the Shield Bearer in the river, they should be right in the new one's path, but it is very fast.
In Online mode it is a good idea to split the team (learning the lesson Summit Ship is supposed to teach), having the heavy hitters go after the Hectors while the faster characters try to stop the Shield Bearer. This full-AI Shield Bearer will otherwise start demonstrating its new mechanics with one of the Hectors, constantly standing up to follow the Hector's movements and thus constantly changing the size of its shield bubble.
|DLC 1: Special Forces||Exploration • Giant's Advance • Silver Camp • Citadel • Floating Fleet|
|DLC 2: Mutant Rampage||Advance • Mountain Assault • Enemy Camp Infiltration • Underground Advance • Giant Robots • Battle Species • Beast Mountain • Dark Arena • Gathering Around • Armored Species • Iron Wall • Mountain of Change • Whirlwind of Death • Bugged City • The Tough • Golden Darkness • True King • Final Impact • Into Destruction • Ship of Dragons|
|DLC 3: Beyond Despair||Tracking • Underground Complex • Blocked Pass • Close Formation • Dragon Ship Fleet • Heavy Artillery • Bloody River • Dangerous Goldmines • Beast Mobilization • Total Protection • Aerial Bombing • King of Armor • Cannon Defenders • Traps Behind • Four Kings of Nightmares • Resistance Against the Twilight • Shivering Nexus • Three Giants • Crimson Lotus • Starry Prison|
|DLC 1: Time of the Mutants||Air Offensive • Giants Advance • Recon • Dust Town • Defense Line • Underground Advance • War Breed • Mountain Assault • Enemy Camp Infiltration • Dark Arena • Beast Mountain • God's Army • The Gathering • Armored Species • Iron Wall • Silver Base • Shifting Mountain • Whirlwind of Death • Bugged City • Toughness • Golden Darkness • True Sovereign • Final Impact • Floating Fleet • Into Destruction • Ship of Dragons|
|DLC 2: Extreme Battle||Tracking Bogeys • Underground Complex • Blocked Pass • Close Formation • Dragon Ship Fleet • Heavy Artillery • Overflight • Dangerous Goldmines • Beast Mobilization • Total Protection • Bombs Away • King of Armor • Cannon Defenders • Bloody River • Three Giants • Traps from Behind • The Four Horsemen • Cross the Line • Facing Off • Crimson Lotus • Shivering Nexus • Last Bastion • Starry Prison|