FromSoftware in collaboration with publisher Devolver Digital has brought their cult classic title Metal Wolf Chaos to the West for the first time since its original Xbox release way back in 2004. The game was previously a Japanese Xbox exclusive and apart from some obscure memes, it was relatively unknown in the West. That changes with this re-release though and we’re sure that the game will get some new fans quite soon thanks to the over the top writing that’s meme-worthy. “XD” indeed.
In Metal Wolf Chaos XD, players will take on the role of Michael Wilson, President of the United States of America. Surviving a coup d’état organised by Vice President Richard Hawk, players will use President Wilson’s high-powered mecha battlesuit to enact sweet vengeance and reclaim his country’s freedom. The story of Metal Wolf Chaos XD is extremely over the top and the game doesn’t pull any punches with regards to its cheesy dialogue.
Playing as the “Metal Wolf”, as you’ve been codenamed by resistance forces, you’ll have access to a vast array of weapons. These are split into Left and Right arm groups and can be changed on the fly during battles. Some weapons, however, require both arms but these are only unlocked later on in the game.
Players will have to complete a set of predetermined objectives for each mission and then ultimately take on a boss enemy. It’s formulaic at best and repetition does set in quite quickly. This is compounded by the fact that the early missions feel extremely hard to complete due to the lack of more high-powered weaponry. Getting stuck on a boss enemy because you ran out of high-powered bazooka ammo is not a great way to make a first impression and since this can happen in the first major mission in the game, Metal Wolf Chaos XD may immediately put a lot of less patient gamers off the game entirely.
Thankfully though, once you’re past the initial slog and you gain access to researching and manufacturing new weapons to use, the game becomes a lot easier. Once your Metal Wolf is packing some serious firepower, enemies become cannon fodder and you’re able to get through levels quite easily. The gameplay while formulaic and repetitive is enjoyable for the most part since you’ll access to assault rifles, missile launchers, railguns and more. Blowing up vehicles and small buildings is surprisingly enjoyable thanks to the flashy effects.
Unfortunately, the audio in Metal Wolf Chaos XD is absolutely terrible. Conversations between the President and his secretary Jody are inexplicably lower in volume than the audio of the game itself and of the story cutscenes. If you’re playing with headphones, you may want to lower the volume all the way down in order to prevent sudden deafness from a burst of sound from a super loud cutscene or an enemy explosion.
The fatigue of playing the game sets in after you’ve done the same type of thing in a mission for the third or fourth time with little to no challenge from the enemies. In fact, there’s a greater chance of you dying to falling off a cliff or from an unfair barrage of missiles or a hidden landmine than there is from fighting the basic enemies. The gameplay mechanics themselves pose a greater threat to you than the enemies and that’s pretty disappointing by today’s standards. Boosting for example also causes you to overheat and take damage after a mere few seconds pass.
To make matters worse, the game feels slow. You’re supposed to be an unstoppable mecha unit that seems to move quite fast in cutscenes but in-game it’s like you’re crawling across the map even when boosting. Firing rockets and missiles at enemies also seem to take forever with the projectile speed being painfully slow. You do get used to this eventually but the game would be far better if the heavy weapon projectile speed was increased.
Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a game from 2004 that certainly looks and feels like a game from 2004. What could have passed a cult classic back then isn’t going to fly in 2019 when it suffers from broken audio issues and gameplay that infuriates you at times. With that said, the core premise of the game is fun and there are some enjoyable moments to be had in the 7-hour long campaign. With a little bit more polish and some future patches to fix the game’s audio, Metal Wolf Chaos XD may inevitably find some success. As it stands right now though, it’s hard to recommend the game unless you’re really desperate for a mech-based third-person shooter.