Title: Metal Wolf Chaos XD
Available on: PlayStation 4, Steam
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Genre: Action-Comedy Mech-Shooter
Version Tested: PC
Official Site: Metal Wolf Chaos XD
Release Date: August 6th, 2019
Where to Buy: PlayStation Store, Steam
Welcome to the White House
It was at Devolver Digital’s 2018 E3 Press Conference that they revealed the one big new game of their show, and it was a BIG one; Metal Wolf Chaos XD. A remastered version of the cult-classic original Xbox game developed by FromSoftware that never left Japan until now. People interested in the now infamous satirical comedy game about the President of the United States piloting a mech can finally sate their cravings to make the Vice President suck on their missile punch.
To put it simply; Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a solid remaster of a fun game that has not aged very well. It plays like what it is; a somewhat clunky mid-2000’s original Xbox game. It isn’t awful, in fact, it’s still worth playing for the uniqueness of itself alone, and while it excels in some areas, it is merely average or mediocre in others.
Starting off with the game’s best feature, we have the brilliantly dumb dialogue and comedy of Metal Wolf Chaos XD. The premise of the game is absolutely ridiculous, and the developers knew as much, playing off the whole plot as over-the-top and tongue-in-cheek with constant jabs at jingoism, media bias, American media, and doing all of it with an almost childish air about it creates spectacular tone of forced hilarity that puts all the rest of the game in context. Ragdoll body physics and explosions everywhere go hand-in-hand with the silly tone, and everything comes together to play directly into the writing. However, mechanically and gameplay-wise the game does stumble in many small ways that add up into larger problems.
Where The Problems Begin
The two biggest issues with the gameplay come in the form of the pacing, and how powerful the game makes you feel. For a hyperactive, comedic game about the President of the United States piloting a Mech, everything feels oddly sluggish a lot of the time. Your basic movement pace is somewhat slow even when dashing, you reload weapons constantly because you’re almost always firing at something, ammo refills aren’t always common, and switching between weapons in the middle of intense battle can be a pace breaker at best and dangerous to you at worst. These are all relatively small things, but they add up after a while, and especially when the enemy threats vary so much scale and strength.
In Metal Wolf Chaos XD there are two basic types of threat; human enemies that drop like flies, and giant structures and vehicles that act as roadblocks or items to be ticked off of a destruction checklist. Things are often either very, very weak and easy to deal with, or very strong or have a lot of health which makes them take a while to take down. In fact, everything takes a while to do, as, with the mentioned slowness issues above, missions often drag into the 20-30 minute range, where you’re just walking around picking enemy installments off the map.
I have a lot of complaints about Metal Wolf Chaos XD, but there’s a lot to like too. I already mentioned the game’s now-famous translation and satirical comedy writing, but it’s also got some decent tech under its belt for a 2004 original Xbox game. The level environments – while not always that varied in gameplay – are nicely varied in terms of visuals and setting, doing their best to create joke amusement park-style recreations of various cities and landmarks in America, from the White House to Beverly Hills, and even Alcatraz Island. When it wants to be Metal Wolf Chaos XD can be a very nice looking original Xbox game.
A lot of effort has gone into the presentation as a whole, even if the remastered version appears to have a few bugs to work out. I consistently ran into audio cut-outs and missing SFX, as well as the occasional flickering texture or vanishing graphic. These are obviously issues, but they felt almost at home alongside the awkwardly translated dialogue and floppy ragdoll physics, as if the game itself was in on the joke. I’m not saying that this excuses the technical bugs necessarily, just that they most often did not bother me.
The repetition of the mission structure is alleviated somewhat by the large variety of weapons there are to collect and equip, and honestly, next to the comedy this is the game’s strongest suit. Metal Wolf Chaos XD is at it’s best in those opportunities you have to just unload your arsenal on people when you’re dealing with a variety of threats all at once and have to account for all of their different ideal weapon choices and evasive maneuvers. When you get the chance to blow up a mansion’s worth of defense towers and blast three helicopters out of the air all in the name of justice, only to have the comically biased media call you a heinous terrorist and your assistant tells him to “cram a sock in it”, that is when it’s all worth it.
Is It Still Worth It?
As much as I’ve complained about the many annoyances of Metal Wolf Chaos XD, I have to also admit now that I find the game weirdly compelling. It’s flawed, yes, very, but it’s a game that’s very hard to hate. My opinions may seem a little scattered on this game, and that’s because they are. If I could rate this game a “?!?! out of 10” then I probably would; it’s a game that creates a lot of conflicting emotions in a critical mind. It’s very flawed on many objective levels, but it’s still just so dumb and fun that you can’t help but smile back at it. It’s a game that you have to play for its uniqueness alone.
While I didn’t love my time with Metal Wolf Chaos XD, I can still say I’m glad I got the chance to play it, and I want to thank Devolver Digital for even re-releasing the game in the first place. I’m happy to see a company like Devolver making an effort to publish and promote games that are silly and self-aware, as well as middle-shelf and more budgeted against all of the full-price, straight-faced mainstream games that most publishers will focus on. Not to mention, the comedy of the game and it’s uniqueness do make it something I can recommend you try at some point, if not at full price. Wait for a sale on this one if you’re really interested. Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a good game that could have been an amazing game but is brought down just a bit too much my mechanical imbalances and aged mechanics. Instead of being a game that’s stupidly fun, it instead just ends up being both stupid and fun.
Metal Wolf Chaos XD is available now for PC and PS4.
Verdict: Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a solid remaster of a game that’s just okay, but had the potential to be something truly great, not just in its hilarious writing and tone, but also in gameplay. It’s bogged down by too many issues to recommend at full price, but charming and unique enough to recommend that you play it at some point if only when it goes down in price.
- Hilarious, well-written comedy and satire
- Fun, destructive gameplay
- Frequent Repetition
- Awkward Pacing
- Inconsistent Difficulty