Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a remaster of a sixth generation Japanese Xbox exclusive, whereby the 47th President of the United States of America pilots a giant armored mech against a military coup d’état orchestrated by the Vice President!
Fifteen years after its original release, the ridiculous concept of FromSoftware’s Metal Wolf Chaos has finally made its way to western audiences, courtesy of Devolver Digital and General Arcade. From the opening sequence where our protagonist (and may I remind you, president of the US of A!) Michael Wilson “sneaks” into a military base, missiles ablaze – raining down machine-gun hell with the devastating taunt, “You guys are roast chicken!” – to the absurd political satire, you know Metal Wolf Chaos XD has been worth the wait!
I’ll make you just like perforated cheese!
Synonymous with the brutal Dark Souls series, FromSoftware may be better known to us older gamers as the developer behind the mech-centric Armored Core series. But whilst Armored Core took simulation-based elements from video games like Activision’s MechWarrior, Metal Wolf Chaos XD is purely action-orientated, and you would be forgiven for thinking it wouldn’t look out of place in an arcade.
For the entirety of the game, you take on the role of Michael Wilson inside his mech, Metal Wolf; a one man militia with unprecedented, customizable tech and fictional distant relative to Woodrow Wilson. Guided by his secretary (and battle commander) Jodie Crawford, Michael has no time for dinner parties at the Japanese Embassy… Cancel it! Michael is heading out to save America! But first, he must flee Washington D.C.
Bursting out of the upper-floor window of the White House, Michael utilizes Air Force One in his escape and takes refuge. Your objective throughout Metal Wolf Chaos XD is to liberate cities and famous American landmarks, from San Francisco to the Grand Canyon, eventually travelling from west to east across the United States in Michael’s revenge against antagonist and vice president, Sir Richard Hawk.
Make junk food out of him, Mr. President!
The Metal Wolf mech itself can be customized with new weaponry between each mission. Featuring a two-trigger dual weapon system, Metal Wolf can carry eight weapons at any one time; 4×4 on the right and left side of the mech. In-mission swapping between weapons is as simple as pressing Circle and switching between weapons with R2 and L2. I like to keep staples such as semi-automatic/automatic rifles to my right, and heavy weaponry such as the rocket launcher to my left. Metal Wolf Chaos XD offers the freedom to customize the mech best suited to your own playstyle.
In between missions you can research and manufacture new weaponry, which you will want to do as soon as possible. In later missions you will notice the impact of your gunfire rapidly decrease, and thus ammo can become scarce. Luckily you have two additional attacks which prove useful to conserve ammo against infantry and structures: the stomp attack (which I advise using often) and your ultimate attack, “Blaze.”
Speaking of structures, Metal Wolf Chaos XD features semi-destructible environments. “I feel bad for the owner, but hey, let’s smash the hell out of it!” As this is a mission-based game where your main objectives are almost always pure unadulterated destruction, you will spend most of your time doing just that! See those coup d’état forces on the bridge? Blow up the bridge. Bingo! But what if you needed to get across the now decimated structure? Use Metal Wolf’s boosters and hover across to your next objective. Boosting is also useful for quick escapes or rushing your enemy, but can feel clunky at times. Just be aware of your surroundings and don’t overheat your mech!
How lovely that gorgeous building would look… if it were destroyed!
How much fun you have with Metal Wolf Chaos XD will depend entirely on how much you are willing to forgive its dated level design. This isn’t really your typical remaster. Beyond localisation, redrawn user-interfaces, a welcome new autosave system, and allowing for higher resolutions (4K if you own the PlayStation 4 Pro), Devolver Digital and From Software have barley touched the original game code. This is the core original Xbox experience with minor tweaks; for better or for worse.
Each of the 14 levels are often small to medium-sized sandboxes, and objectives can be completed in any order. Thus, you will often find yourself backtracking to find missed (and often hidden) objectives required to progress through the game. And as fun as gunning down coup d’état forces or blowing up American landmarks can be in the fictional world of Metal Wolf Chaos XD, it can also get repetitive real fast; especially if you have to grind previously completed missions.
Did I mention the lack of checkpoints? Yeah, if you are defeated during a particularly difficult boss fight, or accidentally misstep off a bridge (perhaps I’m just a clumsy gamer) you will have to start over from the beginning of the mission. With that being said, most levels can be thankfully completed in short bursts, and I generally had a blast playing Metal Wolf Chaos XD; particularly because of the political satire. So much so that its shortcomings were easier to deal with.
That’s an ironclad battle tactic!
Why Metal Wolf Chaos has only made it to Western audiences now is anybody’s guess. This is the quintessential American video game. What we do know, is that Microsoft wanted to collaborate with Japanese developers to help boost sales of the original Xbox in Japan. And thus, Metal Wolf Chaos was born, but perhaps its lighthearted depiction of domestic terrorism was too much for Microsoft to consider a North American, or even a European release? Even if it does feature a fictional US president and vice president battling in mech armor IN SPACE!
Metal Wolf Chaos XD does show its age on PS4, but with an overblown and strangely topical narrative, absurdist humor, unaltered so-bad-it-is-good dialogue, and enough destruction to initiate impeachment proceedings, it is no wonder that this third-person relic has earned enough attention over the past decade (and a half) to get this remaster made; further solidifying Metal Wolf Chaos’ cult status.
Metal Wolf Chaos XD review code provided by publisher. Reviewed on a PS4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.