Metal Wolf Chaos XD Review – It’s time to PARTYYY like it’s 2004
Devolver Digital has made a name for itself developing wacky independent titles with their own sense of over the top flair and attitude. But while they have brought us great new IPs like My Friend Pedro they have also made a nice little market for themselves remastering old games that, while they may not have the biggest fanbases, are certainly among the most passionate. One of the prime examples of this is Metal Wolf Chaos. A third person action adventure game first released in 2004, brought to prominence by Let’s Players like the Super Best Friends which helped a whole new audience discover its special brand of nonsense. Well the remastered Metal Wolf Chaos XD is here and, for better or for worse, it is exactly the game you remember.
The plot of Metal Wolf Chaos is pretty straightforward, despite how ludicrous it is. President Michael Wilson is thrown out of office in a vicious coup d’etat in which Vice President Richard Hawk takes over and assumes complete control of the country and the media to paint himself as the hero and Wilson, a decorated war hero and descendant of former President Woodrow Wilson, as a terrorist and enemy of the state. Oh yeah one other detail… The President also pilots a giant robot named “Metal Wolf” that he is using to take back the office of the President of the United States. Metal Wolf Chaos is not known for its in depth story but instead for its over the top voice acting and characters. Richard Hawk is a cartoonish villain of the highest, mustache twirling variety and Michael is such a square jawed boy scout he farts bald eagles and freedom. Seeing these two play off each other is the highlight of the game, accompanied by some of the most over the top voice acting you have ever heard. There are only a few other minor characters like the President’s (maybe?) love interest in his secretary Jody Crawford and a few rebels that join Michael’s cause after the people discover Richard’s deception.
The game has Michael travel the country from coast to coast liberating major American cities from Richard’s control by blowing up as much s*** as possible. At the end of every mission, a reporter will twist the events of the day to make Michael look like the villain, followed by a flash-forward recounting from the same journalist realizing the error of his ways years later and reflecting on the same events with the perspective of the truth. Including some pretty egregious war crimes committed by Richard that are sort of glossed over and never mentioned again, which is odd, to say the least. These missions devolve into a few simple objectives. You are either blowing up checkpoints dotted throughout the map until you come up to a big boss of some sort, usually a giant tank, helicopter, or another mech. This is where the biggest downside of the game comes in, and that is sadly, the gameplay. You have access to an assortment of weapons from machine guns and sniper rifles, to bazookas and rocket launchers, that can be rotated out at the press of a button. You can gather materials during a mission to upgrade and buy more weapons but really you only get slightly better weapons with more power and higher ammo capacity. Which is necessary to complete later portions of the game, but not a particularly exciting process to take part in.
The game wastes no time throwing you into battle, to the point where a lot of the time you are completely left on your own to figure out what to do. This is where the fact that this is a game from 2004 becomes VERY apparent. Where your next objective is on the map can be hard to discern sometimes, and how to get there even harder still. While most enemies are complete pushovers, some later bosses are frustratingly difficult and more of a test of patience than mastery of the game’s combat. Which is still fun, but a few more layers and special moves beyond a simple super move that fires every weapon for massive damage at once when your super meter is full would be very welcome. While also being something that could feasibly be done since this is a remaster. If you were surprised to see the FromSoftware logo at the beginning of the game, you won’t be once you reach the later levels of the game. This is definitely a testing ground for the kind of difficulty the company would be known for with the Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro series in the future, but sadly this does mean that Metal Wolf Chaos is the one that suffers for it.
The graphics do look slightly better than they did in 2004, properly justifying the use of the word “remaster”, but it would have been nice to have seen more done with the visuals than a simple cleanup. The odd, jazzy, action movie soundtrack is still in place from the original and while catchy at first, its short loops can wear out the music’s welcome far more quickly than your patience can probably handle.
For fans of the original, Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a fun time capsule to 2004 to relive an obscure diamond in the rough from the original Xbox era, even if time has made you forget how much more “rough” than “diamond” there may have been. For newer players, this is still a fun game to try out and take a look back to see where gaming was in this pocket of time long forgotten. Especially if you are a fan of FromSoftware’s later work, as it is very interesting to see how far they have come.
This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.
Also! Make sure to keep your eyes peeled here on OG, as we will be giving away a copy of Metal Wolf Chaos XD to one lucky winner! Contest details and information on how to enter will be available soon! Stay tuned!