Title: Metal Wolf Chaos XD
Developer: General Arcade
Publisher: Devolver Digital, FromSoftware
Genre: Action, Adventure
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 06/08/19
Price: £19.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
You can see our very first video review of this game on our Rapid Review’s YouTube channel here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=402xEG1kSc0&feature=youtu.be
From Software rocketed to popularity in the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 era of consoles with their challenging and beloved Dark Souls series. However, they didn’t simply spring up in 2009 and start making games about swinging swords at monsters. In fact, From Software has been releasing games since 1994 with their debut King’s Field. Today, we’re going to be looking at the re-release of their Xbox cult classic from 2004, Metal Wolf Chaos XD. Does this new release do the impossible and give this game a new life, or does it crash and burn? Read on in this Rapid Review to find out.
The premise for Metal Wolf Chaos XD is sensational; You are the 47th president of the United States of America, Michael Wilson, who has been ousted from office because of a coup-d’etat instigated by Vice President Richard Hawk. Luckily, President Wilson has a mech that allows him to single-handedly fight off the military forces that are now holding the USA under martial law. In his mech, the titular Metal Wolf, President Wilson must fight his way from the west coast back to Washington DC to retake the country from Hawk’s army and his propagandizing media.
The game never really touches on why the coup is taking place, or what political positions the two men have, other than that the Vice President is seizing power. For 2019, It’s a game with an incredibly politically loaded premise that idealizes the position of the president without ever examining the politics of the characters at the centre of its story. But the world was much different 15 years ago, and games writing has evolved. And oh boy does that show.
The delivery of the story is fantastic for those who appreciate camp. The quality of the recordings isn’t the highest, the delivery on the lines are incredibly corny, and it is filled with one-liners, puns, and dramatic pauses. If you can find your self able to look past, or even enjoy, these elements, you’ll find something to enjoy in Metal Wolf Chaos XD.
Game development has come a long way since the Xbox days, so, understandably, the audio quality and actor performances might be a bit odd, especially in a game with such an over the top premise. With age can also come the realization that gameplay we found enjoyable a decade or more ago may not hold up to the standards of today. Happily, I can say that I found Metal Wolf Chaos XD to be fine to play, with little to no mechanical quirks and only the occasional obscene difficulty spike. The game has a mission-based structure where you select a city from a map of the United States, and then choose your weapon loadout before commencing.
There are a wide variety of weapons in the game that you can unlock and upgrade as you progress. You start with a couple of basic weapons, a handgun, assault rifle, bazooka, and sniper before eventually getting missile launchers, rail guns, and other heavy artillery. Each of those weapons will serve a different purpose as you progress through combat, so you will need to plan your loadout accordingly. However, sometimes I found myself ill-equipped to handle part of a level which resulted in needing to replay the entire level.
Level’s are not overly long, taking less than 10 minutes most times, but offer reasons to return and replay them to find any upgrades and hostages you missed. Despite being an older game, I was impressed by the games ability to make each location unique, when it would be incredibly easy for each of the city-based levels to feel very similar. For Example, San Francisco has a lot of varying levels due to hills, while Chicago has the high line train circling it which you can use to make your way around the level quickly.
The visuals and textures show their age, but the level design helps alleviate any issues that might cause. There is also a fantastic variety in the mission structure. Usually, your mission will focus on destroying military structures around a base, but they shake things up just enough to keep the game from feeling dull. One level you’ll be racing around a city to stop the spread of poison gas, and another you’ll be running down a bridge as a tank chases you. There isn’t much in the game that I would deem groundbreaking, even for when it was released, but it is a competent and fun arcadey shooter.
As I just mentioned above, the visuals show their age but have been updated to modern resolutions, so the game certainly looks better than its original incarnation. It is a rather bland looking game though, outside of the mech you pilot. But again, they do a lot with the limited assets they’re working with from a game that’s 15 years old.
The music is the perfect match for the bombastic story, with wailing guitars and heavy drums. Unfortunately, the music volume is often drastically lowered during cutscenes to ensure that dialogue is audible. Again, this is probably due to when it was released, and they didn’t do the work to remix the audio for this new version. It’s not terrible, but it can take you out of things when two mechs are fighting, and the only audio you get is cheesy one-liners. Also, the menu music is incredibly repetitive and was slowly driving me up a wall by the end of the game. While you can unlock new tracks by sav-ing hostages, you can only change the music that plays during the missions, and not for the menu.
Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a solid re-release of the original Xbox game that brings it’s over the top absurdity into 2019. The story and writing are totally cheesy but wholly enjoyable if you can handle the often bizarre delivery. The gameplay is still solid and uncomplicated enough that you don’t ever feel like you’re fighting against the game. If you’re feeling nostalgic for the games of the early 2000s, you can do much worse than checking out Metal Wolf Chaos XD.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Metal Wolf Chaos XD from the PlayStation Store on the following link, https://store.playstation.com/en-gb/product/EP3643-CUSA15781_00-METALWOLFCHAOSXD
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.