Review – Metal Wolf Chaos XD

I’ve got a bone to pick with  Devolver Digital. Hey guys, we work hard in order to look for funny taglines for our reviews, and here you come and patent “Mech America Great Again” as the Metal Wolf Chaos XD‘s official slogan! C’mon Devolver! You’re giving us a hard time, how can we best you in the tagline game?

Okay, rant over, on with the review.

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“If you’re gooooooing to Saaaan Fraaaaanciscoooo…”

Originally released for the Xbox in 2004 and only in Japan (for some reason), Metal Wolf Chaos features a very “unique” premise. The vice-president of the United States has staged a coup d’etat with the help of the military. It’s up to the president to bring freedom back to the land of the brave, all while piloting a mecha armed with a bagillion weapons in order to do so. It’s unbelievably stupid and yet so charming. It’s equally the most Japanese and the most American game I have ever seen. It’s completely over-the-top like the cheesiest anime out there, but its references to patriotism, American iconography, and the fact the word “freedom” is uttered every five seconds is enough to make Toby Keith, Ted Nugent, and Ronald Reagan smile from ear to ear.

That’s what’s so charming about Metal Wolf Chaos: it’s incredibly dumb and it knows that. Fun fact: it was developed by none other than FromSoftware. Yes, the makers of Dark Souls also made a game about the President riding a Gundam. This is a beautiful world we live in.

I was really excited to play Metal Wolf Chaos XD, which is equally a remaster and the official debut of the game in the West. All courtesy of Devolver Digital, the kings of over-the-top cult gaming. A game made by FromSoftware and curated by Devolver; I was ready for a treat. I ended up disappointed.

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“Metal Gear??”

Weirdly enough, the gameplay itself wasn’t a big issue. In fact, the controls and the overall gameplay loop, flawed as they are, are by far the best elements in Metal Wolf Chaos XD. Your mecha is armed to the teeth with a ridiculous amount of weapons and it’s up to you to mow down everything in sight. Most missions revolve around destroying targets and defeating a boss, while the remainder is comprised of rescuing hostages or protecting VIPs. You can carry up to eight weapons at any given time, ranging from bazookas to rifles. While ammo isn’t infinite, you can find crates easily by destroying the environment around you.

The combat isn’t very complex, but it doesn’t need to be. If you’re using a faster and less accurate automatic weapon, the game automatically locks your aim on the nearest target. All you need to do is direct your robot in the same direction as your opponent and pull the trigger. Metal Wolf Chaos XD wants you to put as little effort as possible when trying to destroy everything in sight and that’s something I’m fine with. At the end of each mission, you’re given a ton of money and resources which can be used to research better and more destructive weapons. It’s a decent gameplay loop that would have been perfect if it wasn’t marred by how slow your shooting and overall movement is.

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Yes. Yes it is.

The biggest issue with this game is its presentation. Granted, Metal Wolf Chaos has never been a good looking game, even for 2004 standards, but the remaster does little to remedy this flaw. It’s just a bigger resolution and a slightly faster framerate, even though there are still drops every now and then.

The sound department is what killed my enjoyment. The original Metal Wolf Chaos was (in)famous for its abysmal English voice acting. In true Tommy Wiseau fashion, it was so bad, so terrible, so downright horrendous, it was hilarious. It was so amateurish it was enjoyable. Sadly, you’ll barely listen to anything in here. Even though the voice acting is still present, with absolutely no re-recordings, Metal Wolf Chaos XD‘s sound mixing is so broken that you can never hear what’s going on. Everything is too quiet, even on maximum volume settings. The music is at the same volume as the destruction effects, which are also at the same volume as the voice acting, and you can’t hear any of them. That means that the game’s greatest artistic achievement is almost impossible to be appreciated. All that’s left is an average-at-best shooter that just happens to feature the President piloting a mecha.

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This statement is as patriotic as eating a deep fried bald eagle leg while listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd on the Fourth of July.

Metal Wolf Chaos XD should have been the perfect title for me. It’s as dumb, over-the-top and self-aware as possible, just the way I like it. Sadly, not only did its gameplay age more than expected, but its audio quality is so poor that I wasn’t able to listen to the game’s magnificently horrendous dialogue at any given point. It’s still a somewhat entertaining title, and its excessive patriotism is hilarious, but I guess I expected too much from it. I doubt this President will be able to win a second term after this showing.

 

Graphics: 5.5

This remaster may have received some framerate improvements and a higher resolution, but Metal Wolf Chaos wasn’t a looker back then. It certainly isn’t nowadays.

Gameplay: 7.5

The gameplay is Metal Wolf Chaos XD‘s highlight. The control scheme looks odd at first, but it’s very intuitive. Your mecha is very fast-paced and the act of avoiding bullets with dashes feels great. The shooting mechanics aren’t as fast, though.

Sound: 3.5

Metal Wolf Chaos is famous for its “so bad it’s good” voice acting, but the game’s sound mixing is so terrible that you’ll rarely be able to properly listen to any bits of dialogue in here.

Fun Factor: 7.0

The core gameplay aged poorly, but blowing everything up with a mecha piloted by the President is still fun. Sadly, the game’s deliciously awful voice acting can barely be heard during gameplay, resulting in a somewhat underwhelming guilty pleasure experience.

Final Verdict: 6.5

Metal Wolf Chaos XD is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Metal Wolf Chaos XD was provided by the publisher.

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