Metal Wolf Chaos Review
Some games are bad, while others are gloriously bad. Metal Wolf Chaos XD shoots screaming towards the second category, blaring the American National anthem the whole way down. If you’ve ever despaired that mech games just aren’t patriotic enough, Metal Wolf will warm your heart like a sunset. No other game lets you save the United States, as the president, in a mech. Is it any fun, though?
The story is more or less what you’d expect. The president of the United States must stop his traitorous vice president from taking over the country, using his own armored combat unit. That’s not the draw, though. We’re here for the rest of it. Right from the first line of dialogue, you know you’re in for something special. President Andrew Wilson is a bombastic caricature, a flat-eyed mannequin loaded with clumsy one-liners. His assistant is blessed with similar locution skills. In fact, every line is a b-movie hit parade contender. The dialogue and the premise are two peas in a star-spangled pod. The glorious cheese on constant display is fuel to the fire, keeping you going through all the slowest, clunkiest sections of the game. And friend, there are a few of those.
Wilson’s One-Man War
I had such… high(?) expectations for Metal Wolf. The sharp swerve in fun between the setup and the execution almost gave me whiplash. How can a game so beautifully bombastic end up so slow, methodical, and punishing? A premise like this one needs fast-paced carnage, generous power fantasies, and relentless pacing. Instead, I was gifted with a strategic mech combat experience. This puts me in a difficult position. There are excellent qualities to Metal Wolf Chaos. You’ve got a lot of weapons to mess with, the aim system is forgiving, your armor is plentiful, and the strafing is perfectly adequate. It just feels like the game is at war with itself, and it’s losing.
You know what they didn’t have have back in 2004? Checkpoints. They existed, but in a sparse, prototypical fashion. Starting a mission over again because six simultaneous missile barrages dissolved my armor gets old really fast. Plus, it takes long enough to get back to where you blew it last time that even early missions can drag out for ages. Perhaps this is just my entitled modern sensibilities chiming in, but we deserve better than this, damn it! We also deserve a lot more ammunition. If you’re going to pepper every map with hulking gun towers/bullet sponges, at least give us more ammo. More or less every level involves slamming the brakes so you can slowly feed several rounds to a stationary target.
Bosses are even worse than the gun towers. There were a few times I had to redo a level, not because I died, but because I ran out of ammo halfway through a boss. You can negate a certain amount of ammo issues by equipping the right guns, but enemies still retain their sponge-like demeanor. Hostage rescues also require a weird amount of ammo. In fact, if you try to speed things up with explosive shots, you just kill the hostages. For whatever reason, Metal Wolf really wants you to spend a lot of time pouring ammo into things.
Awful Lot of Bullet Sponges
This isn’t to say that things aren’t ever fun. Puking up bullets and bombs, shredding enemy soldiers, strafe-boosting through barriers, and spitting out cheesy dialogue are all wondrous experiences. When the game is moving fast enough, I’m suffused with that patriotic power that glistens on every horizon. There’s a shot in the opening stage where you superhero leap onto the White House lawn, brandishing two guns and screaming ‘Let’s PARTY!!!’ It perfectly captures the tone of the game in one moment. My only problem is that the game feels short on those highlights. It feels like you spend most of the game’s run-time chasing that initial high, all to no effect.
Here’s where I run into trouble with my final judgment. If you’re a mech game enthusiast of any significance, disregard my score altogether. Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a priceless artifact, a flawed gem the size of your fist that must be seen to be believed. Especially if you’ve got a history with From Software’s other mech titles. This is a critical link in the chain with no equal in the genre’s history. On the other hand, if none of that applies to you, hot damn this game has issues. The premise and the execution are wildly disparate elements. The pacing is stuttered and archaic. The mechanics at play are padded yet flat. I can’t fault that timeless voice acting either way, though. My thoughts on the game aside, hearing president Wilson and co. deliver their lines is absolute delight. Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a weird, wonky game you should almost definitely, probably, see for yourself.
***A PS4 code was provided by the publisher***
- Dialogue is deliciously cheesy
- Wide variety of weapon types
- Fascinating premise
- Pace of combat is wonky
- Difficulty changes without warning
- Game feels very 2004 after all