Metal Wolf Chaos XD Review
2000's style action meets 2019 style politics
While many older gamers yearn for the days of all physical retail releases, there are many benefits to our current digital download heavy environment. Localization is simpler, and there are far fewer rare titles that potential players imply can’t find. This was previously the case for Metal Wolf Chaos, an early release for the Xbox by Dark Souls developer FromSoftware. It never made its way out of Japan despite having very America-centric story elements. After becoming a bit of a cult favorite across the internet though, we can all finally check it out in what Devolver Digital is dubbing an “updated re-release” titled Metal Wolf Chaos XD. So does this not-quite-a-remaster take a great game and make it better?
Your reaction to Metal Wolf Chaos XD’s story will likely determine whether it’s the right game for you. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. You play as the President of the United States. Your Vice President has orchestrated a coup against you, taking over America and ending freedom across the country. You must use your custom made mech suit to fight back against your own former military as you fight to bring freedom and liberty back to the United States by blowing up practically everything in your path.
Obviously you can tell what sort of feeling Metal Wolf Chaos XD is going for based on that synopsis. This game is classic early 2000’s video game fare, from its plot to the gameplay. Everything is dialed past 11 and into the 20’s or higher. You aren’t just the President, you’re the President in a mech suit. You aren’t just fighting the Vice President, you’re doing it all across America and beyond. And you aren’t just fighting the military, you’re demolishing them with a massive mech that features tons of upgradeable weapons.
The Metal Wolf Chaos XD experience is one of retro-styled frenzy
This over-the-top feel was right at home in 2004 on the original Xbox, so it’s still somewhat surprising that the game never made its way to the West. This is especially odd given its focus on lampooning America’s tendency toward extreme patriotism. Still, we’re finally getting our hands on the game and anyone who’s watched videos and waited with anticipation for this day has good reason to celebrate.
The Metal Wolf Chaos XD experience is one of retro-styled frenzy as you march through the streets of various US cities, blowing away anything that moves. The action certainly brought me back to such classics as Mechassault, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, and even a touch of Crimson Skies. The combat is quick, the controls are simple, and the story rarely gets in the way of the action. You’ll be offered some side missions, such as rescuing hostages, but overall you will be plunked into an environment and told what to destroy, then will be left to do that.
Combine this with the focus on ‘Merica styled rhetoric and the US President as the main character and you have a recipe for a controversial release, given today’s overall climate. It’s admirable that Devolver was willing to localize the game like this, with no edits whatsoever. So just know going in that political correctness was not a major concern for the developer or publisher. If that might be a problem in any way, you should probably avoid Metal Wolf Chaos XD.
However, if you’re a fan of absurdist style humor and satire then this is definitely a game you’ll want to check out, even if it’s just a few videos to get the feeling of the story. From its first moments to the last, the game will make you laugh and wonder who the hell wrote something like this. Voice acting is also absurd in its own way with the constant refrain of Mr. President, random observations, and chants of patriotic catchphrases that sound right out of propaganda films.
All of this is to say that the Metal Wolf Chaos XD has been largely unchanged with this re-release, which is both good and bad. The bad part is that it hasn’t been fully remastered, or even partially in many respects. Devolver made clear that this wasn’t a remake or remaster, but there still could have been a bit more done to make it feel more fresh. The game runs very well in 1080p, and looks much more crisp than what I’ve seen of the original. However, the menus are quite antiquated and tough to navigate at times, and the framerate is locked at 30, even on PC. Hitting 60fps alone would have improved things massively in terms of how good of a re-release this was.
Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a totally unique experience that is worthwhile for anyone who’s a fan of early 2000’s action, or satirical and off-the-wall humor. The over-the-top feel of both the gameplay and story makes for a truly enjoyable experience, though it won’t last long and isn’t excellent for repeat plays. If you’ve been dying for this to make its way to the West this is a totally serviceable release, but those seeking a more robust remaster might be disappointed.
Metal Wolf Chaos XD
- Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC
- Published By: Devolver Digital
- Developed By: FromSoftware
- Genre: Action
- US Release Date: August 6th, 2019
- Reviewed On: PC
- Quote: "Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a totally unique experience that is worthwhile for anyone who's a fan of early 2000's action, or satirical and off-the-wall humor."