Posted on 06 Aug 2019 by Jay Shaw

Metal Wolf Chaos XD

The Defence

Developer: General Arcade, From Software
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Genre: Action, Shooter
Platform: Consoles, PC
Review copy: Yes
Release date: No data.

The Prosecution

OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i3 3.1 GHz
AMD Athlon II 3.1 GHz
VGA: Nvidia GeForce 550 Ti
AMD Radeon HD 6850
HDD: 10 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: Full
Mod Support: Unknown
VR: No
FOV Slider: Unknown
FPS Lock: Unknown
OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i5 3.4 GHz
AMD FX 3.9 GHz
VGA: Nvidia GeForce 750
AMD Radeon R7 260X
HDD: 10 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: Full
Mod Support: Unknown
VR: No
FOV Slider: Unknown
FPS Lock: Unknown

The Case

Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a fifteen year old Japanese exclusive, original Xbox mech game created by everyone’s favourite digital torture artisans, From Software. With their recent work, and prior work on the Armored Core series, Metal Wolf Chaos XD has some huge boots to fill. Does it live up to the “greatest nation on Earth” or is it more “’MURICA”?

The Trial

Metal Wolf Chaos XD is, to wildly understate everything, one of the cheesiest things I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. If you revel in cheese so thick it’s buried the script and actors and coated everything in its stench for thirty miles around then you’ll be in heaven. The game’s basic plot is that the vice president, Richard Hawk, has initiated a coup d’etat and ousted the rightful president of the United States, Michael Wilson, and you have to take on the role of the latter to battle tyranny, ludicrous super weapons, and save America from being turned into an evil dictatorship. Hawk is usually either cackling madly or challenging you to fight him with taunts that wouldn’t work on an eight year old.

Metal Wolf Chaos XD‘s world is one of comically over-exaggerated jingoism turned up to eleven. At times it’s hard to tell if From Software were trying to appeal to American audiences or insult them, but for non-American players it’s a wonderfully batshit and surprisingly prescient caricature of an entire nation; Idiocracy wishes it had the balls to go this far in tearing down the pride of a whole nation. The voice actors sound like they learned their lines phonetically despite being English speakers. Wilson’s voice actor (Ryan Drees) was also in the Shenmue games and The House Of The Dead 2 so you know what you’re getting into as soon as he speaks. Generally you’ve got a laugh out loud, no holds barred, down and dirty dog-piling shot across the bow at everything American from the military to propaganda barely masquerading as news. From Software didn’t create a subtle jab back in 2004 is what we’re saying. It’s honestly sometimes hard to tell whether the game is playfully making fun, trying way too hard to appeal, or just openly displaying Japanese racism. Regardless of which it is, it’s too silly to take seriously and even if it gives you a moment of pause you’ll quickly end up laughing all over again.

Aiming is handled automatically, just get the enemy in the appropriate square for your gun and go nuts.

While out saving the US, you’ll be in the president’s mecha suit armed with an arsenal of up to eight different weapons (or duplicates if you want to dual wield or have more ammo) ranging from hand guns, to multi-missile launchers, to rail guns. All are effective in their own way, filling different roles thanks to varying ammunition types and targeting bracket sizes. It’s fairly easy to understand what your weapon is good at; a small square targeting bracket means you have accuracy while a large rectangle means you’ve got a wide range of fire and can strafe enemies or incoming missiles with ease. Aiming inside the bracket is handled automatically and prioritises incoming missiles which is great 99% of the time, but occasionally you’ll fire a high damage weapon like a rocket and it’ll end up being shot into the sky to fend off a missile that encroached ever so slightly on the border of your reticule.

In addition to your handheld weaponry you’ve got a stomp attack that can be performed from the air which will become your primary means of destroying enemy fortifications early in the game because it outclasses your explosive weapons by an order of magnitude. Hitting a building or vehicle with the stomp will bounce you back and into the air again, get the angle just right and you can sometimes come down two or three times on the same target in rapid succession. You’ll be bouncing around enemy bases and tank squads like some Mario obsessed god of death all the way to the end of the game. Some of the more powerful rockets and grenade weapons are highly effective against structures but you’ll generally mix in the stomp too because it’s instant, infinite, and fast, which makes you a hard target.

The propaganda reports never fail to be hilarious.

Your mech is surprisingly fragile too, lending a little difficulty to some encounters. You have a shield and several hit point blocks, losing them all results in death. The shield regenerates quickly but is also drained by your boosters so dodging or closing with an enemy can leave you more vulnerable. The key to success is filtering the chaos on-screen much like you would in a shmup: infantry with rifles and mounted machine guns may chip away at your shield but generally aren’t a threat. Missiles, mines, and lasers are what you need to watch out for as each will often cost you a hit point or more. Despite incoming missile warnings and lasers being well telegraphed you’ll still get hit from time to time and a vicious barrage can leave you briefly stunned and missing most of your health before you know what’s going off.

For all the imbalance in the enemy arsenal, yours is even more broken. Metal Wolf Chaos XD can become an over the top power trip with late-game weapons. Dual-wielding chainguns that fire multiple bullets per shot is a personal favourite for shredding through everything from fortifications to the final boss. They even make a great defensive measure as their super wide targeting bracket lets you easily shoot down incoming missiles without even trying. Some of your weapons that require both hands to use are insanely overpowered like the flamethrower whose basic model will burn enemy vehicles and mecha to ash in seconds. You also have a burst attack which requires you to fill a special gauge and then allows you to fire all your weapons at no cost for several seconds in a humongous barrage – a mechanic that’s thoroughly broken and will take down most bosses instantly, or can be exploited by stacking multiple copies of powerful weapons for even more unnecessary death dealing.

So bad they're good one liners are plentiful.

Don’t expect too much from the graphical department: this is a remaster of a game from 2004. The higher resolutions go a long way to making the game palatable to our delicate 2019 eyes but models and textures are a product of their time and will often appear chunky, stretched, or lazily repeated across larger objects. Texture quality can vary greatly too, ranging from sharp billboards and readable emblems to barely recognisable smudges of brown and grey. More bothersome to my sense of aesthetics was objects clipping through each other; entirely forgiveable when it’s a collapsing tower or building, less so when it’s the focus of your attention in a cutscene sliding through a table and several chairs. That said, Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a re-release of a fifteen year old game from far inferior hardware to what we have today, some jank is to be expected. One weird bit of jank that we didn’t expect was the slight oversizing of resolution: choosing 1920×1080 for example will result in a 1936×1100 image, it didn’t cause any issues during review but not all monitors are as lenient with input resolution as ours.

Sound is another sticking point. We’ve already talked about how amazing the voices are but music and sound effects can cut in and out and are often delayed or missing entirely from some events, even cutscenes. I’m sure some of the delayed sounds were intentional to increase the low-budget vibe and cheese factor but entirely missing sound effects are jarring and something you’d expect to have been addressed in the remastering process. Music too is often drowned out by voices and sounds; at default volume settings I noticed about forty seconds of music in the whole game and even cranking it up to significantly higher than the other sounds leaves it at an anaemic level. Our apologies to From Software’s 2004 composer but it generally isn’t worth listening to anyway.

The Verdict

Metal Wolf Chaos XD clocks in at around four hours for an experienced player and may stretch to six for someone who’s never played it before. Grinding out missions for more money, rare metals, and upgrades can extend the play time out to ten or fifteen hours if you’ve got a completionist streak. That may seem short, but this is an old action game and it fits perfectly. Preserving the original game was a wise choice given how little known it is, but more bonus content such as extra missions wouldn’t have gone amiss for those who’ve already experienced it. Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a good port given what General Arcade had to work with and for fans of crazy cult Japanese mecha games it’s a must-have. For everyone else, it’s an interesting curio and little more.

Case Review

  • Rich-a-a-ard: The voice acting is incredibly silly, in a good way.

  • MMM: Every battle can be a Macross Missile Massacre of explosions and lunacy.

  • DNN: The news channel spouting propaganda and misinformation about you is weirdly prescient of real life.

  • Short: We’re left wanting more, though it’s hard to say how far the joke would stretch.

  • Gassy: Two missions that involve stopping poison gas weren’t fun back then and aren’t fun now.

4 Score: 4/5
A rare cult classic given a new lease on life.


  • Gameplay: HUD preset selection, subtitle toggle, and autosave toggle.
  • Graphics: Resolution selection, display selection, borderless/windowed/fullscreen, motion blur toggle, general quality selection, brightness slider.
  • Sound: Music, sound effects, and voice volume sliders.
  • Controls: Fully rebindable keyboard controls, gamepad vibration toggle, gamepad control preset selection, gamepad camera sensitivity slider, mouse sensitivity slider, camera control inversion toggle.
4 Score: 4/5

It’s finally happened guys, we’ve hit peak America. You are the President of the United States. The Vice President has lead a coup d’etat. You have a mech suit. So, naturally, the only solution is jump in and wage a one-man war against the entire American armed forces. Yes, seriously, that’s the game’s premise. It’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard, and it is absolutely amazing. But wait, it gets better. Because, clearly, the best way to save the country is shoot absolutely everything and destroy it until it’s dead. So, you do. Using mini-guns, rocket launchers and rail cannons, you fight your way across the continental United States and shoot all the things. Do you really need to know more? Let me just repeat the premise. The President of the United States uses a mech suit to wage war against the Vice President, after he leads a coup d’etat.

Originally released in 2004, Metal Wolf Chaos XD brings some enhancements, including higher resolutions and…uhm, well, it runs on PC? Honestly, it’s little more than a port. Options are virtually none existent across the board, the visuals are a little bit sharper, but that’s about it. And I am perfectly fine with that. For all intents and purposes, it’s a port. But it’s a good port, it works, and it’s a fun game to just shoot things for a while. Missions are small and generally short, and you can rescue musicians from cages because, why not? ‘Murica.

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