Title: Metal Wolf Chaos XD
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Reviewed On: PS4
Publisher: Develover Digital
If you mention Japanese developer FromSoftware today, people will automatically assume you are going to talk about Dark Souls. However, the developer has also created a load of games that made up my childhood, one of which is Armored Core. Now, I’ll be the first to say that the mech genre didn’t appeal to me too much until I was older, but I still respected it for what it was.
In an attempt to make mechs cool in the west, FromSoftware developed Metal Wolf Chaos, complete with English audio and a haphazard plot. Sadly, the game never received a western release, that is until Devolver Digital helped out with its western debut with a fully remastered version called Metal Wolf Chaos XD. Now, strap in and get ready for one wild ride.
Metal Wolf Chaos XD begins with a coup by Vice President Richard Hawk who feels that he understands freedom a little better than sitting President Michael Wilson. President Wilson played a huge role in bringing the country back to greatness as he secretly constructs a mech that he uses to fight against any outside sources who threaten the red, white, and blue. Vice President Hawk has his ideas on how the country should be run so he slily corrupts the military to turn on President Wilson. Now, President Wilson and his secretary, Jody, must fight their way through the country to spread justice to those who oppose true freedom.
The game is as over-the-top as you can imagine and I could probably write a whole feature on its dialog. The characters don’t always make sense, but they don’t need to. The game understands that its a parody and it wears it like a badge of honor. Every scene offered something fun to witness and is easily one of the biggest drawing points for the game. There are key moments when I wonder if the writers were trying to be serious, but then Jody would go off and talk about shopping or a boss would randomly call the Vice President, “Sir Richard” and I knew that they were just writing geniuses.
Metal Wolf Chaos XD has some unique mission types that find players in various locations across America bringing mech justice to the people. Each map is fairly large and features something iconic about the location that you’re in, but there is a lot of reused assets throughout every stage, which can make them feel more like a maze. Furthermore, some missions are just confusing to navigate due to a lack of direction. The reused assets can be looked past given that this game was released in 2004, but I there was times where I was stuck for way too long because I didn’t know that I could break down a certain door.
Missions usually have the player take out targets, which are all fairly similar. I found it annoying that even if you beat the final boss of a stage, you still need to make sure that you’ve destroyed all the targets, even if this means traveling all the way back to the beginning of the level. Also, the enemy types in the game end up getting a bit repetitive, but there are several new enemies introduced in later missions to mix things up.
What’s upsetting is that the bosses in the game don’t have anything that makes them stand out. Typically, the boss will come out and say something outlandish and then get blown up by my missiles a few minutes later. There’s nothing in the game that makes these encounters worth it, but yet, they still managed to be entertaining thanks to the game’s comedic writer. I would have preferred some type of clarification about the role they played and if they had any connection to President Wilson.
Controls in Metal Wolf Chaos XD took some getting used to. It is possible to customize each arm with a unique loadout of weapons. President Wilson can hold two weapons at a time, but I typically combined a missile launcher with an automatic weapon. In order to switch weapons, you’ll need to open your arsenal and switch to the desired weapon. However, the war is still raging while you do this so switching weapons while in a heated gunfight can mean taking some damage.
FromSoftware took a user-friendly approach to customize mechs in this game by making everything easy to understand and straight-forward. After completing missions, players are rewarded money and materials that can be used to research new weapons and then create them. All the stats for the weapons are easy to read and there’s enough of a variety to adjust your loadouts to fit your playstyle.
Graphically, Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a beautiful port of a game that originally released in 2004. I would also like to add that framerate stays stable even when 20 explosions are going off at once and I’m firing dual machine guns. However, the sound quality in the game took a real hit in this port. Nothing sounds quite right in the game and the levels are all off making some events incredibly loud and others soft. With that said, the English dialog is still present and I couldn’t stop laughing throughout most of the scenes.
Metal Wolf Chaos XD has a lot to offer in terms of arcade-like mech storytelling. There are some deep systems here to hold over hardcore mech fans, but the level of difficulty is set rather low for new players to feel comfortable blasting their way through the level. Sadly, the bosses and mission direction don’t hold up next to the game’s incredible premise and gameplay features, but it doesn’t seem to affect it too much because I was still having a blast long after the credits rolled to unlock new guns and find secrets that I missed my first time through.
Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a piece of American history that we never received. Now, after all these years it has finally come home to tell the story of a president who cares about justice and freedom so much that he would put his own life on the line to save his country. When everyone has turned their backs on him and liberty, President Wilson fights on. So in the words of President Wilson himself, “Let’s Party”.
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